Alumni Spotlight

Ashleigh Krueger ’05
Medical Student
Penn State College of Medicine

Major: History (with an emphasis in U.S. History)

Minor: English

Activities: Phi Alpha Theta, Sigma Tau Delta

What first attracted you to Whittier College?  When I was applying to colleges, Whittier sent out this promotional information packet that said, “You belong here,” on the front. While it may sound cheesy, the marketing definitely piqued my interest, and I applied. After only a few hours on Whittier’s campus during a tour, I knew the brochure was correct, I belonged there.

Why did you choose to study history?  Believe it or not, I originally thought that I was going to be a physics major at Whittier. After a pretty frustrating first semester, I realized that there was something missing from my academic life. Following a little soul searching, and a few conversations with Professor Laura McEnaney, I realized that I missed stories! Aside from a general interest in history, I knew that the major would keep doors open for me in the future, as I was interested in going into legislation and considering enrolling in law school after graduation. 

Describe your experience at Whittier College. My time at Whittier was transformative. In the span of four short years, I came to know who I was and the direction I wanted my life to take.  Not only do I feel that I received a first-class education at Whittier, but I also formed relationships with students and faculty that endure to this day and continue to mold and shape the direction of my life.  I truly feel like Whittier is a special place, and it is where my life as an adult began. 

Who was your favorite professor? One of the people responsible for my dogged self-determination and we-can-do-it-attitude is Professor Laura McEnaney. I met “Dr. Mac” on my first day of freshmen orientation, and ever since that day she has served as a compass in my life.  Every now and then I will read a comment on an essay she graded or an email from her that reminds me of the type of woman I want to be and the faith she has in my abilities. “Dr. Mac” helped to open my eyes to the past, and her influence continues to guide my present. 

What was your most memorable moment at Whittier College? I have many memorable moments from Whittier, and it is definitely hard to pick one. Some of my fondest memories are laughing with my roommate late at night, trekking down the hill to classes, and oil painting in the old gym. One of my most vivid memories is looking up at the crowd before I gave the commencement speech at graduation; there were a lot of people in those stands, and I can still remember my stomach jumping in to my throat. 

Did you intern while at Whittier College? Where, and what was that experience like? I interned for Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, First District Supervisor, Gloria Molina.  The internship was an amazing opportunity!  I had the task of constructing a plan to eradicate homelessness in Downtown Los Angeles, and I wrote one of the supervisor’s speeches amongst many other duties. Through working in the supervisor’s office, I was able to experience government, legislation, lobbying, and civil service at the ground level. 

What was your first job after Whittier? What are you currently up to? I simultaneously worked at a local coffee shop, interned at a city attorney’s office and taught high school English.  It was a crazy time! After that I spent a year in law school, but I left it to indulge my love of science. I also taught kindergarten through second grade students while I was finishing medical school prerequisites. I attend Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  I am currently interviewing at various hospitals around the country for a residency spot in Family Medicine. 

How has your Whittier education benefited you professionally? I have to thank my Whittier professors, specifically Professors McEnaney, Sage, Marks, Furman-Adams, Morris and pAddy for forcing me to constantly work on my writing and analytical skills. Because of their tenacity and high expectations, I was able to develop a writing style that has allowed me to excel in many different careers and tasks including drafting legislation, writing legal briefs, drafting lesson plans, and most recently, composing legible patient notes. Additionally, Whittier exposed me to a myriad of different cultures and ideas, and this exposure helps me to daily understand my patients on a level beyond their illnesses.

What advice would you give to future history alumni when they graduate?  You can do anything with a history degree! Studying history allows you to become a critical thinker, an advanced writer, and an astute observer.  Any employer, no matter the field, values those qualities. Take the tools that Whittier gave you and run with them!

Finish this sentence: I am a ‘Poet for Life’ because…Whittier is where I started to figure out who I was and where I was going; I will be forever grateful for that gift.  

-Are you a graduate of the History Department and want to share your story? Contact the Office of Communications at therock@whittier.edu.

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