Name: Ashar "Ash" Arbali
Hometown: Patterson, N.J.
Year in School: Graduate Student (first year)
Major: M.S. Coastal Marine and Wetland Studies
Ash Arbali wanted to attend the best marine science graduate program she could find. After doing her research and talking with friends in the field, she knew Coastal Carolina University was her calling. In her first year in the program, Coastal has introduced this Paterson, N.J., native to the liberating world of graduate studies.
“I think the biggest change for me going from undergraduate to graduate school was the freedom,” Ash explains. “There is a lot of freedom and there is more responsibility for the grad student.”
Mentioning that she feels more like a colleague than a student with her professors, Ash is impressed with the education she is receiving at Coastal. The opportunity to do research in the field and observe the “interaction of land and sea” is what Ash likes best. Noting that there is no place she feels more passionate about, Ash says her time studying at the beach has been “fascinating.”
But before Ash was studying at the ocean, she was serving our country. Five years ago, she made a major decision. Longing to be part of something bigger than herself, Ash joined the United States Air Force Reserves. Taking this leap gave her the purpose she was looking for.
“I was craving something different, I wanted change. I knew multiple people in my life who were service members and I had sense of wanting to serve the United States of America since it has given me so many opportunities,” says Ash.
Her involvement with the military has allowed her to understand the needs of student veterans. She currently works for the Office of Veteran Services, helping individuals acclimate to a college campus after time spent in the service. Serving as what she calls a “connection” to student veterans, Ash takes pride in assisting with their transition.
Upon earning her graduate degree, Ash wants to get a full time job and do as much field work as possible. She then wants to return to Coastal and enter the Ph.D. in Marine Science program. We are delighted that Ash sees CCU in her future and will do everything possible to help her reach her academic goals.
Q&A with Ash
How did you hear about Coastal?: In my search for a marine science graduate program, CCU was highly recommended by several friends and acquaintances who previously completed the program.
Why did you come to Coastal?: Aside from its geographical location and suitable program for my career interests, I wanted to attend CCU because it felt like home. Also, teal is my favorite color.
Favorite professor: William Ambrose, Ph.D.
Favorite class: Coastal and Marine Biology
Favorite aspect of Coastal?: Small classrooms, more personal, and homey feel
Favorite aspect of living in the Conway/Myrtle Beach area?: The proximity to the beach.
Clubs/Intramurals/other extracurricular activities involved in?: Student Veterans of America (SVA)
Do you work anywhere currently (either on or off campus)?: Student assistant at the Office of Veteran Services.
Plans after graduation?: Gain field work experience, travel, go back to school for a doctorate.
What are your hobbies?: Hiking, reading, yoga, writing.
Bonus Info: I am currently in the Air force Reserves.