Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, 2010
“Attending Ashford has made my life more fulfilling and given me a higher self-esteem."
For Sommer Livingstone, 26, of Crescent City, California, school was never easy. “I have dealt with social anxiety, depression, ADHD, and many other speed bumps. Then, when I was 15, they discovered I had severe bilateral epilepsy with grand mal seizures. I was never able to focus and always got bad grades.” Because of her epilepsy, Sommer was removed from the public school system mid-way through her sophomore year. In a fortunate turn of events, Sommer found the “home-hospital” school environment suited her learning style much better - she found it easier to focus, and was soon enjoying her studies. “From that moment, I decided to devote my life to my education and my grades.”
Today, Sommer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Ashford University - and she graduated magna cum laude (with high honors). When we spoke to her, she had not yet graduated. She raved, “I find that the online layout and the back-to-back classes benefit me in the most efficient and enjoyable way.
For Sommer, the online environment was preferable to the traditional classroom because it matches her learning style and allowed her to flourish. And it’s not just about being able to focus - Sommer also found a great social network through her online courses. “The online classroom is not just an environment for work; it can be a great place to meet new friends. I have discovered the joy of having a friendly debate - it is stimulating, fun, and empowering. I have also discovered something that I am very proud of: I have the high level of self-discipline required to complete these online courses and earn good grades. Attending Ashford has made my life more fulfilling and given me a higher self-esteem. I am proud of myself!”
Most importantly, her experience at Ashford University is helping Sommer achieve her personal and professional ambition: combining community service with project management. “I love volunteering. I am currently working with a non-profit organization through my local county library, which offers free and confidential programs that assist adult literacy. For example, if someone wanted to earn a GED, he or she could come to this organization and get tutoring. We also help adults write resumes and cover letters, as well as prepare for job interviews.” Sommer has also done quite a bit of volunteer work with a local non-profit LGBTQ Pride organization, including an advice column called “Just Ask Sommer.” Much of her volunteer work involves event or project planning; most notably, Sommer helped plan the 2009 Humboldt Pride Festival. “The festival has been wildly successful,” Sommer says, “bringing in thousands in unexpected revenue, which has helped to create, sustain, and maintain programs and projects within the organization. The volunteer coordinators actually seek me out!”
Sommer’s accomplishments are a true testament to the unique benefits of online learning, and we look forward to hearing about her future achievements!