Joannie Karon Roberts
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication
“The things I have learned at Ashford I will carry with me the rest of my life.”
Though Joannie Karon Roberts, who goes by Karon, was raised in a small farming community, she always had big dreams for herself. It was her goal to become a successful writer – but at the age of 23, she became a single parent of three. “My dreams of becoming a published author were all but dead,” Karon laments. With herself and her children to support, she didn’t have the time or means to pursue her literary goals or finish earning the journalism degree she’d started.
That was in 1975. Today, as a 59-year-old grandmother of 11 and a great-grandmother of two living in Spokane Valley, WA, Karon is finally on her way to finishing what she’d started well over three decades earlier. Last year, she entered her first virtual classroom to begin earing her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communication at Ashford University.
Karon’s second journey toward earning a degree began, ironically, when she injured her back in 2000 and had to stop working. Having always told herself she would return to school and finish her degree if she found the time, she contacted Ashford and requested information. “I received a phone call from a very sweet young lady who answered all my questions,” shares Karon. “Her warmth and genuine excitement for my dream to finish my degree and become a writer was the deciding factor.” Leighann Ramaekers became Karon’s Admissions Counselor and guided her through the process of learning how to be an online student. “I have to admit I was scared, because it had been over 25 years since I last attended college. What amazed me is that Leighann was right there in the academic trenches with me.”
Now well into her degree program, Karon has maintained a 4.0 GPA, is on the Dean’s List, and has been invited to join the Golden Key International Honour Society. She describes her experience with Ashford so far as an empowering one. “You will not find more dedicated staff members, instructors, or counselors. Each class I complete, I gain more confidence in my own abilities as a writer, a student, and a mother and grandmother. The things I have learned at Ashford I will carry with me the rest of my life.” Karon especially appreciates how the classes build upon one another, “guiding the student into a world of self-awareness and self-worth.”
To anyone worrying that it’s too late in life to attend college, Karon has reassuring words. “I am kicking the door down to 60 years old, so if anyone thinks they are too old to learn, read this story. Higher education is a life-long quest worthy of taking. It’s a journey into a better life, a better experience, and a better you.”
Armed with the knowledge Karon has gained so far, she doesn’t plan to wait until she graduates next year to pursue being published. “It is my goal to edit the book I wrote in 1991 and transform it into a trilogy. I now have the proper skills required to submit a polished manuscript, and I thank Ashford University for offering the courses that will help me realize those dreams.”