What is your CSU story?

Published on August 13th, 2013

Hello, my name is Chantell Cooley and I am the vice president of Columbia Southern University Education Group and the vice president of Training and Development at CSU.

I will be writing and posting here weekly to share my thoughts and stories to encourage and motivate you. I will write about topics such as leadership, managing, and self-empowerment.

But first, I want to get to know you. Our students and alumni have helped to make CSU what it is today. I feel honored and privileged to change lives through education. Below is my first blog post and question: What is your CSU story?

“I have one life and one chance to make it count for something…”
— Jimmy Carter

This quote burns in me.

We have one life and one chance to make it count for something. I have found that finding something to latch onto that will inspire you to give back really brings life to you.

Being in education does just that for me. I grew up in a family that wanted to give back to others. My late father Robert Mayes Sr. was huge in encouraging and pushing you to go after your dreams in life. Our family always felt that by helping others obtain an education, we can help people gain confidence in their knowledge and abilities to climb the ladder of success.

Many students tell me they were not that great academically in high school, or even in college, but now they are on top of their game with CSU. As they complete each course, they feel a sense of accomplishment. They know where they are going and CSU is the answer to help them get to where they need to be.

I also get to see and hear stories about how our students come alive. For many, it is the first time they feel like they are back on track with their life. For others, education has been put on hold due to finances, family, etc. For those students who serve in the military and are stationed in the Middle East, Europe or other parts of the world, we provide a support network that is praised often.

Here is a special story that I heard recently:

Jason Basaldua is a Texas firefighter who just earned his master’s degree with CSU. He also served in the military which has helped him get his degree. He will be the first to have graduated with a degree in his family. To him, getting his degree has been a dream come true. He told me how CSU planted a seed in his family. His daughter is a sophomore in college now and is going into the medical field. He has a 9-year-old daughter wants to be a nurse like her mother. He told me he is planning to attend the graduation ceremony in Orange Beach, Ala., in October. Jason said his dad passed away before he could see him cross the stage, so he will carry a high school picture of his father graduating with him to honor his dad.

What an incredible story of how CSU changed a life and planted a seed of education into a wonderful family!

We are so proud of all our students and alumni. You are setting an example for your family and friends!
I would like to hear from you and learn how education has made a difference in your life.

Please respond with a comment below and share your story. Your story could inspire others and remind all students that you are not alone with CSU.


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