Dream It and Do It: Carl Clemons Encourages Argosy University Students to Follow His Lead
Carl Clemons believes in big dreams—for others and for himself.
As an Admissions Representative at Argosy University, Online Programs in Pittsburgh, Clemons supports and mentors students—and prospective students—through the process of earning their college degrees.
As an actor with more than 30 television and film credits—including The Wire and the upcoming mini-series, Escape from Dannemora, directed by Ben Stiller and starring Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette—he actively auditions, hoping for that big break.
As a father, he’s committed to teaching his six-year-old daughter that education matters—and has set an example for her by completing his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Argosy University, Online Programs in 2017. He has two classes to complete before finishing his Master of Business Administration degree at Argosy University, Online Programs with a concentration in Organizational Leadership.
“One thing I know for sure is that turning a dream into reality requires determination and persistence,” says Clemons. “I grew up poor and without a father in one of Pittsburgh’s toughest neighborhoods. In high school, my focus was more on survival than on getting a good education. I lost friends to gang violence and saw others go to prison. I’ve seen too many people give up or lose their way. But I was lucky to have a strong mother and grandmother who both loved me and taught me to dream and work hard. I know that creating a successful life isn’t always easy, but I also know it’s possible.”
For Clemons, acting has always been a passion. But after a co-worker at a bank told him about an opening at Argosy University seven years ago, he landed a job as a Success Advisor.
“I had no prior college experience, but I had a passion for helping people plan and problem solve so they could take the next steps in their careers,” Clemons explains. “When my daughter was born, I realized it was time to take the next step in mine. If I was going to talk about it, I needed to be about it! I earned my associates degree, then my bachelors, and now I’m almost finished with my master’s program.”
Clemons says the demands of juggling his work, family, classes and acting gigs has provided a perspective that helps him better relate to the students he advises.
“I totally understand the challenges students face because I’m right there with them,” he says. “I know what it’s like to struggle to find that balance between work, family and school. It’s not easy. Sometimes, it’s not even possible. But there’s almost always a way to figure it out and keep moving in the right direction.”
What makes his work so energizing, Clemons says, is working with a wide variety of students.
“There’s never a dull moment,” he says. “Every day—and every student—is different. One minute I’m a cheerleader, providing moral support to a freshman who’s lost her job and wants to quit school. An hour later, I’m calling a prospective student who’s expressed interest in one of our degree programs. Later that day, I’m troubleshooting and talking someone through a timetable for completing their doctorate.”
Since all of his students are enrolled in online degree programs, Clemons counsels people all over the United States by phone from his Pittsburgh office.
“I’m on the phone nearly all day, every day,” Clemons says. “It would probably drive some people crazy, but I love the process of helping people commit to a goal and work toward achieving it. The students I work with know I understand what it’s like to sometimes second-guess yourself or wonder if it’s all worth the effort.”
Now that Clemons is only two classes shy of completing his master’s program, he says he’s come to appreciate what a perfect fit his work as a Success Advisor and Admissions Representative have been.
“There’s an added reason I like what I do so much,” he says. “I help provide the support for students to begin or continue their college education, and they’ve provided the inspiration to me to complete mine.” ###