August 1, 2018
ASU-Beebe offers countless opportunities for students living both on and off-campus. For sophomore Ashton Warner, a Beebe resident and the 2018-2019 Student Government Association President, ASUB seemed like the best possible choice for her college education.
“When deciding which college to go to, I had many options living in the central Arkansas area,” Ashton explained. “After months of consideration, ASU-Beebe seemed like the picture perfect fit seeing that it was in my hometown, smaller and affordable. Although many of my friends chose to go to four-year universities, I knew ASU-Beebe was going to be the best experience for me.”
Ashton first heard about ASU-Beebe through her mother, an employee of the university with Human Resources, and her sister who attended ASUB as a student for two years. She later became interested in the Student Government Association while working in the Student Success Center with Dr. David Mayes. Although she served as SGA secretary for much of her freshman year, Ashton was later elected president.
As SGA President, Ashton acts as a conduit between students, faculty and administration. She speaks for many students around campus, providing feedback to administration on important issues that might otherwise not receive the attention they deserve.
“I like getting stuff done, going from point A to point B. But I also care about what people think,” said Ashton.
Even when attending Beebe High School, Ashton showed a remarkable propensity for leadership. She held integral roles in several student clubs such as cheer captain and choir president, and even led a Bible study group at her house. She was also involved in various clubs, including Future Business Leaders of America, Health Occupation Students of America, Youth Alive, Spanish Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.
The Student Government Association has provided Ashton with many opportunities, including student leadership trips, activities and events. According to Ashton, one of the most memorable events she attended was a conference in Ferndale. While there, students discussed their core motives, personality types, and how their outlook influences their decision-making process as leaders in their community. Moreover, Ashton participated in Student Leadership Day at the Arkansas State Capitol, an opportunity for Arkansas community colleges to tour the building and see how legislation is passed.
Her favorite part of SGA is planning activities for her fellow students on campus. One of the most notable events Ashton helped to organize was Harvest Social, a well-loved ASU-Beebe tradition. Despite encountering some initial hiccups, her prior knowledge of event organization and her leadership skills helped immensely. Through hard work and dedication, Ashton helped to make an experience everyone would love.
“Once you have an idea you have to stick with it,” Ashton said.
Before attending ASUB, Ashton was primarily interested in nursing school. After interacting with several instructors on campus, however, she discovered the fields of Psychology and Mental Health Counseling and quickly changed her field of study.
“I became really connected with Abe Chambers, the mental health counselor at ASU-Beebe,” said Ashton. “I just wanted to help people, talk to them, reach out to them at their lowest point. Once I had Psychology with Mrs. Dava Brock—she was my advisor— I was just set. I loved it.”
It isn’t always easy for students to decide their major, and many students change their area of study at least once during their college career. By working with friends, family and instructors, a student beginning their college education can determine just what program suits their needs best.
“I took some inventory of what I was passionate about,” Ashton said. “Then, I decided.”
One of the classes she looks forward to most is under the education track, an online course titled Exceptional Children. This course provides experiential learning opportunities and observation hours in classrooms designed for children with special educational requirements because of learning difficulties or emotional, behavioral or physical issues. Although Ashton didn’t have to take this class for her major, she wanted to because she believes being knowledgeable about mental health during childhood is especially important.
Aside from volunteering with Special Olympics, Ashton also described a club organized by a friend from high school: Best Buddies. This club involved students being paired with children with special needs and going to movie theaters, restaurants and other exciting activities, all with the intention of turning what might be an unfamiliar experience into a safe and comfortable one.
"It was a fun time for everyone involved, " said Ashton.
Despite her positive experiences with mental health counseling, Ashton also thinks that her field needs a better reputation. She believes that, in order for careers like hers to be accepted, people need to understand that physical and mental health are closely related.
“I think it gets a bad rap,” Ashton explained. “People don’t understand how it actually is.”
When asked what she plans to do with her degree, Ashton immediately answered: “I’m really wanting to work at a facility for troubled youth. I volunteer at Camp Beebe and it has really opened my eyes to how important it is to act when a child is struggling. I saw a need for it.”
Since she began attending classes at ASUB, Ashton has earned the Leadership Scholarship and the Outstanding First-Year Student award. After graduating, she aims to transfer to UCA for her bachelor’s/master’s degrees and has plans to tour the psychology program there.
Ashton’s advice for future students: “Get involved, make connections and don’t be afraid to talk with people. Don’t go through college alone! You cannot be afraid to ask for help in college.”