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Rising Star Award Winner

The Rising Star Award is presented to an alumna/us 35 years of age or younger who has made an impact in his/her career, community or contributions to Clarke.

Ashley (Fuhrman) Dougherty ’18

Since graduating from Clarke in 2018, Ashley has dedicated her life to service, specifically through her work as a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments with Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (IESBVI). She travels throughout Northeastern Iowa to help individuals and school districts ensure access to an expanded core curriculum for students with visual impairments. 

“One aspect of my role as a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments that I find particularly rewarding is the wide age range of the students I work with, spanning from birth to 21 years old. This affords me the opportunity to build long-term relationships with my students, as I often have the privilege of working with them year after year. It is truly gratifying to witness their growth and see them apply their knowledge not only within the school environment but also within the broader community.”  

Beyond her education at Clarke, Ashley holds a master’s degree in special education, specializing in visual impairments, from the University of Northern Colorado. These experiences influence her work teaching braille and other strategies for success in a general education classroom, as well as planning and implementing various camps and other opportunities for IESBVI. She also coaches a youth volleyball team. 

“I seek to embody the BVM Core Values of Freedom, Education, Charity, and Justice in my life by promoting autonomy, providing quality education, practicing acts of kindness and service, and advocating for fairness and equality. These values shape my interactions and decisions as I strive to make a positive difference in the lives of others.” 

“Receiving this award holds immense significance for me. It serves as a testament to the hard work and dedication I have invested in my pursuits. This recognition is a validation of my skills and accomplishments, and it fuels my drive to continually strive for excellence. I am deeply honored and grateful to be acknowledged in such a manner. It reinforces my commitment to personal and professional growth.”