L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs


Doctoral students

Ashley Zehrt

Bachelor's of Science in International Social Justice Studies, Minors in Nonprofit Management & Administration, General Business, and Italian; Virginia Commonwealth University

Since 2009, Ashley has devoted her time towards empowering women and youth locally and globally. During her undergraduate studies at VCU (B.S. International Social Justice Studies, minors in Nonprofit Management & Administration, General Business, and Italian), she had the privilege of founding a large nonprofit social justice student organization, as well as founding and captaining the VCU Women's Club Soccer Team. Viewing soccer as an avenue to educational and inter-cultural community building, Ashley partnered with the International Rescue Committee and ReEstablish Richmond to design, implement and direct a holistic refugee youth soccer and education program in the East End of Richmond.

During her graduate studies, Ashley was the Graduate Research Assistant for Dr. Sarah Raskin on her cross-disciplinary initiative to advance oral health equity in Virginia. In May 2018, she graduated from the L. Douglas Wilder School Master of Public Administration program with a certificate in Public Management. Continuing along her path towards empowering at-risk youth, Ashley served as a Youth Development Center Director at the YMCA of Greater Richmond, a program requested and funded by the Office of Mayor Lavar Stoney. In Fall 2019,

Ashley became a Ph.D. candidate in VCU's L. Douglas Wilder School's Public Policy doctoral program. During the summers of 2020 and 2021, she worked as a Research Assistant at the Women's Institute for Science, Equity and Race (WISER), authoring multiple articles on immigration. Throughout her doctoral pursuits, has served as the GTA for Dr. Nancy Stutts, Dr. Sarah Jane Brubaker, and Dr. Hans-Louis Charles, assisting on studies from rural homelessness to oral health equity to disaster relief. In the summer of 2022, Ashley joined Dr. Brubaker at the SSSP Conference in Los Angeles to present on their oral health equity study.