Ashley Damewood '08
2013 Outstanding Young Alumni Award Winner
July 30, 2013
Inspired from the moment she set foot on campus, Ashley Damewood ’08 has taken Dickinson’s mantra of “engage the world” to heart.
“The law & policy program appealed to me because it was multidisciplinary: law, philosophy, politics, ethics and economics,” she says. “Its core courses challenged students to tackle social problems head on, develop analytical skills, cultivate leadership skills, write and speak persuasively and understand the nuanced interplay between law, politics and the economy.”
She studied abroad in South Africa and found that to be one of the many ways “engage the world” became more than just a marketing mantra. “It was an attitude that was instilled in me,” she says, “and one that has continued to inform my life choices.”
Damewood graduated summa cum laude and was awarded honors in her major, given the Charles A. Tasso Prize for Policy Studies and inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Her next more was to the London School of Economics to pursue a master’s in human rights.
When asked how Dickinson prepared her for that challenging program, she responds, “Dickinson encouraged me to challenge paradigms, think innovatively, argue passionately and write clearly and compellingly. It gave me the analytical skills to examine social problems from a variety of perspectives and the confidence to articulate my point of view.”
Today, Damewood is senior program officer for Street Child Africa, an international development NGO based in London. Street Child Africa provides funding, training and advice to a diverse portfolio of street children projects across Sub Saharan Africa. These projects are committed to educating and empowering street children so that they can realize their rights and their potential.
“As part of a two-person programs team at Street Child Africa, I manage a complex and diverse workload: strategic planning, budgeting, grant writing, reporting, monitoring and evaluation, travel, capacity building, and desk-based research,” Damewood explains. “I like helping our partners access funding for the continuation of their work, strengthening the quality of their programming and documenting the impact they're making. Also meeting children on the streets, listening to their experiences and helping to design programs that better respond to their needs and respect their rights.”
Damewood will return to the states this fall and plans to pursue a career in government, public policy or international development. Her advice to current students: “Study a foreign language (or two). The world is vast, but increasingly interconnected. In order to engage the world, you need to make time to see it and experience it. Language is key!”