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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.”  ###

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Argosy University, Online Programs Psychology Graduate Rebecca Bailey Beats the Odds to Survive—and Thrive


It was the summer in 2012, and Rebecca Bailey knew something was terribly wrong.

Bailey, who worked in a group home providing care for the mentally challenged, had been experiencing excruciating headaches, tremors, memory loss, and incontinence. “I was gradually losing control of my body and I didn’t know why,” she recalls. “There were days when I could barely hold my head up. I looked like a bobblehead doll.”

One night, after dropping a full pan of spaghetti on the kitchen floor, Bailey was rushed to the hospital. Doctors diagnosed a birth defect in her brain stem and performed emergency surgery, removing fluid on her brain and correcting a life-threatening blockage

“Most people make it through life without ever seeing pictures of their brains,” says Bailey, now 46. “But within a period of a few months, I saw dozens of photos of mine—everything from x-rays to brains scans and MRI images.”

As she recovered from the surgery, Bailey had plenty of time to reflect on her life—and on all of the things she wished were different. She felt like she was being given a second chance, and she was determined to make it count.

“It occurred to me that I had a pretty resilient brain,” says Bailey, who lives in Elwood City, Pennsylvania. “After racking up $110,000 in medical bills, I remember thinking it was time to see how far my expensive brain could take me.”

Motivated by a desire to better understand some of the things that have happened in her life—and her reactions to them—she decided to return to college after 20 years to pursue her degree in Psychology at Argosy University.

“I wanted to earn a degree that would allow me to improve my own life—and to help others improve theirs,” she explains. “I’ve experienced a lot of pain and seen a lot of destruction in my life. I have family members who have struggled with everything from alcoholism to heroin addiction. I spent years hiding my son from his father, who had serious substance abuse issues. Two of my son’s childhood friends and a family member have died from opioid addiction Deciding to go back to college gave me a sense of hope at a time when hope was in short supply.”

Bailey was accepted into the Psychology program at Argosy University, Online Programs and started classes in December of 2014.

“At first, I was intimidated,” she remembers. “My computer skills were pretty much nonexistent, and it had been a long time since I first attended college. I was also working full time during my first year at Argosy. But I had a strong desire to improve my life. I enrolled in the online program because I wanted plenty of flexibility. It took a while to develop good study habits and learn how to keep distractions to a minimum.”

Bailey was on track and thriving when, in May of 2016, she received another jarring health diagnosis: breast cancer. A lumpectomy, radiation, and chemotherapy followed, as did an infection in her lymph nodes. Bailey says the moral support she received throughout the ordeal from her Argosy success advisor, Jennifer Rauch, and her financial aid counselor, Morgan Gilbert, lifted her spirits and reminded her to stay focused on the future.

“When I began the online program, I was concerned that I’d feel isolated and alone,” says Bailey. “But Jennifer was always there for me, especially when I was dealing with my cancer diagnosis. She had been my success advisor for two and a half years at that point, but we didn’t actually meet face to face until we had lunch in Pittsburgh the day of my first chemo treatment. She listened as I cried, and she encouraged me to take advantage of Argosy’s counseling services. I also got to meet Morgan, who helped provide a real sense of comfort throughout the chaos. The treatment took a lot out of me, and Morgan reminded me how strong I really was.”

Bailey says her faith and the support of her three children (Collin, Will and Jordyn) kept her motivated to stay focused on her education. In December, 2017, Bailey earned her BA in Psychology (with a concentration in Substance Abuse)—with a 3.7 GPA. She just landed a job in insurance sales and will continue volunteering through her church, providing support services to the homeless. With the help of her degree, Bailey also has a paid internship lined up at Beckley Comprehensive Treatment Center in Beaver, West Virginia. She will be coached on how to help individuals overcome substance dependency, as well as how to conduct group and individual counseling there. 

Bailey recently spoke in front of the Argosy University, Online Programs staff in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She shared her story told here, and delivered a heartfelt 'thank you' to her personal Argosy University, Online Programs advisor's who were in the room. She brought everyone in the room to tears, as well as displayed a real-life example of an online student with her story, hurdles, tragedy, and current successes. She showed a real purpose and live motivation for what Argosy advisors do daily. 

“I feel like the past six years have really tested me—and I passed,” says Bailey. “If I can make it through everything that’s happened in my life so far, I feel like I’m ready for anything.” ###

Pictured: Rebecca with her advisors and Rebecca speaking at Argosy University, Online Programs on 2/1/18.

See for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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


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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