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In September 2020, the Gulf Coast was met with a series of destructive hurricanes, including Hurricane Sally, leaving coastal cities with flooding and no electricity for weeks. As Kelly’s home of Pensacola was the target, she looked to CSU for support.

“I was left with no ability to maintain stable internet or a stable mindset. CSU responded with such kindness and understanding,” she said. “I even had to extend the end date of one of my classes and I figured I would have to pay a fee, and that was not the case.”

Following the hurricane, Kelly came face to face with her most difficult challenge yet. The sudden loss of her father put another halt to her studies. Dropping everything to take care of arrangements, Kelly reached out to CSU for guidance and was told by her advisor to take as much time as she needed, that CSU would always be right here.

“My dad tried to pass his military education benefits on to me, but had a challenging time working with the VA,” said Kelly. “He was so proud of me when I told him that I received the Chantell Cooley Military Spouse Scholarship, and I would have my MBA paid for! He even drove three hours to be with me at my scholarship presentation after having surgery the day prior. It is not going to be the same not having my dad at graduation, but I know he will be there in spirit, and I know I am making him proud!”

Despite the odds, Kelly is graduating in October 2021. She hopes to serve others and share her story to inspire military students or anyone who faces hardship while earning their degree.

Currently, she is the center operations supervisor for the USO aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola. The USO is an organization dedicated to keeping service members connected to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation.

“USOs are the home away from home for service members,” she said. “Helping service members and their families is something I love to do and with my MBA, I am excited to make a bigger impact on
military and their families.”

Life can change in the blink of an eye, and Allyson Kelly knows this firsthand  Having grown up in a military family

Allyson stands with her family after receiving the Chantell Cooley Military Spouse Scholarship.


Overcomes the
Unexpected While Earning MBA




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