Ashton Stockdale, a freshman pre-nursing major, poses for a photo in the Trustee Library. Stockdale is one of the Brenau Scholars. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau Scholar: Ashton Stockdale

Ashton Stockdale from Tucker, Georgia, had a personal experience at an early age that led to her decision to apply for Brenau’s pre-nursing program.

“When I was in fourth grade, my grandfather, who we call ‘Pop,’ was diagnosed with congestive heart failure,” Stockdale says. “He was told that his chances were slim for any type of successful bypass surgery and that, ultimately, he needed a heart transplant. However, his insurance would not cover the cost of the transplant. Through many miraculous series of events and the nurses’, doctors’ and hospital’s love for my Pop, the board decided to pay for the cost of the transplant.”

After the compassion that the hospital board and staff gave her grandfather, Stockdale knew she wanted a career in which she could change someone’s life for the better. Stockdale, who also loves to draw, dance, sing and make pottery, struggled for a long time between the scientist and artist within her. Eventually, she realized that she could make her own life a work of art by dedicating her time and efforts to the well-being of others.

Brenau, with one of the top nursing programs in Georgia, was a natural draw for Stockdale. “I attended an extremely small, private school from first through eighth grade, and I loved every minute of it,” she says. “After then attending an extremely large public high school, I wanted to get back to the close-knit structure of my private school.” Stockdale says the university also speaks to the artist in her. “I love the culture of empowerment and art that surrounds this beautiful campus. It seeps through the cracks of all the historic buildings and makes this place what it is.”

Stockdale is already “giving herself for the well-being of others” in community services areas, as well as through nursing. She volunteers at the Pregnancy Resource Center of Gwinnett, packs shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, and every Sunday she is the group leader for elementary age children at her local church.

Being chosen as a Brenau Scholar was a great moment of honor and joy for Stockdale. “I was humbled to even be allowed to participate in the competition, let alone become a Brenau Scholar,” she says. “This experience is priceless to me both in experience and leadership.”

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