Penny Shuey

Penny Shuey

Penny Shuey

Social Science with Education Concentration*, 2010

“I now am living my dream of being a teacher.”

A true Ashford University success story, Penny Shuey completely transformed her professional life, and it began by earning her bachelor’s degree at the age of 46 from Ashford University’s College of Education. A single mom who had always worked as a waitress and bartender to support herself and her children, she went on to earn a graduate degree and other licensures required by her state after graduating from Ashford, and she has since not only become a high school teacher, but also the director of a preschool.

“For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a teacher,” says this Yosemite, CA-area resident. She earned 18 credits at a community college while still in high school, but marriage and motherhood put her educational dreams on hold – and then her tumultuous relationship ended, leaving her holding up to three jobs at a time just to make ends meet.

However, due to the importance she placed on education, Penny still managed to homeschool her daughter Brandee and her son Kiel for all of their primary and most of their elementary years. And when Brandee began nearing college age, she went on a relentless pursuit to get her mom to go back to college as well. “Finally one day she said five magic words: ‘Mom, let’s do it together!’ I am forever grateful to my daughter for believing in me, even when I didn’t think it mattered anymore.”

Since the nearest college was two hours away, Penny chose Ashford for its online platform and accreditation. Brandee initially enrolled at a California state school, but ended up transferring to Ashford and completing her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology shortly after her mother completed her own program. “With my daughter’s belief in me, my son’s ability to tutor me through algebra, and my new husband Dan's encouragement, I earned my degree!”

Today, Penny looks back on her experience at Ashford with no regrets. “Ashford is fantastic due to its flexibility and diversity. The professors are there to help you succeed. The education at Ashford is, by far, of the best quality I received. The classes are rigorous and challenging with intense deadlines to meet. I thoroughly enjoyed having discussions with other students from all walks of life. They contributed a unique variety to my learning that could not be duplicated in a traditional classroom. The education I received was so invigorating that I would wake up in the middle of the night eager to see my professors’ and classmates’ responses and input!”

The transformative effect her experience had still astounds her today. “The degree I earned at Ashford has paid off both personally and professionally. I spent 35 years working in hospitality and management, and I now am living my dream of being a teacher. I hope to encourage anyone – young or old, privileged or not – to pursue their dreams one step at a time. I can only hope that everyone has an incredible support group to encourage and cheer them on. If not, find support in your professors and classmates at Ashford University.

“Education is priceless; once you earn your degree it is yours forever. No one can ever take it away from you. I know if I could do it, anyone can. I have a theory in life: If you want something bad enough, you will find a way; if you don’t, you will find an excuse. Be stronger than your excuses!”

*This program was replaced with the Bachelor of Arts in Education Studies.