Ashley McGuigan graduated from NC State in May 2014, with a degree in Biology – Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, and the Global Perspectives Certificate. Her experience in the GPC greatly impacted her academic interests and career path.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: I’m enrolled at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa for my PhD in Botany, with a concentration in ethnobotany. I’m researching the importance of agroforest systems in Fiji to conservation, health and culture.
Q: How did the GPC impact your time at NC State?
A: I went to college to get an education, but also to grow as an individual and to learn more about my place in a larger community. I decided to pursue the GPC to help me do this. By enrolling in courses, attending special lectures, and volunteering at events with a global or cultural focus, I was able to become friends with people I would have never met otherwise.
One of my experiences in the GPC was living in the Global Village in Alexander Hall, where I met my best friends. We helped push each other through our first finals week, and celebrated our first “real world jobs” together, four years later. They became my family.
Q: Where did you do your study abroad experience, and how did it impact you?
A: An exchange student from Fiji [who lived in Alexander] convinced me Fiji was where I needed to study abroad. I decided to go to the University of the South Pacific for an entire year. This life-changing experience exposed me to a completely different culture that I fell in love with. I was elected President of the International Student Association [at USP]. I developed multicultural leadership skills and learned how to communicate with diverse audiences. I also found my passion in ethnobotany, which led me to pursue a PhD in it at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.
Q: Any words of advice for students currently in the program?
A: Stick with it! This certificate not only validates your international interests and focus in college, it shows future employers and grad schools that you are an extremely motivated student, interested in gaining the most out of your international experience. It also shows you have experience in living in diverse and unique places, working with groups of people, and with different ways of thinking.