Ashleigh Clendenny, a senior Biology major, has found a home at Blackburn College. Originally from Hardin, IL, Ashleigh, Work Program General Manager, first heard about Blackburn through high school friends and alumni of the college who she knew from her hometown. “I came to Blackburn because it felt like home,” she said. “I visited two other large universities and knew that a huge school wasn’t for me. When I visited Blackburn I knew I was in the right spot.”
The close-knit campus atmosphere and the College’s one-of-a-kind Work Program were the deciding factors in Ashleigh’s decisions to attend. “I thought it was really neat that I could work on campus and get money taken off my tuition,” Ashleigh said of the Work Program. “Overall, I thought Blackburn was an amazing place.”
Ashleigh has excelled both academically and in the Work Program, making Dean’s List every semester, being named a monthly Honor Worker, and receiving the Excellence in Leadership award at the 2015 Honor’s Night ceremony. Her strong work ethic has paid off. Beginning her campus employment as a general worker in the Bookstore, Ashleigh was promoted to Assistant Manager of Sales, where she was in charge of choosing clothing and merchandise to be sold. Her sophomore year she was selected as Bookstore Manager, a position she continued during her junior year. “This job was very rewarding and I learned so many leadership qualities that I would have anywhere else,” she said.
Selected as one of two Work Program General Managers for the 2015-2016 school year, Ashleigh will oversee and manage the entire student work force, allowing her to take advantage of the leadership skills she has already gained. “The Work Program has built my leadership skills tremendously,” she said. “I have learned how to deal with difficult situations in the workplace and enjoyed the rewarding ones.”
Her favorite thing about Blackburn has been the friendly and helpful community, and most importantly to Ashleigh are the relationships she’s built faculty, staff, and fellow students through the Work Program. “I have made friends who I would have never made outside of work. I have built relationships with students, faculty and staff, and have learned valuable skills that I will use for the rest of my career and life.”
Ashleigh is involved in many other aspects of campus life, including Alpha Chi honor society, Sustainability Club, and Pre-Health Professions Society. She recommends that people get involved for the very beginning, and to apply for leadership positions on campus. “I think a lot of students forget that Blackburn is a one-of-a-kind place, and if you make the most of it, you will get the most out of it,” she said.