Ashley Newcomer, a native of Sacramento, CA, graduated from Willamette University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry. For her research-based senior thesis, she synthesized a potential drug for a degenerative eye disease. Throughout her time in the Pacific Northwest, Ashley worked as a teacher’s assistant in a Head Start classroom and volunteered with a university organization at Randall Children’s Hospital. After Impact America, Ashley plans to attend graduate school to become a physician’s assistant.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment is receiving my Girl Scout Gold Award for which I made “Welcome Kits” for the UC Davis Children’s Hospital that each contained games, a teddy bear, a book, hand sanitizer, a pillowcase, and a “Get Well Soon” card made by members of the community. After delivering the kits, I helped the patients decorate their pillowcases with fabric markers in hopes to make the hospital rooms more personal and comfortable. This opportunity to interact with the patients allowed me absorb the impact that I made, and that was an incredibly rewarding experience.

Who is someone you admire and why?

The person who I admire most is my mother. Not only has she spent the last 25 years raising my brothers and I, but she also went back to school to get a degree that she was passionate about. Through all the curve balls and heartaches, she has always retained her unbreakable optimism and hope. She inspires me to reach for the stars, and to face each challenge with grace and poise. After all, it is her words of wisdom that has gotten me where I am today: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”