A native of Lake Mary, Fla, Ashley plans to graduate in spring 2011 with a double major in International Affairs and History. Active in UGA’s Honors Program, Ashley has gained valuable academic experience traveling the world as well as participating in the classroom. She plans to one day join the Foreign Service as a political officer.
University highlights, achievements and awards:
At Honors Convocation my freshman year, Dr. Pamela Kleiber encouraged me to become involved in research with Dr. Stephan Shellman and Project Civil Strife. Subsequently, I did research with Dr. Brock Tessman on ancient Chinese military strategy and was a co-founder of the Georgia Grand Strategy group. After my freshman year, I was named a Phi Kappa Phi Emerging Scholar. My sophomore year, I became an Honors teaching assistant, instructing the introductory Honors course, which I have taught for the past two years. I also was honored to be chosen as a Roosevelt scholar, in which I wrote a policy on Least Resource and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers. In spring 2009, I participated in the UGA at Oxford Program, in which I studied international affairs and history with Oxford professors. Though it was the most challenging academic experience in my life, I would go back in a heartbeat! With a scholarship from the Honors International Scholars Program, I traveled to Hangzhou, China, with CET Academics to study intensive Mandarin Chinese for six weeks. My junior year, I was named an Honors Teaching Fellow to plan events for the Honors first-year students and help other Honors teaching assistants. In spring 2010, I joined the Washington Semester Program. While there, I interned with the Department of State in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, where I coordinated disaster assistance for Haiti and Chile, attended Congressional hearings on East Asia and Pacific affairs, and was treated just as any other mid-level officer. My work at the State Department simply reaffirmed my desire to become a Foreign Service Officer. I returned to Washington this summer to study at Howard University in the Charles B. Rangel Summer Enrichment Program. This year, I will serve as the executive director of Volunteer UGA and work with the Center for International Trade and Security as a Security Leadership Fellow, a role I look forward to continuing into spring semester. I also was recently chosen as one of Pandora’s 2010 Outstanding Senior Leaders. I hope to continue doing my best and encouraging others to do their best as well.
Lake Mary, Fla.
Lake Mary High School
Though I am currently not employed, for the last three years, I worked at the Hargrett Rare Books Library on the 3rd floor of the Main Library. While there, I photocopied and scanned hundreds of rare materials, including letters from T.R.R. Cobb and the Harper’s Weekly magazine from the mid-1800s.
Family Ties to UGA:
I’m the only Bulldawg in my family, but I always tell friends and family (and everyone else) to apply to UGA!
I chose to attend UGA because...
...of the School for Public and International Affairs. I was considering a couple schools, but very few actually had degrees in international affairs (like the University of Florida). I also liked that SPIA did not have a particular area or region of focus, enabling the flexibility I desired. I also chose UGA because of all the language and history classes available. I knew that no matter which region I ended up studying, I would be able to study the language and history of that region as well, a key component to the true understanding of a culture and country.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
...to hang out in Moore College and the Center for Leadership and Service. In Moore, I love talking with Michele Johnson, the administrative assistant at the front desk, who is great at cheering me up when I need it most or listening to my crazy tale of the day. I also like curling up on the big couches and reading a book for class or one of the newspapers on the conference tables. There are always friends walking by who I haven’t talked with in a while or one of my students from my Honors 1000H class. At the CLS, I can catch up with my Volunteer UGA work and talk to the many inspiring leaders of UGA organizations.
When I have free time, I like...
...to lose myself in a great book. There is so much that books can teach us, and I love that I can never stop learning. Though a lot of the books I read are for class, it makes those rare moments when I curl up with a book that much more enjoyable. I know it’s a great day when I pick up a book, and the next thing I know, the book is done and the day is over! Time means nothing when reading.
The craziest thing I've done is...
...travel to Japan by myself after my first year at UGA, especially because I didn’t know the Japanese language. I went with the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, through which I found a family to serve as my host for a month. They owned a bed and breakfast and also operated some classes for tourists on rafting and ice-cream making. I helped them cook, clean, weed and even farm! It was the most work I have ever done in my life, and it was the most fish I have ever eaten in my life, too! I learned a lot about myself, my adaptability, Japan and Japanese culture. It was an absolutely amazing experience, and I’m glad I did it by myself and so early in my college career.
My favorite place to study is...
...at a coffee shop, like Two Story or Jittery Joe’s. I love the atmosphere in a coffee shop, with others working so diligently around me and the smell of fantastic coffee in the air. Yet, even if I don’t feel like studying or just want to take a break, coffee shops also are great places to people-watch or read a good book. There are always great people to talk to, such as friends studying nearby or the baristas. They’re also great places to procrastinate while still feeling productive!
My favorite professor is...
. …Dr. Brock Tessman. He is one of the kindest professors I have ever had the honor to work with. He always is willing to help me with my research ideas and pushes me to think deeper about my questions. He always says hello to everyone he knows and is willing to talk with me about everything from graduate schools to strategy for playing RISK. He’s not only a great mentor, but he’s also a great teacher. He incorporates humor and practicality into his courses as well, and seems to have a funny story that applies for the everyday lesson. I am proud to have had the chance to study and work with him as an undergraduate.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
…Sérgio Vieira de Mello. De Mello was a Brazilian diplomat who spent his life working for the United Nations. He helped negotiate an end to conflicts, from East Timor to Fiji, and Cambodia to Mozambique. He was the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and, in 2003, was named the U.N. Special Representative for Iraq. However, in 2003, he gave his life for the U.N. in the bombing of the Canal Hotel in Baghdad. I would want to talk to him about all his works and the greatest lessons he learned while working with myriad different people. I would also want to ask him how he felt about giving his life for his mission, something that many diplomats around the world have to struggle with on a daily basis.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
...negotiate an international conflict. I would want to create a safer, more secure region for the countries and people involved, which would hopefully create a more stable international system. Being able to negotiate any kind of treaty, from an arms treaty to the end of a long-standing dispute, would be the ultimate achievement. I would hope the people involved would come to realize the shared humanity in us all and look to find the common ground in every dispute.
The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...
...beating Dr. Tessman at Risk. Risk is one of my favorite games, and Dr. Tessman invited the Georgia Grand Strategy Group to have dinner, talk about research and play Risk. We played for about three hours. He tried to stay below the radar, but then began wiping us out one by one. Eventually, there were three of us left. I had most of Asia, which, as any Risk player knows, is difficult to hold. So, I persuaded the other group left to take out Dr. Tessman and leave me be. They did, with my help before their turn, and we called it a tie to end the game. That has to be one of the most triumphant moments of my life.