Ashley Ownbey, a native of Rutherfordton, NC, graduated with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in geography and a second major in public policy. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and was the recipient of the McNally Award for Excellence in Geography, which is awarded annually to a graduating senior based on superior academic performance. Ashley is a first-generation college graduate and served on the executive board of Carolina Firsts, a student organization supportive of the nearly 20% of Carolina undergraduates who are the first in their families to attend a university and pursue a bachelors degree. While at UNC, she was also active in service-based organizations. She served as a Big Sister mentor for two years and volunteered as a tutor in the local school system. Additionally, Ashley was a member of the outreach committee for HOPE Gardens, a student-run community garden and urban farm that aims to increase access to locally grown produce. She also volunteered at the women and children’s shelter and served as an advocate at the Community Empowerment Fund, a non-profit providing direct support to homeless and low-income individuals. After working with Impact Alabama, Ashley plans to either return to school or begin work within the local government or non-profit sector.