Justin Wilmeth, BA Political Science
As Justin Wilmeth walked across the stage of Arizona State University's Wells Fargo Arena to receive his diploma, he couldn’t get over the shock of actually being at his college graduation. A graduation he was certain would never come. After leaving college in his early 20’s, Wilmeth entered the working world and managed to scrape together several solid jobs. However, as Justin approached his 30’s everything was different, and he finally became serious about finishing college. After deciding to go back to school, Justin started ASU Online in fall of 2010. During his three years at ASU, Justin, like many online students, had to balance class with both work and his home life where he set aside time for his wife and children. However with a desire to complete his degree, Justin faced these challenges head on and achieved something he once thought impossible. Said Wilmeth, "I cannot begin to express my love and appreciation for what ASU means to me. This school, and its visionary approach to college education, has made it possible for a guy like me – who once thought a bachelor’s degree was simply out of reach forever – to finally ascend to that summit and know a brighter future is now within reach."
Edlih Gallardo, BA Liberal Studies
When the housing bubble burst, and Edlih Gallardo was laid off from her job working for a real estate title insurance company, she didn’t have a Plan B. As a mom of three boys, Edlih quickly realized that her best bet was to finish her college degree as quickly as she could. After doing some research, Edlih chose ASU Online because it gave her the flexibility to be home with her sons while, at the same time, giving her the opportunities one can expect from a traditional university, such as ASU's study abroad program. With the support of her family and scholarships to help cover the financial aspect of the program, Edlih was able to participate in a 4-week study abroad program in Cluj, Romania. While it was difficult to be away from her family, Edlih says that watching her become a scholarship recipient motivated her sons to pursue the same opportunities. “They are so proud of me for getting the scholarship and studying in Romania,” says Gallardo of her sons Armando (14), Antonio (12) and Diego (11). But as much as Gallardo inspires her sons, she is even more inspired by her children. “They are my inspiration and my drive. Of course, there is no way I could have done anything – manage school, plan for study abroad, etc. – without the help and encouragement of my husband.”