Leading by example

By Audrey Gurkin

Boone, NC - Ashlyn Lowder, a senior exercise science major, from Charlotte, North Carolina plans to become a Physician Assistant (PA). However, before she moves on to the next phase of her education she will serve as an Educational Leadership Consultant for Alpha Phi International. 

Lowder knew she wanted to get involved in student activities during her time at Appalachian State University and Alpha Phi offered her the perfect connection. According to their website, Alpha Phi International Fraternity is a membership organization dedicated to promoting sisterhood, cultivating leadership, encouraging intellectual curiosity and advocating service. It was their leadership and character development focus that most appealed to Lowder.

Her first leadership role was serving as the Vice President of Chapter Operations. From there she moved on to Vice President of Marketing and finally President of the Chapter. 

As Lowder’s leadership roles increased, so did her confidence. She attended multiple leadership conferences offered by the Alpha Phi Foundation which included the Alpha Phi Emerging Leadership Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana and the Alpha Phi Fellows Program in Chicago, Illinois. It was during the Fellows Program that she decided to look at the international level of the sorority. The sorority offers a competitive program for outstanding leaders called Educational Leadership Consultants and Lowder jumped at the opportunity. “This process was extremely intense, including a 3-minute persuasive speech and various activities to determine how you work and communicate with groups. Then you go through a three-day interview process that focuses more on your leadership abilities,” said Lowder. Her commitment was recognized and in November, Lowder was selected from over 100 other applicants to become one of the elite Educational Leadership Consultants for Alpha Phi International. 

From July through March, Lowder will travel throughout the United States and Canada. She is excited to be able to learn, grow and help fellow sisters do the same. According to Lowder, “I had planned to take a gap year before PA school, and while this experience is not directly related to health care, this is something I am very passionate about. Being a part of a sorority forms bonds that last a lifetime and I feel like this is something I am meant to do. I will help with recruitment and mentoring, and I see this as a valuable experience that I will use in my role as a PA. Being a leader and having the ability to communicate effectively will serve me well throughout my life and career,” said Lowder. 

Lowder graduates in May and the Wake Forest PA Program is her top choice. “I would like to stay in Boone because this place has really made me the person I am today,” said Lowder.

She also shared her thoughts on her upcoming graduation, “Due to COVID-19, I haven’t been able to celebrate the end of my senior year as most college seniors do. I will never get to have my last memories in Alpha Phi like formal and senior sendoff. I won’t get to walk into a classroom on Appalachian’s campus for one last time. I won’t get to walk across the stage with my friends or celebrate graduation with my family in the traditional sense. But I’m so thankful for the memories and experiences I’ve had here and I’m making the most of the situation.” Because that’s what leaders do.

Congratulations, Ashlyn! We are so proud of you!

Photo submitted.

Ashlyn Lowder
Published: May 1, 2020 9:03am