Melanie Pendleton

…if you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything.


Melanie Pendleton is a bit of an expert when it comes to Ashford University. She has earned three degrees at Ashford, and she is a frequent participant on Ashford’s social channels, sharing her knowledge with fellow students. But for all that Melanie has accomplished, it didn’t always seem likely that she would be a college graduate with multiple degrees.

“I had been a teen mother, having my daughter at the age of 16 years old,” Melanie explained. “I completed my high school years with my daughter in tow. I tried traditional college many years ago but was not successful.”

Like many parents, attending college at a traditional campus proved difficult. And it proved nearly impossible once Melanie added the responsibilities of working full-time to her duties as a young mother. Nevertheless, the idea of returning to college one day stuck with Melanie. She would eventually take the leap at age 38, enrolling in the Associate of Arts in Business* program that Ashford previously offered.

“Taking online classes allowed me to still work my 80-hour weeks during tax season while fitting my classes into my days,” said Melanie, who works at a tax preparation service. “I was able to download my books to my phone, computer, and tablets to listen to my readings while riding the bus to and from work or in my downtime at work.”

Melanie completed her Associate’s degree in 2010. Having finally tasted the success of earning a college degree, she wanted more. It didn’t take long for Melanie to re-enroll at Ashford. This time she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, Entrepreneurship specialization, and a minor in Human Resources Management.

“I have to say, my favorite classes were all my Human Resources and Entrepreneurship classes,” Melanie said. “They were very interesting and made me think about my current job, and I feel as if they made me a better hiring and training manager.”

In 2015, Melanie checked one more accomplishment off her list and completed her Bachelor’s program. Not being one to rest on her laurels, Melanie soon enrolled in Ashford’s Master of Arts in Organizational Management program, Human Resources Management specialization.

To help pay for her master’s degree, Melanie applied for and received an Entrepreneurship Scholarship from the Forbes School of Business & Technology™. As part of the application process, Melanie had to demonstrate her entrepreneurial spirit by outlining an idea for a new business. She submitted an idea for a family-owned bakery that creates baked goods from scratch using only fresh ingredients from local suppliers – a business idea Melanie dreams of pursuing now that she has completed her master’s program.

“I feel the education I received at Ashford has put me in line with being able to open my own business, and it helped broaden my knowledge about the business world,” Melanie said.

Whatever the future holds for her, Melanie’s journey from teen mother to accomplished scholar has been inspirational.

“I hope to show my daughter, Melissa, and my grandson, Gunner, that if you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything.”

* This program is no longer offered at Ashford University.

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