Ashford University Admissions Representative Takes Ride of Her Life on The Oprah Winfrey Show

It was the experience of a lifetime. Abbey Kozitza, an Ashford University admissions representative from Des Moines, Iowa, took an adventure challenge, which was broadcast Nov. 4 on The Oprah Winfrey Show. 

The expedition, one of Oprah's "Step Out of Your Box" challenges, came as a complete surprise to the 29-year-old. Little did she know that being in the studio audience back in 2005 would lead to such an uplifting experience.  

On short notice, Oprah producers contacted Kozitza and flew her to Santa Monica, Calif., with no input on where she was going or what she'd be doing. All she knew was that she'd find out a day later. 

"After hours of nerves and lack of sleep, I was picked up by a Harpo producer who told me we were going to the Santa Monica airport," Kozitza said. "My guess was skydiving.

I was greeted with a card that said 'jump start your life ... start walking to the plane behind you.' As I turned, I heard Hilary Swank, my favorite actress, say hello. I almost fell to the ground in excitement." 

The Oscar award-winning actress explained how she had to step out of her box to become a pilot for her leading role in Amelia, the story of Amelia Earhart now showing in theatres. 

With Swank at the controls, the two spent more than an hour in flight aboard the small plane. "Hilary was kind, genuine and very down to earth," Kozitza said. "I was grateful for the opportunity to meet a celebrity, let alone fly with her. It was the smoothest ride of my life. After this adventure, the sky really is the limit." 

About Ashford University

Founded in 1918, Ashford University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools ( The University offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs online and at its Clinton, Iowa, campus.   The University is known for its high quality yet highly affordable online and on-campus programs. For more information, please visit or call Shari Rodriguez, director of Public Relations, at 858/513-9240 x2513.