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Shenedria Mills-Randall tried college after graduating from high school in 2009, but found herself doing “more partying than studying.” A couple of years later, she enlisted in the United States Air Force. She had never lived on her own before or even paid a bill, but everything changed once she enlisted. As it turned out, the Air Force taught Mills-Randall the focus and discipline she needed to buckle down and pursue her education. Because of her dedication to completing her education, Mills-Randall has been named Ashford University’s Outstanding Alum of the Month.
Mills-Randall earned an associate’s degree in human resources management from the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF). After that important accomplishment, Mills-Randall was ready for more. She took advantage of her military benefits to earn her bachelor of arts in organizational management at Ashford.
“I am the third person in my family to accomplish this goal, so it is something I am very proud of,” she said before her graduation in 2015. “When I finished at CCAF, I only learned about management from the military standpoint. To learn what it is like to be in management outside of the military was really interesting and exciting.”
Eighteen months into her degree program, Mills-Randall’s life changed once again when she became pregnant. As a single parent in the military, the pressure of balancing work and family could have forced her to put college on hold. But after coming so far, she had no plans to give up.
“I remember a co-worker asking me when I was going to drop out because there was no way I can do all that. My response was, ‘I’m not dropping out, I am going to finish,’” she said.
After giving birth to her son, Mills-Randall was inspired to work harder than ever. Whether it meant sacrificing meals or staying up late into the night, she was determined to get her work done.
“I dedicated every moment I could to school,” she said. “So every night after I had my son in bed, I would do my homework and assignments. Taking online classes was an absolute lifesaver.”
Mills-Randall found success in the Air Force, earning the Airman of the Year award and Airman of the Quarter three times. Her success continued at Ashford, where she was inducted into the SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society in 2013. The honor is bestowed upon active duty and student veterans who achieve a 3.0 GPA.
Now, having proven that she can overcome life’s toughest challenges, Mills-Randall is dedicating herself to lifelong learning. She returned to Ashford shortly after graduation to pursue her master’s of business administration. Her advice to other single parents thinking about returning to school is “You can do this.”
“It will not be easy but the reward in the end is the greatest feeling,” she said. “My happiest moment was watching my son cheer for me as I walked across that stage to receive my degree. I always tell him this degree isn’t mommy’s, it is ours. Because he was my motivation and I couldn’t have done it without him.”
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 www.ashford.edu, www.facebook.com/ashforduniversity, www.twitter.com/AshfordU, or call Marianne Perez, Media Relations Manager, at 858.513.9240 x11636.