A Dad, a Daughter, and the Pursuit of a College Degree

Being a dad is many things. A master swaddler, an all-night champ, good cop (or bad cop), a freeze-dance expert, storybook reader and for many – a student. This is the case for new father, Alex Lewis, who decided to head back to school just months before his daughter was born.

Lewis, 26, is pursuing his degree in art history through ASU Online as part of the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. In partnership with ASU, the program offers tuition reimbursement for all benefits eligible Starbucks partners (employees). A Seattle native, Lewis started working at Starbucks in 2010.

“I’ve been thinking for some time about going back to school,” Lewis said. “I knew I wanted to complete my degree before my daughter gets older.”

Online Learning and Flexibility

Given his work schedule and new role as a dad, a traditional four-year institution was not the right fit for Lewis. He needed the flexibility that ASU Online provides and the financial assistance provided by the College Achievement Plan to finally take the plunge and ensure he’s set up for success.

“I’ve tried to go to community college multiple times, but didn’t make it more than half a year,” he said. “Going to school online has been a huge help. I feel like I can really be successful this time around.”

Lewis currently works two days a week at Starbucks, and is able to spend the remaining time with his daughter and complete his coursework. With the support of his wife, Lewis has come up with strategies to juggle being a dad, a student and part-time employee.

“When my daughter is napping, I take that time to get my schoolwork done. With ASU, I can log on and go through the course material at my own pace from anywhere,” Lewis said. “I’ve even created a desk space in her room where I can study and complete my coursework.”

Lewis is not alone as he balances work, life and being a dad. Less than a third of U.S. undergraduates are ‘traditional’ students in the sense that they are enrolled full-time at a four-year residential college. Further, a recent study from the National Center for Education Statistics found that 62 percent of students work either full or part time and 28 percent have at least one dependent. Today’s students are increasingly “non-traditional” and likely to be moms and dads themselves, but are no less passionate about earning a degree.

Man working on a laptop in office

For Lewis, his four-month old daughter spurred his decision to pursue his degree online. He and his wife, who is also an ASU Online student, both see their degrees as a launching pad. “I’ve just started looking at career options and feel that with my degree, I will be better positioned as I start to pursue a job in my field. Now there is a world of opportunity.”

Alex Lewis lives in the Seattle area with his wife and 4-month old daughter. He’s currently earning his degree in Art History at ASU Online while working at Starbucks.

For more information on ASU Online’s more than 150 programs, visit our degrees page.

For information on the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, visit starbucks.asu.edu.

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