“...What really won me – and my husband – over to Ashford was the support offered to military families."Jasmine Russell-Peter, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is the oldest of five siblings, the wife of a Navy man, and the mother of three children. She is the Program Analyst for the Traumatic Brain Injury Inpatient Unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the proud recipient of two degrees earned online from Ashford University: a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management and a Master of Business Administration, which she earned at age 31.
Jasmine’s initial interest in higher education came from watching her husband pursue his degree nearly a decade ago. However, as the years slipped by, she realized that a traditional college setting was not a feasible option. She began researching online programs. “I spoke to several schools that offered the online setting, and what really won me – and my husband – over to Ashford was the support offered to military families. I began my Bachelor’s degree on July 26, 2005, and four years later I continued with Ashford in the MBA program, which I graduated from in April 2010. I didn’t attend the BA graduation, but after the MBA, ten family members, one friend, and I made the long drive to Iowa to savor graduation day.”
Jasmine’s journey from her first day of class to graduation day was not always easy. “I got pregnant toward the end of my Bachelor’s degree and almost wanted to quit college, but I took a brief break and came back ready to fight for that degree. I got pregnant again in the middle of my MBA and that pregnancy was hard on my body. I fought through it, took another small break, and continued. Then, on New Year’s Eve, I suffered what was thought to be a mini-stroke but turned out to be the beginning signs of multiple sclerosis. I refused to call it quits and continued with school. I kid you not, I remember trying to type a final paper with little hand mobility; I cried, but I kept going. I finished the paper a little late but still pulled an A.”
The experience of fighting for her degree has left Jasmine feeling strong and confident, and she is grateful to have achieved such self-reliance as a result of her five years at Ashford. “I don’t want to paint an unrealistic perfect picture because everything is based on the individual. At Ashford you truly control your destiny; they work with you and understand life is not always a straight line, but you have to be determined and goal-driven. You may run into situations but that is all they are, and Ashford prepares you to deal with the situations head-on.”
Jasmine went through a trying period of unemployment after she graduated, during which time she reported that she was competing with a lot of highly educated individuals but felt comfortable doing so because of her degrees. Thanks to that confidence afforded by her education, her professional life is thriving. “We do great work here at Walter Reed ensuring that our soldiers with brain injuries are taken care of, so that they can continue to be successful in their military careers and present for their families.” Congratulations, Jasmine!