Major: Industrial Engineering
Hometown: McDonald, Pennsylvania
On choosing Behrend: I chose Behrend because of the small campus setting that also came with all the connections and perks of being part of a big university. Also, Behrend has a strong engineering reputation with ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accreditation, both of which were important to me.
On choosing her major: I’ve always had an aptitude for math and science, but I associated engineering with doing hands-on fixing. On a visit to Penn State Behrend, I learned that industrial engineering was a field centered around efficiency and conceptual problem solving, and I knew it would be a perfect fit!
Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: My proudest accomplishment at Behrend has been my participation in undergraduate research, which has allowed me to study engineering education techniques. Along with my adviser, Dr. Omar Ashour, associate professor of industrial engineering, I have been studying the effects of integrating 3D-simulations and nonlinear storytelling into industrial engineering curricula.
Campus involvement: NCAA DIII Varsity Women’s Basketball; Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, 2021-2022 Vice President; Lion Ambassadors, 2020-21 Internal Affairs Co-Chair/2021-2022 Executive Vice President; Society of Women Engineers, Behrend Chapter 2020-21 Secretary/2021-2022 President; Behrend Engineering Ambassadors, 2021-2022 Secretary; Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers; Materials & Manufacturing Group; Women’s Engagement Council
Awards and scholarships: Behrend Honors Program; Behrend Chancellor’s Scholarship; President’s Freshman Award; Behrend Leadership Scholar; Council of Fellows Leadership Scholar; Dean’s List; Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society; Chi Alpha Sigma Athlete Honor Society; 2021 Outstanding Tutor Award.
What makes her unique: I wake up every day with the intention to better myself. While it may not sound unique, I think my self-motivation to challenge myself every day is what has led to the success I’ve had during my time at Behrend.
On working (and playing) hard: In addition to being an engineering student, I currently play on the women’s basketball team. It has been a major commitment, and while it has challenged me outside my comfort zone, I have become a better person because of it. I also have four jobs at Behrend. By the time I graduate, my jobs on campus will have included peer tutoring (3 years), undergraduate research assistant (1.5 years), student grader (1 year), and teacher’s assistant (1/2 year).
On eating the elephant one bite at a time: Take every day one step at a time. Focusing on the little things will allow the big things to fall into place. Find some small way to challenge and improve yourself every day.
Her passion is learning: My goal is to earn my Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering with a concentration in supply chain and logistics to become a college professor.
Advice for first-year students: Don’t be afraid to fail in engineering. It’s better to try and fail than to regret that you didn’t try to pursue something that could have changed your life for the better.
Ashley plans to enter the Industrial and Systems Engineering Ph.D. Program at North Carolina State University.