Emily Jarvis spent years watching from the sidelines as colleagues and friends struggled with their career paths. Driven by a desire to help them and others facing similar dilemmas, the Southern California native made the decision to return to school as an adult.
“I realized that pursuing a bachelor’s degree in human resources would equip me with the necessary tools to encourage and help others to reach their full potential,” Jarvis says.
Jarvis discovered Ashford University* when she came across an article on Yahoo.com that listed the school as a top online university. Unsure of the commitment it would require, she reached out to an advisor and was met with reassurance.
“The staff really eased my fears and addressed my concerns,” she says. “And the class structure agreed with my schedule.”
While pursuing her degree, Jarvis’s calendar would become increasingly busier as she planned a wedding, got married, and gave birth to a son (now age 2), all while continuing to work.
“One memory I have is being stuck in the hospital for two days while I was waiting for my son to be born and working on my homework for a finance class,” she recalls. “It was extremely difficult to get through the whole experience, especially with a newborn and then a toddler, but by the grace of God and a lot of support from my family, I was able to get through my programs.”
For some, these life events coupled with school would be more than enough to juggle, but Jarvis’s aspirations motivated her to explore opportunities to help her classmates while also developing her own skills.
In addition to participating in a variety of online activities including Ashford’s CHAMPS peer mentoring program, and membership in the Golden Key International Honour Society and Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society, she also was an active member of multiple online clubs and even served as events coordinator for the Human Resource Management club, which has since merged with the University’s Society for Human Resource Management chapter. In this role, she organized planning meetings, helped prep guest speakers for the monthly virtual meetings, and increased engagement on the club’s LinkedIn group page.
“I really enjoyed the process of helping enrich my fellow students’ educational experience,” she says. “I’m excited to share my experience with others so I can encourage them to pursue their own dreams.”
Jarvis also was on the receiving end of such altruism when she turned to Career Services for guidance. Inspired by her experiences while working on her resume and LinkedIn pages, she has since launched a consulting firm to help individuals perfect their resumes and offer other job search-related services, all while continuing in her current role as a bookkeeper for a home restoration company. She plans to pursue additional professional certifications through organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management.
Jarvis says she has developed a more focused idea of where she would like to take her career, thanks to the support of faculty she has worked with during her time at Ashford, including Dr. Alan Swank, Dr. Leah Westerman, Dr. Lora Reed, and Dr. Marvee Marr.
In fact, it was Reed who encouraged Jarvis to work on a paper for her senior Capstone course that ultimately would earn her a Senior Project Scholarship from the Forbes School of Business & Technology. The focus of the project was to explore the concerns of 9-1-1 call center workers and present research on how they can reduce high levels of occupational stress. Jarvis used the scholarship award to complete her Master of Arts in Organizational Management degree in 2018.
“The online learning experience can become hands on, and there are faculty who are completely supportive of their students,” she notes. “I’m really impressed by the way Ashford strives to foster a connection between students, staff, and instructors. Thanks to them, I feel more confident to step out of my comfort zone and try new career paths. Earning my degree has spoken to every aspect of my life.”
* Ashford University is now the University of Arizona Global Campus