President-to-President scholar eager to enter Western

DANBURY, CONN. — Mikailah Simons always knew she wanted to go to college, but family obligations delayed her dreams for quite a while.

The 24-year-old Woodbury woman was homeschooled and then helped her single mother raise her baby sister, so going away to college was not an immediate option. When her sister was old enough for school, Simons enrolled at Naugatuck Valley Community College — going to classes with other people for the first time in her life. She earned a spot on the dean’s list every semester and in May received her associate’s degree from NVCC.

This fall, Simons will again enroll in college; this time at Western Connecticut State University. Simons was chosen as this year’s recipient of the President-to-President Scholarship awarded jointly by Western and Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury. The annual grant pays full tuition costs for an exemplary associate’s degree graduate at NVCC to complete the final two years of studies and earn a bachelor’s degree at Western.

Simons has heard lots of good things about Western and was thrilled to earn the award.

“I was so happy I cried,” Simons said. “I was so on edge after I learned that my name went to WCSU President Schmotter. It’s such a competitive scholarship.”

With hopes of someday teaching college, Simons said she plans to major in sociology and anthropology. Her love of different cultures was evident at NVCC where she was a member of both the black student union and Hispanic student union and then started the college’s Asian student union.

Simons is eager to dive into campus life at Western. “I came late to the game,” Simons said. “I’m looking forward to getting involved in student government and the clubs.”


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.


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