Fellow of the Week – Ashley Pengelly


Ashley is serving her first year with LEAP for Education

What inspires you to serve?
A tad redundant but the honest truth: my youths! They’re incredibly fierce & creative and miles ahead of where I was at their age. Middle school life is rough but they make it look easy. I love being there to love, support and be absolutely ridiculous with them. Plus, they help me sharpen my wit & comebacks – that’s probably my biggest motivation 😉
What social justice issue are you most passionate about and why?
Most issues out there – where hurt is present, people are marginalized and voices drowned out – seem to hinge on others’ inability to listen to people’s stories. It manifests itself in unrest or complacency; this continually alludes me. I’m incredibly thankful for those who speak up/speak out for fundamental human rights.
Why would you encourage others to join the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship?
UM – why not, people?! This past year has been so worthwhile – I’ve grown both professionally and personally. Being part of MPF is something that builds upon one’s skill-sets and allows for creativity. It’s a rewarding, year-long commitment that flies by…& I’m sticking around for the sequel (yr. 2) – jus’ sayin’.
Who has been your biggest support this year?
wow wow wow. Family, friends, LEAP & MPF staff, fellow Fellows. Most people I come in contact with (haters excluded…but I don’t know any…so, I’m in the clear). A thousand shout outs, high fives and thank yous to all who have been a listening ear, source of laughter or provider of gifts/food/encouragement. Y’all are great!
Describe the greatest adventure of your life.
It’s pretty hard to beat my childhood spent living in Costa Rica (an adventure that forever shapes and impacts me). That being said, my family is wanted in a retirement community, down in Florida; guess a fun game of manhunt can be adventurous.
What do you do to practice self-care?
COFFEE. Walking to beaches and parks nearby really clears my mind. Phone calls to family/friends. Spending time with life-giving individuals. I’m learning to be more in tune with when rest is needed or adventures/outings are worth pursuing.
What benefits have you been able to take advantage of as a Massachusetts Promise Fellow and how has your experience been with those benefits?
For starters, MPF staff & Fellows. It’s a pretty great community to be a part of & I’m grateful for the ways they inspire me and enrich my life. The continual learning that’s taken place in seminars/meetings or my grad classes (that I get for free – what?!) has been pretty primo.
How is MPF preparing you for your future career aspirations?
I would love love to do anything that allows me foster community, encourage/support displaced or marginalized communities, cultivate space where dialogue occurs, voices are heard, stories are told, etc. I feel like I’m given an immense amount of support to pursue such things. Being given the chance to participate in Northeastern’s Global Studies Master’s Program or be part of the larger LEAP/MPF community has helped in fine-tuning skills that set me up for future opportunities.

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