Maritza Melendez

If you have a dream you just keep on pushing, no matter what.

Maritza Melendez

Biography

Just before the family left New Jersey to attend Ashford University’s 2015 Fall Commencement in San Diego, Maritza Melendez’s oldest daughter reminded her teacher why the trip was so important.

“My mom deserves this because she worked so hard for this,” she told the teacher. 

Maritza recounted the story shortly before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a degree she’d been working toward for years. Her motivation: her three girls, ages 9, 6, and 1 at the time we met her. 

“I’m with them on my own, and they inspired me to show them if you have a dream you just keep on pushing, no matter what,” she said.

A disabled Marine Corps veteran, Maritza was able to attend Ashford University with the help of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. She had tried school “on and off” but didn’t find a format she was comfortable with until she applied to Ashford.

“The difference with this school, [the structure] was just so much easier,” she said. “With the kids, just knowing that I had that was really good for me. Knowing that Thursdays were discussion board topics and Monday is the assignment – every week I already knew, ‘Alright, I have to get this done.’”

Maritza said her children couldn’t have been more supportive of her decision to return to school, and the online format allowed her to strike the perfect balance between family and homework.

“When they were in bed I would sit down to work, or when they were at school during the day I would do my assignments,” she said. “So that’s where I found the balance, while they were sleeping or if they were busy doing something.

“Once my laptop was open they knew I was already doing schoolwork.” 

Maritza’s ultimate goal is to become a therapist and offer her counsel pro-bono to those who need it. Following graduation, she returned to Ashford for her Master of Arts in Psychology, and someday hopes to earn her doctorate. 

Whatever the future holds, Maritza is confident that she’ll find the same success, using the same motivation that led her to Ashford.

“There were times I did want to throw in the towel and say, ‘Oh forget it,’ but it’s so worth it. When you see that you have three classes left, or two classes left, it builds you up. No matter what it is that tries to stop you, take time to think for yourself, and accomplish [your goal] because you’re going to set an example for so many people.” 

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