Toni Simmons ’23

Toni Simmons is a recent URI graduate who majored in Psychology and English. Learn how about how her Honors classes Helped her become a well-rounded individual and helped her get out of her comfort zone.

Tell us a little about yourself: Where are you from? What drew you to URI? Are you a first generation college student?

I am a 2023 URI graduate with BAs in both Psychology and English. I was born in Watertown, MA and moved to RI when I was four, so I consider myself a true New Englander! As someone with two parents in higher education, I knew college would be an incredibly important decision for my future. I decided to go to URI partially due to the Honors program. The idea that I could have both small, interdisciplinary classes and all the benefits of a larger state institution really cemented my decision to go to URI.

How have your Honors classes helped you integrate and “springboard” into the university and beyond? 

My Honors classes were always the ones I looked forward to the most. They kept me engaged in the early days of larger lecture style courses. I was also taught important skills like self-advocacy and college level writing skills through my honors classes.

How has your Honors education helped you to think differently about topics within or outside of your major or other area of study? Has it introduced you to new concepts or ways of thinking? Has it changed the way you thought about an important issue? 

My honors classes have contributed immensely to my understanding of politics, both internationally and domestically. Through classes like “Politics and Protest in Film,” I was exposed to artistic responses to political movements, giving me a much more in depth look at those time periods. This background, in turn, allowed me to pursue my English degree a greater level of knowledge about the complexities of politics and history.

As you completed your Honors course(s), what are ways that you feel it helped prepare you for life after URI?

I feel that I am coming out of college a well-rounded individual, equipped to find opportunities for myself. The honors program often forced me out of my comfort zone and created chances for self-driven learning. The ability to work independently and problem solve will serve me well in both my personal and professional lives.

What are your short and long term plans post graduation?

I am planning to become a mental health worker here in Rhode Island, and eventually obtain a master’s degree in clinical social work. After I am certified, I would like to work with underserved adolescent populations in school and private practice.