80 Percent of Working Moms Prefer Online Education Model

Ashford University grad jumps to new career in journalism, finishes degree she promised to herself

A little over two years ago, Celeste Chappell-Bates won an online full-tuition scholarship from Ashford University as part of Project Working Mom. From thousands of applicants, Chappell-Bates was thrilled to be one of only 10 winners nationwide.

“I was absolutely stunned – it was a watershed moment between the impossible and the possible,” she said about the experience. “I’d tried to complete my degree my entire adult life and so many things kept getting in the way – finances being the biggest obstacle – and that was taken away in an instant. It was unbelievable, a huge blessing.”

To earn the scholarship and make good on her promise to earn her degree, Chappell-Bates submitted an essay about her higher education aspirations. Her entry was selected out of more than 6,000 Ashford University applicants to the Project Working Mom scholarship program, developed by eLearners.com, a Web resource of EducationDynamics.  

Like many working moms, Chappell-Bates found that the online education model best fit her hectic schedule. According to a recent national consumer poll by Penn Schoen Berland on behalf of Ashford University, 80 percent of moms surveyed thought an online higher-education degree program was better tailored to their needs than a traditional program.

Using the online model, Chappell-Bates is preparing to graduate from Ashford with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. She hopes to make the journey from Ohio to Iowa along with thousands of other online graduates to proudly walk in commencement ceremonies this October. 

"I've got my cap and gown, announcements and class ring ready to go!" she says.

Not content to wait until graduation, she's already moving forward with her new career, focusing on broadcast journalism. For the past 14 months she has been interning as a communications manager with a local IT consulting firm and has developed a mentoring program with a local FOX television reporter in Columbus.

"I was at the Jazz and Rib fest in Columbus and walked right up to the FOX news truck, introduced myself to the reporter and said 'I'm going to be your new co-worker.' That began a great mentorship and I have learned a great deal about broadcast journalism. I've been able to take all the preparation from my Ashford courses and evolve them into a real-world broadcast model," Chappell-Bates said.

Chappell-Bates, who after a bitter battle lost custody of her son, became involved with the National Association of Non-Custodial Moms, Inc. and now serves as the non-profit organization's vice president. “My relationship with my son has never been stronger, even though he still does not live with me," she said. "I also married the man of my dreams and added his four wonderful children to my family."

In her Project Working Mom application essay, Chappell-Bates wrote, "I do not want to leave a legacy for my son or stepchildren that 'getting by' is okay, that working more hours in a day than God intended is a success, that pretending to be educated around your truly educated friends can fool the person in the mirror."

Now, preparing to graduate at age 50, she's excited about her opportunities and choices ahead. "I feel like it's a new chapter and I'm ready."


About Ashford University

Ashford University is defining the modern college experience by combining the heritage of a traditional campus with the flexibility and effectiveness of online learning. The University provides a vibrant learning community where high-quality programs and leading-edge technology create a dynamic, immersive and stimulating learning experience. Ashford University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association (www.ncahlc.org). The University offers practical and progressive associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs online, as well as bachelor’s degree programs at its Clinton, Iowa, campus. Ashford University – where heritage meets innovation. For more information, please visit www.ashford.edu or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.