Ashley Edwards Interview

Ashley Edwards
Major and Year: Social Work; Junior
Interests: : I really enjoy working with adolescents and watching them explore and develop their own unique identities. I also love to read poetry, write poetry, and help introduce others to poetry!

What global challenge(s) are you most interested in and why?

I am most interested in the Educational Achievement Gap. Specifically, I am interested in looking at how communities can provide extracurricular assets to students enrolled in school systems that are considered to be under-resourced. Statistics show that students in these underserved school districts, no matter how high-performing, still graduate at rates significantly lower than their geographically-privileged peers. Programs focused on academic enrichment, social development, mentorship, and other areas of growth can be extremely beneficial (and in some cases, make the achievement gap imperceptible) for students who may not receive opportunities to reach their fullest potential in their schools.

How can students at Auburn University contribute to the Leadership Challenge?

On a personal scale, students at Auburn can contribute to the Leadership Challenge by taking time to self-reflect and think about what their greatest passion is. If that question is not yet able to be answered, students should truly immerse themselves in the world around them - the more experiences you have, the more you are able to shape and cultivate your own identity and interests. Students owe it to themselves to take their time in college to develop their lives across many dimensions (socially, academically, and intellectually). Once a student has found their passion and wants to contribute to the Leadership Challenge on a wider scale, they should direct their energy toward making something of it through service to fellow students and the community at large. I think this is the heart of the Leadership Challenge. We must ask ourselves, "What is my passion? Is being able to indulge in this passion a privilege? Does everyone have access to this passion? What are some barriers between myself and others experiencing this passion to the fullest?" Find others on campus who are interested in the same things you are; I'm realizing more and more every day that Auburn has a community of leaders who are ready to tackle (and are already tackling) serious global and national challenges. This is so inspiring, and now we just need manpower to bring these issues to center stage. Discovering one's own passion and creating support systems to encourage others in their service are the greatest ways that students can contribute to the Leadership Challenge!

Last Updated: Oct. 8, 2013

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