Student Profile: Ashley Parker '20
Math major, minoring in Education, with plans to get my Masters in Education through the MAT program
If you visited Covenant College, what first stood out to you about the community?
The community I saw when I visited Covenant for the first time was very authentic, genuine, and caring. I remember attending Scholarship Weekend, and the girls that I stayed with were very welcoming and excited to have me with them. We ate meals together, went to chapel, and went to some campus events together. Right then and there I felt like Covenant was a place I could see myself thriving in.
Why did you choose Covenant College?
I chose Covenant because it offered most of what I was looking for in a college. I graduated from a private Christian school at the foot of the mountain. I really valued having a Christian perspective intertwined with my education, so attending a Christian college was high on my priority list. Also, I grew up in Chattanooga, so not leaving home was a plus for me. The city really has a lot to offer! Finally, I chose Covenant because I was impressed with their program for my major. If you are interested in teaching math, Covenant is definitely the way to go. I will graduate with a major in my subject, a minor in education, and I will get my Masters in Education in just one year! If I were going to attend another college, I probably would have had to double major in math and education or major in education with a focus on math to get my teaching certification. Also, most other masters programs take 2 years. Now, I will graduate with a higher degree and I will feel more confident in my mathematical knowledge.
What aspect of Covenant College do you like best?
This is a tough question. I can’t decide on one aspect, so I’ll name a few. I love being in a major with like-minded students because many of them have become great friends. I also think Covenant’s campus is so beautiful and unique. Living in Carter Hall, every time I look out of my dorm window onto the mountains, I’m amazed.
What has been your favorite Covenant College event and why?
My favorite Covenant College event has been Jazz on the Overlook. This event is a time to get dressed up with your friends, dance a little, and enjoy the city lights coming from downtown Chattanooga. For me, this is such a unique event that could only be enjoyed on our campus.
How does residence life add to/support your academic goals at Covenant College?
Residence life is an opportunity to be surrounded by people who care about you and are willing to support you. When classes and assignments are dragging me down, I am thankful to have people on my hall give me words of encouragement.
Which professors have most impacted the way you think and why?
Dr. Jones has definitely impacted my thinking. I took his Old Testament class my first semester at Covenant. He completely changed the way I viewed the Old Testament. Every class made me appreciate the OT more and more. He talked about OT stories in a way that grabbed our attention and made them feel relevant today.
Dr. Ward is another professor that has impacted my thinking. I’ve had Dr. Ward for New Testament, Doctrine I, and Theology of Missions (great class). Dr. Ward truly cares for his students. In the midst of worry, stress, and sleep deprivation, he always reminds his students that we are only human and we need our sleep. This is a huge piece of advice for college students! Dr. Ward was the first professor to help me accept the fact that some assignments will just have to wait until tomorrow…. And that is okay.
What do you most enjoy about your major?
I love my major mainly because I find math so interesting. But my favorite part about my major day-to-day is that I am surrounded by some awesome classmates. We struggle through the difficult material together and have fun in the process. The math center has been an amazing place for building these relationships!
How is Covenant equipping you for post-graduation life in your area of study?
As a Covenant grad living in Chattanooga, I will benefit from the city knowing how rigorous and challenging Covenant’s programs are. Before I graduated from Chattanooga Christian School (CCS), some of my teachers knew that I was planning to go to Covenant and that I wanted to be a math teacher. The Upper School Head, Bryant Black, told me he would love to give me an interview once I graduated. I knew that CCS hired a lot of Covenant graduates, but I didn’t realize how valuable a degree from Covenant would be until he said this to me. Having a degree from Covenant definitely has its perks because employers know the quality of the education we endure here.
Can you give an example of how the core classes affected your other classes?
Core classes seemed like a lot to take on when I began my freshman year, but I have really enjoyed them. Core classes push me to think about various fields of study that I wouldn’t normally encounter in my major. Bible classes have been formative in developing my own beliefs, and CHOW classes have given me a Christian perspective on the culture we live in. As a math major, it is easy to think solely about numbers and equations, but classes like CHOW have taught me that famous mathematicians connect math with philosophy. As a Christian I see math as the work of my Creator, but historical mathematicians may have viewed math in a completely different light. It has been especially important for me to think through these other perspectives and form my own so that when asked, “Why do you study math if you are a Christian?” I will have an answer. I never expected to experience these questions, but I have. I am thankful that I was prepared with an answer that glorifies God and his order in this world.
How is Covenant equipping you for active membership in the church?
Covenant has taught me the importance of service and community and is equipping me to love the church well. We do not have Sunday services in the chapel because Covenant encourages all of us to get involved in a local church. This is so important! Even though the church you serve in during your college years may not be the church you will serve in after graduation, Covenant wants its students to have that experience now so that we will be equipped and ready for the future.
How have your relationships at Covenant shaped your expectations for the other communities God will call you to in life?
My time at Covenant has taught me that relationships grow over time and with patience. I was sad to leave my best friends behind after high school, but I realized that God puts us in specific communities for a reason. He surrounds us with people who will challenge us and help us grow.
What’s your favorite way to spend your free-time on or off campus?
On campus, I love hanging out with friends. Last year, we used to stay up super late having ping-pong tournaments in Andreas lobby even though we knew it was definitely time to call it a night.
Off campus, I love going to different restaurants and coffee shops.