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Ashley Helgesen

Ashley Helgesen

Ashley Helgesen has always had a great interest in other cultures and languages. When colleagues approached her to buy a PESLSF raffle ticket, she asked for more information and was invited to attend a board meeting. She was instantly impressed with the board members' passion and dedication to both the mission of PESLSF, and the people receiving the scholarships. She became a member in 2012.

Ashley grew up near Detroit, Michigan. Her interest in other cultures was sparked when her parents moved the family to Nagoya, Japan for a year. While she was barely a teenager, this experience has truly shaped her life. After earning a B.A. in English, Ashley spent a semester in Thailand teaching English at an all girls secondary school. Upon return to the US, Ashley got a job with CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange), which brought her to Portland, ME. She works on the USA High School program, facilitating cultural exchanges for high school students all around the world.

Ashley has worked with The Chair of the Oral History Project, Anne Grimes, to interview scholarship recipients. "Hearing the stories of our scholarship recipients, learning about the struggles they went through, the effort and courage it took to begin a new life, and the challenges they face is extraordinary. Seeing the smile, the gratitude, as they tell their story is incredibly inspiring. It reinforces my belief in the great work PESLSF is doing."