Ariyanna Simmons is the Quality and Improvement Project Coordinator for the National Student Support Accelerator at the Annenberg Institute. She most recently served as a Site Coordinator and College and Career Advisor for the New York Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP). In this role, she developed and led programs aimed at increasing high school graduation and college enrollment rates for school districts in under-resourced communities. She ensured that students received access to tutoring, culturally-responsive mentorship, and college and career advisement from 7th grade until their college freshmen year. Her work with GEAR UP informed her approach to youth development and led her to support the independent evaluation of several state and federal grant projects including CUNY for CollegeNow and STOP School Violence program.
Using an interdisciplinary approach, she works alongside PreK-Post-secondary educators and UX designers to carry out educational, diverse, and inclusive messaging throughout the production lifecycle. Ariyanna’s research is deeply anchored in community-based organizations serving historically marginalized populations. Some of her work focused on promoting digital equity and STEM career access across New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Global Mental Health and Trauma from Teachers College, Columbia University as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Adelphi University.