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Assessing her future

Ashley VanOsdol knew from an early age that she wanted to help people. She made her first volunteer trip to Mexico at the age of 10, and she decided that the Peace Corps would be part of her future.

An outstanding high school swimmer in Columbus, Indiana, VanOsdol earned a full scholarship to Ball State. She earned an undergraduate degree in international business and marketing, with a minor in Spanish, and put her plans into motion.

"I wanted to put the business skills I learned in college to good use, so I went through the Peace Corps application," she says. "It took about a year and a half, and I went to Honduras two months after I graduated."

VanOsdol spent nine months in Honduras as a business development volunteer, training small business owners in marketing. During that time, she formulated the next part of her personal plan.

"The Peace Corps teaches volunteers to perform needs-based assessments," VanOsdol says. "You need to live with people in a location for a while before you can determine what they might require. I liked that aspect of the job.

"One of the large components of the human resource field is training and performing needs assessments. So I decided I would look for an HR program that would let me explore options in profit or non-profit fields."

VanOsdol chose the Krannert School’s Master of Science Degree in Human Resource Management (MSHRM) Program, in part because of its HR focus, and also because of the composition of the student body.

"One of the big strengths here is the international student population. You can learn so much about the world while living here in West Lafayette. It’s really exciting," says VanOsdol, who studied abroad in India and Italy while completing her undergraduate degree.

VanOsdol, who "comes from a family of recyclers," interned for an environmental services company while at Ball State. She has another internship lined up for this summer, working for Shell’s global division in Houston. She also serves as a graduate assistant in Krannert’s Office of Admissions.

After graduation, VanOsdol would like to go abroad as part of her career in the human resources field. She plans on keeping non-profit work on her plate in some manner.

"I think being a student-athlete ingrained a work ethic in me early on," she says. "And if you work hard, and you care about what you can do, you can make a real difference somewhere."