Spotlight On…Ashley Taylor ☆

Ashley TaylorTC has so many different activities and programs that it feels almost inevitable that some stones are left unturned. However, Ashley Taylor, doctoral student in the Teaching of Social Studies Program, is doing her best to take full advantage of everything that TC has to offer.

Ashley attended the University of Virginia for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Upon graduating, she was very interested in teaching abroad. Ashley has personal prior experience with the international student community, having grown up in Southeast Asia. She moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and taught for three years at a small international school before deciding to return to school to earn her doctorate.

Ashley describes TC’s Social Studies Program as “exactly the right fit for me,” citing its history, its impressive faculty credentials, and her personal interests in global studies, citizenship in education, and international work. Student life is also one of the Program’s greatest assets. Ashley stresses that she “couldn’t do this without my cohort,” and that all the students who began that year are very close. The students are very supportive of one another and often use each other’s knowledge as a resource. She adds that all of the doctoral students in the program, regardless of year, have been great mentors to her. Though they come from different backgrounds and have a wide range of experiences, they all have the same core interests and love TC and what it means to be in this Program.

Furthermore, Ashley raves that the Program has done much to ease financial burden on her. She is funding her studies with a combination of scholarships and instructing opportunities. In addition to a full courseload, Ashley is a Graduate Assistant in GELF and an INSTEP Coordinator, as well as a mentor for a Peace Corp Fellow currently enrolled in the Social Studies Program. She received an academic scholarship to supplement this income as well. Next year she will become a full-time instructor at TC, which is a “dream come true” for her. It has taken some time to readjust to a student’s schedule, which Ashley describes as a “test of time management.” Between a full courseload and balancing so many different endeavors, it can be a tricky balance of activities. However, if her past two years are any indication, she is handling the challenges of student life with aplomb and, she advises future students, “make the most of your experience in the TC community.”