This is the Tagline, edited under "Misc Content"

Stephen Atienza Named Ashford University's Outstanding Alum of the Month
Alum Stephen Atienza chosen as Ashford's October "Alum of the Month."

When Stephen Atienza decided to head back to school to earn his bachelor’s degree, he knew he had many options available. He also knew that a lot of those options wouldn’t work for him.

“Traditional schools were not an option for me,” Atienza explained. “I’ll be honest with you, a traditional school doesn’t impress me at all. I’ve attended several.”

Furthermore, Atienza is an active-duty Marine and traveled frequently for his job. He also has a wife and children. The demands of attending a traditional college campus didn’t fit into his life.

“I chose Ashford over more traditional schools because it catered to my lifestyle,” Atienza said. “It gave me the freedom to focus on my family, my work, and my education, all at the same time. I didn’t have to answer to anyone else’s time or location. I was traveling for my job and all I had to do was get online and start doing my homework in a hotel anytime, anywhere.”

Atienza enrolled in Ashford’s bachelor of arts in organizational management program because it was a good fit for his career ambitions. Immediately, he was impressed by the faculty and the level of education he experienced.

“Ashford caters to working adults but it is demanding. You have to work for your degree,” Atienza said. “The teachers and the curriculum were challenging. I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the fact that they did not want to go easy on anyone.”

While the coursework was difficult, Atienza found it easy to connect with his classmates. Ashford’s online classroom facilitated discussions and networking with fellow students. 

“It was fun interacting with other students. It helped me understand their perspective,” Atienza said. “Some of the other students were from other branches of the military.”

In 2010, he completed his bachelor’s degree and graduated. Looking back, Atienza credits the skills and knowledge he gained at Ashford for helping him to become a more well-rounded individual.

“All of the classes I took with Ashford were valuable to me. Everything from English to history to math – it all ties in together.”

Since graduating, Atienza has emerged as a leader within the Marine Corps. He has received multiple promotions and currently serves as a personnel officer, reporting that he is able to put his degree to use frequently on the job.

“The degree I earned from Ashford has sharpened my critical thinking skills and it’s allowed me to become a more effective leader and manager,” Atienza said. “The concepts behind everything I’ve learned has helped me to lead my subordinates and influence my peers.”


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.