ATLANTA – Ashley Watts has joined the Andrew Young School’s Office of Career Services and Alumni Relations as assistant director of alumni relations. In this new position, Watts leads the school’s efforts in developing special programs to provide new opportunities for alumni involvement and engagement.
“I see this role as an extension of the career counseling work I’ve done,” said Watts, who joined AYS from Georgia State’s University Career Services, where she served as a Career Counselor and, most recently, Employer Relations Coordinator. “I’ve always liked creating new programs for alumni.”
Watts hopes to implement new and innovative signature programs, like ones that will target alumni just before and soon after graduation and incorporate networking and celebratory activities, as well as making programs available virtually. The new programs will focus on common challenges alumni frequently experience.
“New graduates have to learn how to manage and navigate a new routine that is very different from college life,” she said. “Many will typically search between six and nine months for jobs, which can be challenging and overwhelming for trying to forge ahead.”
Watts believes providing special spaces for alumni to discuss these challenges is necessary. “I’ve always liked the idea of working with recent graduates in group settings so they understand that they’re not the only people going through certain things.”
She hopes to create a unique approach to engagement that traditional events may not offer by building programs around the interests and passions of alumni who will take on the role of event co-sponsors.
“Instead of just planning programs, we’ll offer exciting opportunities for our alumni to take an active role in the events,” she said.
Watts will offer other services to help AYS alumni reach success. She has written and published LinkedIn articles about the complexities of transitioning from college to career and believes her own career path – from fashion merchandising to career counseling – is not unlike the journey many new alumni experience.
“People are married to the idea that they have to do something directly related to their degree,” she said, while noting that degrees from the Andrew Young School open doors to many opportunities. “College is sometimes about teaching you about yourself, life and what skillsets you have that you can capitalize and monetize.”
Watts is confident that her unit’s holistic approach to career services, incorporating multiple talents and perspectives, makes its programs more useful and impactful for Andrew Young School alumni.
She also invites AYS students and alumni to participate in upcoming events put on by the Office of Career Services and Alumni Relations. To learn more about these events and opportunities, visit the University Calendar and join Handshake, which provides, 24/7 access to career information and services for employers, students and alumni.