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Ashley Knister

Yavapai College Alumnus 2016

"I knew I could [get the degree] because I could pay for it
out of my own pocket" - Ashley

Ashley KnisterWe caught up with 2016 YC grad and former star of YC marketing efforts, Ashley Knister, after she keynoted the 2021 All-Arizona Academic Team virtual celebration.

Years after she confidently touted Yavapai College's affordability in commercials that flashed across television and movie theater screens throughout Yavapai County, alumna Ashley Knister still exudes the confidence and positivity gained from seizing opportunities – some that fall in her lap, others she initiates fearlessly.

She's still chasing her dream job – entertaining on stage or screen – with the determination of someone who knows it will happen in time. "I'm comfortable in the spotlight. That's where I want to be," she said during a recent interview.

She's also comfortable waiting her turn. "I have to constantly remind myself that things I want for myself are still a long way away. If I had them now, I don't think I'd be ready. My seeds are being planted," she added, explaining that her current job as an office assistant at AZ-TV in Phoenix is teaching her volumes about the entertainment industry.

Other opportunities to shine are knocking for Ashley. The latest: Selection as the keynote speaker for the Arizona Board of Regents' virtual celebration for 2021 All-Arizona Academic Team scholarship recipients. The speech was streamed live to community colleges across the state, including Yavapai College where student honorees, faculty and staff were especially moved by Ashley's story of courage and perseverance on the rollercoaster ride of college life.

"The world is a reflection of who you choose to be every day. And today, I hope you choose to continuously say yes to the same opportunities that got you here. The world is yours to change, and it all starts here, right now -- on this very foundation you've built with the All-Arizona Academic Scholarship," Ashley said in her celebration remarks.

Ashley's own college thrill ride, she told the audience, started with an on-air talent job at a radio station in Cottonwood, her hometown. The station owner heard the recent high school graduate's voice through a fast-food drive-through speaker and offered her a job practically on the spot. She co-hosted a morning show at the station while attending YC's Verde Valley campus and was recruited by the college's marketing department to star in commercials and marketing publications. And, following in her YC alumna mom Leah Kelly's footsteps, Ashley applied for and won an All-Academic Team Scholarship that made it possible for her to continue her education at Northern Arizona University.

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Check out the commercial Ashley did for YC back in 2016