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Ashley Converse '07

Cultural Understanding

GMC senior Ashley Converse likes to lead by example, and she puts her money where her mouth is. One late winter day, Ashley stopped by the College’s development office and ceremoniously presented a crisp $100 bill – the first student gift to the New Century Campaign. “I wanted to do something special my senior year,” she says. “I donated hoping to inspire my senior classmates to contribute toward improvements to the College.”

A Poultney native, Ashley is a senior majoring in sociology/anthropology with a minor in Asian studies. She had originally planned to attend Norwich University to study political science, but when her interest in the subject began to wane, she returned to Poultney and began few classes at GMC. Her experiences led to her co-teaching a beginning level Spanish class her first semester. “I’ve always been interested in teaching because I thought I would make a great candidate, but it wasn’t until my experiences teaching Spanish that I realized how much fun it could actually be.”

Ashley is also a dedicated mentor, and is currently working with the Poultney Historical Society and a group of juniors and seniors from Poultney High School for her internship -- a project that will help the students better understand the historical perspective of the town. Recently, Ashley has been involved in a support group for Mexican immigrants in Poultney to help tutor them in English. She plans to continue working with this group even after she graduates.

Ashley’s deep interest in other cultures began in high school. After traveling to China for a class trip, she became interested in Asian cultures. Through this experience, as well as another grant-funded trip to China to study ancestor worship with a group of GMC students, she began to understand that many cross cultural conflicts stem from a lack of education. “I hope that as an anthropologist, I can teach people about different cultures so that they can be more open-minded,” she says.

By Nicole Ainsworth '09

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