June 10th, 2015

Ashleigh

1. She’s from Alabaster

I’m from Alabaster, which is a suburb down the road from Birmingham.   I enjoyed growing up in Alabaster, but it’s very different than Birmingham. I moved downtown after high school when I started UAB in 2012 to pursue a degree in Political Science.

2. She has loved politics since she was a kid

When I was in third grade, my gifted teacher had us do an activity where we taught other students about voting, civic engagement, and the 2002 Alabama gubernatorial election. From that moment on, I became interested in politics and, specifically, Alabama politics.

3. She’s an explorer

I enjoy exploring Birmingham and new places—especially those off the beaten path. I love going on walks and trying out restaurants anywhere I have the opportunity to visit.

4. She loves all the unique parts of Birmingham

My favorite thing about Birmingham is the diversity of people that live here and the diversity of experiences and history the city offers. There is always something new and interesting to experience and learn, so my world and brain is always expanding.

5. She’ll be our AmeriCorps*VISTA for the year

As an AmeriCorps*VISTA, my job is to increase the organization’s capacity. Basically, my role is to help the organization help more people in a sustainable way. I want to see us working with more students in the Birmingham area through the Blueprints College Access Initiative.

6. She is passionate about bettering Alabama

When I started college, I did not ever think I would stay in Alabama for the long term after I graduated. When I got involved with Alabama Citizens for Constitution Reform (ACCR), I became aware of the many issues facing our state and people, and it started tugging on my heartstrings. I realized that my passion lies in making Alabama the best it can be.

7. She is a strong advocate for widespread access to higher education

I appreciate that Alabama Possible is focusing on education because I truly believe education is the great equalizer. Many aspects of poverty and its causes go back to education.

8. She has a great deal of experience in nonprofit work

In addition to my work with ACCR, in the spring of 2014, I worked on an initiative called Bama Covered. It was a statewide initiative to sign people up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act before the March 31st federal deadline. I lead over 100 volunteers at UAB, and the experience opened my eyes to health care issues our community faces.

9. She’s been a fan of Alabama Possible for a while

Alabama Possible is part of the Alabama Constitutional Collaborative, so I’ve actually known about Alabama Possible since I started with ACCR. I have been aware of their work for some time and have always been drawn to it. I find Alabama Possible’s direct service with the FAFSA workshops and mentorship programs, as well as their overall grassroots effort to create a college going culture, to be critical and impactful.

10. She loves Dolly Parton

I’m a hardcore Dolly Parton fan. I’ve seen her in concert 5 or 6 times. I haven’t met her, and I don’t want to meet her because I don’t think I could handle it. She is my role model in many ways. I have all of her albums and movies. Dollywood is the most magical place in the world, and I go often and interact with my fellow Dolly fans.