Earning her Education for her Tribe: Kiley’s Story with ANU


At just 25 years old, Kiley Crusha has a jam-packed schedule between working, going to school, spending time with her fiancé, and being with her native tribe, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. As a first-generation college student, Kiley wishes to earn her paralegal education so that she can eventually one day give back to the tribe she grew up in as she aspires to do pro-bono work for her people. Her journey to giving back to her people began at ANU as she enrolled in our Paralegal program. And in only her second term of college ever, Kiley earned the first ever title of Paralegal Student of the Term for term 227 – a nomination that comes from her professors (with dean endorsement) for not only her work in her classes, but the attitude and readiness to learn she brings to every session.

Kiley is no stranger to multi-tasking – from working while still in high school, along with volunteering, to currently working from home while attending American National University. She began working for a nursery as an inventory manager after graduating high school, where she would put in long, 12–15 hour days, six days a week. She worked these long hours with extensive overtime to make ends meet while physically exerting herself by doing heavy lifting and walking many acres a day. Kiley wanted something better for herself, and she said it best, “I didn’t make it this far to only come this far.” She wanted to work smarter, not harder, and so she began looking for paralegal programs to help those around her that she has seen struggle with legal issues.

It was not hard for Kiley to choose ANU to pursue her paralegal education. “I chose ANU because it was the only, and I mean the only, university that offered online ABA-approved programs – and that put ANU miles ahead of everybody else in my eyes,” Kiley said. She continued, saying once she looked into our reputation, “it was impeccable, and I just knew I wanted to be a part of that.” From the moment she reached out to our admissions team, she has had help every step of the way – her academics advisor was “supportive and informative” and that solidified her choice to attend American National University. ANU continues to support her as she is able to continue working her full-time job while earning her education. “I never thought that it would be possible,” she said about working and attending school, “but this has been the smoothest process ever.”

Ever since she started classes, Kiley has found help at every corner. “Every professor that I have had has been dedicated,” she explained, “and that’s something you got to value because it makes learning that much easier, and you retain it that much more.” She enjoys attending American National University because she feels like a human being rather than a statistic, “ANU treats it’s students like people and not numbers.”  She had nothing but great things to say about her professor, Melissa King, who is also the professor who nominated her to be the first ever Paralegal Student of the Term. “She is a wealth of knowledge,” Kiley laughs, “she’s like a walking [encyclopedia]!” She also mentioned Sheri Clark, “she always brings a sense of humor to [class], which keeps people’s attention.” The time that she’s had so far has made her education not only informative, but also engaging. “The human element that ANU brings to the table is what makes this fun! It’s a great experience!

Going to school at ANU has brought more to Kiley than she even expected – not only is she learning a lot from her instructors, but she was able to move into a work-from-home position at the company she was working with at the time of her enrollment. She now also knows they have open positions for paralegals that she can move into once she earns her education. “Pursuing education means the most to me,” Kiley stated.

When it comes to recommending ANU to anyone else, she whole-heartedly states, “absolutely! I would fervently recommend ANU because of the opportunity that it gives you – not only educationally, but professionally. Absolutely!”

For new students just starting their educational journey at ANU, she said “don’t wait for it! Be proactive, get ahead of [your work] … I have never felt more calm, more confident, in college than when I have my assignments or readings done a week in advance.”

American National University – Be live, in class, from anywhere.

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