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Where are They Now ... 2015 graduate Rhiannon Acord

rhiannon acord

Where are They Now ... 2015 graduate Rhiannon Acord

In 2015, Rhiannon Acord celebrated earning an associate degree in organizational management by taking part in Rio Salado’s graduation ceremony.

Walking across the stage allowed Acord to be a role model for her three daughters.

“I had my oldest when I was 17 and was determined to not be a statistic,” Acord said. “I was determined to set a good example for my daughters and let them know they can do anything they set their mind to.” 

Acord was working at USAA as a property and casualty insurance specialist when she learned about the company’s partnership with Rio Salado College.

USAA is one of several Valley companies that partner with Rio Salado to offer industry-specific workplace education. Employees get customized training that awards college credits leading to certificate and degree completion. Employers get a more educated and engaged workforce.

Acord first earned a certificate through the partnership, and then completed her associate degree by taking advantage of Rio’s online classes. She found online classes easy, as that is how she finished her last two years of high school.

However, Acord said there are some tips students can do to be a successful online learner.

“Some students think it's easy to do online schooling,” Acord said. “But I would say stay organized and set blocks of time away to do nothing but school.”

Another goal Acord had in 2015 was to earn a bachelor’s degree, a goal she realized at Arizona State University.

Today Acord is in management at a mortgage company,, where she helps to oversee three teams. She credits Rio Salado for helping to prepare her to be a successful manager.

She said she especially enjoyed one particular leadership class, Human Relations in Business, where she “got to learn the different personalities and how one employee learns or responds can be way different than another.”

Acord’s career goal is to move up the management chain at her company. She advises those looking at education options to consider Rio Salado.

“I never had a bad experience at Rio, no matter who I had to deal with, from the front-line staff, to teachers, and even information technology,” Acord said. “Everyone was super nice and helpful.”

For more information about Rio Salado’s certificate and degree programs visit our Degrees and Certificates page.

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