Danealia Simmons ’20 chose to attend Shenandoah because of the small class sizes and location. Through the small class sizes, Simmons was able to get to know her professors and wasn’t just a name on their roster.
“SU is filled with amazing professors and experiences,” said Simmons. “You just have to find your people. It’s an extremely welcoming place that everyone can call home.”
Although she loved every minute of her time at Shenandoah, some of her fondest memories were in the Math Enrichment Center, located in Howe Hall. Simmons truly enjoyed tutoring her peers and she spent most of her time at the Math Enrichment Center, even when she wasn’t scheduled to work.
Simmons is a case manager at the Berkeley County Day Report Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The Berkeley County Day Report Center is an alternative treatment to incarceration for people struggling with substance abuse who have been convicted of nonviolent crimes. As a case manager, she is responsible for their success, facilitating classes and handling drug screens. Simmons has also worked as a victim advocate for a domestic violence agency.
One of the most rewarding experiences of her career so far was helping a victim of domestic violence escape her abuser and relocate to a new county. “The happiness in her eyes when she realized she was finally free was so rewarding,” said Simmons.
Simmons’ Shenandoah education gave her firsthand experience of what it would look like to work in the criminal justice system. Her crime, community and prevention class with Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice Dana Baxter, Ph.D., helped her realize that she wanted to work with people who suffered from substance abuse disorders. This ultimately led to her position as a case manager at the Berkeley County Day Report Center.
Simmons’ advice to students is: “Working in human services is exhausting work and you don’t get paid as much as you should, but it’s the most rewarding work you can do. Seeing the smiles on people’s faces that you’ve helped and witnessing others success brings me so much joy. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Written by Harley Ryan ’16
Assistant Director of Donor & Alumni Relations