Nov. 30, 2015

Alumni Spotlight: Ashlee Hamblin, BA'10 (Sociology)

Arts alumni are an accomplished crew. They have great advice for students and fellow graduates, and know that arts degrees teach skills that are sought-after in the professional environment.
Sociology alumna Ashlee Hamblin stands outside in front of foliage
Ashlee Hamblin

Ashlee Hamblin graduated in 2010 with a BA in Sociology. She got her start in the non-profit sector at the Canadian Cancer Society, before moving on to the David Thompson Health Trust. She is currently Fund Development Officer at Pacekids Programs. Pacekids is a registered, non-profit charitable organization that provides programming for children with special needs. The organization holds a Private ECS Operator License from Alberta Education, and offers a Family Support Program for infants through funding from Family Services for Children with Disabilities. Her role as the Fund Development Officer is to develop and execute strategies that ensure annual funding is secured, allowing the organization to deliver programming at its highest capacity. Within her role, she is responsible for identifying and cultivating prospects, soliciting donations, and stewarding donors. Additionally, she develops new campaigns and giving opportunities, while supporting her team in the coordination of multiple signature events.

What is your favourite University of Calgary memory?

One of my favourite memories from my time at the University of Calgary is a practicum I completed through my Community Rehab & Disabilities class. The class gave me an opportunity to volunteer every week through the semester with the Between Friends Club; my role was to support adults with disabilities on social activities throughout the city. It was an experience that shaped where I am today in my career. Coincidentally, I also met a lifelong friend in that same Community Rehab & Disabilities class – a friend I would never have met outside of the university, and a person I can’t imagine my life without today.

What was your favourite campus hang out spot?

There were so many great little study spots around the university, but we always found ourselves socializing and hanging out in MacEwan Hall. It was a great central location for everyone to meet up, and there was no shortage of food and coffee. 

If you could give one piece of advice to a student completing the same degree that you did, what would it be?

Your time at university flies by: enjoy it. You’ll miss the inspiring and thoughtful discussions, the thought-provoking debates, the motivating discoveries, and the opportunity to so easily collaborate with like-minded individuals who are equally eager to learn and change the world.

How has your career evolved?

My degree, and the skills I acquired along the way continue to help me excel in my career. My career has evolved from a program assistant in a fund development office five years ago, to managing an entire fund development program for a medium-sized non-profit organization. I have been recognized for my achievements as a young professional over the years, and can honestly say that my time at the University of Calgary has been the backbone of my success.

What is the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is the freedom I have to be creative and inject my own innovative ideas into new strategies and activities for our organization. I love that I can leave work every day knowing that I am making a difference for children with special needs in our city.

How did your arts degree help you get to where you are now/your current career?

My arts degree taught me how to think creatively and break down complex ideas which allows me to better understand situations and find innovative solutions. This is a skill that continues to help me to stand out and be successful at work.

Do you have any other thoughts or memories you would like to share?

While the lectures, readings, and assignments are clearly important, it’s all of the ‘in-between’ things during the four years that you remember. Staying at the library until midnight studying with friends, eating bulk amounts of chocolate covered pretzels while writing papers throughout the night, spontaneous and imaginative discussions fueled by an inspiring lecture, meeting lifelong friends…you gain so much more from your time at the University than you could ever expect at the beginning.