Ashley Yeske ('21) at graduation

Ashley Yeske

After finding she was being called to the social work profession, Ashley Yeske (’21) says Briar Cliff found her. The compassion and support Ashley received from the Briar Cliff community gave her the motivation to graduate with her social work degree.

“My professors not only maintained contact with me to ensure that I’m doing okay, but have also gone above and beyond to give me the extra support and motivation that I needed at times,” she says. “I can only hope to be able to pass this compassion and drive on to my future clients.”

Highlighting the smooth program flow, Ashley’s learning plan was set as soon as she enrolled at the Cliff. She was seamlessly able to stay on schedule as all of her courses were listed out and detailed.

Professors within the program left a huge impact on her, calling out assistant professor Melanie Berte-Hickey who not only taught her through lectures, assignments, and discussions, but also through example.

“I truly cannot thank her enough for her generosity. When I think about it, that is what true social work is,” Ashley says. “Melanie has shown me so much compassion and has maintained my best interests, all while supporting me.”

Ashley was able complete her practicum at a substance abuse treatment center in her hometown of Worthington, MN. Admitting to not knowing much about substance abuse treatment, she was able to step out of her comfort zone and expand her expertise in that area.

“I am so grateful to the staff that have worked with me and aided in continuing my education. I think the biggest take away has been watching how clients work through the program. I have also done extensive research on relapse statistics, and how various programs impact clients differently.”

As an online student, Ashley was able to connect not only with the program faculty, but also with others in her online cohort and they became each other’s support systems.

“While the class was difficult, it was wonderful to make the connection with another individual, who was going through the same program and is also a mother,” Ashley says. “It helped to keep each other on track, as well as just being able to relate to another mother going through the same schooling experience.”

Ashley encourages anyone considering going back to continue their education to go for it. She is incredibly thankful for the support she’s received throughout her academic journey from family, friends, and the Briar Cliff community.

“Now as I have finished my last semester, I am so thankful for sticking with it! It is so powerful to say ‘I’m done.’ It was all worth it and you will not regret it when you’re holding your degree.”