Career Development off the Court
Ashley Chang has always given full effort in everything she’s done. As the most recent alumna of the Husky Fellowship, a paid internship program for UW student-athletes created by The Sports Institute at UW Medicine and UW Athletics, she consistently showcased this quality that has made her successful both in and out of sports.
The current member of the UW Women’s Tennis team grew up in China before, at 13, relocating to South Carolina to train at a tennis academy. She proceeded to complete her high school education in Canada while being recruited by a number of D1 programs, but selected UW to attend the Foster School of Business.
“I was always drawn to business, even from a young age,” said Ashley. “My dad, who is one of my biggest role models, managed a large sports manufacturing company and instilled a lot of business work ethics into me. I was always interested in how he operated his business and what it took for me to be successful like he was. It wasn’t until learning about Foster that I really turned my ambition into a reality.”
Currently a junior, Ashley was accepted into Foster at the end of her sophomore year. Before this, she applied for the Husky Fellowship. Although she wasn’t selected, she found the application and interview process valuable. After some time in Foster, she applied again.
“By that time I had been accepted into Foster and discovered my interest in marketing, but wanted to explore more,” said Ashley. “What ultimately motivated me to apply was the alignment of the job focus with my academic and professional interests.”
That job focus was marketing and communications, and Ashley was accepted after her second application. Throughout her time with the fellowship, she assisted with a myriad of marketing and communications projects, including social media marketing, email marketing and graphic design. She also played a big role in background research for the institute’s foray into athlete mental health, another passion for her.
“There is such a big stigma around athletes and mental health,” said Ashley. “We don’t like to seem fragile, vulnerable, and weak, and that’s why we tend to shield ourselves from very serious and real mental health problems that are occurring within ourselves and others. Hopefully my work helps to inform and bring more awareness to the issue at large.“
Ashley’s success in the fellowship exemplifies the value of former athletes in the workforce. The passion she has for tennis was channeled into her time as a Husky Fellow. It’s what makes athletes incredible workers, and with less than 2 percent of collegiate athletes going on to play their sport professionally, it’s important the other 98 percent have similar opportunities to hone their skills for life after graduation.
As Ashley wraps up her junior year, she’ll continue her education in marketing and operations and supply Chain and is contemplating minoring in international studies and continuing her education with an MBA. Regardless of what she pursues, Ashley will continue to give her all while utilizing lessons learned on and off the court.
“As I am transitioning into the later years of my collegiate career, I felt like I needed to find out who I was apart from being a tennis player,” said Ashley. “Tennis has, and still is, a big part of my life, but life is bigger than sport. I’ve worked very hard for other things in life off the court that I was proud of and wanted to pursue. Tennis has taught me an arsenal of skills, such as resilience and problem solving, that were incredibly helpful during the fellowship. I’ll carry them, and this experience. with me into the working world.”