Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management and Sociology, 2010
"For 20 years, I came up with excuses as to why I could not go to college."
Andrea Lawrence, of Camanche, Iowa, is part of an Ashford family. Two of her four children (Nick, 27; Stacy, 25; Megan, 22; Jordan, 8) have graduated from Ashford's traditional campus programs, and she recently earned her Bachelor's degree through Ashford's former adult accelerated program.
Andrea works as a Human Resource Manager for Custom-Pak in Clinton, Iowa, and has been with the company for nearly 18 years. With her work in such close proximity to Ashford's campus, it was difficult for Andrea to not toy with the idea of returning to school. When her children enrolled, her life-long dream of pursuing a college education became even more prevalent, but, like many working adults, Andrea continually managed to talk herself out of the idea. "For 20 years, I came up with excuses as to why I could not go to college. But then, with the addition of the adult accelerated program at Ashford, I ran out of excuses - it was just too convenient."
In 2005, Andrea joined her two children as an Ashford student. "I have told numerous people that my decision to go back to school was the best decision I have made in a long time - it felt as though a huge weight was lifted off me." Once Andrea started her classes, being a student quickly shifted from a frightening prospect to the most natural thing in the world. "I was surprised at the amazing and insightful conversations and class discussions with other adult learners. I was also surprised at how much more confident I felt. I was able to learn a lot and bring ideas back to my workplace."
Andrea found the accelerated format, which allowed her to take both online and on-campus courses, perfect for her situation. "My experience at Ashford has been nothing but positive. The people are great and help to foster a very positive learning environment. I appreciate the opportunity to further my education and am grateful Ashford implemented a program that allowed me to do so."
In May 2010, Andrea graduated with a double major in Organizational Management and Sociology, and her children were there to cheer her on as she received her diploma. Her daughter, Stacy, reflects on the graduation: "I can picture her face as she walked across the stage, looking over at her family with such pride! It has always been a goal of hers to get her college degree and seeing her accomplish such a goal last May was one of the proudest moments of my life. She is a devoted wife, mother, and recent grandmother, who amidst it all found time to achieve a significant accomplishment. She is an inspiration to us all, and is living proof that hard work, focus, and determination can pay off."