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QUICK FACTS

Major: English with a minor in Gender Studies

Graduation Year: 2017

Activities: I'm a Pacific Humanities Scholar and one of the admin assistants for the program, a member of the literary editing team for Calliope, the secretary of Omega Eta Epsilon, the secretary of Sigma Tau Delta, a writing mentor at Student Writing Center on campus, and a writer and contributing editor for Pacific's Odyssey community.

Ashley Colombo

Ashley Colombo
"I feel like I understand how society ticks so much better now that I've been steeped in Gender Studies subjects. We cannot enact the changes we want to see in the world unless we understand what's broken about it to begin with, and we understand the struggles other people face that we might be immune from."

Q: Why did you decide to come to Pacific?

A: Before I came to Pacific, I was convinced I wanted to go to a community college back home because I had no idea what I actually wanted to do with my life. However, my parents convinced me to come down and interview for the Humanities Scholars Program, who I'd been getting emails from and didn't really know anything about. We ended up coming down for a campus tour and an interview, where I got the chance to meet Dr. Courtney Lehmann. She was one of the most friendly, bubbly people I had ever met who seemed to care about me as a person before I'd even decided to enroll at Pacific. Her warm welcome combined with our beautiful, cozy campus and all that the Pacific Humanities Scholars had to offer was what convinced me I was meant to be at Pacific.

Q: Why did you choose to study Gender Studies?

A: When I entered college, I was only vaguely aware of the world around me. My high school was pretty insulated from social issues because we were smack in the middle of a conservative little city with people who were content to stay there forever. As soon as I got to Pacific, though, and got to learn more about social justice and all the problems of inequality facing our world, I realized how passionate I was about trying to set things right. Feminist and LGBTQ+ issues are particularly important to me, and I wanted the chance to study them more thoroughly so I could be as active in those communities as possible, and understand a little more about myself. Hence I was drawn to the Gender Studies program, and decided to pick it up as a minor.

Q: What's your favorite Pacific memory?

A: I have so many incredible memories here that it's hard to choose just one. I think one of my fondest comes from the Creative Writing: Fiction class I took in the fall of 2015 with Dr. Eric Sonstroem. We did a lot of in-class writing exercises in that class to help get our creativity flowing, and one day, we got to play a little game of sorts. Dr. Sonstroem asked us all to write a sentence in our notebooks that could serve as the start of a story. Then we passed our notebooks all the way around the room, and each person had to add a new sentence onto whatever story was unfolding in the notebook they received. The results were absolutely hysterical. Everyone in that class had grown really close over the course of the semester, so getting to be silly with my classmates and create something fun together really warmed my heart.

Q: What would you tell a prospective student who wants to study Gender Studies?

A: If you have any doubts at all about studying Gender Studies, cast them to the wayside. Understanding the way gender and all its facets work in the world is so important. So much of how we act and think comes from how our society tells us to perceive gender, sexuality, and everything else related to them. I feel like I understand how society ticks so much better now that I've been steeped in Gender Studies subjects. We cannot enact the changes we want to see in the world unless we understand what's broken about it to begin with, and we understand the struggles other people face that we might be immune from.

Q: Anything else you'd like to share?

A: I just want to thank all the faculty I've gotten to work with and friends I've made here at Pacific. These past three years have been amazing, and it's all because of the incredible people here who gave me a home away from home. Pacific will always hold a special place in my heart.