Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

Be Fearless

MAKERS Moment

Be Fearless

More From Dena

Watch in Cinema View

In this video

Tagged as

How can we inspire confidence in young women? 

Dena 's Biography

Source of Strength: Her mother
Philosophy on Life: Practice kindness everywhere you can.
Biggest Fear: Being powerless.
A Lesson in Sharing: She grew up in a one bedroom apartment in the Bronx that she shared with her mother and two sisters.

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.

Related Videos

Eleanor Holmes Norton
Eleanor Holmes Norton
U.S. Congresswoman, District of Columbia

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, now in her twelfth term as the Congresswoman for the District of Columbia, knew from a young age she wanted to make change to end the severe se...

Lynn Povich
Lynn Povich
First Female Sr. Editor at Newsweek

Lynn Povich is an award-winning journalist and women’s rights pioneer. In 1970, she helped organize a landmark sex discrimination suit against Newsweek, and in 1975, became t...

Joan Sullivan
Joan Sullivan
Educator & Public Policy

Joan Sullivan has been actively involved in school reform for the last decade. She is a founding member of the Urban Assembly, a non-profit at the forefront of new school developme...

Johnnetta Cole
Johnnetta Cole
Groundbreaking Scholar & College President

Dr. Johnnetta Cole is the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. She was a pioneer of African-American studies and black women's studies and made history ...