College of Health Solutions graduate balanced taking care of family with pursuing her dreams


December 7, 2022

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2022 graduates.

Brandy Schooley’s journey to Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions started while she was studying nursing at Glendale Community College. College of Health Solutions graduate Brandy Schooley Brandy Schooley graduates from the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in health sciences with a certificate in health and wellness coaching. Download Full Image

After finishing her prerequisites, she decided to get a certified nursing assistant license while waiting to complete her studies. Her experience as a nursing assistant helped her realize that while she still wanted to impact people’s lives in the areas of health and wellness, it wouldn’t be as a nurse.

“I needed to change majors,” Schooley said. “I had no idea what I was going to do. I talked with an advisor at GCC and she told me about a newish program (MyPath2ASU) and that there just so happened to be a degree with my name written all over it: Bachelor of Science in health sciences with a certificate in health and wellness coaching.”

The transfer planning tool helped Schooley know which courses she needed to complete based on her proposed major to help make the transition to the College of Health Solutions easier. That convenience was needed due to her responsibilities at home.

Schooley had two teenage children in addition to a 4-year-old on the autism spectrum. She was also caretaker for her grandmother who at the time was suffering an undiagnosed illness which later proved to be terminal breast cancer.

Being able to take online classes at ASU allowed Schooley to pursue her goals and dreams.

“Taking classes online allowed me to be a caretaker to my loved ones but still pursue my goals and dreams,” Schooley said. “Classes and assignments had specific due dates, but I could work at my own pace, didn’t need childcare or transportation and I still had all of the support and benefits available to me that other students had.”

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

Answer: It may seem funny, but friendships — honestly! I have some friends that I took classes with that I consider near and dear to my heart. I never thought that I would develop any relationships with anyone let alone my peers while completing this degree. I thought this journey would just be nose to the grindstone and get it done. I have made some deep bonds with professors and students both and that really surprised me!

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: Dr. Alicia Montalvo. I love her style of teaching, hard but really wants you to know the material and succeed. She genuinely cares about her students and listens to what they say. She taught me that being honest with myself and reaching out for help was not a bad thing. The hardest working people ask for help, the smartest ask for help, and it's 100% okay to ask for help in times of need. She taught me that the teachers at ASU really do care about their students and are here to not only help but watch you succeed and cheer you on. She became a great mentor and a huge reason why I am graduating this semester. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Use the services! Academic advising, success coaches, tutoring, even Pitchfork Pantry or mental health therapy. There are so many services out there for ASU students to be successful. Don’t feel ashamed for needing help, whether it's mentally, physically or just purely for your education. It takes a village, even at 40! Sometimes, I just questioned everything. What am I doing? I would book an appointment with my success coach Candiece King, and she really had a great way of motivating me by just listening to me.

Q: What was your favorite spot for power studying?

A: I have a standing desk that I can stand or sit at. I even have a tiny stair stepper there for long sessions. I can see outside my living room window out into the desert and inside I am surrounded by my houseplants and labrador retriever, Nilly. I am not one to study in silence, so I usually have CourtTV on in the background and snacks are always close.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I am going to test for my personal trainer certification, test for health and wellness coaching certification and apply to ASU’s special education (autism spectrum disorders) master’s degree. I hope to someday fill the niche of health coaching/health and wellness education with the autistic community, their parents and caregivers. I wouldn’t mind getting a job at ASU as a success coach. It was such an important part of my journey, I would love to help other students on theirs!

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I know it's not nearly enough, but I would attempt to help the gap between the underinsured/uninsured to get health services. I feel that many health ailments could be addressed sooner if we all had access to preventative services. Waiting to treat a sickness seems counterproductive to having a healthy community. So many do not have the money, transportation or time to go to the doctor. It's a travesty.

Weldon B. Johnson

Communications Specialist, College of Health Solutions