I can honestly say that I never felt like I was a number at Ashford.
Matthew Bambrick is proof that learning doesn’t stop once you have your degree. Since graduating from Ashford University with his Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management in 2008, the US Army veteran has continued to add accolades to his resume. He’s earned two Master’s degrees, became a finalist for the 2012 Presidential Management Fellowship program, joined Ashford as an online adjunct instructor, and was the first alum named to the University’s Faculty Senate board as an Associate Faculty senator.
In 2015, he was invited, for the second time, to speak at Ashford’s commencement ceremony.
“I continue to be in awe that out of all the wonderful alumni talent to select from, I was chosen,” Bambrick said. “Words cannot express the tremendous opportunity and sense of pride to answering the call when my alma mater asks, and it is truly an honor and a privilege to do so.
"Each time I look at my diploma hanging on my wall, it reminds me of when I didn't have one and how thankful I am to have it now. It has also provided me a great deal of confidence in myself due to the fact that whatever the economy brings, I have a reliable degree to fall back on. This is especially important in a job market where, in many cases, not having a degree is non-negotiable."
In his commencement speech, Bambrick planned to remind graduates that earning a degree is only the beginning of a “greatly fulfilling” intellectual journey.
“My Ashford education provided me with a solid foundation in which I can approach as well as apply any topic of familiarity or unfamiliarity with an open mind in combination with keen critical thinking and applicable analytical skills to look at things from as many perspectives as possible,” he said. “These attributes are not only necessary, but critical in today’s professional working environment.”
Bambrick, who described himself as a “shameless promoter” of Ashford University, has also become a passionate advocate for online learning and providing quality education to working adults. As someone who enrolled at Ashford in his late 30s, he realized that time is a commodity adults can’t afford to waste when trying to balance work, family, and school.
“When I started my educational journey, [online learning] was not an option. Depending on the school and or class, it took me eight or 16 weeks of night school -- two or three nights a week – to complete three or four credits,” he said. “Online learning has changed all of that. The same three credits can now be completed in five weeks at the undergraduate level.
“Let’s face it, online learning is the future.”
To prospective Ashford students, Bambrick offered this advice: "Whether you are deciding to enroll at Ashford or another institution, you have to determine what is best for you in the long run. He added, "You are not set up for failure unless you let it happen to you.”
Commitment, Bambrick said, is one thing that separates successful online students from the rest of the pack. Ashford isn’t for everyone, he added, but students will find they have a strong support system to keep them focused on their goals.
“I can honestly say that I never felt like I was a number at Ashford,” he said. “I always knew who my university contacts were, they called me by name, and were always willing to work with me.
“The best way to describe it is small town hospitality in a big city environment.”