Alumna Spotlight: Ashley Jonas

Photo Credit: Alumna Spotlight: Ashley Jonas
May 15, 2024

MajorsGlobal Studies and Environmental Studies

Minors: Spanish, Anthropology, and Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs

Class: Spring 2022

Favorite Memories:
One of the most cherished moments of her time spent in college was her time spent studying abroad in Granada, Spain. She spent a full semester at the Universidad de Granada, taking classes in both Spanish and English. Ashley loved how she could pair her classes in alignment with her majors, delving into the topics of sustainability and the environment in a European context. The opportunity allowed her to meet an amazing group of friends and experience a new culture as she lived in a dorm residence. Many weekends were spent exploring not only Granada but also surrounding parts of Andalusia and significant landmarks throughout the province. Having this experience early on in her academic career at UNL laid a strong foundation for her subsequent coursework in her global studies, anthropology, and Spanish courses with enriched perspectives.

On Campus Engagement:
When Ashley was on campus at UNL, she found herself active with Sustain UNL. The RSO provided a great opportunity for her to get to know Lincoln better in the context of her major in Environmental Studies, and she also had the chance to connect with others in her field in a more social setting. These connections were so impactful, Ashley recounts, making the large campus feel more like a tight-knit community.

Current Role:
Shortly after graduation, Ashley secured a job at Verdis Group working in sustainability consulting. In her role, she works with clients to determine paths to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase engagement around sustainability efforts. Ashley loves her job and feels fulfilled because the work she does truly makes an impact. Her clients span both locally and nationwide, including many zoos and aquariums, architecture firms, cultural organizations, and educational institutions.

Reflecting on her journey to Verdis Group, Ashley cautions that career searching is more about the marathon than it is about the sprint. It can be really challenging to stay motivated while on the job hunt, but it can be much more impactful to do a little bit of searching each week rather than spending all your energy in just a couple of weeks. Ashley advises graduates to recognize that not all the opportunities they may be interested in will be available when they’re ready for them, and it may take time before the right position crosses their path.

It can be overwhelming to pressure yourself to determine the right career path for yourself. Ashley found that she was interested in various careers, making it hard to narrow down her path. However, once she started reflecting on the kind of atmosphere and culture she expected in her job, it became clearer what she wanted to pursue. Ashley recommends cultivating a strong understanding of the preferences you have in your day-to-day work and career objectives. Once you determine what characteristics will suit you, look for careers that can make that a reality!