Ashley Brown ’17 takes every task seriously, especially physical activity. How seriously? She dislocated her elbow playing Twister last Thanksgiving.

“Everything I do, I try to give 110 percent effort. I’m a very competitive person,” she said with a laugh. “I was fully extended, with someone putting weight on my back, when my elbow just popped out. Left hand green was a real troublemaker.”

A week later, with her arm in a sling, she played handball and “one-handed” volleyball at the field day for health and physical education majors.

The sling was temporary; the optimistic, cando attitude is part of her DNA. “I set goals and try my best to accomplish them,” said Brown, who began Longwood’s master’s program in health and physical education after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in May.

The Fauquier County native is the current recipient of the Olive T. Iler Award, a Longwood scholarship for future physical education teachers that recognizes “outstanding personal qualities, high ideals, good scholarship and professional ethics.”

“Ashley has an outstanding work ethic and is 100 percent dependable,” said Dr. Allison “Vonnie” Colvin, who coordinated the undergraduate health and physical education program before retiring last December. “She’s also creative and thinks outside the box. She would take an idea and make it better.”

Brown, who plans to teach on the high-school level, wants to be “a good role model for children about the importance of physical activity and healthy eating. I want to walk the walk and talk the talk.”

She has walked that walk her entire life, beginning at age 4 with T-ball.

“I play anything and everything I can get my hands on. Two of my favorite nontraditional sport activities are kan-jam, which is like ‘ultimate frisbee meets cornhole,’ and spikeball, a cross between four square and volleyball.”

Brown also is the current recipient of the Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance’s Frances A. Mayes Scholarship Award. She presented at the organization’s annual conference in November 2016, when she received the award, and coauthored an article, “Students with Obesity in Recess,” in the spring 2016 issue of its journal.

While student-teaching at Briar Woods High School in Loudoun County this spring, she was urged to interview for a vacant position at the school. “Any school that hires her will be thrilled,” said Colvin. Eventually Brown wants to pick up a master’s in administration and be an assistant principal or athletics director.

“Ashley goes out of her way to help people, which is why she’ll be great in the teaching profession,” said Dr. Mike Mucedola, coordinator of the graduate program in health and physical education. “She’s almost like a colleague; she even helps me with advising. She’s the epitome of a citizen leader.”

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