I am a Jaguar: Ashley Parker

Through her entire childhood, Ashley Parker knew she loved writing, and when the time came to choose where she would pursue a master’s degree, she knew with just as much certainty that her path lay at the University of Houston-Victoria.

Ashley Parker

After all, she’d attended UHV’s December 2015 graduation to cheer on the accomplishments of three of her family members. Her husband, Patrick, as well as her sister-in-law and mother-in-law all are proud Jaguar alumni. Following their examples, Parker enrolled to chase her dream of working in the publishing industry.

A mother of three – Kelly, age 6; Darcy, 5; and Brigid, 3 – Parker was grateful for the flexibility UHV’s online courses afforded her so that she could complete her education still while prioritizing an active young family.

“They’re really sweet to me while I’m at the computer,” Parker said of her children. “They play together so well.”

In addition to the advantage of being able to remain with her family in Richmond while finishing school, Parker said her program’s online format offered other benefits.

Describing herself as shy, she pointed to email communications with her professors and the “work-at-your-own-pace” as uniquely suited to her learning style.

Upon admission to UHV, Parker took aim at a master’s degree in publishing, but she quickly realized that the creative writing master’s program overlapped coursework with the publishing track. She leapt at the chance to explore her own writing more.

“It was a really natural fit,” she said of adding a second degree. “It just meant tacking on a few extra classes, and I thought, Why not?”

While Parker enjoys writing her own stories and editing others’ work equally, she appreciates the different experiences.

“Editing is all tears and gnashing of teeth,” she said, “but I think it’s very therapeutic.”

Also cathartic, will be handing in her thesis, a creative manuscript that will stretch to 150 pages before her December graduation, Parker said. The story depicts a young woman at a crossroads in her life, endeavoring to complete “one last job” to attain the future she desires.

Having just completed a copy editing internship with the Victoria Advocate, Parker looks forward to her next challenge: working with Chax Press. Her current project involves a book of poetry undergoing a translation from French to English. She finds matching the original text’s formatting for the updated publication to be an interesting undertaking.

“Getting to work with an author and make edits based on what they want inside the book – that aspect of working with Chax is exciting to me,” Parker said.

As for commencement, Parker said she is “so stoked.”

“I’ve done all the work; I’m looking forward to celebrating that,” she said.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Nicole Crapps