Twenty-three-year-old Ashley Young of Riverview, a student at Hillsborough Community College-Brandon, has been selected for the USA Today 2013 All-USA Community College Academic Team and received $2,500.
She also earned a $2,000 Coca-Cola New Century Scholar award and $5,000 Phi Theta Kappa Guistwhite Scholarship.
Young is executive vice president of HCC’s Alpha Lambda Alpha Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
Michael Odu, the chapter’s faculty adviser, nominated Young “because of her outstanding academic achievement, leadership roles and community service.”
Young is the first HCC-Brandon student to make the team and first to win the New Century Scholar award.
Young graduated early from Riverview High School, then traveled through England, where she met her husband, Oliver Young. Her exposure to British culture sparked her desire for more education.
“It was hard to get started,” said Young, the first in her family to attend college. “I didn’t know anyone going to HCC and had no one to show me how.”
Young found and completed applications for enrollment and financing.
Although Young didn’t like high school, she loves college. She got involved with several organizations, including Commit2Complete, encouraging students to finish their two-year degrees.
Her advice to high school seniors: Invest in yourself, fill out the forms. Go to community college, where classes are smaller, tuition lower and opportunities abound. Go slow, focus on grades, save harder classes for after the first semester. And get into clubs – that’s where friends are found.
She looks forward to graduating to a four-year university after HCC to study environmental economics but won’t forget where she started her college education.
“I want to help others follow the same path I’m on,” she said, “so they can feel as awesome as I do now!”
The 20-member All-USA team (1,800 were nominated) was introduced April 23 in San Francisco at the American Association of Community Colleges Convention by USA Today and Phi Theta Kappa. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and Coca-Cola Foundation recognized 50 New Century Scholars for being their states’ top scorers.