Ashlee Jones ’20
By Sasha Nyary
Ashlee Jones always assumed she wasn’t going to college and she had never heard of Mount Holyoke College.
But when she was in high school, a chance encounter with a recent alumna who had gone to Mount Holyoke changed everything. The student shared her experience with the Posse Foundation, a national organization that identifies and recruits diverse students with potential and matches them with partner colleges. Mount Holyoke provides a full-tuition scholarship to each Posse student.
“I fell in love with Mount Holyoke even before visiting the campus,” Jones said. “Just seeing all the faces on the website. But also knowing that people had already made the trip from Miami to Massachusetts, that a community was already on campus for me. It made me feel like I would flourish.”
And flourish she has. Jones planned to create her own major in preparation for a business career. But then she took an anthropology class to fulfill a requirement.
“I fell in love with the factual story, that’s what I call anthropology,” Jones said. “I’ve always loved stories and reading but now I was learning about other people’s cultures. And I was also learning about my culture and finding out more about myself.”
Her story includes being the senior diversity fellow for the Office of Admission. “My proudest accomplishment is all the people who either apply or go to Mount Holyoke because my story inspired them,” she said. She also studied abroad in France through the College’s program in Montpellier. But she knows she doesn’t have to leave campus to get a global education.
“I get to travel every day at Mount Holyoke,” Jones said. “I don’t have to go on Netflix, I can just go to Blanchard, the student center. Every day, I’m meeting someone from a different part of the world and they’re sharing with me the different ways they do things, their different thoughts and values. It’s made me redefine what it means to be American.”
A course at Amherst College through the Five College Consortium made her value her Mount Holyoke education. “I was always willing to fight for my opinion, but Mount Holyoke gave me the words to say whatever I want in the most effective way,” Jones said.
A doctorate may be in her future, but for now Jones plans to combine her anthropology background with her global business studies to work in business.
“Anthropology has provided such a great base to jump into a corporation,” she said. “At the end of the day, everything is a culture. Once you learn how to analyze, understand, dissect and relate that back to yourself — and explain those things to other people — then the world is your oyster.”