2017 W&M Graduation Series: Ashleigh Arrington

Ashleigh Arrington ’17 is one of several William & Mary seniors who will be featured in a scholarships series leading up to Commencement.

Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla.

Major: Sociology and gender, sexuality and women's studies

What type of impact do you want to make on the world and how do you plan to do it?

I want to inspire other people like me (racial minorities, women, etc.) to pursue any and everything that they want to and to appreciate the histories that have made that possible. I plan on doing this by simply being a physical representation — working hard in my field, being unapologetically who I am and a constant reminder of what black and mixed-race women can achieve. I'm looking to do something in a public/guest services type of field, and through that role I hope I can inspire people who look like me to achieve their dreams.

What are your plans for the future, or in your career?

My current plans for the future involve moving to the Northeast to pursue a career in the museum studies field. I'm passionate about historical interpretation and telling interesting histories through giving tours. I hope to do that as a career in the future. I also plan on writing books and poems to publish and share with the world.

What skills have you gained while attending W&M, and/or, how has William & Mary prepared you for the future?

I have learned how to tackle any challenge thrown my way while at William & Mary. Through my interdisciplinary gender, sexuality, and women's studies major, I have learned how to succeed and craft successful study skills for a variety of different fields. I can write a philosophy paper or an English paper. I can carry out literature reviews for research projects. I can manage my time and energy to ensure I get everything done according to my high standards. I feel I can enter any field, learn on the fly and succeed through my experiences at William & Mary.

Looking back, what is the best thing you will take with you from your experience at William & Mary? (A favorite memory or tradition, times with your closest friends, your favorite professors, or life lessons, etc.)

I think the memories I have at various campus events and traditions will go with me forever: cheering at football games, huddling in the cold and rain at Yule Log, having late-night conversations on the Sunken Garden, etc. Just all these little things that I'll miss next year and that are quintessentially William & Mary.

How did scholarships impact your William & Mary experience?

Scholarships helped me enjoy my experience at William & Mary. I didn't have to worry about money as much and could instead focus on getting an education. I didn't have to work a ton of jobs over four years and instead could enjoy my experience at William & Mary and time with friends.

How has a scholarship changed your trajectory in life? Would you have come to W&M without a scholarship?

Scholarships made my attendance at William & Mary possible. As an out-of-state student, I would not have been able to attend this institution without scholarships. William & Mary was my top-choice school and an important step in living the life of which I dreamed. Without scholarships I would not have been on the right track to creating an amazing life. My family could not afford this level of education for me without scholarships, and I am thankful for my scholarship donors daily.

A note of thanks to scholarship donors:

Thank you so much to the donors who have made my experience at William & Mary possible. To those considering donating, your contributions help out-of-state students achieve their dreams, attend their top schools, and pursue an education and future otherwise denied to them. Scholarships have given me a college education, and your future support would help students like me who are ready to achieve their dreams, but cannot afford it otherwise.