Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Ashley M. Navarro

Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Written by: Seminole State Staff

Name: Ashley M. Navarro, Ph.D.

Title and company: Professor, Education Program Coordinator at Seminole State College of Florida

Degree pursued at Seminole State: Associate in Arts 1995

What factors played into you deciding to attend Seminole State College?

Location, open access, small class sizes and affordability. When I attended the College, it was Seminole Community College and Dr. Weldon was the president. He’s the one that signed my diploma. While I was a student at Seminole State, the automotive building was a dirt parking lot, they were just building the Weldon building, and we registered in a portable in front of the old student center using triplicate forms. We had to wait in a long line to register, and once you made it to the front of the line, there was a college employee holding a huge printout of the classes that were already closed. Then, you would have to choose new classes.

What were your steps after receiving your credentials at Seminole State?

After receiving my Associate of Arts, I attended UCF via the 2+2 program. I earned my bachelor’s degree in elementary education. I taught at an elementary school in Seminole County Public Schools for seven years, while earning my master’s degree from UCF in educational media. After teaching at the elementary level, I taught professional development courses online for SCPS and a few other virtual entities, while teaching as an adjunct for the ELS department and computer courses at Seminole State. I became a full-time faculty member at Seminole State in the fall of 2007. I earned my Ph.D. from the University of South Florida in 2019 in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Higher Education Administration.

How did your time spent at Seminole State help prepare you for where you are now?

While I was a student at Seminole Community College, I was working full-time because I did not qualify for financial aid, and I did not want to take out a loan. I would attend class in the morning and go straight to work afterwards. Other days, I would work all day, and attend class in the evenings. Since I worked in retail, I would have to work most weekends as well. I feel like working full time, while taking courses at the College, gave me a glimpse into the lives of some of my students. It helped me realize that college coursework may not be the only commitment in a student’s life.

I also remember how it felt to navigate the college system. Since I was a first-generation college student, I remember how inadequate I felt when I had questions related to tuition, deadlines, procedures, transfer registration and my program of study. Having attended a community college, I have a better understanding of some of the pressures and experiences our students may feel.

Who or what class was your greatest influence at Seminole State College?

I loved attending Seminole Community College! The courses were offered at different times, so that I could work full time while attending the College. My professors were passionate, knowledgeable and approachable.
I really enjoyed my introduction to philosophy class with Pat Fitzgerald. This course required me to evaluate a variety of viewpoints and caused me to rethink everything that I had always accepted as true. This course transformed me. I believe my experience in this course is an example of what many educators hope students will experience throughout college; the opportunity to explore different perspectives and new ways of thinking, while developing critical thinking skills.

Professionally or academically, of what are you most proud?

I am most proud of finishing. Finishing my Associate of Arts degree. Finishing my bachelor’s degree. Finishing my master’s degree. Finishing my Ph.D. I finished on my own timeline.

What advice do you have for current or prospective Seminole State students?

Keep putting one foot in front of the other. If you feel overwhelmed, ask for help. And if one person does not have the answer, ask another person. If you make a mistake, try again.

What do you like to do for fun?

I love spending time with my family, gardening, reading, trying new restaurants and going to the beach.

What are you doing to help get you through this pandemic? Any thing you’d like to share specifically about how you’re feeling during this time?

I try to remind myself that everyone has difficulties to overcome. We must treat others with respect and compassion, and most importantly, take time to listen.

About the Seminole State College Alumni Association

Seminole State College Alumni Association: The Seminole State College Alumni Association provides benefits and services for alumni as they continue their lifelong connection with Seminole State College of Florida, providing opportunities for them to network with one another, interact with the student body and support the College. To learn more, visit the Alumni Association website.