Distinguished Alumnus

Michelle Bartlett

Hometown: Maywood, IL (Chicago area)
Degree Earned: Associate of Art in Business Administration in Information Systems; Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management.
Graduation: AABA, February 2004; BBA, April 2005

Image: AIU Graduate Michelle BartlettIn mid-May, Michelle Bartlett was flown to Chicago to receive AIU Online's fourth Distinguished Alumni Award. A panel of judges selected her based on her community involvement, academic and professional achievements and dedication to education. She has co-founded a company and is months away from earning her Ph.D.! Here, Michelle shares her story with you.

Right now, my goal is to...

...finish up my doctoral research in Educational Leadership in Higher Education with a cognate in Statistics and graduate with that degree from Clemson University in May 2009. It was while I was still at AIU Online that I realized I wanted to be a teacher. My instructors at AIU Online were so influential and motivating; I would like to have that same impact on people. I went and got my Master's degree in Human Resource Education at the University of Louisville and as soon as I was finished with that, I started a Ph.D. program. In six years I will have gone from having no college degree to having a Ph.D.

I decided to go back to school in the first place because...

...I had four small children, was a stay-at-home mom and decided I wanted to be able to make enough money to support them if I had to. I knew a college degree would be a step toward making good money. At the time my youngest was one year old and I made it a goal of mine to have my degree by the time she was in kindergarten.

My educational background is...

...high school. I made the conscious decision to start my family when I was young and thought higher education wasn't an option for me. It wasn't that I doubted my ability – I always tested well and knew I had the smarts – but never applied myself and didn't think I would have the time. When I graduated from high school, I didn't have that much confidence that, with life's interruptions, I could finish a degree in higher education.

I realized higher education was an option when...

...I saw a pop-up ad for AIU Online on the computer one day. At the time I had four young kids so the idea of being able to earn a degree on my own schedule, without leaving my house was intriguing. Once I started thinking about earning my degree, I did research traditional schools – just to make sure they really weren't an option – and saw that there was no way that would work because of the cost of having to put my four small kids in day care while I was in class. But I wouldn't need to pay for day care if I went to school online. That's when I realized I might be able to get my college degree.

I chose AIU Online because...

...it made me the most comfortable. The school is so organized. All I had to do was focus on learning and the schoolwork. I didn't have to focus on going to the bookstore and buying books, or planning my schedule, or making sure I could get into the classes I needed. When I enrolled, AIU had all that stuff ready. When a new class was about to start, I'd get the materials and books I needed in the mail. The difficulty of the programs and the depth of the classwork are just as rigorous as at a traditional school, but all the busywork that really has nothing to do with education is eliminated. AIU Online certainly wasn't the cheapest choice, but it was the one where I knew I had the greatest chance of success.

The more I learned about AIU Online, the more...

...I knew I had ended up at the right school for me. Not only did I not have to leave the kids and drive anywhere, but also the five-week sessions kept me from getting burnt out on any topic. Right when I'd be getting tired of or bored with something, it was time to move on to the next class. The accelerated schedule was hard, but definitely worth it.

The thing I am most proud of in my life is...

...having made my mom proud by accomplishing the things she always knew I had the potential to do.

I decided to get my Bachelor's degree after I graduated with my Associate degree because...

...The AIU Online instructors had been so encouraging and had really boosted my self-confidence. I started feeling school was something I could do – and do well -- and I even started enjoying it. Time management certainly wasn't easy, but as my instructors pushed me more and more, I started setting my goals higher and higher. I decided to go for my Bachelor's degree right after I had finished my Associate degree. I was in the groove and didn't want to stop.

I got my Bachelor's degree in Human Resource Management because...

...when I looked at class descriptions, the Human Resource classes best fit the kind of stuff that interested me. I didn't have a career goal in mind and going to school was kind of my hobby. I figured that if it was taking up all of my spare time, it had better be something I was interested in.

In addition to working towards my Ph.D., I'm also...

...the co-owner of a consulting organization that conducts Human Resource development and online survey research (www.hrdleader.com). My AIU Online instructors set a good example in being part of both the academic and the real worlds. Recently I presented a paper at an Academy of Human Resource Development conference and won a Best Paper Award at the 2007 College Teaching & Learning Conference.

I would never describe myself as...

...bored or alone – I've got seven kids now, so I'm never by myself!

AIU Online most surprised me...

...with how social it was. I never expected to make friends at an online school. But now, years after I've graduated, I still have friends from the school I chat with on a regular basis. We meet in Yahoo! Chat rooms; sometimes we set up web cams; sometimes we use headphones. Back in school, we did so much more than work with each other on assignments. We were huge motivators for each other. One of my AIU friends' mom passed away while we were in school, and I went through a divorce. We supported each other through it all. We'd check in with each other and email and call with words of encouragement. We're still in touch now. Our kids know each other from web cams. One of us started her own candle company. I buy all my candles from her.

When I got the call from AIU Online telling me I had won the Distinguished Alumni Award, I...

...was so excited. I had no idea. It had been a while since I had sent in my application, so I figured it was over with and someone else had won. I was focusing on moving forward. It took me totally by surprise. I'm honored to have won and I'm looking forward to going to Chicago. I've never been there before.

My AIU Online degrees helped me by...

...not only giving me measurable knowledge, but also by reviving my self-confidence and increasing my self-efficacy. It taught me I could set goals and achieve them. I absolutely know 100-percent that if it weren't for AIU Online and the structure of the University, I would not have even finished my Associate degree, much less gone on to earn a Bachelor's, Master's, and, in a year or so, a Ph.D. Having now been a student in other programs, I can say AIU really positioned me to succeed. I am not in the bottom half of my Ph.D. cohort. (A professor Michelle has worked with ranked her in the "top 2-percent of all students I have interacted with" in a letter of recommendation he sent to the Distinguished Alumni Award Committee.) I've got a completely different life because of AIU Online.

If I could do anything and not fail, I would...

...take my family to Sweden and work for a year teaching at a local university.

I actually enjoyed doing my homework at AIU Online because...

...it was such a good example for my kids. They could understand that I had a teacher just like they did and I had homework just like they did. They connected with that and could see how seriously I was taking my schoolwork. It made education important to them too. It's funny. I thought I was doing this for me, but now I see it was just as important for my kids. Their attitude about college has changed from, "if I go to college to when I go to college."

I think it is most important for AIU Online students to...

...believe in themselves and the goal of earning an AIU degree. Make choices that will lead to the goal. Achieve the goal. I just feel so strongly that it can be done, even when it seems impossible. One day, week, session, course at a time, it can be done.

- See more at: http://www.aiuniv.edu/Student-Life/Alumni/recognition/distinguished-alumni-winners/Michelle-Bartlett#sthash.fet5j9uB.dpuf

In mid-May, Michelle Bartlett was flown to Chicago to receive AIU Online's fourth Distinguished Alumni Award. A panel of judges selected her based on her community involvement, academic and professional achievements and dedication to education. She has co-founded a company and is months away from earning her Ph.D.! Here, Michelle shares her story with you.

Right now, my goal is to...

...finish up my doctoral research in Educational Leadership in Higher Education with a cognate in Statistics and graduate with that degree from Clemson University in May 2009. It was while I was still at AIU Online that I realized I wanted to be a teacher. My instructors at AIU Online were so influential and motivating; I would like to have that same impact on people. I went and got my Master's degree in Human Resource Education at the University of Louisville and as soon as I was finished with that, I started a Ph.D. program. In six years I will have gone from having no college degree to having a Ph.D.

I decided to go back to school in the first place because...

...I had four small children, was a stay-at-home mom and decided I wanted to be able to make enough money to support them if I had to. I knew a college degree would be a step toward making good money. At the time my youngest was one year old and I made it a goal of mine to have my degree by the time she was in kindergarten.

My educational background is...

...high school. I made the conscious decision to start my family when I was young and thought higher education wasn't an option for me. It wasn't that I doubted my ability – I always tested well and knew I had the smarts – but never applied myself and didn't think I would have the time. When I graduated from high school, I didn't have that much confidence that, with life's interruptions, I could finish a degree in higher education.

I realized higher education was an option when...

...I saw a pop-up ad for AIU Online on the computer one day. At the time I had four young kids so the idea of being able to earn a degree on my own schedule, without leaving my house was intriguing. Once I started thinking about earning my degree, I did research traditional schools – just to make sure they really weren't an option – and saw that there was no way that would work because of the cost of having to put my four small kids in day care while I was in class. But I wouldn't need to pay for day care if I went to school online. That's when I realized I might be able to get my college degree.

I chose AIU Online because...

...it made me the most comfortable. The school is so organized. All I had to do was focus on learning and the schoolwork. I didn't have to focus on going to the bookstore and buying books, or planning my schedule, or making sure I could get into the classes I needed. When I enrolled, AIU had all that stuff ready. When a new class was about to start, I'd get the materials and books I needed in the mail. The difficulty of the programs and the depth of the classwork are just as rigorous as at a traditional school, but all the busywork that really has nothing to do with education is eliminated. AIU Online certainly wasn't the cheapest choice, but it was the one where I knew I had the greatest chance of success.

The more I learned about AIU Online, the more...

...I knew I had ended up at the right school for me. Not only did I not have to leave the kids and drive anywhere, but also the five-week sessions kept me from getting burnt out on any topic. Right when I'd be getting tired of or bored with something, it was time to move on to the next class. The accelerated schedule was hard, but definitely worth it.

The thing I am most proud of in my life is...

...having made my mom proud by accomplishing the things she always knew I had the potential to do.

I decided to get my Bachelor's degree after I graduated with my Associate degree because...

...The AIU Online instructors had been so encouraging and had really boosted my self-confidence. I started feeling school was something I could do – and do well -- and I even started enjoying it. Time management certainly wasn't easy, but as my instructors pushed me more and more, I started setting my goals higher and higher. I decided to go for my Bachelor's degree right after I had finished my Associate degree. I was in the groove and didn't want to stop.

I got my Bachelor's degree in Human Resource Management because...

...when I looked at class descriptions, the Human Resource classes best fit the kind of stuff that interested me. I didn't have a career goal in mind and going to school was kind of my hobby. I figured that if it was taking up all of my spare time, it had better be something I was interested in.

In addition to working towards my Ph.D., I'm also...

...the co-owner of a consulting organization that conducts Human Resource development and online survey research (www.hrdleader.com). My AIU Online instructors set a good example in being part of both the academic and the real worlds. Recently I presented a paper at an Academy of Human Resource Development conference and won a Best Paper Award at the 2007 College Teaching & Learning Conference.

I would never describe myself as...

...bored or alone – I've got seven kids now, so I'm never by myself!

AIU Online most surprised me...

...with how social it was. I never expected to make friends at an online school. But now, years after I've graduated, I still have friends from the school I chat with on a regular basis. We meet in Yahoo! Chat rooms; sometimes we set up web cams; sometimes we use headphones. Back in school, we did so much more than work with each other on assignments. We were huge motivators for each other. One of my AIU friends' mom passed away while we were in school, and I went through a divorce. We supported each other through it all. We'd check in with each other and email and call with words of encouragement. We're still in touch now. Our kids know each other from web cams. One of us started her own candle company. I buy all my candles from her.

When I got the call from AIU Online telling me I had won the Distinguished Alumni Award, I...

...was so excited. I had no idea. It had been a while since I had sent in my application, so I figured it was over with and someone else had won. I was focusing on moving forward. It took me totally by surprise. I'm honored to have won and I'm looking forward to going to Chicago. I've never been there before.

My AIU Online degrees helped me by...

...not only giving me measurable knowledge, but also by reviving my self-confidence and increasing my self-efficacy. It taught me I could set goals and achieve them. I absolutely know 100-percent that if it weren't for AIU Online and the structure of the University, I would not have even finished my Associate degree, much less gone on to earn a Bachelor's, Master's, and, in a year or so, a Ph.D. Having now been a student in other programs, I can say AIU really positioned me to succeed. I am not in the bottom half of my Ph.D. cohort. (A professor Michelle has worked with ranked her in the "top 2-percent of all students I have interacted with" in a letter of recommendation he sent to the Distinguished Alumni Award Committee.) I've got a completely different life because of AIU Online.

If I could do anything and not fail, I would...

...take my family to Sweden and work for a year teaching at a local university.

I actually enjoyed doing my homework at AIU Online because...

...it was such a good example for my kids. They could understand that I had a teacher just like they did and I had homework just like they did. They connected with that and could see how seriously I was taking my schoolwork. It made education important to them too. It's funny. I thought I was doing this for me, but now I see it was just as important for my kids. Their attitude about college has changed from, "if I go to college to when I go to college."

I think it is most important for AIU Online students to...

...believe in themselves and the goal of earning an AIU degree. Make choices that will lead to the goal. Achieve the goal. I just feel so strongly that it can be done, even when it seems impossible. One day, week, session, course at a time, it can be done.

- See more at: http://www.aiuniv.edu/Student-Life/Alumni/recognition/distinguished-alumni-winners/Michelle-Bartlett#sthash.fet5j9uB.dpuf

Michelle BartlettIn mid-May, Michelle Bartlett was flown to Chicago to receive AIU Online's fourth Distinguished Alumni Award. A panel of judges selected her based on her community involvement, academic and professional achievements and dedication to education. She has co-founded a company and is months away from earning her Ph.D.! Here, Michelle shares her story with you.

Right now, my goal is to...

...finish up my doctoral research in Educational Leadership in Higher Education with a cognate in Statistics and graduate with that degree from Clemson University in May 2009. It was while I was still at AIU Online that I realized I wanted to be a teacher. My instructors at AIU Online were so influential and motivating; I would like to have that same impact on people. I went and got my Master's degree in Human Resource Education at the University of Louisville and as soon as I was finished with that, I started a Ph.D. program. In six years I will have gone from having no college degree to having a Ph.D.

I decided to go back to school in the first place because...

...I had four small children, was a stay-at-home mom and decided I wanted to be able to make enough money to support them if I had to. I knew a college degree would be a step toward making good money. At the time my youngest was one year old and I made it a goal of mine to have my degree by the time she was in kindergarten.

My educational background is...

...high school. I made the conscious decision to start my family when I was young and thought higher education wasn't an option for me. It wasn't that I doubted my ability – I always tested well and knew I had the smarts – but never applied myself and didn't think I would have the time. When I graduated from high school, I didn't have that much confidence that, with life's interruptions, I could finish a degree in higher education.

I realized higher education was an option when...

...I saw a pop-up ad for AIU Online on the computer one day. At the time I had four young kids so the idea of being able to earn a degree on my own schedule, without leaving my house was intriguing. Once I started thinking about earning my degree, I did research traditional schools – just to make sure they really weren't an option – and saw that there was no way that would work because of the cost of having to put my four small kids in day care while I was in class. But I wouldn't need to pay for day care if I went to school online. That's when I realized I might be able to get my college degree.

I chose AIU Online because...

...it made me the most comfortable. The school is so organized. All I had to do was focus on learning and the schoolwork. I didn't have to focus on going to the bookstore and buying books, or planning my schedule, or making sure I could get into the classes I needed. When I enrolled, AIU had all that stuff ready. When a new class was about to start, I'd get the materials and books I needed in the mail. The difficulty of the programs and the depth of the classwork are just as rigorous as at a traditional school, but all the busywork that really has nothing to do with education is eliminated. AIU Online certainly wasn't the cheapest choice, but it was the one where I knew I had the greatest chance of success.

The more I learned about AIU Online, the more...

...I knew I had ended up at the right school for me. Not only did I not have to leave the kids and drive anywhere, but also the five-week sessions kept me from getting burnt out on any topic. Right when I'd be getting tired of or bored with something, it was time to move on to the next class. The accelerated schedule was hard, but definitely worth it.

The thing I am most proud of in my life is...

...having made my mom proud by accomplishing the things she always knew I had the potential to do.

I got my Bacelor's degree in Human Resource Management because...

...when I looked at class descriptions, the Human Resource classes best fit the kind of stuff that interested me. I didn't have a career goal in mind and going to school was kind of my hobby. I figured that if it was taking up all of my spare time, it had better be something I was interested in.

In addition to working towards my Ph.D., I'm also...

...the co-owner of a consulting organization that conducts Human Resource development and online survey research (www.hrdleader.com). My AIU Online instructors set a good example in being part of both the academic and the real worlds. Recently I presented a paper at an Academy of Human Resource Development conference and won a Best Paper Award at the 2007 College Teaching & Learning Conference.

I would never describe myself as...

...bored or alone – I've got seven kids now, so I'm never by myself!

AIU Online most surprised me...

...with how social it was. I never expected to make friends at an online school. But now, years after I've graduated, I still have friends from the school I chat with on a regular basis. We meet in Yahoo! Chat rooms; sometimes we set up web cams; sometimes we use headphones. Back in school, we did so much more than work with each other on assignments. We were huge motivators for each other. One of my AIU friends' mom passed away while we were in school, and I went through a divorce. We supported each other through it all. We'd check in with each other and email and call with words of encouragement. We're still in touch now. Our kids know each other from web cams. One of us started her own candle company. I buy all my candles from her.

When I got the call from AIU Online telling me I had won the Distinguished Alumni Award, I...

...was so excited. I had no idea. It had been a while since I had sent in my application, so I figured it was over with and someone else had won. I was focusing on moving forward. It took me totally by surprise. I'm honored to have won and I'm looking forward to going to Chicago. I've never been there before.

My AIU Online degrees helped me by...

...not only giving me measurable knowledge, but also by reviving my self-confidence and increasing my self-efficacy. It taught me I could set goals and achieve them. I absolutely know 100-percent that if it weren't for AIU Online and the structure of the University, I would not have even finished my Associate degree, much less gone on to earn a Bachelor's, Master's, and, in a year or so, a Ph.D. Having now been a student in other programs, I can say AIU really positioned me to succeed. I am not in the bottom half of my Ph.D. cohort. (A professor Michelle has worked with ranked her in the "top 2-percent of all students I have interacted with" in a letter of recommendation he sent to the Distinguished Alumni Award Committee.) I've got a completely different life because of AIU Online.

If I could do anything and not fail, I would...

...take my family to Sweden and work for a year teaching at a local university.

I actually enjoyed doing my homework at AIU Online because...

...it was such a good example for my kids. They could understand that I had a teacher just like they did and I had homework just like they did. They connected with that and could see how seriously I was taking my schoolwork. It made education important to them too. It's funny. I thought I was doing this for me, but now I see it was just as important for my kids. Their attitude about college has changed from, "if I go to college to when I go to college."

I think it is most important for AIU Online students to...

...believe in themselves and the goal of earning an AIU degree. Make choices that will lead to the goal. Achieve the goal. I just feel so strongly that it can be done, even when it seems impossible. One day, week, session, course at a time, it can be done.

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