Ten years ago, when Stacey Metzler finished up her undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences at a different college, she moved from Texas to California to pursue a career in biotechnology and healthcare. Her first job was a perfect fit for this animal lover – a laboratory tech at the San Diego Zoo. However, once she received her state licensure, Stacey moved on to work with humans, eventually finding her niche in oncology as a Senior Clinical Laboratory Scientist.

“I work for one of the largest cancer diagnostics and informatics companies in the world, saving the lives of cancer patients, NeoGenomics Laboratories, where I have been provided ample opportunities for growth and development,” she says.

Now living in Encinitas with her husband, two-year-old daughter, Scarlett, and a rescue dog named Luna, Stacey decided it was time to make use of some of the generous perks her work offered, so she could move into more leadership positions in her career. She completed a Leadership Development Series and in January 2020, decided to enroll at Ashford* to pursue her Master of Arts in Psychology.

“I want to utilize increased knowledge in psychology to better understand people; the way they think, act, and what motivates them,” Stacey explains. “With this understanding, I can grow into a more capable and effective leader at my organization.”

Although it had been a decade since she was last in school, Stacey knew grad school would be in her future. 

“Pursuing a degree in higher education has always been a dream of mine since I graduated college a decade ago,” she says. “However, the timing was never quite right. Before expanding our family even more, I wanted to ensure that I went after that goal and prioritized my career aspirations.”

Fortunately for Stacey, her employer has partnered with Ashford to offer a full-tuition grant, and she found the application and enrollment process to be seamless and straightforward. Stacy says she selected Ashford not only because of how easy the process was but also for its “plethora of resources and tools accessible for success, the accelerated courses, and the caliber of the instructors.”

In no time at all, Stacey was on her way to earning her graduate degree in psychology. 

“My experience has been wonderful,” she says. “The instructors are available and incredibly communicative whenever there are questions or clarifications needed. The assignment and discussion instructions are thorough, and the grading criteria is clearly laid out. Plus, the instructors are knowledgeable about the coursework, and all have great attitudes to ensure our success in learning.”

For Stacey, one of the most surprising aspects of attending school online was how close she has grown to her peers, despite everyone living in different parts of the country. 

“I thought with online learning, there would be too many people in the courses to really get to know, but there is the encouragement to get to know new people,” she says. “I feel a sense of responsibility to ensure I participate to the fullest so that everyone receives a quality education and feels the same sense of camaraderie that I feel.”

She’s a member of the University of Arizona Global Campus Psych Club on LinkedIn and hopes her good grades allow her to participate in honor societies. Regarding the relationships she’s already created, Stacey says she feels deeply connected to them by telling of their aspirations, experiences, and discussions. 

“It is a very respectful environment, and I am delighted at how many adult learners have the same amount of passion as me to ‘learn for the sake of learning,’ and truly participate,” she adds.

Set to graduate in June 2021, Stacey is more than halfway through her educational journey and feels she’s already applying lessons from her coursework into her personal and professional life. 

“I have been telling other people that I actually am retaining and utilizing more knowledge gained from my online courses than I ever did in the brick-and-mortar sessions,” she notes.

Acknowledging it can be hard work balancing a full-time career, school, and raising a toddler, Stacey hopes her efforts will one day inspire her daughter.  

“She’s only two now, but I always want to exemplify a woman who pursues her goals and can really have it all – career, family, and education – by working hard and staying focused and positive,” she says. “Anything is possible!”


Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.

*Ashford University is now the University of Arizona Global Campus

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