Simpson University Graduate Earns Psychology Degree to Help Others

For Immediate Release


John CravensREDDING, Calif. - Redding resident John Cravens has a desire to counsel people going through the process of overcoming and recovering from addictions, so he attended Simpson University’s School of Adult Studies, ASPIRE program, to earn his B.A. in psychology.

“I chose the psychology major because I wanted to better understand human behavior and why people do what they do in order to gain knowledge about how to help them,” he said.

On April 26, Cravens was one of 200 students who received their diplomas at Simpson’s spring commencement.

Cravens, 44, first started attending Shasta College in 2007 and decided to return to school and enroll in Simpson’s degree-completion program in 2012.

“I decided to return to college so that I could go further in a career where I have the opportunity to help people who are struggling,” he said. “I chose Simpson because it is a faith-based university.”

One of the challenges Cravens faced in pursuing his education was time management. He had to balance working full time with family, church, and school responsibilities. He also struggled with health issues, undergoing surgery a few months ago, but he only missed one class.

After graduation, Cravens plans to continue working as a case manager in the residential drug and alcohol program at the Good News Rescue Mission in Redding. He counsels men going through the mission’s 18-month-long New Life Recovery Program, helping them with relapse prevention and personal life struggles. He also teaches several classes, attends various house and staff meetings, and participates in case management of the students.

“I have lots of life experience and have been through the New Life Recovery Program myself,” he said. “This, along with my relationship with Jesus, made me a prime candidate for counseling men in the mission’s recovery program.”

Cravens is also planning to attend classes through the California Association of Addiction Recovery Resources in June and is considering pursing his master’s degree.

Cravens said he enjoyed many things about the ASPIRE program, including the accelerated schedule and night classes. One of his favorite parts about the program was the cohort structure.

“Having the cohort has helped me to not feel alone in my endeavor,” he said. “The camaraderie has been very helpful.”

He also enjoyed the faith-based aspects of the program.

“It has been awesome to attend a Jesus-believing university where prayer and devotions are often a part of the classroom experience,” he said.

Based on his experience, Cravens said he would recommend the ASPIRE program to others.

“It is a great way to get a degree in a shortened period of time,” he said. “The fast pace and intensity are well worth it. Also, the class size and cohort structure is exceptionally valuable and helpful.”

Story by Elise Wilson


Simpson University is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults in the north state. Simpson’s newest programs include bachelor's degrees in Spanish and nursing, and master’s degrees in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Learn about our new Science & Nursing Building at For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit


Contact: SU Public Relations