Owens Community College Alumni Association

   Profile of Excellence


Irina Ashton
Irina Ashton
2006 Owens Graduate

"I have an education that makes me feel confident at the place I work, and I made a lot of friends."

Studies Link:
Diagnostic Medical Sonography Major

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Profile of Excellence:
Irina Ashton
Owens Community College Alumna
Irina Ashton, a Diagnostic Medical Sonography Major and 2006 Owens Community College graduate, has a story unlike most college students in the United States today. Upon meeting her, one is immediately able to sense her determination, passion and strength.

Irina, a Russian native and 1987 high school graduate, moved to the United States knowing very little English in 2000 after meeting her Ohio-born husband in Italy. A former professional folk dancer, she had already received a bachelor's degree in physical education/dance from a Russian university and served as a teacher and sport acrobatic coach in Russia for a number of years.

Throughout her tenure teaching, however, Irina longed to start a career in the medical field.

"I liked working with children, but being in the medical field has been my dream for a very long time," Irina said. "I couldn't go to the medical university in Russia, though, because I didn't have connections to be accepted there. In my home country, you had to have the connections to get into the good colleges, regardless of grades, drive, social standing or desire."

In 2001, Irina started making her dream a reality by enrolling in the diagnostic medical sonography program at Owens.

"When I first moved here, I chose Owens because I needed to learn English, it was close to my home and it was a lot more affordable than the other colleges in the area," she said. "Now, looking back, I think that was a great idea. I have an education that makes me feel confident at the place I work, and I made a lot of friends."

She added, "Owens is a very good school - with small classes - where everyone has enough attention from the instructor and you don't feel invisible. I have never met so many great instructors who truly care about their students."

Graduating summa cum laude, Irina officially earned her Associate of Applied Science at Owens' 40th annual Spring Commencement Ceremony where she also served as the class representative.

In her speech to her fellow graduates, faculty members and guests, she stated, "It may sound cliché, but, in my case, this country has truly been the land of opportunity. At 36 years old, I have finally been able to accomplish my lifelong professional goal."

Currently, Irina holds per diem positions in the Wood County Hospital and St. Charles hospital as a sonographer. A mother of two, Irina looks forward to applying her skills in a "real-world" situation and giving "something back to the country and community who welcomed her with open arms."

Join Owens Community College's Alumni Association today!
Contact Laura Moore at (567) 661-7410 or alumni@owens.edu
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