Raising a family, volunteering and holding down a job in construction safety can be truly demanding. However, Eric Simmons of San Marcos, California, enjoys every minute of it.
This is one reason his alma mater Columbia Southern University (CSU) awarded him the Robert G. Mayes Memorial Scholarship.
Simmons won the award after an intense review of select candidates who applied. The scholarship was established in memory of CSU founder, Robert G. Mayes, and is awarded annually to one CSU graduate who wants more education by obtaining an online master’s degree with CSU. The scholarship will cover up to 60 hours and will be applied directly to the recipient’s tuition for up to three years or until the completion of the selected degree program, whichever comes first.
“Achieving my master’s degree will help me to gain a much greater depth of knowledge in the field of occupational safety and health and allow me to better serve others in that capacity,” said Simmons, who plans to use the scholarship towards a master’s degree in occupational safety and health with a concentration in environmental health. “I learned a tremendous amount while pursuing my bachelor’s degree, both about the subject matter, and about myself. In pursuing my master’s degree, I hope to continue that journey…”
Simmons hopes to continue working to help others in his field such as those in an electrical apprenticeship program he worked with for several years in Las Vegas. After winning the Klein Tools Electrician of the Year contest in 2016, he decided to donate the prize of $2,500 a year in Klein tools for 10 years to the program.
“While I like tools as much as the next person, maybe a little more, I couldn’t make use of that prize so I arranged to donate it each year to the apprenticeship program,” said Simmons. “I continue to donate my tools each year, and provide support to the program by helping to coordinate guest speakers, soliciting manufacturer donations, and by travelling back to Las Vegas to participate in various events throughout the year.”
This dedication to helping others is also shown in his and his family’s efforts with the local Street Teens program, which serves homeless teens by providing food, clothes and toiletries. “The facility is not a shelter, but the teens can come during the day, and use the laundry facilities, cook meals in the kitchen, and use the computers to create resumes and submit job applications,” explained Simmons, who helps conduct food drives at his work to benefit the teens.
His job has also exposed him to a new community of safety professionals and others trying to improve job site safety.
“Within this community, I have become involved in multiple committees, both local and national, in order to help improve construction safety. These activities have allowed me to learn from, and share with a diverse group of people all intent on improving the safety on the job site,” he added.
Whether it is being active in his local or professional communities, Simmons see his efforts as “an important part of my life and I enjoy having the opportunity to interact with others and help them to achieve their goals.”
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