Inspiring Graduate: Ashley Otten, B.S. Marketing & Business Education

‘My education here at UW-Stout has prepared me well to venture out into the world.’
May 13, 2024

Inspiring Graduate: Ashley Otten (’24)

Ashley Otten came to UW-Stout undecided in her major and felt challenged by not knowing what career path was right for her.

But with the support of advisers, professors and her peers, she found that teaching was her passion and the career she was meant to pursue. 

Inspiring grad Ashley Otten
Ashley Otten receives her diploma from Chancellor Katherine Frank / UW-Stout

Otten immersed herself in professional development, leadership and involvement opportunities to strengthen her skills in the classroom. She received the Wisconsin Marketing Educators Association’s Emerging Marketing Educator Award in 2022.

After student teaching in Wisconsin Rapids this spring, Otten earned her B.S. in marketing and business education on May 4, along with 1,037 graduates. She is interviewing for positions to begin her career as a teacher.

“I want to work to foster a learning environment that is inclusive, diverse and helps every student find their own personal goals and passions,” she said.

How well has UW-Stout prepared you to work in your field and why?

I have had so many amazing experiences at Stout that have helped me grow as a learner as well as a young professional to prepare, adapt and grow my skills for my career in teaching. 

Through the opportunities, I have made many connections and am very excited to continue my journey outside of Stout.

Inspiring grad Ashley Otten
Ashley Otten is looking forward to beginning her career as a teacher / UW-Stout

Starting my first year, I got involved with the Marketing and Business Education Association. Through MBEA, I was able to attend a wide variety of professional development and learning experiences, including attending four Wisconsin Educators of Business and Information Technology conferences, where teachers talked about their experiences and gave tips to future teachers. 

I also helped facilitate three DECA Career Leadership conferences at Stout and saw what being a DECA adviser is like. 

As an intern at two DECA State Career Development conferences, I helped facilitate the event and served as the Judges Chair. I had the opportunity to work with the top DECA students in the state, as well as the leadership team which works out of the Department of Public Instruction. 

My courses also helped me to grow as a scholar. Pre-student teaching in a classroom solidified my passion for teaching and helped me to better understand the responsibilities of a teacher.

I held a total of three different internship positions during my time at Stout, and many of those opportunities were through connections that I gained from my time at Stout.

Inspiring grad Ashley Otten and Professor Debbie Stanislawski
Ashley Otten and MBE Professor Debbie Stanislawski at a DECA event / Ashley Otten

What stands out about your UW-Stout experience?

I have had amazing professors at UW-Stout. The professors in the Education Leadership and Learning department have been a huge part of my success on campus. 

They pushed me to do my best work at all times. 

I was able to foster my love of teaching in their classes, and I owe a lot of my success to them. 

Stout’s focus on career readiness also stands out to me. I have always loved the polytechnic nature of Stout, and my classes did all of the right things to adequately prepare me for my internships as well as teaching. 

How did your campus involvement impact your experience?

I have been able to be involved in many leadership and professional development opportunities, including MBEA, DECA district and state events, Future Business Leaders of America state events and more.

While serving as the social media director and president of MBEA, I took every opportunity that came my way, whether it was attending a conference, observation, fundraiser, volunteering or just an enjoyable evening with friends.

I have received a scholarship through MBEA and a scholarship from the Wisconsin Educators of Business and Information Technology. I found a large community of teachers through MBEA who contributed to where I am today.


Marketing and business education faculty, alum recognized for achievements in teaching profession

Otten, a third-year student, also awarded for potential as emerging marketing educator
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I was also a resident adviser for University Housing for four years, which helped me to build so much confidence and foster four different communities of learners.

What challenges did you face in earning your degree and how did you overcome them?

Being a student who graduated high school in 2020, the challenges of starting college in that world are near endless. I think some of the biggest challenges centered around finding a connection with peers and feeling like a community on campus. 

Being an RA helped with a lot of that. I am extremely grateful for that opportunity because I found some of my best friends there.

Inspiring grad Ashley Otten
Ashley Otten received the WMEA Emerging Marketing Educator award in 2022 / UW-Stout

What are you most proud of as you finish your degree?

Graduating with a 3.7 grade-point-average, I took every day in stride and worked to develop content in my classes that was professional and worthy of a real life working experience. 

I also spent time on campus trying to bring about change. I helped to implement and develop more transparent and anti-bias and anti-racist practices within University Housing. 

The thing I am most proud of as I finish my time at Stout is the fact that I did every possible experience and activity I could to grow who I am and to become a confident, passionate and hard-working future teacher. 

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