Leslie Simms is going places. The New River Community and Technical College Social Services student has had an exceptional year, maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average and traveling to Charleston in April to be honored by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as a member of the All-West Virginia Academic Team.
Her next stop is Australia, where she will attend the 2014 Envision Global Forum on Business & Entrepreneurship May 24-31. The Summersville resident hopes to bring back a vision for the future that will enable her to give hope to her fellow West Virginians.
The Envision Global Forum on Business & Entrepreneurship is an interactive experience in which participants play an important role. Simms will personally meet and network with business professionals and entrepreneurs, students, professors and officials in Australia while exploring the business models that are shaping the future.
Simms says that although her field is social services, the forum “will provide a powerful experience enabling me to interact with respected professionals in various fields while building relationships with students who will be my future colleagues.”
The road to scholastic achievement and world travel has not been easy for Simms. She put off going to college when she graduated from high school because her ACT scores were low and she did not consider herself a good student. When she did make the decision to try college after 26 years of marriage, her husband was not supportive and her marriage broke up.
Determined to continue her education, she started out taking developmental math courses but ultimately made all A’s in math. She was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the academic honorary society for two-year colleges, and served as vice president of the Browning Social Services Club at New River CTC.
Simms is one course shy of receiving her social services degree from New River CTC and plans to transfer to the University of Charleston-Beckley to earn a bachelor’s degree in social services. Her goal is to go on for her master’s so that she can become a counselor, a field in which she feels she can be effective because of her own experiences.
The decision to go to Australia was a giant leap of faith for her, as she must raise $7,433 in sponsorships to cover her tuition and expenses. She has held some fundraisers and received donations from individuals, but she is still short of her goal.
Never one to be daunted by a challenge, she says “I have faith that it will all work out.”