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Maritza Melendez Named Ashford University's Outstanding Alum of the Month
Marine Corps veteran is now pursuing a Master of Arts in Psychology
March alum of the month, Maritza Melendez, and her three children.

Hard work and determination paid off for Ashford University’s Outstanding Alum of the Month Maritza Melendez. Just before Melendez and her family traveled from New Jersey to attend her Ashford graduation in San Diego last year, she received a timely reminder of why the trip was so important. Her oldest daughter told a teacher that, “My mom deserves this because she worked so hard for this.”

Melendez 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 daughters.

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

A disabled Marine Corps veteran, Melendez 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.’”

Melendez 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.”

Melendez’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, Melendez 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.”

Ashford University’s Outstanding Alum of the Month recognition was created to spotlight Ashford success stories and graduates who have used their Ashford education as a springboard to personal and professional achievement.



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 degree programs online, allowing students to balance life by providing the flexibility to do school work anywhere, anytime. For more information, please visit,,, or call Marianne Perez, Media Relations Manager, at 858.513.9240 x11636.