Meet Associate Director Ashley Blasland in this month’s #AOProfile! Ashley is the admission liaison to the Counseling & Clinical Psychology Department at Teachers College. Outside of the office, Ashley can be found writing children’s stories and scouting the streets of NYC for the very best mac n’ cheese!

Where are you from?

I’m a proud native of Syracuse, New York; home of the snowiest blizzards in December (and May), the best haunted hayrides in October, and the most delicious chicken tenders year-round (Tully’s Tenders, if you had to ask). Go Orange!

What are your Admission Office project areas?

My favorite part of my role is actually supervising our Student Ambassadors in the office. I feel very lucky to have a “project area” filled with the wit, passion, and joy of six fantastic individuals! Additionally, I am also beginning to work on our Off-Campus Recruitment initiatives. I am beyond excited to craft new ways that we can connect with our prospective students and applicants all over the world. 

What hobby do you wish you had more time for?

Performing in musical theater, recording voice overs, and writing fiction are my favorite hobbies–in fact, they are truly a central part of my life! Thankfully, I’m able to participate in all of these areas outside of my professional bubble, but being in grad school for the past three years has really limited my time. However, someone just graduated from TC (spoiler alert: me!) so I foresee plenty of upcoming opportunities to dive back into those activities again!

What was your program at TC?

I just graduated from TC’s Higher and Postsecondary Education Master of Arts program!

What is your most significant memory as a student at TC?

Rather than one particular memory, the general feeling of being a TC student is what stands out to me. I was extremely part-time (often taking only 1 class per semester), so I was not expecting to develop such significant bonds with my classmates. However, due to the collaborative nature of my courses, the frequent group projects, and the close-knit community of TC in general, I formed deep friendships with many of my peers. This made the program tremendously enjoyable for me, as we often left class together to head to the library for a late night of studying, or to a wine bar on Amsterdam for a much-needed break. On top of this, TC is also an extremely inspiring community due to the types of students it attracts. Although my diverse peers could not have been more different in so many ways, the common thread that weaves us all together is the genuine desire and drive to make an impactful change on the world around us. I learned so much from my passionate classmates and my education was truly enriched because of them. 

What was your favorite course at TC?

I LOVED “Curriculum and Instruction” with Dr. Conway. Before this class, I was not particularly interested in teaching, even though I come from a line of educators in my family. After developing my own curriculum in a creative environment that provided the perfect blend of challenge and support, I realized that I would love to teach my own courses someday, if the opportunity ever presents itself. I really enjoyed the thought process that goes into structuring an effective syllabus for learners from all backgrounds in diverse educational settings.

What TC class would you recommend?

No matter who you are or what you are studying, I believe anyone will greatly benefit from Dr. Stephen Brookfield’s inspiring one-credit workshops. I had the pleasure of enrolling in “Developing Critical Thinkers” and “Learning as a Way of Leading”, and both intensives engaged the class in a range of material that not only benefited us academically and professionally, but helped us become better human beings! Basic skills like listening to other perspectives, keeping an open mind, helping someone with a profound problem, and leading by example are introduced in innovative ways that will capture your attention and shift your frame of mind.

Who was your favorite professor at TC?

I plead the fifth! I had many incredible professors so it is impossible to choose just one. They each impacted me in a unique and meaningful way, and I was grateful to be in each of their classrooms.

What’s the best play you’ve seen on Broadway?

How long do you have?? Since Broadway is my favorite thing about New York City, I could write a thesis on this one! I will try to control myself and keep it short: some favorite musicals I have seen include Into the Woods (for the genius of Stephen Sondheim mixed with fairytale characters), Ragtime (for the powerful story and heart-wrenching music), Xanadu (for just plain ridiculous fun), Bandstand (for the swing dancing), and Thoroughly Modern Millie (for Sutton Foster and just the pure joy of musical theater). Peter and the Starcatcher, Noises Off, and Lend me a Tenor are my favorite plays that I have seen on Broadway–all were hilariously written and creatively staged, and I am keeping my eye out for revival productions in the future!

What is your favorite place to eat in NYC?

This is another tough one, because I am a pretty big fan of food. My favorite restaurant is Penelope; an adorable tiny place on the east side with a menu filled with comfort food and a country-like ambiance that will take your mind off of city-life demands for a few hours. A close second favorite is Alice’s Tea Cup, which taught me the true meaning of an excellent scone. For a special occasion with a group of friends, I recommend The Stanton Social– an upscale location that is designed for you to share several plates of food with the table. Let me just say: the french onion dumplings are worth a trip to NYC alone. Finally, as a self-proclaimed mac n’ cheese connoisseur, S’mac gets my vote for the best mac in the city.

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