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Student Spotlight: Tosha Ochoa

The world needs people who are kind, considerate, passionate and, above all else, open to hearing what God has in store for them—people a lot like Tosha Ochoa, a junior in the B.S. in communication science and disorders program.  Whether it’s working with kids, adults or corporations, Tosha knows a thing or two about knowing when it’s time to drop everything and follow God’s will. Having worked as a paralegal and human resources manager, Tosha is excited to share her story about how life can throw us curve balls and, more importantly, how God can use them to shape us from the inside out for the better. 

Moving and Grooving Throughout Life 

Originally from Illinois, Tosha grew up in a military home and that meant one thing: moving. Having lived in places spanning from Texas to California, Tosha quickly understood what it meant to live life in a quick-paced environment with little-to-no slowing down. And while she did love her family and all the good things that she learned as a ‘military brat’, Tosha knew she wanted a bit more stability in her life. Later in life, Tosha took a few classes and earned her associates degree to become a paralegal before switching to human resources – a career she genuinely enjoyed for a moment. 

“It was a good job for me at the time,” Tosha said. “I learned a few things about myself and it allowed me, more importantly, to see that I was meant to do a bit more. I just didn’t know what.” 

Soon after working and earning her stripes, Tosha’s life got a bit busier. Now, as a single mom to three, Tosha realized that she didn’t actually enjoy human resources anymore. For some reason, she was being led elsewhere. The scary part was, she didn’t know where or why. Tosha explains that life was pulling her in a different direction and, with the added pressures of needing to support her family, the prospect of leaving her current job to pursue another career wasn’t necessarily ideal. That was, until her son required a speech therapist. Witnessing how careful, kind, and considerate the therapist was toward her son, as well as their genuine interest to see him get better, Tosha says she was ‘hooked.’ The work of speech therapy called to her. This is what she wanted to do. Now the question was: how? 

“I knew I wanted something in the medical profession, but I definitely didn’t want to be a nurse,” Tosha said. “After meeting his speech therapist, I completely knew this was what I wanted to do and so, I started looking at schools.” 

After doing a couple of online searches for schools that offered speech therapy classes, Tosha says she discovered ACU Online. Reading up on the communication science and disorders program, Tosha set up an appointment to chat with an advisor and was immediately amazed at how flexible the classes—which was absolutely essential with her busy schedule as a working mom. And while cost and flexibility were things she greatly considered prior to selecting ACU Online, Tosha says the most important selling point was ACU’s emphasis on Christian formation. 

“For me personally, I felt like [Christian formation] was important going into something that was unknown,” Tosha said. “As a single mom, it was really important for me to feel like I had that extra support from my school and professors. In some way, it kind of helped carry through me the challenges that I faced later on in life. Honestly, had it not been for that aspect, I don’t know if I would have selected it.” 

In Her Supermom Phase

Tosha is very close to completing her bachelor’s degree – quite an accomplishment for a single mother to three boys. Aiming to pass all her courses with flying colors, Tosha is beyond proud of herself for how far she’s come. Not only is she learning about how to treat patients like her son, but she’s also growing in her faith. ACU distinguished itself from other schools with its emphasis on Christian formation in its degrees, and Tosha definitely feels that it has delivered. She has particularly loved her Introduction to the New Testament class. It has caused her to notice insights about scripture she had never seen before. Tosha says she always knew the stories in the Bible well enough, but it wasn’t until this class that those stories came to life. For her, this is one of the classes that keeps on giving and it confirms her sense that she was right to pick ACU.

“It’s awesome to know that I’m learning more about my faith in my school than I ever did in Sunday school growing up,” Tosha says. “Now, I tell my boys what I learned about God. I tell them how faithful He is, and how much He loves them. It’s just great to see them understand things like that just like me.” 




Now, running to the finish line within the next year or so, Tosha is already considering what her next move will be. Hoping to become a speech pathologist assistant, Tosha says her professors have really poured into her and given her great insights into what she needs to do to get to that next step in her career. With the various state requirements and options out there, Tosha knows her road to becoming a therapist is far from over. In her words: ‘there’s no dead end. There’s only one way to keep going.” And with her free spirit attitude and goals to continue to support her family, Tosha is eager to take a job anywhere, especially if it gives her the chance to work in palliative care for adult patients who have suffered from strokes or dementia. To her, there’s a need in healthcare to take care of those types of patients – and she would love to fill that need. 

“I have a heart for people who have suffered strokes or currently have dementia,” Tosha says. “I think other people forget about those people and it just makes me want to care for them even more. Maybe that’s what I am meant to do.” 

In the meantime, Tosha is settled, happy, and completely loving how life has turned out for her. And while the constant desire (and probably delusion) to be a ‘supermom’ hangs over her head, like many single moms, Tosha hopes to inspire other moms to reach their goals just like she has; that they too have what it takes to be the best mom, parent, student and employee they can be. 

“Don’t stop chasing your dream, it’s possible,” Tosha urges. “It’s not gonna be easy but it’s definitely possible. You’re gonna mess up. You’re gonna fall. That’s okay. Cry about it, a little, get back up and keep going. Use your support systems. If you don’t have one, build one. It’s just another challenge but it’s so worth it. Just keep going.” 

Looking to see if ACU Online can help you achieve your dreams, too? Visit our website or call 855-219-7300 to learn how you can step into a fulfilling, innovative future at ACU Online.

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