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Young Trailblazer Nominee

Ashley Register

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Nominations

Nominated by Regina English

“At a mere 24 years old, Ashley has a BA in journalism with an emphasis in strategic communications. Ashley is an Aspiring lawyer at Howard University and would like to do crisis management. Ashley is in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc – has planned protests this past summer – is passionate about history (specifically black history) – enjoys reading, writing poetry, piano playing, and spending time with friends and family. Ashley is currently the campaign manager for the Elect Regina English for District 4 City Council and has interest in political strategy and becoming a political analyst.”

Nominated by John Register

“I am nominating this person for leadership. Ashley was an assistant organizer for the peaceful protest against the murder of George Floyd. She is an outspoken advocate and has helped many corporate business professionals understand the role they play in bringing about a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and belonging environment to our nation.”

Making Her Mark On The World

Interview by Brandon Bornes // Written by Tina Adams

Poised as a confident future leader, at only 24 years old, Ashley Register is a millennial who is already making her mark in the world. She has helped organize peaceful protests surrounding pressing issues of injustice and loves politics. Graduating from the University of Northern Colorado last May with a degree in journalism with an emphasis in strategic communications, she aspires to go on to law school.

“I do have aspirations of going to law school, and I’ve been preparing for that, but I want to get as many scholarships as I can so I’m taking my time.” But, for now she is enjoying her job as an event coordinator at her alma mater where she coordinates a host of events to help enrich the lives of the current students.

Preparing for law school by researching scholarships is not the only smart move that Ashley is making. She understands the importance of being passionate and caring and strives to have an open heart and open arms for the people around her. Besides her many accomplishments at such a young age, she feels that this quality is what draws people to her; she attributes this part of herself to her mom and dad.

“They are giving people as well. Seeing that growing up and seeing the strength in their faces, allowed me to discover a giving attitude and shaped me into who I wanted to be as a person.”

Ashley knows that her compassion for people, her giving spirit and her ability to take charge and be a leader in any situation has gotten her where she is today. With no shortage of her own trials and tribulations in her college years, she honestly feels that those impactful times helped to shape her as a person. And surrounding herself with the best people during her college years is the most important thing she could have done as a student.

“My inner circle in college were all God-fearing women who were uplifting and encouraging. Just being around people like that helped me to grow and learn so much about myself.”

As a division one athlete and with the pressures of school, Ashley began to feel the stress of it all. She remembers one time in particular when she’d begun to question if she was on the right career path.  Faith dwindling and feeling a little depressed, she began to read a lot of spiritual books and dig deeper into the Word of God. That year proved to be a year of self-discovery and she was glad to have good people around her to help her through such trying times.

Looking up to her brother, Ashley wanted to play basketball just like him. At a young age she started playing basketball and became a force in the sport. Achieving her basketball goals in high school, after graduation, she began to play volleyball and took track very seriously as well. She feels that sports are a good foundation in life for a lot of people, and says that because she did well in sports, she had more leadership responsibilities.

Ashely may have a lot of leadership roles, but she confesses that in her free time she loves to sing and play the piano. However, when she was younger, she picked her love for sports over the piano and has now more recently started to play the piano again. Learning fast and loving it, she is eager to write music as well as try her hand at poetry.

“Never stop learning and always be open to differences of opinions.”  Is what this young trailblazer said when asked what advice she would give to help older adults connect with the younger generation. Being open to seeing things from a different perspective, having a different opinion than others in the room, and trying something new helps to challenge your mind and helps you to grow. These are all things that she feels will go a long way in helping to bridge the gap between the two generations.

“Every person is growing; we’re all evolving creatures so never stop seeking to learn because you can learn a lot from younger generations.”

Ashely has definitely proven that growing and learning is the way to accomplish your dreams. She was inducted into the Hybrid Society at the University of Northern Colorado, a society that recognizes student- leaders who lead both on campus and in the community. She has also been in the Black Student Union and the Student Public Relations Network. Ashely hopes to accomplish even more when she gets her law degree, as she wants to help people who have been affected by racial injustices. Her mission is simple—-to be a vessel that can help ease the pain of families and communities that need assistance with some of the toughest challenges in life.


Ashley Register Interview Transcript

What school do you attend, what year are you in, and what are you studying?

I graduated in May of 2019 from the University of Northern Colorado. I got my degree in journalism with an emphasis in strategic communications, which is just a fancy way of saying PR and advertising. I got a double minor in Africana studies and political science. So right now, I’m kind of in limbo because I do have aspirations of going to law school, and I’ve been preparing for that, but I want to prepare as well as I can to give me scholarships as I can. So I’m taking my time to make sure I’m doing everything the right way because it is a lengthy application process. So right now I’m just working. I just got a new job I started on Monday at my alma mater being the event coordinator for the Alumni Association because while I was there, I was on our University Program Council, which has accounts made with all students five students. They planned events for the students on campus. So that’s everything from your spring concert to your open mic nights to bring in like different political figures, other inspirational people to speak to the students, and that was something that I enjoyed. It was amazing that someone was watching me do that. And I didn’t know that they were watching me. So when the position became available at the school as a full-time faculty member she reached out to me and asked me to apply and I got the job. So I’m super excited to go back to the school and a place where I like grew so much and learned so much about myself to help other people do that as well.

What do you think others would say that they value about you the most and why?

I think a common thing that I was getting from everyone is that I’m selfless. I’m a very giving person. I’m very compassionate and caring. People are drawn to me in that sense because I always have an open heart and open arms for people. I’m always looking to help people first. I think that’s still my mantra. I have my mom to thank for that, and my dad’s been for that. They’re giving people as well. Seeing that going up seeing them, you know to be strong on their face and have just discovered this giving attitude that shaped me and who I want to be as a person. So I think that someone who sees me there about the person that they say about me is like just my posture and my attitude when I walk into a room like I create a presence that’s known. I am not a person who’s afraid to take charge and take leadership in any situation. People can come to me about anything and everything. I was very influential during my college tenure because of that and I think I think that’s something that I capitalize on what helped me get to where I am today.

How do you think you developed that confidence in your gifts’ strength and realizing what you have to offer?

My college years shaped me as a person honestly, and I went through a lot of trials and tribulations. The most important thing that I could have done in college was surrounded myself with the best people and that’s precisely what I did. My inner circle in college were all like God-fearing women who were just uplifting and encouraging and so just being in that atmosphere and being around those people. It just helps you so much to grow and to learn about yourself a lot. This one summer specifically, I stayed up there in college at my apartment instead of coming back home and it was just a tough season for me. I was going through a lot with being a division one athlete but I wasn’t performing as well as I should have, school was stressing me out, I didn’t know if I was on my right career path. I was questioning whether this is something I could even do and my faith was dwindling. I was depressed so I started reading a lot of spiritual books and a lot of scriptures trying to get more into the Word and I think having those people around me. As I said, keeping in touch with me was helpful, but I think it was also a lot of self-discovery that year that I had to get. I had to get thrown down into the pit to see just how strong I was to come out of it. I think that has to do a lot with my confidence today because I was so low. I remember when I was down and just being able to recognize how I came out of situations on my own. With the help of other people, I try to keep in mind when I’m going through things or what I’m trying to inspire that saying. You know to other young women who are also you know coming up in age and trying to figure out the world.

How do you think sports have helped you when it comes to your mindset today? What was your athletic journey like?

I always think that sports are a good foundation for life for a lot of people. So I started playing basketball from the time I could walk. My brother was a phenomenal basketball player, and I wanted to be like him. So I played basketball at a very young age and just became a force in that sport and then once I got to high school, I started playing volleyball and took track very seriously. Because I have an athletic build, I did well in all my sports, and because of that, I had more leadership responsibility. So I was captain of all of the sports teams at the high school. I think it  helped me because I’m a young leader now trying to navigate school. You know what I want to do in life and guide my team and try to keep like this a consistent community and a consistent my family vibe on the team. I want to make sure that everyone is working hard and everyone has you know our shared goals in mind. The most challenging aspect of it was me questioning if this is something that I could even do if I were even a leader. I wondered how people would view me as a leader. It’s hard to be a leader among your peers, especially at that age. After all, as you know, high schoolers and middle schoolers, we’re in this state where we think we know everything and we have the world figured out already. So it was hard, especially to find your voice among your peers and not get caught up in the crowd. It was challenging for me to stand out and find my voice and find out who I am who I want to be as a leader. So that set the foundation. I think it carried on into college very well because I was on scholarship when I first got to the University of Northern Colorado. I had to earn my scholarship, and I didn’t even get that until my senior year. In my old school,

I was voted captain, which is just crazy to me because here I was like a little freshman that no one knew that no one even cared about as my coaches overlooked me, as you can imagine as a D1 athlete. When you’re a good athlete in high school, you get to college and like all these people are ten times better than you and you feel like you’re unworthy to be on the team. You don’t feel like people see you. So the fact that I fought my way to that captain spot my senior year, I think, speaks about the determination that sports give to you because my Dad would like this for my workouts. They will be tough like they’re so hard and you know, and he’s a four-time All-American Paralympian like so his activities were different they were different. I always had a give-up mantra-like never give up attitude because my Dad helped me push myself further than what I could see. After all, he knew my limits better than I did.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time, or what are your hobbies?

I have a few. I love to sing. In March of 2020, I wanted to pick the piano back up because my whole family is musically gifted and I played the piano when I was younger. I stopped that when I did sports because it was just kind of like one or the other if you want it to flourish, so I picked sports and so I thought it was picking the piano back up and I’m enjoying that I’m still going with the piano. I’m learning fast and I love it. I love to write a lot of poetry and I’m starting to write music, and I love to read like I have a whole bunch of books that I need to read.

What is the best advice someone has given you recently?

She was my college roommate and she was mentioning how everything that goes on in life happens for a reason and that reason could be something that we don’t see. Whatever punches get thrown at us in life, we have to go with it and keep going. Just roll with the waves. We have to stay on our feet and keep going with it.

What is one thing you want to get better at?

I want to get better at being more self-aware and obviously and being stuck in the confines of your house can damage someone’s mental health. I think that one thing that I learned in 2020 about myself is that I am spiritually inclined, but there was still so much about myself that I didn’t know that that was beginning to find out. I think that I had just scratched the surface in 2020. In 2021 and beyond, I’m trying to hone in on that and learn myself as much as I can because the more you know yourself, the better you can represent who you want to express for the better. You can be out in your community and do the things that you know.

What advice would you give to help adults connect with the younger generation better?

I would say never to stop learning and always open to differences of opinion. I think it’s easy to preach to the choir because everyone agrees with you, but once you get into a room with people who have different opinions as you, not only does it challenge your mind, it also helps you grow. It allows you to see things from a different perspective. We can get caught in our view for so long and not realize that there are a million other people who can have the same Idea who think about it entirely differently than you do in that every single generation is growing. Every person is growing. We’re ever-evolving creatures, so never stop evolving and never stop seeking to learn because you can learn a lot from being the generation, even myself. I find myself learning a lot from my nieces because just because someone’s younger and may not have as much experience in years doesn’t mean that their feelings and opinions aren’t valid.

Well, what accomplishments or awards are you most proud of?

I think there’s two that I would that I can think of right off the bat. The first one is I was inducted into the Hybrid Society at the University of Northern Colorado. This society recognizes student leaders on campus and people who have been very influential in the community for not only doing well academically in school but also in school and handling outside events and community stuff. We have my saying at the Office of Student Life that student engagement and inclusion create the student experience and UNC is the most diverse school in Colorado. So I think that when I was in the position that I was in at UNC on the University Program Council and all the other organizations, I was a part of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Black Student Union, Student Public Relations Network. My thing was always about how can we make this more inclusive for everybody in the community? And so getting that award was lovely to be appreciated every once in a while. And so it was just right to see that like my efforts were being recognized because I wanted to express this is specifically for the black community to create just a more sense of community at the school. I think that we do have that at UNC. The black community is robust there and we’re very supportive of one another. Many people have started their own, you know, small businesses out of the pandemic and everyone has been super supportive of everybody. The second award I would say is I got an Outstanding Leadership Award from my sorority and that one hits home. There was a semester where I was the only person in the chapter because everyone else was studying abroad at that time and it was the first it was fall semester, so we had a lot of members graduate. Then coming back, we were kind of on our own, and we only had like three people in the chapter. So I was the only one there and I had to do everything by myself honestly. So from everything from planning to financials to being the president’s, being the vice president, that was a very stressful time. It was also a particular time because it was my senior year and I also just got awarded captain for the track. So I have more responsibilities there. And then, I had a new job, and I was a spring concert coordinator. It was very stressful, and I still managed it, and I was proud that I ordered it as well as I did. And it’s not fair to be recognized by the sorority that they knew they knew that I was going through it. And then I still prevailed with everything, but the chapter was always, you know, good I could bring in new members by myself and do a whole bunch of things to help the chapter. Stay afloat.

Covid has changed many people’s points of view, so what is your outlook on life since then?

I think everyone had that moment. Like is this really, you know worth it. So I guess mine. It came after the protest up in Denver for George Floyd. I was a part of a group where we organized the first nonviolent protest, with over 2,000 people attending at the Capitol. Planning that event was very emotionally draining and stressful because I have to prepare a 2,000 person event and make sure that no one gets hurt and that we have a flow of speakers lined up. The emotional trauma that came with it as a black community. It’s tough to see somebody die on camera — at least it should be — and for us, it’s just here we are again. It seems like we can make so much progress and it looks like we can do all these things but at the end of the day, this still happens. I remember driving home after the protest and breaking down crying in my car, just bawling because even though it was a good protest and even though it’s you know people on the outside were like you guys did so well, I still felt like a failure. I always felt like we failed because we’re still here. We’re still on the same spot 50 + years later when Emmett Till was killed. So that was very disheartening to me. I knew that, and in the state of me feeling powerless, there was something that I wanted to do to feel powerful. Not only for George Floyd but my people, for whoever this is going to happen to the mix because, unfortunately, it is. So I think that moment is when I got serious about wanting to go to law school because I knew that with a law degree. I could do so much more to help people than I ever could with the system here in America. I do plan on getting my law degree, but I’m more focused on doing community or pro-bono work. I just felt the pain of everybody who was mourning at that time. So if I could be one of the vessels that could help ease that pain on one family, then I would feel satisfied in that sense.

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