Meet Ashley Millhouse
Minor: Psychology and Sociology
Hometown: Moorpark, Calif.
When Ashley first came to Wake Forest she had never been outside the United States. She graduates having visited seven countries. “Wake Forest doesn’t just promote learning in the classroom, but also learning in the real world. The University encourages everyone to truly experience learning by experiencing the world.” One of her most memorable study abroad experiences was in Accra, Ghana. Ashley will be returning to Africa in the fall to teach English as a Fulbright scholar. She is the first student at Wake Forest to receive a sub-Saharan Fulbright grant.
How have you changed during your time at Wake Forest?
When I first came on campus, I was shy and hesitant to open up. I lacked confidence. At Wake Forest, I grew comfortable being myself. The University nourishes every individual to be a leader in some capacity.
What inspired you to become a history major?
I wanted to be a physical therapist and health and exercise science major, but after taking a few history classes I realized I could major in something just because I truly enjoyed it — not because I knew what I wanted to do in my life.
Was there one class that was particularly memorable?
Because I had an interest in gay and lesbian studies, I decided to take “Lesbian and Gay Identities, Sexualities, and Cross Cultural Translation.” Our class of six students wrote an LGBTQ family friendly children’s book! The next semester four of us stayed together for an independent study and received a Chambers Entrepreneurial Grant to develop a website helping LGBTQ families access customized children’s books.
When did your interest in Africa begin?
The extracurricular activity I enjoyed most during my time at Wake Forest was participating in Volunteer Service Corps’ International Service Trips. My sophomore year, I traveled to South Africa to teach at a primary school. Although I was 8,000 miles away, I felt at home in South Africa. I found my talent for teaching, and I found a sense of purpose in working to empower the less fortunate and build unity across cultural lines.
What skill did you learn studying abroad?
Studying abroad in Accra, Ghana, I learned the importance of empowering youth through creativity. I worked at a educational and vocational center for former child laborers called BASICS International. I helped teach creative writing classes, because I wanted these children to experience a world outside of their village. This experience inspired me to continue working with youth, using creativity as a tool of empowerment.
I will always remember the big service events on campus such as Project Pumpkin and Hit the Bricks. During Project Pumpkin, students walk hand-in-hand with local children to trick-or-treat and celebrate Halloween. Every student organization has a table with games or activities. During Hit the Bricks, runners circle Hearn Plaza to raise money to support cancer research. Events like these represent the heart of our institution.