Ashley Hartz

Ashley Hartz
2012
Major: 
Psychology and Estudios Hisp√°nicos
Minor: 
Caribbean and Latin American studies
Hometown: 
St. Regis Falls, NY
Activities: 
Manager at Calling All Saints, Marketing Manager for the Student Alumni Association, Spanish Teaching Assistant, SYE senior project in the psychology department studying hormones and behaviors, Psychology Honor Society (Psi Chi), SLU dance ensemble, Augsbury/ North Country scholar.

As a child I was always passionate about languages. Many times I asked my older sister to read her Spanish homework to me, or I would listen to Spanish music, however, quite honestly, I could not understand the concept of how people around the world communicated. How was it that people heard this gibberish and get something out of it? It was completely magical to me and I wanted the secret.

Thankfully, all of those secrets were answered when I started taking Spanish in high school. After taking the standard required classes, I was hooked. I was so hooked that when my senior year arrived and I had taken the only Spanish classes available, I convinced my high school to let me do an independent study with my teacher (who was a SLU graduate).

When it came time to choose a university, I chose St. Lawrence because it was the only university that would allow me to pursue my two passions, psychology and Spanish. I was so scared to take college level Spanish but when I arrived and met the professors they created an environment that I felt comfortable in and where I could participate without shame. The best advice I learned was to just try your best and speak with confidence. Making a mistake is just a learning experience.

It was not until I came to St. Lawrence that I realized the endless possibilities that come with learning a second language. Due to the fun lessons and personal attention professors provide, I have been able to finally learn the secret, the magical answer: studying and practice. It has all been completely worth it because the opportunities I have had, from things so small as getting a free picture with the cookie monster in New York City because I wore a Spanish tee shirt and spoke with him (he was from Spain), to things so big as literally opening the world up to me. For example, my freshmen year I was able to backpack through parts of Europe and spend a few months in Spain. My sophomore year I did an equine therapy internship in Argentina. My junior year I studied abroad in Costa Rica and backpacked through Nicaragua and Honduras. This year, I have already spent almost three months in Spain.

I have met so many wonderful people along the way that have made a huge impact on my life. None of this would have been possible without the learning opportunities St. Lawrence has provided me. Learning another language opens life up to so many possibilities which, in the end, are not only stamps in a passport but life changing experiences.

St. Lawrence truly is a community that has helped me flourish in the last three and a half years. Everything I have learned here inside and outside of the classroom has prepared me for my upcoming graduation. Ideally, I would like to continue my education abroad or teach English before enrolling in a graduate school to become a social worker. No matter where I end up, I know I will not give up speaking Spanish!