Mother of two earns bachelor's degree despite many obstacles

For Immediate Release


Dana Thomas

REDDING, Calif. – For Red Bluff resident Dana Thomas, earning a college degree was always a goal, but after high school, life put her goal on hold. After her husband passed away in 2004, she was unsure if she would ever earn her degree while being a stay-at- home mom.

On April 30, the 41-year-old mother of two fulfilled her goal, graduating with honors with a B.A. in Psychology from Simpson University's Adult Studies (ASPIRE) program.

In 2005 Thomas returned to school to earn her bachelor's degree. Somewhat unsure if she could succeed, she started by taking classes at Shasta College. There, Professor Peter Young told her about ASPIRE and encouraged her to enroll. Having done well at Shasta, she gained the motivation and self-esteem she needed to enroll in the 16-month degree-completion program.

"I never thought I would earn my degree, but I'm really relieved I did," she said. "If I can do that, then maybe I can do the next step."

While in the ASPIRE program, Thomas was faced with many obstacles. Her dad was diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2009, and her stepmother had a stroke a year later.

"ASPIRE allowed me the flexibility to be there for my family and still get my work done," she said.

Thomas said that while earning her degree was no easy task, she feels relieved and would tell anyone who is on the fence about earning their college degree, "If I can do it, you can do it!"

Thomas is considering a master's degree in marriage and family counseling through the University of San Francisco.

Simpson University is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate and teaching credential programs. Simpson's academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults in the north state. Simpson's recent curriculum expansion includes degrees in biology, nursing, outdoor leadership, and a master's degree in counseling psychology. For more information about the university, or to arrange a personalized visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit


Contact: SU Public Relations
(530) 226-4737