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Category: Alumni Spotlights

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Alumni Spotlights

Daniel Wolf – Education unlocked his potential

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Alumni Spotlights

Daniel Wolf – Education unlocked his potential

I was a late bloomer. In high school, I didn’t do that well. I don’t think I had the maturity or the tenacity to really see my potential come to fruition.

I would say University of Phoenix had a profound effect on how I realized my potential.

I am a division chief responsible for over 20 firefighters, some captains and some firefighters.

It’s very important with my job to keep my people safe so they can keep the populace safe.

I can have an in flight emergency on a B 2 stealth, and I’m chasing the aircraft down the runway with fire trucks following me lights and sirens blazing, having to call for permission from the tower, having to talk on another radio talking to the pilot telling the medics whether they need to stand down. Just doing a million things at once, trying to organize the chaos, as I would call it.

Then after, do my best to take a step back and say, wow, that was really cool. How many people will get to do things like that?

I would not be prepared. I would not feel like I was in the right wheelhouse without the skills I got from the University of Phoenix.

I’m proud of going through the experience and then being able to use that directly into my profession and make me a better firefighter, make me a better division chief, make me a better manager, make me all around better as a working professional.

Feb 07, 2019 • 1min 19sec

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Alumni Spotlights

Amber Perez – Taking her future back

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Alumni Spotlights

Amber Perez – Taking her future back

I had been working as a nurse, and I had suffered a back injury.

It was actually pretty devastating for me because I was not going to be able to work at the bedside as a nurse anymore.

At that time, my colleague said, you’ve got a fire in you. You’ve got more to offer. Have you thought about going back to school?

I had three young children. I was working two jobs. There was no other opportunity for me to go back to school other than online.

Because of the flexibility of the University of Phoenix, I didn’t miss soccer games. I didn’t miss baseball games.

I was present. I wasn’t gone. I didn’t drive away and go to school, and they won’t look back and say Mom wasn’t there.

It really let me still be me and have a life, have friendships, engage in my job.

Now I am the clinical director for a medical device company. I work with hospitals all over the country, helping to establish injury prevention programs.

There’s no way I would have made the impact or the difference that I’m making without the support, the confidence, and the education that I was provided.

Feb 07, 2019 • 1minute 10sec

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Alumni Spotlights

Living her life with purpose – Alumna Carmen Bravo

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Alumni Spotlights

Living her life with purpose – Alumna Carmen Bravo

(heavy breathing and running footsteps)
So you’re talking about a first generation American
from the streets of the Imperial Valley
who rose to beat the odds.
She didn’t just become a nurse
and get her bachelor’s,
she worked nights and weekends
till she earned herself a master’s degree.
A few years back, she was running in a marathon
when a man behind her
collapsed from cardiac arrest.
She ran to the scene,
flipped this guy over
and started performing CPR.
Keeping him alive for the twenty-two minutes
it took for an ambulance to arrive.
She went from working at a swap meet,
to earning her bachelor’s, her master’s
and using her experience to save this man’s life.
So why do I think there should be more people
like Carmen Bravo in this world?
Because that man… was me.

Jan 31, 2019 • 0min 50sec

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Alumni Spotlights

PhoenixOwned – Alumnus Nindi Wadhwa

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Alumni Spotlights

PhoenixOwned – Alumnus Nindi Wadhwa

[Music]
I graduate in 2012 my MBA from University of Phoenix back then there’s no I envisioned having a successful ice
cream store here we are seven years later it’s an award-winning ice cream company with over 13 boys this is our milk cream and sugar base start with batch number one here these are sour block cherries they come in from Italy
because the paths of success will always have a few pits chocolate shavings because success is sweet it’s our
chocolate crunch because it takes grit and determination pecans because when you do something truly innovative people think you’re nuts all right we’re out a little bit of ginseng here can give you a boost of energy while you’re studying
[Music]
there’s the University of Phoenix flavor all ready to go
[Music]
you

May 30, 2018 • 1min 19sec

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Alumni Spotlights

Making History – Casa Academy

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Alumni Spotlights

Making History – Casa Academy

#MakingHistory

[singing and clapping] Tacey and Kids: ♪ One school ♪
♪ One mission ♪
♪ Together we ♪
♪ are on a mission ♪
Jenna: ♪ Way to go scholars ♪
Kids: ♪ Way to go scholars ♪
Jenna: ♪ On our way to college ♪
Kids: ♪ On our way to college ♪
Jenna and Kids: ♪ We are Casa Academy ♪
♪ We’re the best school in the country ♪
♪ [instrumental music] ♪
Tacey: There are so many students in our country,
the richest country in the world,
that are not receiving a high-quality education.
That is simply wrong,
and I wanted to become an educator,
become a teacher, found a school,
because I want to change that.
Jenna: I feel very strongly that
the education that we provide here
is truly breaking the cycle of poverty
and is really elevating,
not just the children that we serve today,
but their children and the children after that.
At Casa, we say the road to college
starts in Kindergarten and that’s intentional.
Tacey: At Casa Academy we have core values
that are key to everything that we’re doing.
Girl: Never stop, just keep going.
Girl: Respect others when others are feeling bad.
Boy: Show integrity when the teacher is away.
Tacey: If our scholars truly internalize
those core values at a young age,
they will be propelled
to move forward and be successful,
not only in college,
but in life and making their dreams come true.
Jenna: When Tacey and I acquired funding to open Casa,
University of Phoenix enabled me to acquire my Master’s
while also visiting about fifty of the top performing
charter schools all over the United States.
Every night I’m thinking about,
“Did we make a difference today?
Are we creating the citizens tomorrow
that we wanted to create?”
And I don’t take that responsibility lightly.
♪ [instrumental music] ♪
I still remember the name
of my Kindergarten teacher.
The children that we interact with are very young,
but to know that they’re going to remember us
and remember this experience for the rest of our lives,
that, that’s making history to me.
Tacey: ♪ This is the way, hey! ♪
Tacey and Kids: ♪ We start the day, hey! ♪
♪ We got the knowledge, hey! ♪
♪ To go to college, hey! ♪
♪ But don’t stop there, hey! ♪
♪ Go anywhere, hey! ♪

May 30, 2018 • 2min 10sec

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Alumni Spotlights

MakingHistory – Alumna Felicia Evans Long

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Alumni Spotlights

MakingHistory – Alumna Felicia Evans Long

[Slowly building music]
[energetic music]
Are you excited to be here?
(Kids) Yes!!!
Can I get a high-five?
Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo! Yeah! Awesome sauce!
Candy and Sweet Treats have always been a passion of mine.
Growing up, in the projects with my mom and my older brother,
at the age of eight, I was selling candies and all types of
confectionary goodies out of our mom’s house.
So when people now see Sweet Candy Café they always say
Felicia, it’s no surprise that you have a candy store.
I went back to school because I always wanted my master’s degree
and the MBA was definitely the springboard in teaching us how
to set up a small business.
I think it’s really important for young girls to see
strong female leaders.
because it shows them that, you know, I can do this.
I can be anything that I want to be.
I started the Candy Kids Wear Blazers program
to teach young girls about entrepreneurship
and professionalism.
Every girl is given a business blazer,
and we teach them the various things that it takes
to actually become a business owner,
but in a kid-friendly way.
(Girl) Hello, my name is Riley, welcome to Sweet Candy Café.
They are our next generation. They’re our future.
To me black history month is about achievement, and
making history is about making a difference in my community.
It’s about leaving a mark.
It’s about making a change in the right direction.
[Music]
[Mouth noise] pop

Feb 15, 2018 • 1min 42sec

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Alumni Spotlights

Art in the Community – Alumnus Hugo Medina

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Alumni Spotlights

Art in the Community – Alumnus Hugo Medina

[Music]
[Music]
when I moved to the US I did not speak
English at all art was my language art
was how I was able to communicate make
friends connect with people it was just
all I’ve ever gravitated towards I was
very fortunate with my art teachers my
parents can support push me to get my
degree my master’s degree is nine yards
it’s an education and that has helped me
as an artist do my workshops give back
to communities it is essential to be
able to teach what you practice and my
master’s degree did that mules not only
I like the beauty of a neighborhood in
the community and brings everybody
together but it also makes the place a
destination it adds color to everyday
black and white life it’s very important
for me as an artist to give back to the
community as much as possible I have
achieved my dream and I’ve made my
parents proud now I feel it’s a
responsibility not only as an artist but
as a human being to help other people
rise up like I did
[Music]

Jan 04, 2018 • 1min 38sec

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Alumni Spotlights

We Rise Together – Alumna Susan Hagen

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Alumni Spotlights

We Rise Together – Alumna Susan Hagen

♪Bagpipes♪
♪Bagpipes♪
Today is about you.
Your moment of triumph.
You have found a way.
You have found a way to make this dream possible.
You have overcome your challenges.
You have succeeded.
When the doctor came in the door,
we both knew something was wrong.
He delivered the news
that it was Leukemia,
and I started crying.
I didn’t want to cry.
I wanted to be there for her.
She was my best friend.
Lorraine stayed in school during her battle with Leukemia,
and she was the one that convinced me to move forward with my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.
She kept saying, “If I can do this, you can do this!”
When she finished her program,
she sent me an email and it said…
“Suzie Q, wanted to share my great news.
I am now officially a BSN!
It will be worth all your hard work.”
It was the last email that she sent me.
As I was progressing through school,
I kept thinking about Lorraine
and how she wanted to walk across the commencement stage
and I knew immediately,
I was gonna walk across that stage for her
and even though it was my graduation,
that walk was for her.
Commencement Announcer: “Susan R. Hagen”
It was my turn to walk across the stage
I was carrying her actual diploma.
What a special moment, to know that I could do that for her.
I thought it was important that
Lorraine’s diploma went to the heavens where she was waiting for it.
Lorraine, thanks for helping me,
through this process.
You were an amazing friend
and I love you.

Oct 19, 2017 • 2min 51sec

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Alumni Spotlights

The Send Off – Alumnus Anthony Johnson

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Alumni Spotlights

The Send Off – Alumnus Anthony Johnson

[Music]
his commencement is two days after he
leaves he’s gonna be such a great father
to look up to
he gives 110% and everything that he
does doing homework assignments all
eight to make sure that they got done
today what we’re doing is we’re gonna
surprise Anthony we have gathered all of
his friends all of his family in a very
intimate very informal session he has no
idea of this situation and I think this
is going to overwhelm him when he gets
here
[Music]
the University of Phoenix is so honored
to be a part of this journey that you’ve
chosen I wanted my mom to see me walk
across because I’m the first of my
family to do it and that’s all I’ve ever
wanted to do was to make my family proud
make my wife proud and to lead by
example for my family I couldn’t be more
proud of a chose University of Phoenix
because of the ease of access for my
heavy caseload that I was getting from
life I don’t think I could have done it
with any other school I’m a proud
graduate of University of Phoenix with a
bachelor’s degree in criminal justice we
hereby congratulate Anthony Johnson
[Music]

Aug 03, 2017 • 1min 46sec

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Alumni Spotlights

The Rise of Cindy: Working for Someone Else to Small Business Owner

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Alumni Spotlights

The Rise of Cindy: Working for Someone Else to Small Business Owner

♪ [instrumental music] ♪
I deal with people every day.
They’re afraid of change.
You can’t control what life throws at you,
but you can control your perspective.
My doctorate degree was always a lifelong goal for me.
I had to separate myself from everyone else.
I had to be different.
I have something to prove in the world.
When it was over, and I earned a degree,
my whole life changed.
I brought strength up from
areas I didn’t even know I had.
♪ [instrumental music] ♪
Reinventing yourself is a lifelong journey.
[music fades out]

May 23, 2017 • 1min 0sec

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Alumni Spotlights

The Rise of Danny: Refugee to Detective

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Alumni Spotlights

The Rise of Danny: Refugee to Detective

♪ [instrumental music] ♪
I was woken up by, by the sound of shootings
and people screaming,
and my dad had grabbed me
and ran down the stairs.
We escaped the Khmer Rouge Work Camp
when I was 6 years old
and I came to the US as a refugee.
I did not speak any English.
It felt like crossing over into a different world.
My family had told me that
they can take anything away from you.
They can take your freedom.
They can take your money, your home,
anything from you, but not your education.
♪ [instrumental music] ♪
I never imagined that I would have a college degree.
I’d never imagined that I’m able to serve
the community by being a police officer.
From my background, if I can make this far,
you can do it too.
[music fades out]

May 22, 2017 • 1min 10sec

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Alumni Spotlights

The Rise of Daniel: Security Guard to Professional Systems Engineer

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Alumni Spotlights

The Rise of Daniel: Security Guard to Professional Systems Engineer

♪ [instrumental music] ♪
Losing that sense of control, it’s almost unimaginable.
A lot of jobs that were available did not pay
as much as what I was making before.
That’s pretty much where I had to make a choice.
Computers have always been a hobby of mine
ever since I was a little kid.
I had to see if I had what it took
to take my hobby and turn it into a career.
I wanted to set an example for my kids at…
even at my age, it wasn’t too late to go back to school.
It wasn’t too late to learn.
It wasn’t too late to be better
than what you currently were.
♪ [instrumental music] ♪
Things are constantly changing
and it’s up to us to be able to focus in
on what we’re passionate about,
so we can change with the world
and adapt to our new surroundings.
[music fades out]

May 22, 2017 • 1min 4sec

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Alumni Spotlights

Paul Goldschmidt – University of Phoenix :60

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Alumni Spotlights

Paul Goldschmidt – University of Phoenix :60

I never imagined that I’d be playing in the big leagues.
I still honestly have to pinch myself
and can’t believe I get to play baseball for a living.
He has struck out five times.
My dad just told me, if you want to get better some
you got to work hard at it.
You’re going to have to be the first one to practice,
the last one to leave.
Nobody out, let’s go!
Always knew I was going to go back and finish my degree.
I had worked really hard for three years,
I didn’t want that work to go to waste.
The biggest thing with going back to school
while I was playing was just trying
to find times that I could get my work done
while it wasn’t going to take away from my family time.
Whenever I go into a situation whatever it is,
I just want to give them my all and do the best I can.
I made it my mission that nobody was going
to work harder than I was.
Whether that’s baseball, whether that’s school,
whether that’s being a parent, whatever it is, whatever
you’re passionate about, it’s going
to take a lot of hard work.
It’s a home run, Paul Goldschmidt!

Mar 27, 2017 • 1min 0sec

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Alumni Spotlights

Making History – Mike Gipson

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Alumni Spotlights

Making History – Mike Gipson

Thank you for helping us deal with homelessness
in our community.
Thank you for helping me end human trafficking
in our community.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I’m a public servant, not to be confused with a politician.
I am Mike Gipson and I serve you as your state assembly
member, born and raised not too far from here in Watts.
When our son was killed at three years old, he saw my wife
and ran to her, and he was saying, Mommy, Mommy.
And a woman came down the street and hit him.
And so that changed our entire life.
It’s the reason why I get up every morning,
because I understand my “why.”
I understand my purpose is to try
to make people’s lives better.
I believe that each bill that I author and sign
are bills that’s going to affect this community
and the community I was born and raised,
and all of California in a very positive way.
Mike is an incredible leader.
He started off as a youth pastor,
then as a city commissioner, a city councilman,
and now he’s in the state legislature as assemblyman.
People want to see their elected officials.
They want to be able to reach out and know
that you go through the same exact thing
that they go through.
My mother cleaned rich people’s homes.
My father was a truck driver.
My parents taught me the meaning of hard work,
and if you work hard it’s going to pay off in the long run.
For someone who grew up who had a learning disability, who
spoke with a stutter, and thought that I wasn’t
intelligent enough to actually go to school,
feeling very insignificant around friends
who’d gone on to go to college, that I didn’t have
that ability.
Going on, graduating from University of Phoenix,
that gave me tremendous confidence
and believing that I can.
If someone can grow up in Watts and defy
all the odds and the statistics that
show that I should be dead, in gangs, in drugs,
and in prison–
if you believe in yourself, you can change the trajectory
and create a paradigm shift that will catapult you
to your level of greatness.
Each of us can create the history we want.
It’s about creating a new future.
And it’s the future that causes people to dream again.
I want that when the history books
are written, that it will reflect
that this little boy who grew up in South Los Angeles
made a difference.

Feb 23, 2017 • 2min 50sec

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Alumni Spotlights

A Different Kind of Phoenix – Alumnus Daniel Moreno

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Alumni Spotlights

A Different Kind of Phoenix – Alumnus Daniel Moreno

My name is Daniel Moreno.
I’m a retired staff sergeant from the U.S. Army.
I just graduated University of Phoenix.
When I train at home it takes a lot
of determination and focus, basically.
When I first started trying the obstacles I couldn’t even do them,
but now I blow through them like nothing.
I was a week away from reporting to ranger school
and I started having a seizure.
They found an AVM in the right temporal lobe of my brain.
The night I went in for my brain surgery, it actually erupted.
The chance me dying was like 70 or 80 percent.
I shouldn’t even be here right now.
Part of my plan was to enroll back into University of Phoenix.
So I chose a Bachelors Degree in Business Management.
I’d definitely contribute attending University of Phoenix
to a big part of my recovery.
Attending University of Phoenix was the greatest thing I’ve ever done.
School obstacle from physical obstacles…it’s no different.
I just take it on.
Just do it.
Nothing to it, but to do it.

Jan 24, 2017 • 1min 30sec

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Alumni Spotlights

A promise to mom – Alumnus Larry Fitzgerald

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Alumni Spotlights

A promise to mom – Alumnus Larry Fitzgerald

My mother passed 2003 in my freshman year.

But she always told me I don’t care what happens.

I don’t care if you turn out to be a great athlete or whatever but, you need to make sure you get your college degree.

Sometimes I call the house just to hear her voice.

(phone ringing)

Answering machine: Hi you’ve reached the Fitzgerald, leave a message after the beep.

(beep)

Hey mom this is Larry.

I just want to let you know that uh,

I fulfilled the promise that you held me to.

I wouldn’t be able to do it without your love and support.

And all the values you taught me and Marcus growing up.

They’re still things that I hold near and dear to my heart and I’m going to teach it to my boys as well.

Love you.

(beep)

Sep 08, 2016 • 1min 0sec

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Alumni Spotlights

Phoenix Rising – Alumni Ardelia and Leonard’s Graduation Story

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Alumni Spotlights

Phoenix Rising – Alumni Ardelia and Leonard’s Graduation Story

I love this story.
It’s a mother-son team who are both graduating today
from the University of Phoenix.
It’s rough out here, especially for young men.
He needs an education.
She kind of came with a bet.
What if I go to school with you?
I’ll make a bet– if you go to school, I’ll go to school.
Exactly how I said it.
Ardelia stated to us, how could I preach education
when I didn’t go to school?
So she led by example.
It was great to be able to go one night a week,
get my homework done, and still be
able to work 40, 50 hours a week.
The biggest takeaway was that they would motivate each other
to succeed at school.
I felt like if I didn’t succeed, he wasn’t going to succeed.
The times I was down and getting frustrated with school,
thinking I can’t do it and I’m tired of working,
she was the one always motivating me.
She is a first time graduate for her generation,
and he is a first time graduate for his generation.
This journey is a family affair.
They finish that journey together today
as they walk onstage together to receive their diplomas.
Ardelia Houston and Leonard Brown.
We did it!
Made it.
So proud of you.
We did it.
I’m very proud of him.
You know, it proved to me that anything can be done.
You’re a strong mother.

Feb 26, 2016 • 1min 50sec