Pursuing Passion as a Paralegal:
Ashley Edmond’s Testimonial
When it comes to higher education, Ashley Edmond is no stranger. Ashley earned her master’s in human resource management at another university when she found her calling through law. When studying compliance law, Ashley realized that her passion lies within the legal field. Once she finished her master’s, she began researching ABA-approved Paralegal programs and found American National University. The flexibility in being able to continue her work in the Navy while attending school made her decision. Her hard work and dedication to ANU’s program has made Ashley term 230’s Paralegal Student of the Term!
Ashley searched far and wide to find the right school to pursue her new career path. She wanted a university that was “ABA-approved that I could attend while still being in the Navy in California.” Ashley has been able to continue her duties as an Aviation Administrationman, use her G.I. Bill as a part of her military benefits to pay for her education, and not disrupt the life she has to earn her education. When she started at ANU, she was initially nervous to attend classes through Zoom video conferencing, but it ended up making her more comfortable in her education. “I think I’m more comfortable speaking and participating in class through Zoom because it’s a smaller setting and I’m in my own comfortable environment. It allows me to feel a little bit more relaxed and participate.” The classes she attends through Zoom have also eased her into a new field she had little experience in, and they reinforced that the legal field is where her true career aspirations lie.
The better parts of her Zoom sessions have also been the faculty and staff that she meets on her educational journey.
“It has been an overwhelmingly warm experience,” she says, “I’ve attended several universities and they felt so mechanical. With me being so far from the [American National University campus], I still feel that warmth and acceptance.”
She describes that faculty and staff have reached out to her to help her join the university, and also check in with her and her well-being. “Remembering my name, even, just simple things like that, I was taken aback! It’s just been a great experience in that alone.”
Her professors are also influential to how she is learning at ANU. Barbara Fikru, the professor that nominated Ashley for her Student of the Term accomplishment, has been instrumental to Ashley’s time at ANU. “She has been one of the most influential parties from the university – I’ve never felt so comfortable just speaking my mind in class! She’s made sure I’ve felt that way.” She says that many of the professors in the Paralegal program have made her feel that way, from Dean Wendy Notz to Sheri Clark. All of them make class “feel so natural.
Their support and encouragement, to me, has made all the difference… I believe in myself more because of the support that I get from them! It’s carried me through the program.”
She feels no apprehension about learning new concepts or doing assignments because of the confidence her professors have instilled within her.
In the future, Ashley hopes to earn her paralegal certification and use her education in her career. She also wants to work as a paralegal through law school and eventually become a practicing attorney in her home state of Texas. “Every professor I’ve had has done a really great job of preparing us for the future. I didn’t know some of the jobs a paralegal could get – and they introduced that to me, that there are so many different ways that I can apply my education that I’m getting from ANU. And I think that’s amazing!” Ashley is excited for her future in the legal field because of the education she is receiving at ANU.
Ashley recommends ANU to everyone she can! “I am preaching ANU to my sailors that work for me, saying ‘you can do this, they make it so easy for you!’ Everything that you can think of that you need in an institution, you can get from ANU – and more!” She says compared to the other online institutions she attended, ANU surpasses them for the support and programs they offer.
Her advice to new students: “Stay engaged. Try to stay ahead of the curve and don’t get discouraged. You got to stay focused on the goal, there is a light at the end of the tunnel! You have resources, utilize the resources. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professor, because they are there to help – and they do!”