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.

MAKERS Moment

Her Mother's Story

Her Mother's Story

More From Dena

In this video

Tagged as

Dena Simmons explains why her mother is her role model.

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

Faith Ringgold
Faith Ringgold
Artist & Activist

Faith Ringgold is one of America’s most gifted and generous visual storytellers. Though originally trained as a painter, she has worked to superb effect across media. Ringgol...

Andrea Jung
Andrea Jung
First Female CEO of AVON

A letter from Andrea Jung’s father sits on her desk at Avon, where she served as the cosmetic giant’s first female and longest-serving CEO. “Cultivate the absence...

Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi Gabbard
United States Congresswoman, Hawaii

Tulsi Gabbard has served as the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s second congressional district since 2013. She was born in American Samoa but moved to Hawaii at age 2. At 21...

Sheryl WuDunn
Sheryl WuDunn
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author

Sheryl WuDunn is a business executive, best-selling author, journalist, and international women’s rights advocate. In 1989, she became the first Asian American to win a Pulit...