We Are the Class of 2021 Telling our story, one graduate at a time.

Ashlie Alexander '21

May 3, 2021

Ashlie Anderson ’21 was a featured speaker at the Student Veterans of America National Convention in February 2021. “NatCon” is the largest annual gathering of post-9/11 veterans in the world.

During the virtual event, the exercise science major and Air Force veteran discussed her experience as a female leader of a Student Veterans of America chapter. “Along with three other women, we discussed our experiences in being a leader not only in the SVA, but in general, and what situations we have had to overcome as minority leaders and how we did so,” she said.

“Ashlie is a dynamic student, a leader amongst her peers and a staunch advocate for student veterans, especially at UNCW,” said Bill Kawczynski, director of military affairs. “She epitomizes the phrase ‘servant leader,’ and through her dedication to her academic pursuits, she will go far.”

Anderson planned to move to Arizona and attend ASU after separating from the Air Force in October 2019. She met her boyfriend -- who became her husband -- before leaving for her last deployment in January 2019. She told him if they could make it through the eight-month deployment, she would stay in North Carolina and look at schools near his base in Snead’s Ferry.

After reaching out and receiving positive support from the UNCW Office of Military Affairs, she applied to UNCW. While attending UNCW wasn’t her original plan, Anderson wishes she would have transferred earlier to have had more time at the university. After graduation, she plans to apply to graduate school to earn a master’s in occupational therapy. She is currently seeking a job or internship as a registered behavior technician, working with children who have behavioral issues and will continue to do that until she goes to graduate school.

“It’s going to be a very low-key year, where I’m just relaxing and working on myself until it’s time to kick it into high gear for grad school,” she said.

In summer 2020, the Office of Military Affairs relocated to Veterans Hall, a new 145,000-square-foot facility. Fall 2020 saw a record enrollment of military-affiliated students. Anderson and Kawczynski discuss the new space in this video.

-- Caroline Cropp