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CTU’s Patriot Scholarship Helps Chief Operating Officer earn degree

Nov 24, 2022   |   Military, Students

Pursuing an advanced degree as an adult may seem like a daunting prospect. But even when coupled with the responsibilities of a family and a career, the journey to earning a master’s online can be efficiently managed – and even fun!

Just ask Mary Jo Brandt.

Ms. Brandt was already a success. She had earned her Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Technology from Northern Illinois University, and her job was truly a special one. After volunteering for a time with Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs Inc. – a company that rescues, raises, trains, and donates service dogs – she was asked to join the board of directors and was eventually promoted to Chief Operating Officer. This meant that she could earn a living doing what she was passionate about – helping people.

Still though, like many of us, she dreamed of returning to school and pursuing an advanced degree.

That’s when she discovered CTU’s Patriot Scholarship, a program created to help those whose lives have been altered by an injury sustained during military service. As a caretaker for her father – a Vietnam vet – Ms. Brandt thought she was a perfect fit.

CTU agreed and named her one of 2021’s 50 Patriot Scholarship recipients!

She was honored. And a little overwhelmed. She hadn’t attended college since earning her bachelor’s in 1990. And with the responsibilities of her current job and taking care of her family, she wondered if pursuing her master’s would be too much to handle.

She was pleasantly surprised.

Upon enrolling in CTU’s online Master of Business Administration program, Ms. Brandt was instantly impressed. “I found CTU's process very easy to work with,” she said when asked about her experience. “The online tutoring was phenomenal, especially for the accounting courses. Other areas I found to be important were the Student Success Coaches and technical support. Everyone I came in contact with made the journey educational, fun, and less stressful.”

And it wasn’t just the services and convenience that made her experience a positive one. As COO, she was responsible for monitoring the operations of Guardian Angels, managing initiatives and employees, and ensuring that the company met its goals – all skills she was further working to develop in her degree program. As she put it, “I was able to take what I was learning in my classes and immediately apply the information in our workplace.”

Ms. Brandt completed her master’s program and earned her degree in May of 2022. Since then, she’s been very active in her community and was even named one of Industry Era Magazine’s 10 Best COOs of 2022.1 Currently she is considering returning to CTU for her doctorate.

Congratulations to Ms. Brandt on all your success. And thank you for sharing your inspiring story!

About the CTU Patriot Scholarship

In 2008, Colorado Technical University created a scholarship to give back to those whose lives have been altered due to injury while serving in the United States Armed Forces. For many, the impact of an injury reaches farther than the service member alone. That’s why CTU annually awards a scholarship to fifty eligible wounded service members, their spouses, non-medical attendant or caregiver and dependents.

As of December 31, 2021, CTU has awarded 700 scholarships, totaling over $16 million.

Learn more about the CTU Patriot Scholarship.


CTU cannot guarantee employment, salary, or career advancement. Not all programs are available to residents of all states. University grants or scholarships are based on established criteria as published in the University Catalog or on its website and are awarded after verification that the conditions of eligibility have been met.
REQ1870669 10/2022

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