Degree: Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Biology
Graduation Date: May 2016
High School/Hometown: Monmouth Regional High School/Tinton Falls, NJ
When Ashley Bello-Calamari ’16 began her first semester at Georgian Court University, she never thought she would have a college degree.
Prior to enrolling at GCU, Ashley had worked as a professional dancer in California, after landing an internship there in high school.
“My first day here at GCU, I felt like running back to BCC. However, I am glad I stuck it out. I met amazing people toward the end of my first semester who have been guiding me and helping me to get the best experience out of GCU.”
As she had been dancing since she was three years old, she was devastated when a serious car accident caused her to end her professional dancing career after only four short years.
After returning home and transferring from Brookdale Community College (BCC), Ashley began her undergraduate career at GCU, where she quickly became a part of TRIO–Student Support Services in order to assist her in her transition to college life.
With the help of TRIO staff members like Debbie D’Agostaro, staff assistant, Ashley was encouraged to start sharing her story with others, leading her to develop a passion for motivational speaking.
“My role as a motivational speaker is only the beginning,” says Ashley. “I want to share my message with others that life is tough, and you are not going to get everything you want. However, things do work out. You just need patience, commitment, passion, drive, help, support, and sometimes a good cry in order to achieve what you want in life.”
Following her graduation in May, Ashley will begin her new job working in a physical therapy office, and hopes to continue her education in physical therapy so that she can help people overcome their injuries.
“I never thought I was going to have a college degree,” Ashley adds. “But here I am, graduating college, and life is just starting.”
Story contributed by Alexandria J. Graziosi ’15, who graduated in December with a B.A. in English