Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management, 2009
“My time at Ashford proved to be an invaluable stepping stone in my career.”
Even while serving in the Air Force between 2000-2006, Mary Pietrazek of San Antonio, TX knew she wanted to go to college. During her time in the military, she worked in Security Forces (the law division for military installations). She set out to earn her Bachelor’s degree as a pre-requisite for attending law school. “I was in search of a university that would accept the credits I earned while I was serving,” she explains. “I also wanted a program that was entirely online and from a school that was accredited.”
Mary settled on Ashford University after learning the school was able to transfer all 42 credits she earned while in the Air Force. Ashford also took credits from her Security Forces training, which went toward her minor in Social and Criminal Justice. She chose a major in Organizational Management. “When I enrolled in 2006, there were only two degree plans to choose from. Now there are too many to count! I have seen this program grow, and I know it will continue to do so.”
Mary specifically sought an online education because she wanted to be able to spend time with her infant children. Although it was initially challenging for her to learn the self-discipline required to sit down and complete the work on her own time, she soon fell into a steady routine and now believes the online platform was instrumental to her success. “I would not have been able to be there for my kids during their first years otherwise,” she says. “My time at Ashford proved to be an invaluable stepping stone in my career. The classes there sparked my interest and gave me the confidence to further pursue my education. Also, my writing skills greatly improved because of the numerous writing requirements Ashford has. I still stand apart from other law students because of that.”
After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Ashford in 2009 at age 25, Mary went on to earn her Master of Business Administration from St. Mary's University in 2013. She is now finishing up her third and final year of law school and working as an associate at a non-profit legal aid clinic. Her other achievements include serving as president of the Military Law Association, secretary of the Business Law Association, and treasurer of the Evening Student Bar Association; being on the negotiation team; and being accepted into a prestigious MBA Cohort program.
Mary’s long-term goals include becoming a sole practitioner and eventually pursing a career in politics. She has used the tools given to her through her education at Ashford to start up a successful Internet retail business that started out as a hobby and transitioned into a profitable side job. “My life has changed in such a positive way since my time at Ashford. I know I have already inspired a few of my friends and family to pursue a higher education. It makes me feel very empowered.”