Business Degree Helping Air National Guard Airman Ascend

Ashlyn Hendrickson’s long-term aspirations would take her high into the ether as well as the ranks of the Air National Guard.

Hendrickson, a senior airman in the Air National Guard, plans to obtain a slot in undergraduate pilot training after graduating in December and begin the slow, steady climb to general. She’s already started work on a private pilot’s license now. It may be hard for some to see how a bachelor’s in business administration and a minor in marketing pairs with her career objectives, but not for Hendrickson.

She came to UCA with her associate’s in aeronautical science, a degree earned from the Community College of the Air Force through a partnership with another institution in the state, and wanted a degree she could use beyond her plans in the military. She’s already seeing the benefit.

Hendrickson runs The Rising Six, a National Guard organization, which has given her space to practice what she’s learned in her marketing classes.

“My classes have taught me how to organize and run that organization more efficiently,” said Hendrickson.

When she took the helm of The Rising Six, it lacked any presence on social media.

“Our members and target audience are airmen between the ages of 18 to 25, most of whom use social media,” said Hendrickson. “My marketing background has given me a strong foundation in how to use the platforms, get more people involved and attract attention. I’ve taken what I’ve learned directly from the classroom to running that organization.”

Parker Woodroof, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Business’ Department of Marketing and Management, was who initially attracted Hendrickson to marketing. She was an economics minor but switched to marketing after her first class with Woodroof.

“He has been the most influential professor for me by far,” said Hendrickson. “He’s given me great advice, whether concerning the military or college.”

Woodroof played a role in readying Hendrickson for a professional trip to Washington, D.C., last spring to meet with members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

Hendrickson serves as junior committee chair for the Arkansas chapter of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS). The group traveled to Washington, D.C., in the spring to speak with Congress about legislation.

Her time in the College of Business has been transformative for Hendrickson.

“I went to another institution while getting my associate’s and the feel there was to keep students at an arm’s length, and that was how I wanted to learn and do things,” she said. “At UCA and in the College of Business, that has changed for me. This is more of a home environment where you can learn and help one another. It’s like a little family.”

Wherever life takes her following graduation, Hendrickson is happy for the experience she’s had in the College of Business.

“It is preparing me for life because of its great standard of learning,” said Hendrickson.