Kennesaw State grad helps Make-A-Wish serve ill children

KENNESAW, Ga. | Dec 15, 2021

Kennesaw State University senior Ashley Francis has always considered herself a helper. Knowing that about herself, she planned to become a nurse, but later decided she could help more people through a career in human services.


This week, she is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in human services focused on nonprofit leadership and social innovation. And she’ll keep using those skills in community events with Make-A-Wish Georgia, where she worked as an intern this year.

“I found that I liked being a part of a large nonprofit organization where I got to plan community events and show potential supporters that we are a charity worthy of support,” said Francis. “I’m very excited to have the opportunity to continue my work with them.”

Francis said the education and experiences she received in the Wellstar College of Health and Human Services has prepared her well for the opportunity awaiting her after graduation. 

During her junior year, she took a class in grant writing that involved making a fundraising pitch for Cobb County nonprofit Kidz2Leaders, an organization in Marietta dedicated to ending the cycle of generational incarceration. Francis and her team won $15,000 for Kidz2Leaders in the annual SPARK Competition conducted by United Way.

“The College and my program did a really good job of giving us real life experiences and not just doing classroom simulations,” Francis said. “It was such a cool thing to write a grant from start to finish. I was so passionate about my group and our mission that I truly realized this is what I want to do.”

In addition to Kidz2Leaders, Francis demonstrated her leadership skills as president of the KSU chapter of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, through which she earned a $2,000 scholarship and a paid internship. She also served as president of Alpha Xi Delta sorority and interned at Communities in Schools of Cobb-Marietta, where she helped K-12 students stay on track toward graduation.

“I knew I wanted to help people, but through my studies and the experiences I have had, I realized that I also want to change lives and be an advocate,” she said. “The human services program turned out to be my calling.”

– Dave Shelles
Photos by Jason Getz

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit