Alumni Feature: Ashleigh Maier

Ashleigh Maier is a former College Adviser who served at Bay City Central High School, Manistee and Brethren High Schools. Ashleigh is currently in her first year at the University of Oregon, working on a master’s degree in nonprofit management.

When I applied for the college advising position, it seemed merely like a job posting that came through my email that I was qualified for. What I didn’t know is that it would lead me in a career direction that I never would have thought of without my two years of service.

I graduated from Alma College in 2016 with a degree in Intercultural and Relational Communication, and I remember meeting with my academic advisor and being told that I should consider graduate school. However, I didn’t want to rush into a degree without fully knowing what skills I wanted to gain, or what I’d like to learn. It was because of my service and my program supervisors with AdviseMI that I discovered a way to apply my passion for social justice with practical work experience within the nonprofit sector. AdviseMI also helped me discover the inequities within education, and what we can do to help reassemble the system in order to create equal opportunity for all students.

I’m currently in my first year at the University of Oregon, working on a master’s degree in nonprofit management, with concurrent graduate certificates in New Media and Culture, as well as Women’s and Gender Studies. Without AdviseMI, I wouldn’t have gained the experience I needed to land a fully funded graduate assistantship in the Dean of Students Office working with the Substance Abuse Prevention & Education (SAPE) team. I was able to apply my experience working with underserved and underrepresented high school students, and my developed passion for getting students to and through college, not only in position interviews, but also within initiatives on campus. Since beginning with the SAPE team in September, I have been able to explore the many intersections that come with students and substance use, and I am hopeful to begin some research on how first-generation students are impacted by substance use on college campuses.

Within the nonprofit management program, I am focusing on marketing and development, with an end goal of working with either a women’s advocacy organization or an education advocacy organization. The road to discovering my true career goals has been nearly as long as my cross-country road trip to Oregon, but I can’t thank AdviseMI and MCAN enough for helping me get here. Although I’ll likely live on the west coast for a while, I’ll always have a soft spot for the great work that’s being done in Michigan, as well as the people who are doing it. AdviseMI not only provided me with practical work experience and the discovery of my true passions, but in addition, lifelong friends and memories to go with them.

Author: Ashleigh Maier
Posted: April 9, 2019


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