MAKERS Profile

Dena Simmons

Educator

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Dena Simmons believes that the first step in educating children, is creating a safe environment for them to learn.
Dena Simmons is an activist, an educator, and also a student. Born to a resilient mother who escaped Antigua to come to the US, Simmons was raised in the Bronx and hopes to stay there. After graduating with honors from Middlebury College, Simmons returned to the Bronx through Teach for America as a middle school teacher. While she may teach in a classroom, she often learns outside of one. In 2007 she traveled to Antigua as a health volunteer for the Directorate of Gender Affairs to provide better health services for Dominican sex workers. She received a Fulbright grant to study the collaboration between schools and health agencies to prevent teen pregnancy in the Dominican Republic. She is also a 2004 Harry S. Truman Scholar and 2010 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. She is currently studying for her Doctorate of Education at Columbia University, Teachers College. Her research is focused on teacher preparedness as it relates to bullying in the school setting.

More From Dena

Be Fearless
How can we inspire confidence in young women? 

"Our Worth as Women"
Simmons discusses the influence of the media on the perceived self-worth of young girls.

A Mutual Education
Simmons explains her philosophy on teaching: "Give them the power to choose." 

Her Mother's Story
Dena Simmons explains why her mother is her role model.

Work From the Heart
Dena Simmons knows that to be passionate about your job, you need to believe in your work.

The Right Environment
For Dena Simmons, the advantages or disadvantages that come from your gender or race, are dependent on the situation.