As an undergraduate at the University of Delaware, Ashley Fry said that she wanted to study statistics in the Department of Food and Resource Economics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) because of the plethora of career opportunities it would provide.
Now, as a master’s student studying counseling in higher education in the College of Education and Human Development and working as a graduate assistant in the CANR Office of Academic Programs and Student Services, Fry said that she has her career choice set on working in higher education.
Fry, who graduated in 2010 and also minored in math and business administration, said she hadn’t figured out what she wanted to do with her future until her senior year as an undergraduate, and that the activities in which she participated outside of the classroom fostered her interest in working in higher education.
“I was really involved on-campus as an undergraduate student,” said Fry, who worked in the Admissions office, as a Blue Hen Ambassador tour guide, as a student admissions officer during her senior year, as a new student orientation leader for two summers, and as an Ag Ambassador.
Convinced that she wanted to make a career in higher education, Fry started looking into graduate programs that were related to the field.
She credits Kimberly Yackoski, assistant dean of student services in CANR, and Latoya Watson, undergraduate services coordinator in CANR, for guiding her to graduate school for studies in university administration.
Yackoski suggested that Fry do a discovery learning experience—a requirement for all undergraduate students—in her office.
The experience went so well that Yackoski asked Fry if she would be interested in continuing in the office as a graduate assistant.
“Ashley epitomizes the perfect colleague,” said Yackoski. “She’s got an amazing work ethic, is forward thinking, and thoughtfully juggles all the roles we play in the office each and every day.”
Said Fry, “I got really lucky that I got to essentially blend my new experiences in my grad program and apply them to the office here, in the college that I had already had such a strong feeling for.”
Talking about her day-to-day routine, Fry said that her main role in the CANR office is that of academic advisement and support. Working in the office has taught her to balance a lot of different projects at the same time, something that she relishes. “On any given day, I could be meeting with a student, I could be in a meeting with people from this office (CANR) or other offices around campus, I could be doing a presentation, or I could be sitting here answering emails.”
Fry said one of her goals in the office is to strengthen the partnership between CANR and the University’s Career Services Center. “I think that they offer so many wonderful services for students that I really want to make sure that we’re promoting to our students to take advantage of.”
If class and working at CANR weren’t enough of a workload for Fry, she also has an internship at the counseling center as part of her graduate program where she mainly does career-based counseling for clients. So a typical day for her can involve any mix of class, work at the counseling center or work at CANR. “I’m just going back and forth all the time,” she said.
As she prepares to graduate in May with a master’s degree in counseling in higher education, Fry said she is looking forward to starting her professional career, but will also miss CANR, a college with which she had strong ties since before she even stepped foot on campus as a freshman.
“Being a prospective student in high school, I remember calling up my future adviser, Dr. (Tom) Ilvento,” said Fry. “And Dr. (Steve) Hastings was the first person I met here so, even from just being a high school prospective student, I started building relationships with people in the college which have only strengthened and become more meaningful to me through my undergraduate experience and beyond. I’m just really thankful for everything they’ve done for me.”
Article by Adam Thomas