Engineering Student Awarded D3M Scholarship

Higher Learning Commission

Ashley Ell pursuing career as mechanical engineer

A native of Savage, Minnesota, and a 2006 graduate of Burnsville High School, Ashley Ell, 29, is earning two degrees at Inver Hills Community College, an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Engineering Fundamentals and an Associate of Arts (A.A.). Ashley is carrying 16 credits fall semester 2016 and is on track to graduate May 2017. She’s also a single mom raising a 6-year-old boy, Kellen, who has “massive amounts of energy.” Both endeavors are a full-time job.

Ashley chose engineering because she enjoys math and her father is an electrical engineer. She chose Inver Hills because the college’s campus is close to her home in Eagan.

“My plan is to transfer to the University of St. Thomas after I graduate from Inver,” Ashley said. “I want to earn my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and go on to work in the field of robotic prosthetics.”

About Engineering Fundamentals at Inver

The Engineering department at Inver Hills stands out as a wise starting point if you are interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in civil, electrical or mechanical engineering at the following universities:

You can earn your A.S. in Engineering Fundamentals and then enroll at the university level as a junior. At Inver Hills, you will not only save money, but you will also get direct instruction from professional engineers while getting hands-on learning experience in an engaging, student-friendly setting.

Scholarship dollars

Paying for college is seldom easy and Ashley found assistance through the Douglas Differt Difference Makers (D3M) Endowed Scholarship. She received a $1,500 award that helped her with tuition and books.
“Receiving the D3M Endowed Scholarship has given me more time to focus on my studies so I can get where I want to go,” Ashley said.

D3M at work

Doug Differt

Gail Morrison, executive director of the Inver Hills Foundation, reported that the Douglas Differt Difference Makers (D3M) Endowed Scholarship provided its first four scholarships fall semester 2016.

“Each scholarship award was for $1,500,” Gail said. “Two went to Inver Hills Community College students and two went to students in the Civil Engineering Technology program at Dakota County Technical College. Once all pledges and matches are paid, the endowment will have nearly $550,000, which is enough to auto-fund ten scholarships, five for Inver and five for DCTC, in perpetuity.”

Gail also noted that the endowment featured its first intern, Charles Feng, an Inver Hills sophomore who worked at WSB & Associates in May 2016. A professional consulting and design firm headquartered in Minneapolis, WSB & Associates provides engineering, planning, environmental, and construction services to clients in the government, energy, and commercial markets.

“Our goal is to have five interns at each college by 2017,” Gail said. “We plan on doubling that number by 2010.”

To learn more about the D3M Endowed Scholarship, read “D3M: Bringing Vision and Goals Together” and “Douglas H. Differt Math Center” on Inver Hills News.

More about Ashley

What has been you toughest challenge in life?

Ashley Ell
Ashley Ell

“Raising my son, Kellen, and finding the right balance when teaching him about right and wrong. He is a very good boy and always trying to please me.”

What is your greatest accomplishment?
“Having a child.”

What person has influenced you the most in life?
“Katelyn, my sister-in-law. She’s always positive and focused on self-improvement—and that rubs off on me.”

Three words that describe you as a college student: DETERMINED. RESPECTFUL. HONEST.

Ashley Ell | 21 Answers

  1. Sequoia National ForestFavorite season: Spring
  2. Favorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.): Sequoia National Forest in California’s southern Sierra Nevada mountains
  3. Favorite sport or physical activity:  Running
  4. Your national bird if you could have one:  Cockatiel
  5. Place you would most like to visit: Venice, Italy
  6. Favorite holiday: Thanksgiving
  7. Your national mammal if you could have one: Spider monkey
  8. Favorite food: Chocolate
  9. Favorite tree: Weeping willow
  10. Your personal motto if you had to have one: “Support your community.”
  11. Coolest thing in the world: Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica
  12. Scariest thing in the world: Spiders
  13. Favorite all-time TV show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  14. Favorite all-time movie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  15. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: “Leave the world a better place than when I arrived.”
  16. Most precious material possession: N/A
  17. Buffy the Vampire SlayerFirst thing you would buy if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: Land everywhere
  18. Dream occupation: Engineer
  19. Person you would most like to meet: Jesus
  20. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Welding
  21. Humankind’s greatest challenge: World peace
To learn more about Engineering Fundamentals at Inver Hills, contact:

Joan Z. Carter, P.E.
Engineering Faculty

To learn more about earning an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree at Inver, contact:

Admissions Team
College Center

To learn more about the Douglas Differt Difference Makers (D3M) Endowed Scholarship, contact:

Gail Morrison
Executive Director of Foundation and Community Relations

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