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Overcoming Adversity Is Only Part of What Ashley Reeves Does

By Daynah Singh

Ashley Reeves

TAMPA (August 9, 2018) -- Ashley Reeves knows how to make a lasting impression. From her work both inside and outside of the classroom, she prides herself on making the best out of the unexpected.

After graduating in the spring, she has not slowed down even though she views life from the seat of a wheelchair and likely always will. Rather, she's gaining momentum.

In May, Reeves served as a student ambassador at the Times Higher Education Summit, talking to university presidents from around the world about her experiences at USF. This summer, Reeves is weighing finding a job, though she is considering going back to get a master's degree as well.

At the start of her college career, she had no idea she would one day end up in marketing. Before coming to USF, she saw herself working as a pharmacist. But, thanks to a suggestion from a friend, she took a few marketing classes and found her place at USF in the Muma College of Business.

She says that if your path isn't what you had planned, "try a different route."

It's a philosophy she knows all too well.

As an outgoing, straight-A student, she never anticipated that she would one day have to use a wheelchair.

In 2009, when she was 16 years old, Reeves was in a major car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. While most would consider this was a major setback, Reeves never lost sight of her goals. With her gregarious personality, sharp thinking and determined demeanor, she continued to excel personally and academically.

"I cannot stand not knowing the answer," she says. "It drives me nuts."

When interning at Pyramid Imaging in Tampa last summer, Reeves found herself thrown into the proverbial deep end without a designated marketing supervisor. While intimated at first, Reeves managed to find her balance, capitalizing on her marketing classes and using her quick thinking skills to her advantage. In the end, she ended up learning a lot about herself and the marketing industry.

With all of her hard work, Reeves' perseverance has not gone unnoticed. After seeing Reeves' sales pitch in her class, marketing instructor Carol Osborne was impressed.

"Ashley beams. She doesn't just smile; she lights up the room," says Osborne. "She has this natural ability to connect with people."

Reeves' ability to connect with others has allowed her to make a lasting impression on those around her. Moving forward, she sees herself working toward the career and life of her dreams.

"Fall down seven times, stand up eight," she says. "If I can overcome not being able to ever walk again, then I can overcome anything in life."