"Yes, I recommend St. Ambrose. A student I work with told me, 'SAU is doing something to you... It is helping you.' And, I agree. It's causing me to elevate – and they see that growth."
Ashley Dean is thriving, and her success is directly tied to her own hard work and determination. At SAU, we provided her the education and opportunities to soar.
Hometown: Rock Island, Illinois
Ashley came back to the Quad Cities after one semester in Chicago, having to put her education on hold. Ten years later, after earning an associate's degree, she enrolled at SAU intent on gaining the skills to become a branding consultant and bring new products to life. And when Ashley isn't working as a youth specialist or handling publicity for her church, she is on campus sharing her voice in other ways. She's involved in classroom discussions, rehearsing with University Chorale, helping her fellow classmates promote diversity and inclusion, and broadcasting her energy and enthusiasm on the KALA-FM airwaves.
"St. Ambrose felt like home, a place where I belonged and where I would grow and thrive," Ashley says, adding that she first enrolled as a Music Education major. "When I went to see what it would take to switch my major to Marketing, I was told it would cut the time it would take me to graduate. I realized it was an open door and followed it considering I had already been on such a journey to finish my degree," she says.
How does SAU encourage your personal growth?
Ashley didn't have to give up her passion for music. At SAU, you can major in any subject and audition for a music scholarship and join a performance group; Ashley did both. The scholarship makes her education more affordable and weekly vocal lessons with Associate Professor of Music Nathan Windt, PhD, sharpen her skills and talent. In summer 2019, Ashley toured as a background singer for Stevie Wonder. "Through Dr. Windt’s mentorship, I definitely saw growth in myself and my voice," she says. "He took me to another level and I am constantly still growing and evolving."
How are SAU faculty helping you succeed?
"Dr. Windt is very encouraging. I appreciate that other faculty also see and cultivate the gifts and talents in their students, to help to pull them out. Associate Professor of Marketing Joseph Miller, PhD, does that as well. Just how involved the faculty are in teaching, helps support me, too. Their passion fuels me and encourages me to keep me going." At SAU, we seek to empower every member of our community to be the best they can be. Our dedication to developing tomorrow's leaders is evident through every aspect of your education.
How do you contribute your strengths to SAU?
Ashley hosts the KALA-FM radio show, "Midmorning Move," and purposely chooses motivating and uplifting music. "It's just me bringing some sunshine and encouragement to listeners, offering a bit of positivity,” she says. Ashley also is a liaison in SAU’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office, working closely with student clubs to make sure all voices are represented. “It was another door that opened for me here,” she says. “That one decision to come to SAU led me to a scholarship and all of these other opportunities. That one decision influenced so much and provided me with so many other things as well.”