Ashley Haskins has been on a remarkable journey since graduating from Sandy Creek High School in 2008. She attended Syracuse University, fell in love with politics and education policy and earned a degree in policy studies in just three years. Her desire to experience teaching first-hand led her to join “Teach For America,” a national teacher corps of recent college graduates who commit two years to teach and to effect change in under-resourced and rural public schools.
Haskins wound up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. “It was really amazing. There are a lot of challenges on the reservation you have to deal with every day. I gained a lot of resilience and grit as a result of being there.” Haskins taught 7th grade math her first year, then taught a combined class of 2nd and 3rd grades. Despite the numerous challenges she treasured the experience so much she stayed an extra year. “I really enjoyed teaching math. As I was teaching it I really started loving it.”
At the end of her third year Haskins returned home and become a special aide in the Sandy Creek school district. She began studying other career options, learned about OCC’s Nuclear Technology program and decided to enroll.
In August 2015 Haskins began taking classes as a dual major in Nuclear Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology. Her outstanding academic background earned her scholarships from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the College’s STEM Scholars program which covered her entire tuition costs.
Despite being a few years older than traditional students Haskins found a home on campus right away. “Everyone here in both majors has been great. We naturally formed study groups and they’ve been great for everyone. I see my teaching background shining through because I enjoy helping other students.” Aside from helping students within her major, Haskins has also worked as a math tutor in the College’s Learning Center.
Haskins perfect 4.0 grade point average earned her induction into international honor society Phi Theta Kappa in April. She’s on track to graduate with two degrees in May 2017.
In her hometown of Sandy Creek she’s committed to making a difference. Haskins is a member of the library’s board of trustees. She’s also a volunteer firefighter and EMT with the Lacona Fire Department. “Eight years ago my involvement in education was about trying to do good in the world. I’ve realized my job doesn’t have to revolve around that. I can do it through volunteering.”