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From Kansas to California

In high school, Ashley Knight served on the Diversity Leadership Council. (USC Photo/Lillian Insalata)

Initially attracted to USC because of its location and the Southern California weather, incoming freshman Ashley Knight decided to join the university after learning about pre-health programs at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

An aspiring pharmacist, Knight will major in biological sciences, with an emphasis in pre-pharmacy at USC Dornsife.

“USC has a really nice pharmacy program that I’m hoping to get into,” said Knight, who was raised in Overland Park, Kansas. “I started hearing about the Trojan Family and the alumni network and was sold after visiting and hearing all about it.”

Though she grew up with plans to become a doctor, her queasiness at the sight of blood prompted Knight to explore other avenues in medicine.

“A few years ago my dad said ‘well, if you don’t like blood, why don’t you become a pharmacist?’ It sounded good and I started thinking about what I’m passionate about,” she said. “I want to develop medicinal solutions for diseases that affect people in the lower socioeconomic level. Pharmacy is the route that will take me there.”

Knight plans to get involved with campus activities at USC. She’s looking into a number of clubs and organizations, including greek life, intramural sports and a cappella groups, as well as opportunities in the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs.

During high school, she was part of the basketball, track and volleyball teams for four years, sang in the school choir, served on student council and participated in the Jaguar Pride Coalition, the school’s leadership and spirit group. She also served as vice president and president of the Diversity Leadership Council, a program she founded during her freshman year.

Outside of school, Knight regularly volunteered at a homeless shelter, organizing food donations and assembling food packages, and in underserved communities, where she worked with preschoolers.

A middle child with two sisters, Knight said she doesn’t have any apprehensions about leaving home.

“I’m really ready to move to be honest,” she said. “I’m sure I’ll be homesick — I don’t doubt that — but I’ve always wanted to come to California. That was always my plan.

“I’m ready for something new. I love the campus, I love the people and I’m ready to go.”

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