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It was really rewarding because I got to meet so many people from other states and countries who work in the same field as I do.

Biography

Hard work pays off, there’s no question. But sometimes, it’s the work you do outside of your job that can help you get ahead. 

Despite more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement, Myra Kellum knew there was something holding her back from a promotion – her education. She’d put school on hold when she became a police officer, and couldn’t find time for college as her career and family responsibilities became more demanding. Eventually she reached a point where school could no longer wait. 

“I saw people who had come into the police department with a lot less time that were [being promoted] a lot faster because they had degrees,” she said at Ashford University’s 2015 Fall Commencement in San Diego.

Kellum, who had come down from Los Angeles for graduation, enrolled at Ashford in 2012 and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Law Enforcement Administration. To her, the degree is more than a piece of paper. 

“It puts you one step above the people you’re competing with,” she said. 

Kellum took to Ashford’s online format with ease and found it refreshing to share the virtual classroom with others passionate about her profession. 

“It was really rewarding because I got to meet so many people from other states and countries who work in the same field as I do,” she recalled. 

Like many adult learners, Kellum’s years of work experience helped her stay disciplined and focused during school. Her high marks even earned her an invitation to join Ashford’s peer mentoring program, CHAMPS

“I wanted to be able to help somebody who’s been in my situation,” she said of her mentor experience. “Someone who works 40-plus hours a week has to know how to have that balance.” 

Now, having earned her bachelor’s degree, Kellum is ready for the next step in her journey toward becoming a lifelong learner. She’s enrolled in Ashford’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice program, and is looking forward to adding another degree to her resume. She’s also making plans for her career beyond law enforcement and hopes to someday teach online classes. 

“Online is the way to go, I love it.”

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