First earning a bachelor’s degree in business from Christopher Newport University, DeShea Simon-Simpson, PhD, has cultivated significant expertise in information technology and went on to earn a Master of Arts in information technology from Strayer University and a doctorate in information technology from Capella University. She has also been certified in results oriented management and accountability and holds a doctorate in religious education from the International Seminary in Florida. She began her career as a technology trainer for a public school system and, for the past 10 years, she has excelled as a professor at Hampton University as well. At Hampton, Dr. Simon-Simpson has garnered a reputation as a “flip classroom teacher” for her nontraditional methods of teaching and running her classroom with and emphasis on student work as opposed to teacher given lectures.

More recently, Dr. Simon-Simpson joined Advancing Community Excellence, a nonprofit community action partnership that seeks to support children and families as they work to improve their lives, as the chief governance officer and the deputy director of information technology. Striving to use her years of professional expertise to support the organization, she has helped to build various platforms and implemented new technologies to benefit the programs run by the agency. A main part of her duties is program expansion, and she has worked with the early childhood and head start programs at local school systems and also with the various services offered to help families be self-sufficient. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Simon-Simpson was at the fore of bringing their programs online and was able to successfully get 100 children set up with virtual and online access so that their then ongoing classwork was not interrupted.

Dr. Simon-Simpson has made a name for herself in the field of information technology for her emphasis on staying connected to her community and continuous learning. Considering herself to be a lifelong learner, she is constantly looking to better herself through ongoing research, a lesson that was instilled in her early on by her parents. Throughout her career, her favorite aspect of her work has always been connecting with others. As a professor, this includes those light-bulb moments when students have a breakthrough in understanding the subject matter and getting to see her students exceed her wildest expectations. Dr. Simon-Simpson notes that her greatest motivation has always been her family, from her parents pushing her to pursue a good education, to continued inspiration from her siblings and her son.

Looking toward the future, Dr. Simon-Simpson intends to continue her work in both the academic realm and nonprofit service, excelling as a woman in the very male-dominated field of information technology. One of her current goals is to develop a course that is dedicated to service learning and will give students the opportunity to work with local and regional nonprofits to gain hands-on experience prior to graduation. She considers this to be particularly important when it comes the field of information technology, as many nonprofits aren’t able stay abreast of new technologies because they lack the resources to either acquire the necessary software or hire qualified people to operate it, or both. Part of getting students involved in nonprofit work is about creating a group of skilled professionals who know how to do the work to help nonprofits grow and thrive.

For her excellence, Dr. Simon-Simpson has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades. Achieving much during her years in education, she not only graduated with honors, but was also presented with the TRIO Award for Excellent Academic Service. Beyond these awards, she considers the highlight of her career to be achieving recognition from Marquis Who’s Who, because it was acknowledgement that someone outside of her immediate sphere was looking at her work and appreciating what she was doing. While Dr. Simon-Simpson doesn’t know who recommended her for the accolade, she notes that this sort of anonymous appreciation feels incredibly validating, since it exemplifies the fact that she has made an impact with her work.

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