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I will tell anybody that if you have people who really care about you and your success in school, it’s worth it.


n her day-to-day life as a systems analyst for a Baltimore-area hospital, Catrecia Artis is a jack-of-all-trades. While she’s primarily tasked with handling data for different departments, she is regularly called on for supervisory needs, and her even-keeled temperament makes her perfect for training fellow employees.

Despite feeling a sense of security in her job, she knew something was missing – something that she hoped would help her get ahead when the opportunity arose. Catrecia had started college after high school, but she became pregnant at 20 with the first of her three children, and knew it wasn’t the right time for school.

“I had to be a mother first, you have to put your kids first,” she said at Ashford University’s 2015 Fall Commencement ceremony.

Her children inspired her to go back to college online, and they became her biggest supporters when she enrolled in her Bachelor of Arts in Business Information Systems program. Catrecia had earned her Associate’s in Business degree, but knew that her Bachelor’s would keep her ahead of the competition in a rapidly evolving industry. Graduates of the Business Information Systems program often pursue opportunities as computer support specialists, or systems managers, two occupations projected to grow over the next several years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Working full-time with three kids would be a challenge, but Catrecia found that Ashford’s online format made her busy life more manageable.

“[The program format] was able to work around my schedule,” she said. “I know by Thursday, I need to have everything done. I like the fact that every counselor that I’ve had has been so informative.”

She also appreciated the flexibility Ashford provided her, first when her mother was diagnosed with cancer, and later when her father's passing forced her to take a break from school.

“My online professor was very understanding,” she said. “I will tell anybody that if you have people who really care about you and your success in school, it’s worth it.”

Catrecia was so happy with her experience at Ashford that she started recommending the school to her co-workers, and she’s confident that her children now see the value of higher education.

“I like to show an example, especially for my children -- but for anybody -- to never give up on anything that you want,” she said. “I don’t care what it is, if it takes you 200 years – if you had 200 years – you do it.”

* This program is no longer offered by the University.


Computer Support Specialists, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from

Computer and Information Systems Managers, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from

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