Sims ’18 Uses Arcadia Experience to Become First Responder in DC

By Caitlin Burns | March 31, 2021

Alexandria (Alex) Sims ’18, who helps keep residents, tourists, and commuters safe while they are in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, points to how her International Studies degree influenced her career path as a first responder in the nation’s capital. 

“Arcadia taught me a lot about what it truly means to be independent,” said Sims, “as well as to never settle for anything less than you know you deserve.” 

Sims grew up in Stratford, N.J., which she describes as a small town where her dreams of traveling to Paris and working in Washington, D.C. sometimes felt impossible. However, she credits Arcadia with making those dreams a reality.

“Arcadia is a university with many different resources for its students,” said Sims, who participated in Arcadia’s First-Year Study Abroad Experience (FYSAE) in London, went on the Austria Preview course, and then studied abroad in Paris for a semester. “There are times when I had to fully break out of my comfort zone, make very difficult decisions, and even continue to move around from the places I was most comfortable. Be brave, be ambitious, be curious, and keep being open-minded. Use the resources around you and do not be afraid to take risks.”

As the pandemic has extended beyond a year, she said meeting all the tourists, visitors, and commuters has become something she misses.

“Since first responders are always needed, my job has not changed much in terms of every day work during the pandemic,” Sims said. Besides taking additional health and safety protocols, like wearing masks and additional cleaning practices, she’s still serving the community she has grown to love. “I truly miss meeting new people each and every day, but fingers crossed we can have more events and tourism soon.”

At Arcadia, Sims interned with Penn Vet Working Dog Center in Philadelphia, a national research and development and training center for scent detection dogs. She draws direct correlation between this internship and her career trajectory post-graduation.

“Arcadia brought me to my current career through not only my studies, but also through the internship and volunteer opportunities I took advantage of,” said Sims. “Arcadia will bring you to some of the most incredible opportunities out there if you allow it.”