Bachelor of Arts in Social Science, 2008
Master of Arts in Education, Early Childhood Education specialization, 2011
Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning with Technology, 2012
“Having the degrees definitely opened the door for me to do all of this."
A grandmother of six residing in Lithonia, GA, Jacquelyn Smith-Thrasher married and started her family at a young age. As a wife and mother of three daughters, she started and stopped pursuing her higher education several times throughout the years. Though she originally set out to earn her Bachelor’s degree in order to get her teaching certification, Jacquelyn was inspired to continue further as she became more adept and motivated by her experiences at Ashford University, where she has since gone on to earn a total of three degrees! She says, “School was challenging at first but I adapted really well once I set my priorities. The quality at Ashford always exceeded my expectations.”
Before heading back to school, Jacquelyn had a long career as a real estate broker and an elementary instructor at private schools, as well as experience working in the banking, financial services, and insurance areas. She also worked with Turner Broadcasting during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. With her Master’s degrees, she is now pursuing positions as an online instructor and has found a stronger motivation to follow a longtime dream of becoming a professional writer. Recently, she even had one of her stories published in the special 2012 Christmas edition of Guideposts Magazine, and another is scheduled to be published in Angels on Earth Magazine. Jacquelyn is also in the process of developing a training program for daycare providers and is planning to complete her training certification in Georgia very soon. She acknowledges, “Having the degrees definitely opened the door for me to do all of this. “
This thriving 65-year-old faced multiple personal challenges during her time in school, especially during the period when one of her daughters was diagnosed with a chronic disease. She says, “My advisor worked with me to adjust my class schedule as needed. I have to point out one instructor who continuously went above and beyond more than any other. Dr. Keith Pressey communicated via email, the discussion boards, and provided extra learning videos. Overall, the guidance from the faculty members at Ashford was something I did not expect.”
Jacquelyn is proud to be an Ashford alumnus and honored to have been selected for the Golden Key International Honour Society. She encourages anyone who is thinking about attending Ashford to pursue their dreams, saying, “You will receive so much support, and the tuition is very reasonable. I can truly say that transferring to Ashford was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I now have the desire to become an online instructor myself because I want to be able to do for others what Ashford has done for me.”