After high school Ashley took a gap year and lived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she volunteered in a Mother Teresa Orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS and disabilities. She then ventured north to Mekelle, Ethiopia, a city suffering from an HIV/AIDS outbreak. There she volunteered full-time in a youth center with 800 children as an English teacher, HIV/AIDS educator, and sports program coordinator. Then she journeyed to Northern Uganda to learn more about the war and mentor orphaned children. Ashley had the pleasure of living with and tutoring sixteen orphaned girls who showed her the blessings and struggles of life in war-torn Lira.
During her freshman year at Vanderbilt, Ashley became a devoted volunteer at The Campus for Human Development, a homeless outreach and advocacy center in downtown Nashville. In the spring, Ashley filmed a documentary about the Campus's post-treatment program called Odyssey. She then screened it at Vanderbilt with the purpose of educating students and the Nashville community about the issue of homelessness.
Over the course of her sophomore year, Ashley developed a new student service organization called FilmVoice that educates high school students in film technique through hands-on experience to serve as a medium for expression and valuable skill. For her summer project Ashley interned at Stone Soup Films, a 501(c)3 non-profit that makes free funding and promotional films for worthy organizations in Washington, D.C. Established film and television professionals mentored and supervised Ashley to produce high-quality short films highlighting the efforts of these groups.
Ashley spent her 2010 summer project in rural Northern Alabama starting a film exchange. “The Mentone Collective” is designed to facilitate inter-generational relationships between senior citizens and youth through film projects.