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News

Student Honored by National Council on Family Relations

November 18, 2019 | McNeese Public Relations
Ava Simmons headshot

McNeese family science student Ava Simmons was recently selected to receive the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) Honors designation in preparation for upcoming graduation.

A fully online student who currently resides in Hawaii, Simmons is set to receive a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in family science in December 2019.

The NCFR Honors recognition program highlights the outstanding accomplishments and academic success of graduating family science students. By recognizing exceptional scholarship, leadership and community service, NCFR aims to encourage recipients’ commitment to excellence in all areas of the discipline.

“Obtaining my degree in family science through McNeese has changed my life by testing my abilities, expanding my understanding of the family unit and helping develop my professional outlook,” says Simmons. “McNeese’s outstanding family science instructors motivate their students to strive for academic achievements that students may never have dreamed possible. This program has equipped me with knowledge that is centered around the well-being of the most vital form of socialization and support for people, the family.”

Simmons has previously been recognized for serving military families as a Family Readiness Group leader in 2016 when she was inducted into the Order of Molly Pitcher, a military honor awarded to women who have contributed significantly to the improvement of the military community through volunteer work.

She also received national attention in 2019 for her initiative to address food insecurity in military families in Honolulu. The undertaking started as her senior service-learning project for her degree. Simmons gathered feedback from individuals and families utilizing the Wheeler Army Airfield and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Armed Services YMCA food banks, then used this data to help anticipate the products most needed by military families. She then recruited volunteers to help collect necessary items.

Simmons is currently completing her family science senior internship with Catholic Charities Hawaii as an intake specialist for their Homeless Assistance and Referral Program. She also serves as student editor for the family science student newsletter, Family Science Round-Up, through which she highlights the good work of her peers, encourages participation in NCFR and promotes connections between students and faculty.

McNeese’ family science program prepares students for successful careers strengthening families through education, service and advocacy as Certified Family Life Educators.