In this edition of #PROFspective we learn of junior Sports Communication and Media major Ashley Craven. Ashley is a transfer student from Camden County College who commutes from Sicklerville, NJ (Camden County). Showing great tenacity, Ashley is a single mother rising up to achieve her degree. Recently, Ashley was hired for Rowan Blog and exhibits a passion for photography. In this dialogue, we learn of Ashley’s own journey through academia as well as an inside look at her unique Rowan experience.
What drew you to your major?
Being an athlete, I wanted a job in the sports industry. I was actually going to nursing school and when I got in, I realized it wasn’t for me; so, sports came to mind.
I recently discovered my passion for photography. I thought of connecting the two. Now, I am taking on more cinematography and production assignments for the Rowan Blog. It just feels right.
How does your field impact the world? What impact would you like to have on the world in your field?
Combining photography and cinematography is like conveying a story in silence, which I think is pretty powerful. It allows athletes to showcase their talents and emotions. Whether they’re winning a championship or so forth, I really want to emphasize the talents of other athletes. It is a form of storytelling, so those who weren’t at these events can see bit by bit.
On the professional side, I want to get a job with the NFL or WWE. I’d feel a big sense of accomplishment if I got to do that because I would see my photos being out there around the world. I want to be an asset to a company and provide them with quality pictures to benefit them as well. It’s cool to think that photos are one of the only ways you can actually look back at the past.
Describe for us an experience you’ve shared with a Rowan professor in which you felt like you were working with a visionary in your field.
I have Neil Hartman to thank, without a doubt. I even kept in close contact with him even when I was still at Camden County College. It took me a year and a half to come here, and I still keep in touch with him. He has just been so influential. Neil Hartman provides all the students networking opportunities, keeps up to date with upcoming events and job fairs. He definitely wants me to succeed because he saw how passionate I was. He even reached out to ask me to do a lacrosse tournament just because he knew I was willing to do anything to succeed in the world of photography. He is definitely great with guidance and he is going to be the one I thank at my graduation speech.
What’s your fondest moment here at Rowan that involves your major?
The best would have to be when Brianna McCay, who is involved in The Whit, asked me to photograph the Brian Dawkins interview. Because of her, I was able to take some awesome photos of an icon. Two of my pictures made it into the newspaper, and I realized that I wanted to keep doing it.
I think photographing with the newspaper and seeing my photos published for the first time was one of the greatest moments. That was just an opening door to my future success. It’s still a new hobby of mine but it’s already got me here.
Any words you want to give to someone interested in your major?
Really, when you talk about the sports industry it’s all about who you know. You have to network, you have to promote yourself, you have to preserve. Every no will lead to a better yes. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is everything, it is the preview to life’s coming attractions.” That really resonates with me. What you put out into the universe is what’s going to attract to you.
How would you describe your academic journey so far?
So I absolutely love school now. I actually did not complete high school. Then, about eight years later, it kind of just came to me that I wanted to go back to school again. I wanted to better my life my kids and for myself, so I got my GED. I have worked relentlessly ever since. I wanted to get the degree, and I’ve just been so motivated.
With my kids, it’s hard to get work done but I’ve always believed in self discipline and I think it’s huge. So I set up times where I wake up at five or six in the morning when they’re still sleeping just to get an assignment done. Or I’ll even get them to bed by 9:30 and stay up until midnight to do my work. It’s very challenging for sure.
Because of them and how I want to better myself as an individual, it encourages me to stay on top of my assignments, get things done and get good grades. I value that, especially from someone who originally hated school.
Is there any specific club or organization that has helped welcome you here at Rowan?
Pizza with the Pros, there you feel the togetherness. It’s just awesome the people that you get to meet. Everyone just wants to help — whether it’s a student, a professional in the industry or in my case, Neil Hartman. Those events are all about networking and hearing perspectives of people in the industry. The all give great advice. Those events really just make me feel welcomed and supported.
What has been the biggest challenge in transitioning to Rowan?
Learning where all of the buildings are located! I just think being new is the most challenging. Other than that, everything has been pretty easy to navigate, especially with Canvas.
Any final words you would like to give?
You’re never too old, and it’s never too late. Prioritize what’s most important to you and put self-discipline first. I’m huge on being mindful. I would also suggest writing everything down. It’s really important to write down all your thoughts and ideas just to reflect on them after. Don’t forget to date them as well!
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