For Ashley Williamson, the secret to her success is written on her face.
“I decided that my smile was not going to disappear just because I decided to take on a lot,” she said.
Ashley’s positive attitude and hard work has kept her at the top of her game as a member of the New Paltz Women’s Swimming Team for the last four years. For the 2005-2006 season, she received the Kenneth F. Burda Sportsmanship Award and was voted Most Dedicated last year by her teammates. This season – her final with the Hawks – the college senior led the team as a co-captain.
“When you’re part of a team, you have to put yourself aside and see things from the group’s perspective,” Ashley said.
The student athlete practices five to six days a week, attends meets on weekends and works two part-time jobs in the Athletic Department.
Ashley’s dedication is not limited to the swimming pool. She arrived at New Paltz eager to study fine arts, but a desire to assist others led her to change her major. Ashley plans to graduate in May with a degree in sociology with a concentration in human services, along with minors in art and psychology.
“I wanted to be in a major where I could have opportunities to really help people,” she said.
In January, Ashley began the third internship related to her major and interest in pursuing a career in art therapy. The opportunities have allowed her to explore working with different populations and ages within the field of human services.
But if you ask her how she manages her academic, athletic and work schedules, she just smiles.
Crafty girl: Ashley likes to share her interest in arts and crafts with others. “It relaxes people and takes them away from their problems,” she said.
Home sweet home: Ashley’s heart will always belong to Holland Patent, the small town near Utica, N.Y. where she grew up. “Home means everything to me. It cannot be replaced or forgotten,” she said.
Mother dearest: Ashley credits her family, especially her mother, with being the main inspiration in her life. “She not only inspires me by being who she is, she encourages me to go further and do more than I believe I can do,” she said.