Local Writer Completes Online Degree at Ashford University; Releases Second of Five-Part Fictional Series

Once deployed in Iraq, Marine emerges with amazing story

ROUND ROCK, Texas, Aug. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Aaron Powell, 33, always had a story to tell, but never knew how to share it with the world. Today, one year after completing his college degree at Ashford University, he is making his dreams a reality and finally putting his writer's block to rest.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120820/LA59459-INFO)

Powell represents a growing number of adults who embrace the modern college experience and earn their degrees online. According to a June 2012 national consumer poll by Penn Schoen Berland on behalf of Ashford University, if parents had to choose a higher education degree program, more than 72 percent would choose online higher education over a traditional university.

Enrolling in Ashford University's online bachelor's degree program in business administration enabled Powell to hone the art of storytelling and sharpen his critical thinking skills – all on his own schedule.  "Ashford sparked my love of writing," said Powell.

His flexible classroom schedule enabled him to work part-time in web design and remain a hands-on family man, still making time for play dates with his son at their favorite local park, Quarry Splash Pad, as well as date nights with his wife. "It was extremely difficult to lock myself into a room with my computer and let my imagination go, especially with a teething baby, but I made it happen," said Powell.

Inspired by his wife, Michelle, his one-year old son, Luke, and a military background in the Marine Corps, Powell has published his second novel, "C-Town." The story is a fictional tale of a modern day American family forced to live in a fallout shelter during a nuclear war among a mysterious civilization that rises from the ashes of warfare. "C-Town" is a prequel to his first work, "Doomsday Diaries," and the second volume of a five-part series.

"I woke up one morning and my brain was oozing with this story," said Powell. "I always wondered how mankind would survive a catastrophic event and tried to push out a few pages when I was deployed in Iraq, but didn't get far."My writing needed a facelift and inspiration from higher education," he said. "It's rewarding to share my life observances and creativity with a captive audience."

He says the concept with writing is the same for online education. "At the beginning both seem overwhelming, but before you know it you've completed a few classes or a few pages, and finally, you have a degree or a novel. The feeling of accomplishment is amazing."

Powell, who graduated from Ashford University in April 2011, offers the following advice for new writers seeking inspiration and guidance on becoming a published author:

  • Set a goal decide on something realistic. For example, I didn't say, "I'm going to write a book today." Instead, I started small. First, I wrote a small poem, then a chapter and, before I knew it, I had a book. 
  • Stay motivated – staying enthused can be very difficult. Everyone has distractions and it's easy to talk yourself out of achieving a goal. Visualize the end result daily to stay on track.
  • Find a mentor – if you don't have a significant other to keep you on your toes, find a mentor. This can be a parent, sibling, a good friend or teacher. The world is full of good people that sincerely enjoy helping others. 
  • Just do it -- the most rewarding things are often the most difficult to attain. I never thought boot camp and long deployments would end, but they did.  I never thought I would obtain a degree, but I did. The trick is, just do it. Nobody will do it for you.

Powell's "Doomsday Diaries" and "C-Town" are available through Kindle and Amazon.com.

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.

Contact: Shari Rodriguez, Associate Vice President of Public Relations
858.513.9240 x2513 · [email protected]

SOURCE Ashford University