"I refuse to be sedentary and let life pass me by." So says Daniel Degendorfer, 27, of Montclair, California. "I am not the kind of person that waits for my ship to come in. I am the type who will swim out to my ship and take control."
Daniel, a full-time Technical Service Specialist for Johnson & Johnson, earned his Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management degree online from Ashford University in January 2012. His military experience includes serving four years in the Navy and five years in the California Army National Guard. He has been in the intelligence field for most of his military service, and he had the privilege of being a recruiter for the National Guard for two years. As part of his military service, he was deployed to the Middle East twice. He is married to his high school sweetheart of over ten years, and has a toddler son.
When we last caught up with Daniel, he was still enrolled in classes. "I decided to pursue my degree because without a degree, you are not competitive," he said. "In order to secure a better future for my family, I had to become a viable asset to the world by proving my worth with a university degree." Over the years, he had tried several different schools, but found that keeping a full-time job while attending traditional classes could be difficult. Then he heard about Ashford University's online degree programs. "I chose Ashford University because the classes are only five weeks long," he said, "plus, they are regionally accredited, which means I can transfer to any other college and achieve an even higher degree without having to start all over." He credited his Ashford University Admissions Counselor, Bilal Watkins, with making his choice easy. "Bilal is a straight-forward person who knows how to listen and let me decide where I want to go."
One challenge he encountered in attending Ashford was getting used to the online learning environment. "It was hard at first to sit at a computer at home and get my work done," he said. "I overcame this obstacle by just setting time aside everyday, and before I knew it, it became a routine." But despite that challenge, Daniel was impressed by the quality of his online instructors. "All of the professors are very helpful and are very eager to help you. I cannot even think of a professor who was anything but helpful and understanding. It is the first time in all of the different schools that I've attended where I feel like the professors care and take an interest in my progress."
Daniel had a plan in place for after graduation. "My first choice is to attend a tier-one law school, and if that does not come to be, then I will pursue my MBA with Ashford University and shortly thereafter, my PhD." Ultimately, his dream is to open his own business or serve as an executive in a corporation. "I refuse to spend my entire life making someone else rich. Why can't I earn a degree myself and use my ideas and education to come up with an innovative service to offer the world?" By setting an example, Daniel hopes to inspire his fellow servicemembers and veterans alike to pursue higher education. "I love the curriculum and all the opportunities that a degree from Ashford offers. I often compare my experience to that of friends who attend traditional campus schools and find they are not able to express their knowledge and insight the way Ashford students are used to."
To anyone considering whether to enroll at Ashford University, Daniel had this to say: "If you are unsure about attending Ashford, I would say just explore all the details of the degree program with an open mind, and talk to an Admissions Counselor. My experience with Ashford has been phenomenal!" We look forward to getting future updates from Daniel on life as a college graduate.