Mother of seven earns degree through ASPIRE Program

For Immediate Release


Samantha Shelton-Fee

REDDING, Calif. – Two days after her 57th birthday, Samantha Shelton-Fee earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Simpson University's ASPIRE program.

Shelton-Fee was among 206 graduates at the university's spring commencement on April 30, including 126 from traditional undergraduate studies, 50 from the Adult Studies (ASPIRE) program, eight from A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary, 13 from the School of Education.

At the time she enrolled in the ASPIRE program, Shelton-Fee was living in Weaverville, running a day care after losing her job with Human Response Network. Due to the poor economy, she lost her job and relocated to Anderson where she began working as a preschool teacher. After deciding to put her degree on hold, she received news that she was once again let go from her job.

"I realized that in order to be competitive in the job market I needed to earn my bachelor's degree," she said.

The mother of seven enrolled in the ASPIRE program 32 years after beginning her associate's degree at San Diego Mesa College and completing it at Shasta College in 2001.

"Between pregnancies and toddlers I was only able to take one or two classes at a time," she said. "The convenience of the once-a-week classes is what drew me to the ASPIRE program."

Half way through her studies, she began a full-time position with the Parent Infant Programs, assisting children ages 0-3 with developmental play therapy.

Shelton-Fee said the support from her family helped her balance work, studies and family.

"My youngest daughter coached me on the computer, which really helped me a lot, and my husband would proofread my papers," she said.

As a mother of seven and a grandmother of 15, Shelton-Fee said she's happy to see how proud her family is of her earning her degree. "They've been really supportive, and part of my motivation to earn my degree was to show them the importance of a college education," she said.

Shelton-Fee has applied for the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program at Simpson.

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