Getting academic support through Liberty Partnerships Program started as a way for Ashley Scott (LPP ‘20) to turn good grades into straight A’s. But it wasn’t long before the program became a guide for her academically, personally, and professionally.
Scott started participating in Binghamton University LPP as a tenth grader at Union-Endicott High School and now works for the organization as a summer academic counselor and administrative assistant. She’s also currently pursuing her master’s degree in social work at Binghamton University.
While working in the summer program, she supervised students on group trips to volunteer, visit colleges, explore museums like the National Air and Space Museum, and tour different professional offices like the engineering firm IBI Group. Though Scott felt more comfortable with the academic side as a student, she enjoyed giving those fun experiences to young people participating in LPP after her.
“I love my job. The summer program really got me to fully accept that I wanted to be a social worker and I wanted to work with kids in the school setting,” Scott said. “Because there’s just so many kids that just feel misunderstood and need someone to talk to.”
Working in that role was also the first time she got to experience the other side of the program that helped her thrive as a teenager.
As a high school student with ADHD and dyslexia, Scott found it difficult to write papers and do research – especially for English and social studies classes. LPP’s support program was a natural fit for her needs. The program allows students like Scott to get the extra help and resources they need without leaving the school.
During Scott’s study halls, she and her academic counselor planned long-term goals for the school year, as well as short-term goals and the best way to achieve them. Scott said it was helpful to “have someone really sit down and talk to you about what you need to get done and how to get it done.”
She continued to utilize LPP’s in-school support from tenth grade all the way through the end of high school, when she graduated in 2020. “I went from having low 80s grades to having high 90s and being on honor roll and high honors all of high school,” she said.
Getting some extra help was also good for her mental health. The community element of LPP showed Scott that she didn’t have to feel alone, especially because a diverse population of students also sought out support.
“It really helped me understand that there are other people that need the extra help and are willing to take the steps to get that extra help,” she said.
As her time in high school came to a close, Scott wasn’t sure if higher education was a path she wanted to take. But LPP was there to offer real-world advice based on her career ambitions once it was time to start considering college applications.
Once Scott found out through LPP that she would need a master’s degree to go into social work, she worked with the counselors to write her college admissions essay, fill out FAFSA forms, research colleges, and even figure out what she’d need for her dorm room.
“(They were) really just my backbone when I needed it,” Scott said.
She went on to get her undergraduate degree in psychology at Cazenovia College in 2023. Scott is now a graduate student and closer than ever to her goal of becoming a social worker – a career path that was largely influenced by one of the academic counselors at LPP, Stephanie Loke.
Loke worked with Scott throughout high school and continued to check in on her as she earned her undergraduate degree. The communication and support was especially helpful since Scott went to college during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Her current goal is to continue working for LPP, but in a social work or counseling role. “I’ve always wanted to work with kids, specifically, especially in the school setting. After seeing how Stephanie really helped me, it made me want to do what she did and how she did it,” Scott said.