Student Spotlight: Ashley Renfrew

Posted September 6, 2022

Category: blog, Nursing

Today we’re featuring one of the many incredible students of Salem University who inspire us every day with their hard work, focus, and goals for making an impact on the world around them. We had the pleasure of talking with Ashley Renfrew, a student in our Associate in Nursing degree program who has overcome many struggles in life in order to pursue her passion for helping others.

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

I am a 19-year-old from Buckhannon, West Virginia, currently in the middle of passing my TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) exam for my second and final year of college. I graduated high school early in 2021 with a 4.0. During high school, I was recognized by the National Honors Society and National High School Scholars two years in a row. I did online schooling after my sophomore year because I struggled in public school, but once I started online, I excelled in my schoolwork. I was recently adopted by my stepdad in June of 2022, and I love to twirl during my free time, as well as swimming, drawing, putting together puzzles, watching Netflix series, and spending time with my boyfriend, friends, family, and babysitting. I am a manager at Dominos, and most of my time is divided between work and studying for my degree.

My passion has always been wanting to help people, and that is what has led me to where I am now. I’ve had my struggles and have had a tough time with certain situations, but I am the type of person who does not give up easily. I am stubborn, dedicated, determined, and an overachiever. When I set my mind on something, I must finish and reach my goal. During middle school and high school, I had the best counselor/mentoring teacher I could ever have, along with my boyfriend Matty, my grams, my aunt. Catherine Coffield and my grandmother were two of my biggest supporters. They guided me through everything I went through during those years. Having them at my graduation was the absolute best thing because without them, I would not have made it. They both were always there for me and helped me with anything I needed. I was extremely lucky to have them both guiding me!

What brought you to Salem University?

At first after I graduated high school, I decided to take a break until fall before deciding what college I wanted to attend. But I got restless and decided to start my college journey earlier. I started researching colleges with a good nursing program. My aunt's fiancé told me about Salem and how he went there and told me about how good the nursing program was and how nice the professors are. It was even close to home so I could travel back and forth and still live in my hometown with my family.

What are you studying?

I am taking the two-year program to get my associate degree in nursing. I want to be a registered nurse, and I am going to succeed in getting my associate degree and become the best nurse I can be. I want to be able to help people and be involved in saving lives. I have not decided which department I want to be in yet, but I am leaning toward the Emergency Department or obstetrics and gynecology.

Tell me about your time at Salem so far.

At first, I was struggling with my classes, but then I was able to get ahold of Professor Dennis McNaboe and Noel Shaver. They were able to help accommodate my special needs and got me another chance at a few of my classes I did not do so well on. I was able to bring those grades, up and it raised my GPA up enough to be eligible for second year.

What has your experience been like so far?

When I went to campus my first time, I was there for my first attempt at the ATI TEAS exam. When I walked into the library, it was amazing, and I felt like I belonged there, that I was meant to go to Salem. I felt so comfortable and welcomed there, and there is always someone there to greet me when I walked in or out.

What has your experience with Salem’s professors been like? And what kind of connections have you built with fellow students?

The same day I went to take my TEAS exam, I met Mr. Rogers He’s a science tutor at Salem who also works in the library. He started helping me with the science part of the exam because I did not understand parts of the exam. I have only gotten to meet him and Noel in person, but so far, I can tell and feel that the professors they have are here because they want to watch us succeed and be the best we can be. The professors I’ve had for my pre-nursing classes were genuinely nice, kind, and were always willing to help me out when I needed it.

What has been the biggest benefit of being part of Salem University? Or what has been your favorite so far?

The biggest benefit of being part of Salem University is that it is a small campus with great professors. Plus, it is close to home, and I can live in my hometown and travel back and forth. I am still new to the campus, but so far I am loving being part of Salem University.

Where do you see yourself after graduation? What goals are you aiming for?

After graduation, I see myself still at the job I have now, hopefully in my own place and looking for a nursing position. I would like to be either in the ER or OB. Seeing babies being born is the best thing. Our help brings new life into the world.

My goal after graduation is to be the best nurse I can be. I want to use my degree and education to help people. I also want to get everything I can out of my degree and education because I want to be the best I can be for my future patients and coworkers. I have not really decided on what hospital I want to work at yet. I only know that I want to be somewhere where I can be the most helpful, and I know this is what I want to do with my life! I am leaning towards UHC as the hospital to work at. I am just not sure if that is where my heart will guide me. I will know when the time comes.

Any last words of encouragement or advice for prospective students?

The only thing I really have to say is that no matter what life throws at you, do not give up. Climb those obstacles and reach your goals. Do not ever let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. Also, surrounding yourself with your biggest supporters is the best thing you can do for yourself. My supporters are always there encouraging me and not letting me give up or feel bad that I did not get it the first time. I would like to thank Catherine Coffield, my family, and friends for helping reach my goal and making me into who I am! NEVER GIVE UP! Trust your gut and follow your dreams!