Inspired by Her Teenage Son, Daytona Beach Mother of Four Embarks on a Life-Changing Journey
Tampa, Fla., August 20, 2018— Teenagers are known to challenge their parents from time-to-time. Sometimes the challenge is over something small, like negotiating for a later curfew, but for one family in Daytona Beach, Florida, it was a rebellion that threatened to alter the course of their life.
When Kimberly Simonson’s oldest son, Blake, 11, told her, “I am going to be just like you, and drop out of high school when I turn 16,” it shook Simonson to the core. But it also inspired her to take stock of her past and make some life-altering decisions to improve her own life and that of her family.
The mother of four decided the best way to prevent her teenage son from becoming a high school dropout would be to lead by example. So she made a commitment to herself and her family, and decided to take her education to the next level.
Simonson envisioned earning a degree that would help her start a career where she could interact with people on a daily basis. She sought guidance from a friend who was enjoying a successful and meaningful career in the healthcare field and learned her friend had graduated from Ultimate Medical Academy with a Medical Administrative Assistant Associate of Health Sciences degree.
Not long after, Simonson called UMA and opted to enroll in the same online degree program so she could take the coursework at her convenience, while juggling being a wife, mother, and full-time employee.
Her husband and her children became part of her support system. When she faced challenges, they reminded her that if she quit, her son would quit. Simonson also relied heavily on her UMA Learner Services Advisor, whom she was in touch with every week.
UMA’s Career Services department helped Simonson to secure an interview and land a position after she graduated. “Before I graduated I already had a foot in the door to start a career,” Simonson said. “Now my long-term goal is to be the senior manager of the doctor’s office where I work.”
Simonson graduated from UMA in February 2018 and in April 2018 started her healthcare career as a Customer Care Specialist at Azalea Health in Daytona Beach.
“Stories like Kimberly’s inspire everyone at UMA, and it is what makes our work so gratifying,” UMA President Derek Apanovitch said. We know that continuing one’s education can have a positive generational impact.”