Kayla Simon

natural posed headshot image of kayla

Transferred From: Frostburg State University

Major/Minor: Social work

Hometown: Prince George's County, Maryland

Post-Grad Plans: Specialize in the field of juvenile justice and mental health, do research on the history and mental health correlations of communities

Fun Fact: Learning ASL and aspires to be an interpreter one day

Did you always plan to transfer?

Not at first, but over time I wanted a new setting. It felt like the student population at my last university wasn’t as driven. People were OK with being mediocre. Especially as a minority and a female, I know that I have to be driven.

I heard about something called the National Student Exchange Program (NSEP) and applied. Texas State was my second choice, but once I got here, I loved it and didn't waste time applying to be a full-time student here.

What attracted you to Texas State?

It was a few things. First, I narrowed down schools that had a good social work program and fell in love with the amazing professors at Texas State. I'd also heard that Texas State state has a really good online master of social work program, which is appealing to me.

Second, I like that demographically it is a very diverse population between Austin and San Antonio. Lastly, I love American Sign Language (ASL), and my degree plan here requires a foreign language. When I saw that ASL classes were available, it was a done deal!

How was the transfer process?

It’s not easy being in school full-time while trying to transfer somewhere else, especially out-of-state. The Coordinator for NSEP at Texas State and other advisors were patient and understanding with me. Especially being so far away, I couldn’t just run over to campus to drop off important documents. Luckily, my advisor was very helpful about making sure my incoming credits were pushed through.

Did anything in particular help smooth the transition to Texas State?

Being a part of NSEP was very helpful, as I already knew about resources coming into the transfer process and was familiar with campus.

Career Services also helped me learn more about social work career routes and helped me pinpoint what my degree plan should look like.

How did you initially get involved on campus as a transfer?

Coming from a small school, I was initially overwhelmed by such a large university. I got to town a few days before classes started and took time to walk the campus so I had an idea of where to go on the first day.

I immediately checked out several organizations including the Black Student Alliance, Black Women United, Pan African Action Committee and, more recently, Every Nation Campus.

I'm also a member of the Organization of Student Social Workers, where we discuss volunteer opportunities in San Marcos and Austin. We sell T-shirts to raise money for causes and bring in speakers from the field. This organization gives us the chance to also look at what’s happening in the media and discuss how we would approach various scenarios from a social work perspective.

More than the organizations themselves, it’s important to get to know the people that make them up and learn about their experiences, too. The student population here is diverse and everyone has a drive to see positive change. It's a great spirit booster to see students who care about what their school represents.

How is Texas State preparing you for life after graduation?

Last summer I had the opportunity to intern in Washington, D.C., with the Maryland delegation to the U.S. House Representative on Capitol Hill, under the supervision of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. I was placed in the office of my representative from back home, Anthony Brown. This was a life-changing experience. I saw people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren just walking casually down the halls. I learned a lot about hard work and saw how things really operate on Capitol Hill, where there is no time to second-guess yourself. I now have a better understanding of how our government works and why so many things seem to take forever from the outside looking in.

Along with my supervisor at the Hays County Food Bank, where I volunteer, one of my professors wrote a letter of recommendation that helped me get this internship. It's clear to me that coming to Texas State opened the door for my internship. 

I really see that the professors here love what they teach and love their students. Professors need that passion. You have the best of the best here at Texas State.

What does it mean to you to Be a Bobcat?

Always push yourself, take yourself seriously, and don’t sit back when you reach a goal. Ask questions and don’t ever think you know it all. When you make it somewhere, don’t close the door behind you – bring others along.

What's your advice to transfer students considering Texas State?

Be organized – get all of your transfer paperwork together. You have to be committed to meeting deadlines if you want to transfer.

Put yourself out there. Texas State has a lot of great students, so you need a drive in order to stand out and make a mark for yourself – go talk to your professors and get to know other students. Don’t be afraid to go after what you want and learn something new! ⭑