I feel personally fulfilled because I will be able to show my kids what obtaining a degree can accomplish…
On her 18th birthday, Kathryn Daniels gave birth to her son. “Every year, he is the best birthday gift I could ever receive,” Kathryn proudly reports. But it’s not easy to be a teen mother. Besides all of the responsibilities that go along with raising a child, Kathryn faced stigma and misconceptions about the limitations she would experience.
“As a teen mom, I feel like I have been looked down on a lot by a lot of people in society to the point that I did not even mention it for a while,” Kathryn says. “I want to make sure other teen moms don’t feel about themselves the way I did when I had my son.”
A few years after her son was born, Kathryn and her husband welcomed their daughter into the world. With a growing family, Kathryn began to think about long-term plans. A key part of those plans was a college degree.
“I wanted a more financially stable future for my family and myself, and I knew the fastest and most efficient way to do that would be to finish my degree,” she explains.
Kathryn’s husband is in the U.S. Army, and the family moved around frequently as a result of his military service, so attending college on a campus was an unrealistic option. At Ashford University, however, Kathryn found the mobility and flexibility she needed to pursue a degree. In 2015, Kathryn took the leap and enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration program at Ashford’s Forbes School of Business & Technology™.
“My experience thus far with Ashford has been phenomenal,” Kathryn says. “Everyone that I have come into contact with has been encouraging, uplifting, and inspiring.”
Kathryn is doing her part to contribute to the encouraging and uplifting community at Ashford. She has been a remarkably active member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. She volunteers as President of Ashford’s Golden Key chapter and was elected to be a student member of the International Leadership Council, the highest position a student can hold within Golden Key.
“This has been a fulfilling experience for me with the experience I have gained volunteering and coordinating events through Golden Key,” Kathryn says. “I believe that it will help me professionally once I graduate as well as make me a stronger leader in my community.”
Kathryn also currently works part-time as a Student Mentee Coordinator with Ashford’s CHAMPS program. CHAMPS is a mentoring program that matches new students with high-achieving, upper-division students who can help them navigate the college experience. While Kathryn works hard to assist her fellow Ashford students, her ultimate goal is to stand as a role model to her children.
“I feel personally fulfilled because I will be able to show my kids what obtaining a degree can accomplish, and also that you can continue to learn and gain knowledge no matter what age or stage in life you are in,” Kathryn says.
Kathryn also hopes to inspire other young mothers who have ever felt limited by their circumstances.
“I started out as a statistic and was able to blow past just being a statistic, and I hope that I can one day be successful and prove the stereotypes wrong, honestly,” Kathryn says. “That is a goal of mine: to be able to show other teen moms that their life doesn’t have to be put on hold or stopped altogether simply because they have a child, no matter what anyone says.”