Bachelor of Arts in Social and Criminal Justice, 2011
Master of Arts in Organizational Management, Human Resources Management Specialization, 2011
"I'm so glad I found Ashford and Ashford found me!"
Deborah Williams, 51, is an Operations NCO in the Army, and is currently stationed in Cedar Rapids, IA. “I help with all training for the schools that soldiers need to further their careers and get promoted.” Deborah’s own educational journey began soon after she joined the military. “I have always wanted to be a college student - whether with Military Education or civilian education, I have always taken part in developing and furthering my skills.” When she was stationed in Atlanta, GA, she decided to pursue a Bachelor’s degree, and enrolled in a Computer Information Systems program at St. Leo University. However, she realized she wanted to shift to the field of criminology, so she began looking for a different program. “I discovered Ashford University at an admissions booth at my unit here in Cedar Rapids.”
From the start, Deborah knew she had found a university that was centered on the student. “Ashford is a one-on-one, family-oriented, military-friendly school. They care and are very proud of student and faculty success.” Beginning with her Admissions Counselor, Deborah found support and guidance around every corner. “Ashford has been wonderful every step of the way, and my admissions counselor was always there to help me with whatever questions or concerns I had.”
The path toward graduation was certainly not an easy one for Deborah, mainly because of deployments. “It got a little rough during the pre-deployment train-up time, but I didn’t let my studies fall by the wayside. In Iraq, my work schedule was 10-13 hours a day, 7 days a week, but I still managed to finish my Bachelor’s degree. I completed my last class right at the point of my return home.”
Deborah’s husband and friends had much to celebrate. “They were cheering me on every step of the way, and they’re very excited - it’s posted all over Facebook!” Since she was already in Iowa, Deborah knew she had to participate in the commencement ceremony at Ashford’s campus in Clinton, IA. “I felt a sense of pride to finally be able to walk across that stage after all these years of trying to finish. This experience has made me a better person, and my self-worth has grown considerably.”
Part of that self-worth includes Deborah’s newfound confidence to discuss the social and cultural issues about which she is passionate. “I find myself striking up conversations about today’s societies, the justice system in the US, and how it affects the world. I can now say things I would have never known before - I am amazed by how much I have learned.”
Deborah’s next goal was to pursue a Master of Arts in Organizational Management, and she didn’t waste any time. “I went right into Ashford’s Master’s program a month after I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree. I wouldn’t have wanted to attend any other college - I am so glad I found Ashford and Ashford found me!” After much hard work, Deborah was happy to graduate with her Master's degree in 2011. Congratulations, Deborah!