Academics

AAPLE Alumni Stories

Andrea Hooks, '14

Major: Organizational Leadership

Why did you decide to enroll in the AAPLE program?

Being a non-traditional student, the AAPLE program made the transition easy for me. I was able to apply skills I had developed in my career to obtain class credit. This helped in two ways; financially and with the credits I earned it moved me closer to a graduation date.

What would you tell a prospective student about the program?

With all of the stress that can come from going back to school, the APPLE program relieves a lot of the anxiety you might feel. The program gives you a detailed description of all the skills you've acquired during your life. It's a motivating process. Being involved with the AAPLE program was one of the best decisions I could have made towards furthering my education.

What are some of the experiences you included in your portfolio?

I included my extracurricular activities in high school, my community volunteer experience as well as all the training I received during my career including work place diversity training, conflict management training and becoming a Certified Facilitator.

John Forsythe, '13

Major: Public Safety Management

Why did you choose Cleveland State University?

My reason for choosing Cleveland State was because of the positive experience I had and also because their Urban Studies program was ranked so high by U.S. News & World Report. The program was very rewarding. One of the most beneficial reasons for choosing the AAPLE program was the time and money I saved. I work full time and I have a family. With all of the responsibilities in my life, I still had to take six credit hours a semester so I could receive financial aid. By compiling my life experiences and putting them all together into a portfolio, I was able to receive credit for twenty four credit hours. This saved me thousands of dollars and knocked a year and a half off of my completion time. The AAPLE program also allows you one year to complete your portfolio. I was also able to attend classes a little closer to home at the Holden University Center. I am planning on going back for a Masters of Public Administration.

What are some of the experiences you included in your portfolio?

I really enjoyed writing my portfolio. It made me realize how much I have really accomplished in my life. I wrote about my work experience, education, training, and my family. After twelve years in the military, twenty years in law enforcement, a combat tour in Iraq, a college education, many certificates from military and law enforcement training, and traveling to a dozen different countries; I had a lot to write about.

Linda Hebert, '13

Major: Urban Studies (Public Management)

What is the most rewarding part of the program?

Hands down, the most rewarding part of the program is that I was able to graduate last May with a Bachelor of Arts from the Levin College of Urban Affairs.

What are some of the experiences you included in your portfolio?

In my portfolio, I included experiences in the budgeting processes of local government, the perspective of being a woman in several leadership positions in local government, management in the public sector, and the many trials of negotiation and conflict in the public sector.

What do you most love about the Levin College of Urban Affairs?

I think what I love most about the Levin College of Urban Affairs, was that every single person associated with any part of my education at the school was as enthusiastic and encouraged about my learning there as I was. Throughout my career, I attended several colleges and universities, but it was the Levin College that picked me up and carried me to the finish line.

Kevin Hudson, '13

Major: Urban Studies (Planning)

Where do you work now?

I am the Director of Annual Fund at St. Edward High School.

Why did you decide to enroll in the AAPLE program?

I came back to CSU after having been out for nearly 10 years because I wanted to change my career path. The AAPLE program recognizes the significance of the lessons I learned in that time away and awards credit so I do not have to relearn things I already know, shortening the time it was going to take to finish my degree while also saving me money.

What are some of the experiences you included in your portfolio?

I included the various political campaigns I had worked on; time spent volunteering; jobs I held with banks and financial institutions in and around Cleveland, and non-profit experiences.

What do you most love about the Levin College of Urban Affairs?

There are many things to love about the Levin College; the faculty and staff who are not only experts in their field, they have a true interest in passing their knowledge on to students and seeing them grow; and again, how helpful the staff is in helping you navigate the path which is in your best interest.  They truly want to see you be successful and you feel as if you have a partner guiding you through, helping you reach your goals.

Diane Jackson, '13

Major: Nonprofit Administration

What would you tell a prospective student about the program?

To definitely go for it – the program is truly an excellent opportunity.

What is the most rewarding part of the program?

The chance to actually provide real life applications with my academic studies.

What are some of the experiences you included in your portfolio?

My role as an executive officer, treasurer/secretary for Colors of Cleveland Pride, and examples of my leadership role as Team Lead for Tenable at First Energy Stadium (Formerly, Cleveland Browns Stadium)

What do you most love about the Levin College of Urban Affairs?

The DIVERSITY of the students.

Tricia Granfors

Major: Public Safety Management (Homeland Security)

What would you tell a prospective student about the program?

For me, it was a “This is Your Life” process that enabled me to consider the people, events, and experiences that have made me who I am as a person and a life-long learner. As I considered my life journey, it enabled me to better apply life experiences to where I am today. It also helped me to focus on where I want to be in light of where I’ve been. In the end, my portfolio(s) felt like a diary.

What are some of the experiences you included in your portfolio?

Family, friends, and group affiliations; knowledge, skills, and abilities learned in the most unlikely ways; hobbies and volunteer efforts; lessons learned through good times and victories as well as difficulties and losses.

What do you most love about the Levin College of Urban Affairs?

The flexibility. Levin College of Urban Affairs seeks to meet the student where they are in life instead of forcing individuals to fit into a schedule that simply doesn’t work. On-campus and remote classes, online options, CLEP testing, and the AAPLE program allow each student to meet their goals in a way that works. Whether going to college right out of high school or coming back to it decades later, the college experience you need is available.

Calvin Williams, '15

Major: Public Safety Management

Why did you decide to enroll in the AAPLE program?

I returned to Cleveland State after a twenty-six year absence to complete a major in Public Safety Management. I am currently employed by the City of Cleveland as a police officer and a member of our command staff. I was introduced to the AAPLE program by my advisor at the Levin College of Urban Affairs. I saw it as an opportunity to save both time and money pursuing my degree. The program enabled me to gain some valuable insight as to how my years of experience and training in law enforcement, compare to the curriculum being taught in Public Safety Management. I would highly recommend the program to students that have real-life experience, training and expertise that directly relates to some of the subject matter in Urban Studies.

What are some of the experiences you included in your portfolio?

I was able to directly relate my training and supervision in such specialized units as SWAT, Vice and the Fugitive Task Force to the subject matter taught in the Public Safety Management major.

What do you most love about the Levin College of Urban Affairs?

I enjoyed the feedback I received from the AAPLE program advisors and others in the Levin College during this process. With their help, the direction and scope of my writing was reinforced. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity.

Ken Galla, '13

Major: Organizational Leadership

What are some of the experiences you included in your portfolio?

In my portfolio, I included many of my day-to-day work experiences as a retail store manager, such as resolving conflict and managing a diverse workforce.  I also included experiences that I gained while holding volunteer positions for various nonprofit organizations.  The structure of the portfolio also allowed me to incorporate learning gained from past training sessions and from books that I have read over the years.

What would you tell a prospective student about the program?

I would tell a prospective student that the AAPLE program is a fantastic opportunity.  It has been one of the most rewarding parts of my college career.  It allows you to reflect on the experiences of your life, and validate the learning that has come from those experiences.  In addition to being able to quickly earn college credit for past life experiences, you also benefit from a reduced tuition cost when compared to taking traditional courses.  Additionally, the structure of the UST 190 course makes the portfolio completion process very manageable. 

What do you most love about the Levin College of Urban Affairs?

What I love about the Levin College of Urban Affairs is the people.  Every time that I met with an advisor or professor, my questions were answered quickly and professionally.  Everyone that I have encountered has been friendly and legitimately concerned with my progress toward graduation and beyond.  The college has a family atmosphere that I truly enjoy being a part of.