Willows Resident Earns Degree through Simpson University Online Program
For Immediate Release
REDDING, Calif. - After serving in ministry for over 25 years, Gregory Morales decided it was time to change career paths and go in to counseling.
“As a kid I always wanted to help people,” he said. “I have always worked in some way with people, either in customer service or a helping profession. As a pastor I had brief experiences counseling through the years, and it seemed like the perfect transition, not only for work but also fitting to my personality.”
Morales, a 45 year-old Willows, Calif., resident, enrolled in Simpson University’s School of Adult Studies’ online psychology degree-completion program. He was familiar with an online program format, having completed an associate’s degree in Christian Ministry from The Kings Seminary in Van Nuys, Calif., mostly online.
“I decided to return to college to open up more opportunities for myself,” he said. “I decided to apply to Simpson because I wanted to even further expand my possibilities by getting my B.A. in psychology.”
Morales, along with over 200 other students, received degrees during Simpson’s spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, April 25. Students from the traditional undergraduate studies program, ASPIRE, the School of Education, and A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary participated in the graduation proceedings. His high GPA made him eligible for Alpha Sigma Lambda, a national honor society for continuing education students who receive a GPA of 3.8 or higher.
While in ASPIRE, Morales was part of a 16-month-long online degree program. He stayed connected with professors and classmates by using Skype and Moodle, Simpson University's online learning management system. In addition to psychology, the ASPIRE program offers an online bachelor of arts degree in organizational leadership.
“What I found rewarding is even though it is an online platform, I was able to still connect to the others in my cohort and in the process learn a lot of great stuff,” he said. “Even more rewarding may be that I personally grew in the process of learning.”
Morales started the ASPIRE program in January 2014 while he was living in the small town of Stonyford, Calif.
“At the time I started Simpson I lived about 40 miles from any larger towns, and none of them offered on-campus classes,” he said. “Online education is not the easiest, but if you can’t take classes on campus, the convenience is a good reason.”
Simpson’s online psychology program accommodated Morales’ busy life. While living in Stonyford, he served as a church pastor and worked part-time as a school bus driver and in the general store. A year ago he moved to Willows and started working as a print and mail services assistant at California State University Chico.
“Online was very convenient because I could do homework and participate in the classes on my own time,” he said. “I think it just fit for me.”
Earning his degree was not an easy task for Morales. He had to balance work, family, and school responsibilities. He also faced financial struggles.
“I started school at the same time my wife did, so we were both in school and working jobs, while still maintaining a family,” he said. “We have also had many financial challenges to think about, which is why we worked so much. I have to say my family has been amazing through this process. I couldn’t have accomplished this without them.”
After graduation, Morales plans to find a job in a psychology-related field using the new skills he has learned. He also hopes to attend graduate school and go into a career in counseling and/or therapy.
Based on his experience, Morales said he would recommend the ASPIRE program to others.
“I feel it is quality education taught by quality teachers,” he said. “The teachers have not only taught the information well but are encouraging in the process. I really feel like I’ve had several coaches along the way.”
-By Elise Wilson / photo by Jessica Law
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