Student Spotlight: Ashley Young
Major: Teacher Preparation
One of the most influential people in Ashley Young's life was her junior year English teacher, Mrs. Olsen.
"She was not only a teacher of regular education, but she taught me lessons about everyday life," she said. "She was strict and made sure that things were running smoothly. But she also took the time to know every one of her students personally, including me. Going through rough times, she was always someone who I could turn to. She helped me find the good in everything and reminded me that there is always a reason to smile. She helped me realize that I can accomplish anything that I put my mind to, and that one day I can achieve greatness."
Young wants to have that same impact on young people, which is why she is pursuing her degree in education, focusing on special education.
"I have always wanted to become a teacher, as I love social interaction. But it wasn't until I received a babysitting job that I secured my decisions," she said. "I was asked to babysit a 9-year-old girl who had a mental disability, and I immediately fell in love with the idea of working with disabled people as a career."
Young selected College of DuPage for several factors. First, she liked attending a school that focused on individual students rather than offering classes in large lecture halls. She also worked hard throughout her schooling in order to apply for scholarships, and that work paid off when she was named a Presidential Scholar at COD. This includes a full-tuition scholarship and enrollment in COD's Honors program and the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society.
"Being one of the many Presidential Scholars is a complete honor. I have always done well in school, and the scholarship is an amazing reward for the hard work I have put in," she said. "The criteria to maintain my scholarship is rigorous, but it puts me on a clear path to graduating with outstanding grades while leaving me prepared for the outside world. I can't thank COD enough for the opportunities that they provide me."
After graduating from COD in 2015 with her associate's degree, Young plans to transfer to Lewis University through the enhanced 2+2 program for Special Education and Elementary Education. From there she would like to earn her master's degree in Special Needs Education and begin what she hopes will be a long, rewarding teaching career.
She recommends College of DuPage without hesitation to any student pursuing a higher education.
"Whether you are rich, middle class or having financial difficulties, COD works with you to make sure that you receive as much help as possible," she said. "It is a great way to jump-start your education without being left with student debt. You can get all of your general education classes done in the comfort of your own district, and enjoy the many extra activities that COD provides. To make things better, you can hold a job while taking classes so you don't end up the typical 'broke college student.'
"I have faced many difficulties throughout my life that many adults have never experienced, but it just goes to show that with support and determination, nothing can hold you back from achieving your life goals."
2014 College of DuPage