Q&A: College and career counselor Ashley Stevens


Photo by: Shreya Rao

Stevens poses in her new office located in the library.

With the addition of college and career counselor Ashley Stevens, The Hawk Eye took a closer look at Stevens’ role at school.

Q: What is your role at Hebron?

A: I work for Collin College, but I’m here at Hebron every Monday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to help students with all things college [and] career. [I can help with] filling out college applications, figuring out what school to apply to, reviewing essays for college, filling out Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA), looking for scholarships and not knowing what [career path to take]. [I am at Hebron for] whatever [students] need help with regarding [their] next steps after Hebron. [Students] don’t have to go to Collin College for [my help]. I am just a general service to the communities.


Q: What do you want students to understand about you?

A: I’m here to help. [Students] don’t have to figure it out by themselves and they can come see me as often as they need to. So, even if we meet one time and I give you one step, come and see me for the next step. It’s a difficult process to becoming an adult and that’s [why] I’m here to help. I don’t want them to feel overwhelmed cause I’ll be here all school year to help.


Q: How can students reach you?

A: If no one else is here, stop by and I can see you. If I [have] other students, you can email me. My email address is [email protected]. You can email me and I can set up a time to meet with you. You can also fill out a request at the counseling center.


Q: Can you give us some background about yourself?

A: I [was] born and raised in Fort Worth. I was a first generation college student and decided to study math [at] Howard University in Washington D.C. I went onto graduate school to become a professor of mathematics and studied at Princeton University in New Jersey. As I was working towards my Ph.D, I started to work with high school students just as volunteer work and I had a lot of fun mentoring and tutoring, so I decided to stop [studying] applied mathematics. I came back to Fort Worth and started to teach. I taught dual credit math courses and AP math courses for three years [and] I found that I enjoyed helping [students] figure out their next steps. I decided to leave the classroom and go into that role. I did that for three years in Fort Worth prior to coming to Collin County.


Q: Why do you only come Mondays and Wednesdays?

A: I’m actually at The Colony High School, so I go back and forth, but I’m always available via email. Even on the days I’m at The Colony, you can email me and I’ll do my best to answer within a 24-hour period. If you just have a quick question, or a screenshot of something you’re looking at online [and] it’s kind of confusing, email it to me.


Q: Why do you want to help?

A: I know that it’s overwhelming and hard for parents who had gone to college. Things change: it’s exciting for me to see a student stressing all fall and come [in] May [and] say, “look Ms. Stevens I got in and I’m going to become what I want to be.” That’s just a good feeling for me to know I helped that kid to the next steps. It was my high school teachers [who] really influenced me. My calculus teacher helped push me and guide me. If students don’t have that support and help, they could get lost in the tracks and not follow through with plans. If they can get help along the way, it’s pretty fulfilling to see them achieve their goals.


Q: Why is this service just being started?

A: When we look at the data, we see “OK, the same students are applying, the same students are successful, what are we going to do for the other students? What are we going to do to meet those gaps?” I know Collin College has stepped in to say, “hey how can we include more kids?” After speaking with the districts, this is what they found would be a good fit. I think it’s a need that’s come about.


Q: Why do you think it’s important for students to plan out college in high school?

A: It’s a lot of work to do at the last minute just like anything. I’m meeting with some seniors who haven’t thought about college ever and now they want to apply. There are several steps [including] writing the essays, searching what schools [the right fit], getting transcripts ordered and taking the SAT. [It] really takes a lot of time.