Growing up, Ashlee Carlisle never imagined she’d be graduating from the University of Cincinnati. But this June, Ashlee will be awarded her BA in Marketing and International Business from UC’s College of Business. She also has been offered an incredible full-time position and has countless opportunities at her fingertips. Now that she’s graduating, Ashlee is utterly convinced that she was “destined to be a Bearcat,” and describes her experience at UC as “an unbelievable blessing.”
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ashlee always longed to go to away to college. “I always had this hunger to travel and explore,” she says. During her time at Princeton High School, she excelled academically, and also in volleyball, basketball and track. She dreamt one day she would be recruited by an out-of-state school. But all of these dreams were shattered her senior year when she tore her ACL, and could no longer participate in the sports she so enjoyed. That same year, Ashlee’s mother was diagnosed with leukemia, and was not in a position to help pay for Ashlee's college tuition. “I was very discouraged at that time. . . . I just knew then that going away to school wouldn’t be possible.” So, Ashlee applied to the University of Cincinnati.
To her surprise, Ashlee was quickly offered a full scholarship to come to UC. Right about the same time Ashlee received wonderful news; she found out that her mom had actually been misdiagnosed . . . that she did not have leukemia after all! “And that was right before I started school, so I was ecstatic,” she says, “I knew it was God’s plan for me to be here at UC and be successful here. My attitude totally changed.”
As a Turner Scholar, Kolodzik Business Scholar, and the recipient of numerous other scholarships, Ashlee hasn’t had to take out a single loan, or buy a single book. And thanks to her mother and some additional grant and scholarship money, Ashlee hasn’t had to work while in college either.
“(Applying to UC) was the best decision I ever made,” Ashlee says, “I immediately got really involved, and found my passion and drive both inside and outside the classroom. I got involved with the Career Development Center, have completed four internships, including one with Procter and Gamble, and now I’m the president of ADVANCE!” ADVANCE is a minority professional development organization founded by African American students at UC. Ashlee has also traveled to four different countries through UC, is the Senior Class President, was recently the College of Business Ambassador, and has honorary status in the Sigma Phi and Lambda Societies.
“I personally believe that if you have the motivation, UC is a place where you will succeed and all your dreams can come true. There are so many great programs here, like co-op and study abroad, which open your horizons to places and things you would have never imagined. Not to mention the opportunity to gain real-world experience.” Ashlee says these are the programs that have helped ‘springboard her into her future,’ and have given her the tools to turn her visions into reality.
And Ashlee is already giving back. She is involved in a mentoring program, and recently chaired a lock-in event for female undergraduate students to socialize and learn more about women in leadership at UC.
“I think that the best way to measure your success in life is to look back and see how many lives you have positively affected. When you give back you are actually building a legacy because once you touch someone else’s life, the giving process becomes contagious.”
Ashlee also says she wants to be one of the first alumni in her class to give back monetarily. “I am so excited because I’ve already contributed to my senior class gift and I requested that some of it be designated to Turner Scholars.”
Ashlee has since accepted an offer from an exclusive London-based marketing and consulting company, dunnhumbyUSA. She believes she was chosen out of numerous applicants due to the help of the incredible faculty and staff at UC who went beyond their call of duty to help her succeed not only academically, but personally and professionally as well. Ashlee will begin her new career immediately upon graduation.
“I want the faculty and staff here at UC and all of our generous donors to realize that they are changing lives. They are shaping futures, and giving us the chance to make a difference for others as well.”
Without the faithful giving of those who supported Ashlee’s programs and scholarships, she believes she would have had a much different, and much less rewarding, educational experience.
“I am so thankful for my professors, career counselors, the donors who supported me, and countless others across campus for helping me get to where I am now. These people are touching lives every day and I am eternally grateful for the impact they have made in my life! They have empowered me to believe in myself and have given me the confidence to stand as an independent African American woman from Cincinnati knowing I have the skills to compete in today’s aggressive marketplace. UC is the best! Thank you!”