Ashley Barba, Recipient of Fulbright Brant

Ashley Barba

In May 2016, Ashley Barba will graduate with a degree in Integrated Educational Studies (IES) and an extensive list of achievements and responsibilities spanning her time at Chapman University. As a member of the Chapman Global Medical Brigades, Ashley traveled to Nicaragua her freshman year and again as a senior to contribute to sustainable health initiatives and assist in areas with limited access to healthcare. Ashley is a charter class member of Kappa Kappa Gamma-Eta Sigma and served on Kappa’s academic board during its first year. She also has balanced participating as a member of the Chapman cheer squad while holding down three jobs. And now Ashley will be adding yet another commendable achievement to growing list of notable life experiences: Fulbright Grant.

Ashley has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grant to the Czech Republic. Grant recipients are selected based upon their potential to advance the Fulbright Program’s aim of promoting mutual understanding among nations. In her role as a cultural ambassador for the U.S., Ashley will teach English language classes in high school settings.

Teaching is something that Ashley is passionate about. For the past year, she has worked at the Blind Children’s Learning Center in Santa Ana, a school with students from infancy to kindergarten in a fully inclusive environment. Ashley also has worked at the Friendly Center in Orange as a tutor for students grades K-8. Through these and other education-related experiences, Ashley found herself especially drawn to working with students who are struggling. This has led her to explore the notion of
in educational settings. Ashley’s intensive year-long IES senior capstone project focuses on inclusive education for students with and without disabilities. Through an in-depth exploration of the research literature on inclusive practices, conducting interviews with educators who both support and oppose full inclusion, and fieldwork at a site that engages inclusive practices, Ashley has gained insight into the importance of inclusion for young children, as well as the opportunities and challenges that educators must also consider in an inclusive environment.

IES faculty are excited and encouraged to see Ashley’s growth and development as a leader and change agent, ethically-responsible decision maker, facilitator and collaborator, learner and scholar, and advocate for inclusive and supportive communities – all aspects of being an effective “educator.” Upon her return from the Czech Republic, the College of Educational Studies looks forward to welcoming back Ashley as she pursues a Masters of Arts in Special Education with embedded Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe Credentials.

Congratulations, Ashley!