Students in Action

Ashley Silva

Jacksonville, Florida

Ashley Silva
Majors: International Relations and Global Affairs, Sociology
Minors: Spanish
Tell us a little about yourself. What makes you a unique Eckerd student?

I came to Eckerd as a Biology major in hopes of becoming a veterinarian. However, during the fall semester of my freshman year I decided to take a random intro course in International Relations. I absolutely fell in love with it and decided to switch my major the following semester. I love to travel and have been able to go to some amazing places through the International Education programs. I love the outdoors, especially anything on the water. Eckerd's beautiful waterfront location, along with its amazing Waterfront Program, has been one of my favorite ways to spend my free time. I also love to read. Whether reading on Kappa Field, South Beach, or my balcony, there are lots of great places to read and relax.

What are some traits or characteristics you find in most Eckerd students?

There are a lot of different types of students at Eckerd ranging from jocks to artsy students and everyone in-between. Even with the various types of students there is a true sense of community. I would describe most of the students as free-spirited and passionate. Whatever our various interests are we pursue them ardently.

The first year of college can have a profound affect on the other 3 years; what was the defining moment of your Autumn Term experience and/or freshman year?

During Autumn Term I took a class called Surveillance, the State, and Society. I wanted to take a class unrelated to my intended major. Towards the end of the term we took a field trip to the FBI Field Office in Tampa. We were able to get a tour around the facilities and a first-hand look into "FBI" lives. Being able to talk with them and gain insight to their world has made a career with the FBI a desirable career choice for me.

Eckerd is recognized as a college That Changes Lives (book by Loren Pope). How has EC changed your life?

I feel like I have really grown up since first coming to Eckerd. I have become more independent and self-sufficient. I feel confident when it comes time to graduate that I am ready to move on to the next chapter of my life. I have the skills, academically and socially, to be successful. Before Eckerd I was nervous and apprehensive about what the future holds. Now I feel ready and excited to start building my life and career.

Do you have a "that's so Eckerd" moment? What is it?

My first ever Pitchers with Professors is definitely a "that's so Eckerd" moment. It's a monthly event where, if you're of age, you can go have a drink with your professors and talk with them about whatever. I remember sitting there talking with my professor about my recent travels while having a drink. The event has a laid back atmosphere where you can get to know your professors better and have intellectual conversations. It is also an event that I think makes Eckerd unique.

How would you describe the academic environment at Eckerd?

The environment at Eckerd is for the most part laid-back. I think the "bare-foot and brainy" description is about right. It is important to distinguish that when I use the word laid-back I don't mean unprofessional, but an atmosphere where you can feel comfortable exploring various points-of-view. The classroom isn't rigid, rather it leaves room for you to explore different possibilities and to grow intellectually. In fact, the professors encourage it.

When did you know you made the right choice coming to Eckerd?

I knew I made the right choice in choosing Eckerd when I first referred to it as home. It's a place where I feel totally comfortable and where I can be myself. I have made some amazing friends that I wouldn't trade for anything, and I've made some pretty amazing memories.

Using 5 words or less complete this sentence: Eckerd is…

a home away from home.

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