Austin Simms, a resident of Wilkinsburg, has set a goal to become a leader in business after completing his degree at Duquesne University. (Photo by Jacquelyn McDonald)

Austin James Simms, a sophomore at Duquesne University, suffered from crippling shyness as a child. His grandfather was a pastor and Simms was often forced into upfront situations at church that were totally nerve-racking to him.

“I was just extremely shy, but as I got older, I became conflicted because I began to realize I wanted to be in the world of business, and if I were going to be successful, I’d have to break out of that shyness,” Simms admits.

The 20-year-old political science major shares that if there is anything outstanding about him, it would be his willingness and strong desire to do more than “just be.”

“I want to make a significant difference in whatever I attempt to do,” Simms said. “Stepping up is what separates the ordinary from the extraordinary, and that is my goal.”

Already quite self-possessed, his leadership qualities have already begun to develop.

“I have my eyes on being a leader in business right away—in order to accomplish this, I need the ability to make presentations, run seminars and workshops and I can’t be nervous about any of this,” Simms said.

His maturity far belies his years. Simms is very clear on where he wants his future to take him.

“I’m working toward a degree in political science because I intend on entering business at the corporate level,” he said. “A degree in political science will better cultivate the skills I need to put me further ahead.”

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