“Brookdale is a place that made a huge difference for me in my life,” said Frances Simmers who graduated Brookdale Community College in May. Her first book, “The Voice Inside Me,” was recently published.

The book of poetry was published during Simmers’ last semester at Brookdale. “It is a book about self-care and what it means to find your voice in the mist of chaos surrounding you,” Simmers explained. “It also shows others that despite what they are going through, they can survive to see the next day.”

Simmers, who received her associate degree in psychology, had challenges to face while obtaining her education. “When I started at Brookdale, I was going through a lot on my own,” she said. “Going to college was the one thing I dreamt of; however, growing up on my own since I was 13 without my parents, I didn’t think it was possible for me to go to college with all the other responsibilities that I had going on.” Despite the challenges, Simmers competed her degree at Brookdale with honors and was also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. “I am proud I defied the odds and I am the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college,” said Simmers.

“I chose to continue my education at Brookdale Community College because of the various opportunities to become involved with a connected community,” Simmers explained. While at Brookdale, she found support and encouragement from the faculty as well as the staff and administration. “When you come to Brookdale, the professors and advisors truly care about their students. If you reach out to them and show them how much you care about your education they will always work with you,” she said.

“Going to school and getting my education has always been my passion, but it almost felt like Brookdale was the Home I never had,” she said. “I hold Brookdale in a special place in my heart,” she said.

In the fall, Simmers will start at Rutgers University; she plans on becoming a criminal psychologist. She is also working on her second book of poetry. With her determination and success, she is sure to continue to accomplish all of her goals.