Ashford is making it possible for me to achieve goals that I didn’t even know I had.
Donna Baviello was at a crossroads. “I found myself at a point in my life where I was wondering, ‘what now?’” she recalls. The answer, as it turned out, was the pursuit of a long-deferred college education.
“I graduated high school and started working five days later,” Donna says. “That was back in 1979, and college was not an option for me at that time.”
Over the next four decades, Donna continued to build a career. She progressed through several professional roles, succeeding as an administrative assistant, office manager, and positions in the accounting field. But then, Donna’s life hit a speedbump that prompted her to reassess everything.
“A few years back, my life took an unexpected turn and my husband and I divorced,” Donna says. “Soon after, my sister fell ill, and then my mom fell ill and passed away a year later.”
Donna’s life was changing. In response, she decided to take the initiative and make some positive changes of her own.
“I spoke to a friend at work and told her I was thinking about taking some type of certification class that would enable me to move from the position I was in,” Donna says. “She mentioned that we were holding an education fair the following week and suggested I check out the different universities that were there.”
One of the schools at the education fair was Ashford University. Donna found out Ashford offered a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting. She also learned about the Leader Development Grant program. Under the terms of the program, the tuition benefits offered by her employer combine with a grant from Ashford to cover the costs of a college degree. It was too good an offer for Donna to pass up. Within a week of attending the employment fair, Donna was enrolled at Ashford and starting her first class.
“When I first decided to enroll in college, I was nervous,” Donna remembers. “I had been out of school for over 36 years and honestly did not know what to expect. But my Ashford advisor made the experience seamless. She explained everything to me about the program and helped me navigate the website. She also helped to alleviate some of my fears about going to college at this point in my life.”
If Donna had any trepidation about returning to school, it certainly didn’t hold her back. She has been attending Ashford for two years now and happily reports that she has maintained a spot on the Dean’s List the entire time. Because of her academic achievements, she was invited to join the Golden Key International Honour Society. The success Donna has experienced at Ashford has proven to be beneficial professionally and personally.
“The accounting courses I have been taking have given me a better understanding of the financial aspects of my current position,” Donna says. “It has also given me the opportunity to take on different challenges at work.”
More importantly, Donna has noticed a change in herself since she started at Ashford.
“I definitely feel that pursuing my degree has had a positive impact on my life,” Donna says. “Personally, I have much more confidence in myself. Ashford is making it possible for me to achieve goals that I didn’t even know I had.”