2016 Tillman Scholar

Ashley La Rue

Military Spouse
University of Oklahoma
M.A., International Relations

“Having the ability and love to impact one life can lead to big changes.”

Her experience volunteering in Dakar, Senegal taught Ashley how having the ability to love and impact one life can lead to big changes and connecting with communities shatters the idea we are all different. Throughout her husband’s 16 years of service in the United States Army, Ashley has been inspired by his love and service to a cause greater than himself and aspired to follow in his footsteps. Setting aside her education plans in 2008 to support her husband’s military career, Ashley had the experience working at the U.S. Embassy in Dakar, Senegal seeing first hand the different United States Agency for International Development (USAID) initiatives within the West African region, leading her to research careers within the U.S. Government and other international organizations.

With a Master’s degree in International Relations, Ashley hopes to gain knowledge to return to West Africa and start her career. During her time volunteering in the Pouponniere Orphanage, Ashley was reminded, the children at Pouponniere do not need saving; rather their mothers need adequate prenatal care and access to education in order to provide for their family. Her time in Senegal taught her it’s not always about fixing the immediate problem but more so about helping individual communities with the tools they need to thrive. Ashley’s husband continues to be a constant inspiration to her, fueling her desire to go forward and be an inspiration to others.