Student-Athlete Strong: Ashley Rich

Ashley Rich '20 (NUR) speaks with a classmate during a nursing class at the Carolyn Ladd Widmer Wing of Storrs Hall on Feb. 1, 2018. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
'Nothing compares to the feeling of celebrating a season’s worth of hard work,' says student-athlete Ashley Rich '20 (NUR), a member of the National Championship field hockey team who also maintains a GPA of above 3.9. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

UConn’s student-athletes are often lauded for their on-field or on-court achievements, but there’s an equally important – often unseen – dimension to the student-athlete. UConn Today’s Student-Athlete Strong series highlights the academic prowess of selected high-achieving student-athletes and provides an inside look at their lives beyond their sport.

Ashley Rich ’19 (NUR)

Hometown and high school: Stamford, Connecticut; Westhill High School

Sport: Field Hockey

Area of study: Nursing

Anticipated graduation: May 2019

My fondest memory to date would have to be winning the National Championship, because nothing compares to the feeling of celebrating a season’s worth of hard work. — Ashley Rich

How did you choose your major?
Growing up, I always took on the caretaker role with my friends and family and I knew I wanted to go into healthcare, but it wasn’t until after volunteering at my local hospital throughout high school that I decided to pursue a career in nursing.

Are you planning to go into a particular specialty in nursing after you graduate?
I’m honestly not sure what I’d like to do yet, but I’m hoping my upcoming Medical-Surgical, Psychiatric, and Maternity/Pediatrics rotations will give me a better idea of that.

Are some of the skills you practice as an athlete applicable to a career in nursing?
Definitely. One thing we talk about a lot on the field is communication and the importance of being on the same page as your teammates to either carry out a ball pattern or defend effectively. Similarly, in healthcare there’s an increasingly large emphasis on interdisciplinary cooperation. Not only do you have to communicate with other nurses, but also with doctors, Certified Nursing Assistants, social workers, and physical therapists to ensure that your patients’ needs are fully met.

What advice would you offer to a student considering going into nursing?
I would advise future nursing students to take a lot of notes and seek out help when needed, because your professors and your peers will be your greatest resources.

When your team won the championship, head coach Nancy Stevens referred back to a phrase she posted on the board at the start of the season: ‘You are enough.’ What did those three words mean to you?
Those words reinforced to me that I belonged on this team. Everyone is here for a reason and has something unique to offer the team, whether it be their skills or their work ethic and leadership abilities.

As a student-athlete with a demanding schedule, how do you keep on track with your academics?
I do my best to stay on top of all my assignments, and writing everything down in my planner has always been helpful in doing so. When your schedule is jam-packed, it actually becomes easier to manage your time because you know that most of it has to be designated to school work and studying.

What academic accomplishment are you most proud of so far?
I’m most proud of just having maintained my GPA thus far, because it definitely has not been easy.

What’s your fondest memory to date at UConn?
My fondest memory to date would have to be winning the National Championship, because nothing compares to the feeling of celebrating a season’s worth of hard work with your best friends and family.

What does #bleedblue mean to you?
It’s an expression of pride in the accomplishments of our university as a collective, and a celebration of our spirit.

Editor’s note: This past November, Rich received the NCAA’s Elite 90 award, which is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s championships.