Ashlie, 23 – FUNDED
How the 1000 Dreams Fund helped me:
I used the funding to help fund my plane ticket expenses for studying abroad. One round trip ticket to Bishkek costs upwards of $2,000. My dream is to help with international issues. Unless I have significant time in a foreign country, Kyrgyzstan, and learning a foreign language, Russian, I would be ill-equipped to meet that goal.
I was born in a rural town in Kansas with a deep passion for reading. My love of reading later translated into a drive to travel and explore the world. After graduating high school, I joined the Kansas Air National Guard and spent several years serving my country before going to the University of Kansas. I’m now pursuing degrees in Economics, Environmental Studies and International Affairs.
Last winter, I studied in Switzerland, this summer I studied in Germany, and this coming year I am studying Russian and sustainable development in Kyrgyzstan. After I complete my studies at the University of Kansas, I hope to gain admittance to a masters program in environmental economics before pursuing my career with the United Nations.
I am inspired when I learn about the connections between environmental issues and human rights.While these two topics don’t seem immediately connected, it is often vulnerable populations that face the consequences of oil spills, mismanaged waste, poor air quality, and climate change in their health and quality of life. For example, women are more likely to be living in poverty, directly dependent on natural resources, and with less political/economic mobility – will disproportionally bear the burden of climate change. I believe the only way to make substantial improvement on the way global environmental issues are managed is through international diplomacy that couples environmental knowledge with economic solutions.
Challenges I Face:
My proudest moment is from when I was 17 years old. I was a waitress. I carefully saved my serving money for my first dentist appointment. Growing up in a rural home in Kansas, my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age. With that being said, I was the first-generation from my family to attend college. So it took me time learn the collegiate system. Saving up for my first dentist appointment, set me up to save for college. I put myself through college by working, serving in the military and finding scholarships.
Despite these obstacles, I have continued to push myself. This summer, after two years of reapplying and talking to administration, I was finally accepted into the University of Kansas Honors College. Before that, I was selected for the university’s highly competitive Global Scholars Program and from my cohort of 15, was chosen for an additional scholarship. The tenacity and work ethic that led me to save up for my first dentist appointment at 17, coupled with my passion and enthusiasm, will continue drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career.
My quote of inspiration for others:
You’ll fail twenty times for every success. Don’t give up on your ninetieth try.