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Afaa Michael Weaver

Simmons English Professor Afaa Michael Weaver grew up in East Baltimore, Maryland and worked in a factory for 15 years. He started writing poetry to help him rise above his struggles and was awarded a NEA Literature Fellowship for poetry. He went on to earn a master's degree from Brown University and is now a world-renowned poet, often referred to as the "successor to Walt Whitman."

You can follow Professor Weaver's poetic tweets at @Afaa_Weaver.

As acceptance letters (hopefully!) start pouring in, high school seniors are faced with the task of picking the right college. It's important to think about what type of environment will help shape you into the person you want to become. It's a tough choice, and with so many colleges and universities out there, where do you even start?


It is important to know if you want to attend a large or small college. Both options have their pros and cons. If you like personalized attention and the opportunity to build relationships with your professors, then a small college or university is right for you. At Simmons, our student to faculty ratio is 13:1, so students are never just a face in the crowd.


Would you rather be in a small town with your campus as your go-to for everyday life, or would you rather be located in a city with tons of other college students and plenty to do in the area surrounding your campus? Many people are more prone to a country-like location, but others crave the hustle and bustle of the big city. Simmons is located right in the heart of Boston, America's college town. The city is full of activities.


Of course, if you know what you want to major in, or concentrate on during college, you need to make sure the college you choose has a reputable program in your major. Simmons has more than 50 undergraduate majors and programs. Many athletes choose Simmons because they're able to play Division III athletics while pursuing a physical therapy or nursing degree from a world-renowned institution.

Continue reading How to choose the right college for you.

Welcome to 300 The Fenway's "Know Your Professor." Here's your opportunity to get to know Simmons' professors on a more personal level. You'll get the inside scoop on their favorite books, music, hidden talents, and more.

Meet Professor Jill Avery from the School of Management. Professor Avery is perhaps best known for her background in brand management and customer relationship management. But did you know she volunteers at the Museum of Fine Arts and loves sushi? Plus, you may be surprised to hear about the last concert she attended!


What is your favorite class to teach?
My two favorites are Consumer Behavior (MGMT 230) and Creating Brand Value (MGMT 231). I spent 10 years as a brand manager for Gillette, Braun, Samuel Adams, and AT&T before becoming a professor, so teaching students about brand management brings me back to my roots. Brands are such an important part of contemporary culture and I believe that our brands are windows into our identities, so I love unraveling the mystique that brands have for their consumers. I also love teaching Consumer Behavior because it is fascinating to understand "why we buy". The course teaches us how to be better marketers, but, more importantly, how to understand ourselves as consumers and to be more mindful of the many invisible forces persuading us to buy.

What book are you currently reading?
I just finished The Little Book by Selden Edwards. It is a fascinating novel about time travel, family ancestry, and intellectualism in turn of the century Vienna. It resonated with me because 1.) it illustrates the life-long influence good teachers have on their students, 2.) it transported me to a magical time and place, and 3.) I visited Austria this past summer with my family to be a guest professor at the University of Innsbruck, so it was wonderful to learn more about the country's cultural, political, and intellectual history. I also read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein to my children this summer. It was the first time I'd read it since I was a child and it still fascinated me.

What's your favorite book?
I hate this question! As a former English literature major, I struggle with choosing only one favorite book, as there are so many books that have been influential in my life. Books that have been particularly resonant with me are F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise, Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles (I chose to name my daughter Tess in tribute to this one!), Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. More recently, I have enjoyed Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

Continue reading Know Your Professor: Jill Avery.

The Chemistry Department at Simmons is doing something incredible! Students are conducting serious research and are being asked to present their findings at national conferences. Since Simmons is committed to going green, this particular project is important.

Science students are taking the plastic cups that are distributed around the Simmons campus and turning them into a cleaning solution that is comparable to Lysol, 4-in-1 all-purpose cleaner, and other similar products. The Cups to Cleaners: Trash to Treasure project was spearheaded last year by Cassandra Cocoq '10 who worked on the project as her senior thesis, under the tutelage of Associate Professor and Department Chair Rich Gurney.

Continue reading Science students turn trash into treasure.

We hope you enjoy this special holiday video from all of us at Simmons College. As we bid adieu to 2010 and look forward to welcoming 2011, we asked the Simmons community to share their wishes for the coming year. Whether your wish is for an athletic championship, straight A's, or health and prosperity, we sincerely hope all your dreams are fulfilled.

Wishing you and yours a happy New Year!


Simmons Associate Professor Emeritus Susan P. Bloom makes an annual list of her picks for the "Best Children's and Young Adult Books" of the year. If you're doing some last minute shopping for the holidays, these make for great gifts. Here is her list for 2010:

countdownthumb.jpg1. Wiles, Deborah. Countdown.
Countdown takes place during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. 11-year-old Franny Chapman lives just outside of Washington, D.C., near Andrews Air Force Base. As the world holds its breath during this intense time in our history, Franny is also dealing with her own family drama; A fight with her best friend, a chain-smoking mother, a college-student activist sister, and an absent pilot father. The story tells of a radical change in American history. Read the book review on Kirkus.

nothingthumb.jpg2. Teller, Janne. Nothing.
Pierre Anthon, a seventh grader at Tring School, has an existential crisis, climbs a tree, and refuses to come down to go back to school. "Determined to prove to Pierre Anthon that life has plenty of meaning, the students embark on a dire quest. Over the course of months, each student is required to give up something full of meaning, something chosen by the previous sacrificing student." Read the review on Kirkus.

annexed.jpg3. Dogar, Sharon. Annexed.
Dogar writes a historical fiction about Peter Van Pels, Anne Frank's companion while hiding in the Annex. Peter deals with his feelings towards Anne, which range from annoyance to fascination, his sexuality, and loss of faith. Dogar follows his life after the Annex is raided and through to the concentration camp. Read the review on Kirkus.

Continue reading Susan Bloom's Best Children's and Young Adult Books of 2010.


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