AIU Online alumna Coralanne Griffith-Hunte is the walking representation of the Mahatma Gandhi quote, "Be the change you want to see in the world." If she sees a problem, she fixes it. If she encounters an obstacle, she overcomes it. And if she can't change something, she betters her life in spite of it.
Furthering her education was always something Coralanne wanted. However, her decision to pursue a Master of Education with a specialization in leadership of educational organizations came about because of her son. "My eldest son Carrington had a speech delay, and I couldn't find a solid program for him. I couldn't understand the verbiage and acronyms being used, and it seemed the other parents also didn't know what was going on with their kids. So I decided to learn about it," Coralanne said. "You have to be part of the solution, and the majority of solutions involve being educated."
She began her search for the right school. "I knew that being married with four children, one with a speech delay, having a busy schedule, and volunteering at my children's schools, that the traditional way of learning wasn't going to work. I began looking at various university websites, but none of them made any real impact. I was about to give up when I came across American InterContinental University."
She enrolled in classes in 2009 and brought back the lessons to the other parents. "I went to school for all of us. What I learned, I taught them."
With a packed schedule, Coralanne studied during her lunch hour and from 11 p.m. to 1 or 2 a.m. during the week. "Sundays were dedicated to education, so I would go to the early [church] service and then come home to do my schoolwork. ... It was important to me that my children saw a dedication to education. Wisdom and knowledge are transferred through generations."
Even when challenges arose, including extreme back pain, she didn't set her pursuit of her degree aside. "There were times when I was hospitalized that I still did my work, times when I couldn't move my lower extremities. But I thought, 'What else am I going to do?' I used education to keep me going."
After graduating in 2010, Coralanne was able to directly impact her local school system when she was elected president of the school board. "Under my leadership, the counsel and I amended the bylaws so no one could come into our district and use acronyms. ... We're very transparent, and the parents love that."
She was also appointed representative and advisor to the President of the Borough of Queens and held the position as the founding director of the Community Partnership Charter School. Currently, she is an education and organizational consultant in New York and the founder and CEO of The Created for Greatness Leadership Group. "I truly believe I could not have attained these paramount accomplishments had I not made that decision to attend AIU."
In the years following graduation, Coralanne's community was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, she was told she may never walk again, and was diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, she is helping rebuild her once-devastated community, is standing on her own two feet, is cancer-free, and is not letting anything hold her back. "You have to set goals, make plans, and execute. That's great if you have an idea, but if you don't execute, it's just an idea."
She is currently pursuing her doctorate in adult education and has many plans for the future. She hopes to one day open an all-boys' school and a community center, instruct teachers on new tactics for the classroom, and continue being a motivational speaker. "Look outside yourself into the community, the world, and figure out where you are needed. It's tough, but it's needed so badly," she said. "I want to transfer the positive spirit I have."
Whatever your dreams, Coralanne says, "Do it. Don't take too long figuring out why you should. We can be our own worst enemy figuring out how to fit the timing in, and we steal that time away from ourselves. Don't let your situation, age, or negative comments you've heard stop you. If you need help, seek it. ... If you want to pursue your education, do it. Deposit into yourself—people withdraw from us all the time."
Coralanne is dedicated to improving her community, inspiring those around her, and always bettering herself in an effort to benefit others. “One motto drives me, and it’s tied into everything I do: You’re not a copy, you were created for greatness.”
Interested in more AIU success stories? Read our alumni blog.
Career success will depend largely on the effort put into studies, job search efforts, experience and attitude. The experience of this alumnus is not representative of all students. This graduate story is unique and may not represent typical experiences or outcomes for our graduates.