First-Generation College Graduate Earns Degree at Simpson University

For Immediate Release


Leah MouaREDDING, Calif. - Leah Moua made family history when she accepted her college degree during Simpson University’s spring commencement on April 28. Though others in her family have earned two-year degrees, Moua was the first to earn a bachelor’s degree – and she did it with honors.

Moua, a Redding resident, was among more than 250 graduates and one of 76 students who graduated from ASPIRE, Simpson’s degree-completion program which allows working adults to finish their degree in 16 months. Her high GPA made her eligible for Alpha Sigma Lambda, a national honor society for continuing education students who receive a GPA of 3.8 or higher.

Moua’s determination to earn her degree was not only because she wanted to advance in her career. The mother of three, ages 3, 6 and 9, wanted to communicate the importance of higher education.

“My main drive in getting a college education was for my children,” said Moua, 30. “I wanted to set a different example for them and have them see the benefit of working hard for a degree.”

Moua said her kids were excited about the idea of her going back to school, and she hopes that her determination plants a seed in their young minds that education is important.

“My oldest son said to me, ‘Mom, when you get your graduate degree, I’m gonna call you Master Mom, and then when I grow up and get my doctor degree, you have to call me Dr. Son,” she said.

Moua’s parents were also supportive of her earning her degree. Her dad, Teng Moua, said, “Leah is the first of my 10 children to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. This makes her mother and me very proud. We had always hoped our children would choose a higher education, and now Leah has done it. I am hopeful that she has influenced her family and friends in pursuing educations as well."

While she was in the ASPIRE program, Moua worked full-time as an intervention specialist at Parent Infant Programs, a non-profit organization in Redding that provides services to families with children with social and communication delays. Majoring in psychology proved beneficial as she works with young children, ages 0 to 3, who are at risk for autism.

“Between working and being a full-time mom, I needed a program that worked for me,” said Moua. “The ASPIRE program worked so beautifully for my life. It’s a misconception that you can’t go back to school if you’re older, or if you have kids or a full-time job. It’s not a factor. The program schedule makes it possible.”

Moua plans to apply for Simpson’s Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (MACP) program next fall. She hopes to continue working with children and would like to someday open her own practice and teach psychology at a junior-college level.


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