Senior Ashlee Oliver says her Hollins experience— as a student, as a leader, as an intern—has taught her to "keep my back straight and say what I know with conviction."
Although the economics major and international business minor has experienced some major setbacks during her undergraduate education—she was hospitalized twice for lupus, the second time for an entire academic year—her own fortitude, and the support she got from students, faculty, and staff, kept her going. "Hollins is the best place on earth, besides being at home," she says. "I’m not with family, but I’m with my Hollins family, and I know they’re always going to be there, no matter what."
In addition to her studies, Ashlee took on a full extracurricular load, heavily involving herself in student government. She started by sitting on the Judicial Board and then served as chair for Honor Court, Student Conduct Council, and Academic Policy Board. Her capstone leadership experience was serving as senior class president, a demanding job that began the summer before her senior year, when she helped plan Opening Convocation and the First Step ceremony. Ring Night followed closely behind, an event that involved some 400 students.
She used her skills in planning and speaking up when deciding on where to intern. She tried internships in medicine and finance, which were particularly valuable because they taught her that her future did not lie in either field. Determined to find something in fashion, she sought help from Ashley Glenn, director of the Career Center, who encouraged her to apply for an internship sponsored by Suzanne "Suzy" Allen Redpath ’69 in New York City with Amsale, a high-fashion bridal company. That experience solidified Ashlee's post-graduation plans: to attend graduate school in Germany or France to study supply-chain management, a field for those interested in buying and selling.
"Hollins has taught me to speak up and ask for what I need," she says about the life-changing internship. "I was telling a panel of prospective students the other day that everything about me has changed since I came to Hollins."