Bachelor of Arts in Social & Criminal Justice, Journalism
"Don't ever, ever give up your goals, your dreams, your desire to learn!"
Lucia Bartoli of Dana Point, California, has had an adventurous life. A world traveler, she studied languages at the National University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City. Just before completing her degree there, she received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work as a translator and personal assistant to a powerful politician. She chose to leave school early to start her career, and got to travel throughout Central and South America. Later, she went to work for Alitalia Airlines, a job which afforded her a lot of travel to Italy.
Today Bartoli is a 64-year old grandmother of four, a volunteer in her community, and a full-time online student with Ashford University. For the past fifteen years, Bartoli has volunteered her talents for The Innocence Project, a group comprised of attorneys who help innocent people who have been unjustly convicted of crimes they did not commit. "Helping innocent people gain their freedom, when it is deserved, gives me a good feeling. My dream is to earn my living at it," she explains. She wants to continue her studies, all the way up to a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology. She intends "to work in profiling, jury selection, and expert witness testimony." But to achieve these goals, she first has to complete that Bachelor's degree.
"That piece of paper means a great deal to me," Bartoli says. "It represents dedication, study, tenacity, and a benchmark in one's life." So in 2008, she began to look into the possibility of an online degree program. "I researched way more than I needed to – and Ashford really fit the bill." As soon as she realized how affordable and convenient Ashford's online degree programs are, she decided to register right away. And now she has just completed her first year in her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
She is grateful to Dennis Young, her Ashford Financial Services Advisor, and to her Enrollment Advisor, April Dunford. "April deserves MUCH credit for getting me rolling," says Bartoli. "No one really had to kick start me to do this. My big concerns were the cost, and just getting myself started. Between April and Dennis, all my concerns were comprehensively addressed and resolved."
"I really like the fact that there is a real campus back there in Iowa," she says, "and that I will be able to go there to do a graduation." But Bartoli says she loves the flexibility and convenience most of all. "Ashford's five-week approach really makes it easy to get through the schedule. If you have a class that is a real struggle, then you just give it all you've got for those five weeks, then it is DONE and you move on." Bartoli also mentions how much fun she has had getting to know her fellow online students. "I get my coffee, sit down in my pajamas, and post comments. I find it easy and fun to post on more than just the two required posts per discussion."
To anyone considering whether or not to enroll at Ashford, Bartoli says: "Don't ever, ever give up your goals, your dreams, your desire to learn! And when you DO start your first course, please DO use spell check!"
In a previous follow-up, Bartoli wrote the following: "In August, I discovered that I had breast cancer. The good news is that my surgeon got it in time. Another month and I would have been facing a dramatically different scenario. I am completing five days of radiation therapy and consider myself very blessed. I started an online journal, and so far seven young women have written to me. We need to ensure that women get those mammograms and avoid being intimidated, frightened, or silly about a disease that is highly treatable."
We heard from Bartoli again and are pleased to report that, as of February 2011, she has reached her 14-month all clear from breast cancer, and is steadily progressing toward her 2012 graduation. She says being in school has proved a nice distraction from her health issues. "My decision to earn my degree with Ashford has been one of the best things I have done for myself. Earning a degree is like the difference between a good hamburger and a great steak. Hamburger will feed you, but a steak goes far beyond that." Bartoli is also thrilled to have the opportunity to show her grandchildren how strongly she feels about education. "We do some of our homework around the dining table together. I think they are learning a pretty good lesson that education is for everyone."
Bartoli also says she's switched her major from Psychology to a double major in Social & Criminal Justice and in Journalism. "I plan to put my writing skills together with my criminal justice talent and work as an Investigative Researcher."