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When Linda Dowson decided to continue her education, she had to look no further than her own backyard when she chose to attend classes at Ashford University’s campus in Clinton, Iowa.
“I have a BA in Social Science acquired way back when Ashford was Mount St. Clare College, graduating in December 1998. I worked for a few years in social services as a residential counselor for juvenile delinquents, and then as an in-home service provider. When I had children, I stayed at home with them for 10 years, even homeschooling for a year,” Dowson, 38, said.
“When all three children were enrolled in school, I was hired with Clinton Schools as a behavioral interventionist.” Even though the position was only part time and didn’t offer any benefits, Dowson said she enjoyed it. Eventually, though, she decided to investigate what it would take to obtain a teaching license. What did she discover? “Essentially, that with a full-time teaching position, I could make four times as much income and have health insurance,” she said.
However, there was a problem. “With the high cost of education, I didn’t believe I could attend college without continuing to work,” said Dowson. “Choosing a campus-based program meant that I wouldn’t be able to continue working during the day and also attend classes.”
That is when Dowson learned of an Ashford University scholarship that would cover the cost of all her tuition, leaving the cost of books and fees as her only financial responsibility. “This was a deal I could not pass up,” she said, so she enrolled during the Fall 2014 semester to pursue a degree in Elementary Education with endorsements in Reading and Special Education.
“Because of this amazing opportunity, I am able to attend classes that are stretching and expanding my creativity and potential, equipping me with relevant tools for teaching,” she explained.
Dowson said her husband and three children (ages 6, 10 and 12) are very supportive of her new student status and so far she has not had any problems balancing her responsibilities of being a wife, mom and student. “I can complete homework while the kids are at school or after they go to bed, so my studies rarely affect my activities as a wife and mother,” she noted. “Honestly, the transition has been very smooth. The initial fear I had about being able to succeed was premature. If anything, my life and work experiences have improved my understanding of what it means to be a teacher and the value of the education I am receiving.”
Dowson said she has really appreciated her experiences at Ashford. Not only has her dedication to her studies resulted in Dowson being named to the Ashford Dean’s List during her first semester at the university, but she has also “enjoyed meeting and collaborating with other students,” while learning from the excellent professors in the education department.
“The instructors’ styles of teaching are varied, which allows me the opportunity to develop my own teaching style, synergizing the most engaging ideas and effective strategies for future use in the classroom,” said Dowson. “It is comforting to have other nontraditional students in my classes who have become encouraging supporters and friends as we go on this journey together.”
After she receives her Ashford University degree, Dowson said her “dream job” would be to teach in a behavioral disorders classroom at the elementary level, either as a resource teacher or in a self-contained learning environment.
About Ashford University
Where heritage meets innovation – that’s Ashford University. At Ashford, students discover relevant degree programs, innovative technology, and cherished tradition. Ashford offers associates, bachelor’s, and master’s online degree programs, while the Clinton, Iowa campus offers bachelor’s programs. Whether on campus or online, Ashford students enjoy the same supportive community. For more information, please visit www.ashford.edu, www.facebook.com/ashforduniversity, www.twitter.com/AshfordU, or call Shari Winet, Vice President of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.