Redding Siblings Earn Organizational Leadership Degrees from Simpson University
For Immediate Release
REDDING, Calif. - Lauren and Kent Erickson have shared many important life experiences, including birthdays, holidays, and family trips. On April 29, these siblings from Redding celebrated another major milestone: graduating from Simpson University with bachelor’s degrees in organizational leadership.
“It felt good to work alongside each other and earn something for which we have both worked so hard,” Kent said.
Both Lauren, 25, and Kent, 21, attended Shasta College in Redding before enrolling in the ASPIRE degree-completion program through Simpson’s School of Adult and Graduate Professional Studies in the summer of 2016.
Lauren earned her associate’s degree in humanities from Shasta. She looked into the ASPIRE program after she was accepted into a design institute in Southern California but opted not to go because of tuition and relocation costs.
“I applied for the ASPIRE program, and they got me into a cohort within two weeks,” she said. “Even better, I was able to start at the same time as my brother. He was a familiar face in the beginning which made the new environment more comfortable.”
Kent completed his general education at Shasta and took classes in Simpson’s traditional undergraduate program for one semester before starting his ASPIRE courses.
“I chose to attend Simpson because of its emphasis on incorporating Christian faith and values into education,” he said. “The location in my hometown and superb faculty were icing on the cake.”
Lauren and Kent were a part of a 12-month-long on-campus organizational leadership program and attended class on Wednesday nights. The university also offers a 16-month-long online organizational leadership degree.
“One evening per week made it easy to work around my work schedule and made the experience more personal and fun,” Lauren said. “The small classroom setting made the learning experience less intimidating and more intimate and communal.”
Kent said he enjoyed the social aspect of the face-to-face program.
“Being in a cohort for 12 months, you develop a kind of camaraderie with your classmates,” he said. “I liked seeing and interacting with them and getting to know my professors during the brief, five-week courses.”
Lauren decided to major in organizational leadership because it was a good fit for her professional goals.
“The aspect of psychology intertwined with business seemed incredibly applicable to my career path,” she said. “I want to be a business owner someday, but I’m more interested in leading and helping people than focusing on number crunching.”
Kent chose organizational leadership because of the adaptability of the degree.
“I wanted a degree that would prepare me for leadership,” he said. “Learning and developing communication and leadership skills intended for the work world is imperative to be an effective leader.”
One of the things Kent like most about the program was the integration of faith into the course material.
“My faith has been a large part of my life,” he said. “It was quite the blessing for my education and faith to be woven together as a finished my degree. Each class demonstrated how to incorporate faith-based leadership in the work world.”
For Lauren, personal growth was the most rewarding part of the program.
“It’s astounding how much I learned about myself. Combining that and the leadership knowledge instilled in me, I feel more confident tackling a leadership position than I did this time last year,” she said.
Kent said one of the most rewarding parts of the ASPIRE program was the course content.
“I was studying and learning information that was interesting to me,” he said. “I learned so much in ASPIRE because the classes were engaging and the content continually sparked my interest.”
After graduation, Lauren will continue working at Wildcard Brewing Co., in Redding. Because she now holds a bachelor’s, she anticipates a promotion to manager and event coordinator by the end of the summer.
Kent plans to continue working at Cattlemens steakhouse in Redding and continue job hunting until he finds a fitting career. He wants to look for a job where he can utilize his degree and has considered pursuing his master’s in organizational leadership.
In addition to participating in Simpson’s spring commencement ceremony, the siblings also played an active role in the university’s baccalaureate service on April 28. Kent gave a senior testimonial, and Lauren read a scripture passage.
Based on their positive experiences, both Lauren and Kent said they would recommend the ASPIRE program to others. Kent has already encouraged several coworkers and friends to enroll.
“It is an excellent program,” he said. “The faculty is amazing, the courses are engaging, and the information is applicable in a wide variety of careers.”
Read more ASPIRE graduate stories at simpsonu.edu/aspirestories.
-By Elise Wilson
Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. The university celebrated its 25th year in Redding and the completion of a Science and Nursing Center in 2014. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings, including degrees in psychology and organizational leadership. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit simpsonu.edu.
Contact: SU Public Relations