Upon earning a bachelor’s degree in business, DeShea Simon, PhD, went on to earn a Master of Arts in information technology, a doctorate in religious education and a doctorate in information technology. Throughout her professional career she has cultivated significant expertise in technology and education. She began her career as a technology trainer in the public school system and, for the past 10 years, she has excelled as a professor at Hampton University.
Dr. Simon has garnered a reputation as an innovative educator adopting “service-learning” and the “flipped classroom” for her nontraditional methods of teaching and learning. More recently, she has also served as a governance officer, providing direction and technical oversight for a state designated community action program. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Simon was able to use her years of professional expertise to impactfully support the organization, designing a virtual education platform to provide uninterrupted online education for over 100 pre-school students in her surrounding city and county.
Dr. Simon has made a name for herself in the field of information technology for her emphasis on staying connected to her community and guiding students from where they are to a place where they can see the world through a more holistic lens, to become connected to their environment, to listen, facilitate, and to encourage and serve others. Considering herself to be a lifelong learner, she is constantly looking to better herself through ongoing education and 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 exceed her wildest expectations. Dr. Simon 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, her husband and her son.
Looking toward the future, Dr. Simon intends to continue her work in both the academic realm and nonprofit service, all while excelling as a woman in the very male-dominated field of information technology. One of her current goals is to develop curricula that tangibly integrates service learning into the classroom, providing students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, working with local and regional non-profit organizations prior to graduation. This partnership exposes students to nonprofit work and corporate social responsibility, while creating a group of skilled professionals who know how to do the work to help nonprofits grow and thrive. She considers this to be particularly important when it comes to the field of information technology, as many nonprofits are not able to 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.
For her excellence, Dr. Simon has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades. Achieving much during her career, she not only graduated with honors, but has also been presented with the TRIO Award for Excellent Academic Service for supporting post-secondary education. She also considers recognition from Marquis Who’s Who to be noteworthy moments as well. While Dr. Simon doesn’t know who recommended her for these accolades, 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.