Ashley La Tassa, Keystone’s First Public Administration Graduate: Looking Forward to Life After College
When Ashley La Tassa walks on stage in May to receive her Keystone College bachelor’s degree, she’ll close one successful chapter in her life and begin another. Due to her talent and hard work, the two chapters will be closely related.
Ashley will be the first person ever to receive a bachelor’s degree from Keystone in public administration, a program which the college introduced in 2020. The Monroe, N.Y. resident came to Keystone after receiving her associate degree in criminal justice from Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. She knew she wanted to pursue her bachelor’s degree and discovered Keystone because her mother, Kathy La Tassa, lives in nearby Lake Ariel, Pa.
“I found out about Keystone and learned they had a public administration degree, which is not available in many other smaller colleges. I investigated and decided to come here and everything has really worked out well for me.”
Indeed, it has. Ashley has compiled an outstanding 3.98 GPA, making her a dean’s list student. She has also become involved in campus activities and, this year, was elected president of O.P.E.N. (Opposing Prejudice Ending Negativity). O.P.E.N. is a campus organization that provides Keystone students who are LGBT+ a safe place to discuss their feelings and fears related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
“Being involved in O.P.E.N. has really been beneficial for me in many ways,” Ashley said. “For example, I have really learned how to be a leader. I have to run meetings and speak with people about various issues. Those types of experiences have really helped me become more self-confident.”
Ashley credits Keystone’s faculty for helping her reach her potential and she particularly thanks Keystone political science professor Jeff Brauer.
“He has 100 percent changed my life,” she said. “He has helped me become more confident and believe that I can be successful. That’s really inspired me a great deal, not just in school but in life.”
“Ashley is a hard worker and is able to balance many responsibilities,” Jeff said. “But, her greatest attribute is her compassion for others. Ashley always, often in subtle ways, looks after her classmates and makes sure they are doing well. Ashley is poised for a successful life.”
Ashley is currently serving an internship with the non-profit Broadway Theatre League of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The position combines her public administration abilities with her love of theater and music. True to form, Ashley has done a really great job and she hopes to obtain a full-time position with the organization upon graduation. She’ll then have even more opportunity to use her public administration expertise for tasks such grant writing, educational programming, and other similar duties.
“Possibly one day I’ll go to graduate school. But for now, working for the Broadway Theatre League is absolutely what I want to do and I’m looking really looking forward to my life after I graduate,” she said.
What advice does Ashely have for other college students, or those planning to attend college?
“I would say that confidence is key,” she said. “College isn’t the easiest thing and it takes a lot of hard work. But if you keep up with your studies, have a great support system, and make new friends, you can really be successful in so many ways.”