The 3 Scholars | Ashford Connections
Reading through an email between three Ashford alumni (a thread filled with inside jokes, support, and promises to see each other soon), you’d think you stumbled into a tight-knit, years-long friendship. While the first part is true and the best-friends-clubhouse feeling is palpable, Tanisha, Myke, and Gerri only met in 2014. Their individual paths toward the MA in Organizational Management saw them in classes together, and a project with professor Dr. Katie Thiry brought the three students closer. Together they launched the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Chapter at Ashford University and became founding officers and fast friends. You may have heard about their friendship and efforts to celebrate commencement together, despite the miles between them, in a blog post they penned on August 31st.
Watch the heartwarming ceremony the 3 Scholars hosted in Gerri’s home, the story that spurred the #AshfordConnections movement at Ashford University.
The trio’s friendship grew stronger as each class came and went, and the self-described over-achievers soon proclaimed the title of “3 Scholars” as well. Dr. Katie Thiry rounded out the group as “Mentor,” guiding their scholarship and career paths. “They are fantastic, hard working professionals who are going places,” says Katie. “It was a pleasure to have them in class as students, and now, as colleagues.”
Having each other’s support through any challenges that arose—balancing life, full-time work, parenting—encouraged them to make the most out of their time at Ashford. Phone calls, emails, and seeing each other’s names pop up in online classroom discussions reassured them when an obstacle seemed insurmountable, or when life simply seemed too much to handle.
“Making the decision to return to school as an adult is a scary concept. There were challenges every day,” says Gerri. “Because of my work and life, attending a traditional classroom would have never been possible.”
“My life was hectic sometimes, but I did not let it stop me from achieving my goals,” says Tanisha, who gave birth to her son months before she was set to graduate from the program. “I went into the hospital to have him on Tuesday, January 31, 2017,” she recalls. That Thursday, she logged back into the classroom to post an assignment. Determined to finish the program while on maternity leave from work, “I was able to achieve my goals and graduate on time,” she says.
Myke reflects on the unexpected friendship of the 3 Scholars with fondness. “What surprised me most was that I was able to make friends in an online classroom,” he says. He’d formerly considered himself the “misanthrope” of most groups. Not this one. Tanisha and Gerri are different. “These friendships were never part of my plan in earning a degree, and not something I was even interested in. Now, the friendships I have developed with these two are just as important as the degrees hanging on my wall.”
Follow along as the 3 Scholars share their stories of meeting in the online classroom and share your own story with #AshfordConnections for the chance to win a trip for you and your friend to spring commencement in San Diego, CA.
Written by Kelsey Bober, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education