Making a Difference: Philanthropy helps Ashley Fowler ’14 shape her future

Through the benefit of private support, the Elon senior has discovered a passion for human rights and is leaving a lasting legacy on campus.

Professor Terry Tomasek and Ashley Fowler '14.
Professor Terry Tomasek and Ashley Fowler ’14.[/caption]

Senior Ashley Fowler has covered a lot of ground since arriving on Elon’s campus in the fall of 2010. It’s a journey that began when she learned she’d been selected to participate in Elon’s Honors Fellow program, a scholarship program that attracts high-achieving students to Elon and is supported by the university’s donors.

“I’d always been interested in Elon, but hadn’t really seen it as a feasible possibility,” says the Mt. Pleasant, N.C. native. “Having that scholarship definitely influenced my decision to attend. It more or less made it possible for me to come to Elon.”

As an Honors Fellow, Fowler has taken special honors courses with Elon’s top faculty and undertaken an in-depth thesis project with a faculty mentor. Additional scholarships and grants have helped the political science major get the most out of her time at Elon.

“I had a lot of ideas of things that I wanted to do when I came to Elon, but no real way of implementing them or making them happen on the ground,” she says.

Those ideas have come to pass through the generosity of others. Through the Lumen Prize, a prestigious award given to fund undergraduate research, Fowler has conducted research on human rights in the LGBT community. Her work has taken her to Lithuania and Croatia, a region she’s visited three times during her college career.

Though she’ll be graduating soon, Fowler will leave a lasting mark on campus with a legacy project she created as part of her involvement with Elon’s Center for Leadership.

After traveling to Africa with Elon’s Kernodle Center for Service Learning, Fowler knew she wanted to design a winter term course which would send students to Malawi each year to volunteer in the area and learn about a foreign culture. As recipient of the Hilaire Pickett ’08 Leadership Grant Endowment, Fowler was able to return to the region with Elon professor Terry Tomasek to design the course.

These experiences have shaped her desire to work internationally and her passion for serving others. She is currently plans to pursue a graduate degree in the human rights field, and feels confident in her ability to succeed based on her undergraduate experience.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had at Elon,” she says. “It’s been an incredible experience.”