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Overcoming Obstacles: Argosy University’s Stephanie Mrosek Leads by Example

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Stephanie Mrosek knows what it feels like to struggle.

She also knows what it feels like to succeed.

Six years ago, Mrosek, then 22, left a bartending job in Puerto Rico to move to Florida. But things didn’t go quite as planned. Within a year, she found herself in an abusive relationship, unemployed—and pregnant.

“I knew that getting an education was my only hope for improving my life, but fear and procrastination really got in my way,” Mrosek remembers. “I was also in default on previous student loans and had very little money, so I didn’t see a way out. I kept telling myself that the time just wasn’t right. But I also knew that every day I waited to start making my life better was a day wasted. I finally decided I was willing to do whatever it took to make it happen.”

That’s exactly what she did. Mrosek moved to Pennsylvania to be closer to family and enrolled at Argosy University. With transfer credits, she completed her BA in Criminal Justice (with a concentration in management and security management) in just two years. She graduated from the online program in 2015.

“I wanted to become a probation officer so I could encourage kids to stay in school and make a better life for themselves, no matter where they come from,” says Mrosek. “I really believe we each possess the power to change our lives. No one has to become a statistic.”

As it turned out, Mrosek didn’t need to become a probation officer to encourage students to excel. While completing her degree, she became an admissions representative at Argosy.

“When I applied for the job, I didn’t even know the position was at Argosy,” she says. “After I interviewed and they told me I was hired, I remember thinking it was the perfect place for me. I could relate to the students and all the challenges they face, because I’ve been there.”

After three years in admissions, Mrosek became a financial counselor at Argosy, helping students pursue financial aid, identify scholarship opportunities, and establish financial plans that make it possible for them to earn their degrees.

When Mrosek completed her BA, she says she became “obsessed” with the idea of earning a graduate degree.

“As busy as I was with work and raising my daughter, school provided an extra challenge that really energized me,” she says. “It also gave me an added sense of power, control, and accomplishment. I wanted to see how far I could go.”

She decided to pursue an advanced degree, and in July, Mrosek earned her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at Argosy. She hopes to use her degree in a management position at the university. In the meantime, she’ll continue counseling students—and sharing her story whenever she thinks it might help a student conquer his or her self-doubt.

“It’s easy to feel isolated and alone when we’re struggling,” says Mrosek. “I’ve learned that you can either break down or break out. Someone once told me that your life is like a vase. When it gets broken, you have a choice to either let it stay broken or glue the pieces back together and make it whole again.”

Mrosek says the past six years have taught her that life is all about growth and change.

“There was a time, not that long ago, when my future didn’t look so bright,” Mrosek says. “But in six years, I’ve earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. I have a job I love, helping people pursue their own dreams. I’m in a wonderful relationship with a supportive man and have a second child. I’m proof that where you start doesn’t have to be where you finish. You are not your past.” ###

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After Earning His Doctorate, Sessa’s Career Went to the Dogs

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If you don’t believe the old adage “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans,” just ask Dr. John Sessa.

Four years ago, Sessa was operating a thriving consulting business and working with a Florida company that was converting used cooking oil from Malaysia into biofuel. He had just begun his doctoral program in Business Administration at Argosy University and was planning to continue advising start-up and mid-size business clients upon graduation.

But when his former fiancé introduced him to philanthropist, entrepreneur, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Vanderpump Rules” television star Lisa Vanderpump and her husband, Ken Todd, a fast friendship developed—and so did an unexpected career pivot that surprised even Sessa.

Today, he is executive director of The Vanderpump Dog Foundation, a Southern California non-profit dedicated to creating a more humane world for dogs everywhere. The organization recently opened a 6,500-square foot, neon pink Los Angeles rescue center that offers retail, food, grooming services, a dog café and an adoption facility. All profits are used to support the Foundation’s mission.

Rescuing and placing dogs from kill shelters, they placed 40 dogs for adoption in its first full month of operation—including one lucky dog who went from living in a small cage in a kill shelter to a life of luxury, roaming the 1.5 acre yard on a Beverly Hills estate.

Sessa is also co-founder and chief operating officer of Vanderpump Pets, which produces a line of premium pet accessories sold at select Petco locations and boutiques throughout the United States.

While his high-profile career is thriving today, Sessa remembers a time not that long ago when he was convinced that earning his doctorate was the only way to elevate his career to the next level.

“I was often in meetings where I was the youngest person by 20 years,” Sessa remembers. “I also look younger than I am, so when I met prospective clients or associates, I could always sense they were wondering ‘Who’s the kid?’ I knew I that in order to be taken seriously and establish the career I envisioned, I was either going to have age really fast or get my doctorate.”

Sessa, who earned his M.B.A. in International Business from South University, applied to several universities, but ultimately chose Argosy because it felt like the best fit.

“The admissions team and the advisor I was assigned were all so accommodating and easy to work with,” says Sessa. “The entire application, financial aid and enrollment process only took about three weeks. Before I knew it, I was beginning my classes, which was great because I was really motivated to get started.”

He was also ready to finish as quickly as possible. Sessa, who was planning to concentrate on global finance and business, set an ambitious target date for graduation.

“When my advisor told me the dissertation process typically takes a year and a half or even two years, the overachiever in me was thinking, ‘I’ll have mine done in seven to eight months.’” Sessa recalls. “I knew when I wanted to graduate and what I’d need to do in order to make it happen.”

Sessa ended up completing his dissertation in eight and half months and graduating by his declared date, but he says earning his doctorate was not without its challenges.

“I was working full time, so I had to consciously make time to study,” says Sessa. “There were plenty of Sundays when I would spend 15 hours studying while my friends were out drinking mimosas, but the effort and sacrifice were absolutely worth it.”

Sessa says that while some people look at a doctorate in terms of how much more money they might earn once they have one, he came to see the value of the degree in a broader context.

“The process of earning my doctorate gave me a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence that have been every bit as valuable as anything I learned in any class,” Sessa says. “It’s done more than enhance my career. It’s enhanced my life.”

Sessa says he’s always been self-motivated, thanks to the discipline he developed as a competitive swimmer.

“I competed from ages 10 to 21, and swimming taught me a lot about focus, determination, and finishing whatever I start,” Sessa says. “When you’re halfway across the pool, you have to push yourself to finish the race and touch that wall, no matter how well you’re doing or how you happen to be feeling at that moment.”

The son of a steel mill worker and a teacher’s aide, Sessa grew up on an Indiana farm.

“As much as I love my parents and my childhood, I wanted different things,” says Sessa. “I knew if I wanted to get off the farm and get out of Indiana, education would be my ticket. I worked as model during my twenties, but I always knew it was a career that would only last so long. I valued education because it’s something you have forever, something no one can ever take away.”

While Sessa had no clue he’d end up in a career where he would be advocating for the well-being of animals, he says it feels like his life has come full circle.

“As a farm kid from the Midwest who grew up loving and having empathy for animals, I pinch myself that I get to do work I’m passionate about,” Sessa says. “If someone had told me even five years ago that I’d travel to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress in support of a resolution my partners and I drafted with Congressional allies to condemn the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, I would never have believed them,” says Sessa. “I also never imagined that I’d travel to China to rescue animals and co-write and direct a documentary like The Road to Yulin: and Beyond. The twists and turns my career—and my life—have taken in the past few years continue to amaze me.”

Sessa believes that while no one can save the world singlehandedly, everyone can do something.

“I feel like it’s a privilege to do work that matters,” he says. “When I look at the faces of the dogs we rescue—and the faces of the people who adopt them—I know we’re helping make the world a better place.” ###

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Trends in Education 2017: Online Business Degrees

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According to US News and World Report , the number of students choosing to take some—or all—of their courses online is increasing. The publication predicts that this year, one of the big trends in online education will include degree offerings in “surprising and specialized disciplines.” This includes programs in business.


At Argosy University, Online Programs, we offer online business programs—and more—in a community online classroom setting that allows you to earn a degree on your schedule.


You may earn a Doctor of Business Administration, Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, or an Associate of Science in Business Administration .


The business degree job outlook seems positive over the next few years as well. According to the United States Department of Labor, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook lists business and financial management jobs as one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy. Through 2024, there’s expected to be a 14% increase in the number of positions that need to be filled—that’s an increase in 103,400 jobs.


And having a business degree can help you to transition into this growing marketplace. The convenience of online learning allows you to build your education even as you work a full-time job or care for family members.


Want to learn more about how you can begin your educational journey with Argosy University? Visit our webpage of online programs, then contact an admissions representative to get the process moving. 



Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Argosy University, 2233 West Dunlap Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021 © 2017 Argosy University. All rights reserved. Our email address is materialsreview@argosy.edu.
See auprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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