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Online Education | Getting an Online Degree | June 2012

Project Working Dad: Three Extraordinary Dads Complete Education Online

By Taylor Cotter | Staff

Two years ago, Ashford University awarded three amazing working fathers a scholarship to pursue a degree online. Now, Paul Bell, Terry Satchell and Richard Shields have been able to make huge strides in their careers and have inspired their children to seek out higher education. This Father’s Day, we profile these three great dads and commend their choice to pursue online higher ed!

Paul Bell, Chuluota, Fla.

Paul Bell

In 2010, Paul Bell, a 44-year-old full-time father of two, was awarded an Ashford University scholarship for his essay on higher education aspirations. His entry was selected from more than 6,000 Ashford University applicants as part of the 'Project Working Mom...and Dads Too!' scholarship program.

Today, having completed his bachelor of arts in finance, Paul strives to instill the same work ethic and commitment to education in his children, inspiring them to never give up on their dreams.

Prior to attending the university, Paul owned a successful commercial brokerage business but was forced into bankruptcy by the collapse of the Florida real estate market. He decided to pursue a degree to increase his chances of employment and show his children the importance of education. The convenience and flexibility of his online degree from Ashford University enabled Paul to continue working several jobs at a time, while fully supporting his son and daughter.

"My kids have realized through my going to school that they can also achieve a degree with hard work and persistence," wrote Paul in his winning essay. "My daughter talks about the lessons I have taught her and how she admires me going back to school. It brings tears to my eyes and shows me that my children watch my actions more than they listen to my words."

Both of Paul's children are currently looking to pursue higher education, with Paul's daughter striving for both academic and soccer scholarships.

Terry Satchell, Easton, Md.

Two years ago, Terry Satchell’s essay on the importance of a graduate degree, also won the 47-year-old father of two a "Project Working Mom…and Dads Too!" scholarship to Ashford University.

Terry Satchell

Today, having completed his master’s in healthcare administration, Terry strives to instill the same work ethic and commitment to excellence in his children, enabling them to reach for the seemingly impossible.

Raised by a single mom after his father’s death, Terry, the youngest of five, knows the importance of being a role model. As a devoted family man, hospital EMS educator, active participant in his children’s sports programs and volunteer for a local drug and alcohol awareness program, Terry pursued an online degree for convenience and flexibility.

“With an online program, I could complete work in the evenings after the boys are in bed and on the weekends,” wrote Terry in his winning essay. “I could continue to work full-time and provide the income that our family required.”

Richard Shields, Longmont, Colo.

Two years ago, Richard Shields, a 36-year-old father of six, was also awarded an Ashford University scholarship. Today, having completed his bachelor’s degree in social science and education, Richard strives to "live a life worthy of a young person's admiration" and instill the same work ethic in his children.

Growing up, Richard aspired to be a hero in the traditional sense. After several years in law enforcement, he accepted an opportunity to coach his oldest son's soccer team, which proved to be the turning point of his life. Spending time on the field with his son, Richard felt a sense of pride and passion that he had never before experienced, even as a police officer.

"I had been told I have an affinity for teaching, especially children and young adults," wrote Richard in his winning essay. "I loved what I was doing. My wife suggested I return to school to become a teacher and a coach but, as many experienced, working and going to school full-time can be a challenge. An online education was my only option for ongoing education and I am thankful for its existence."

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