Ashton E. Charles
- Director of Business Development, USA
- Tampa, Florida, 25 years old
Bachelor in Political Science University of Florida July 2006 to December 2009
Master of Science in Management University of Florida January 2010 to December 2011
Global Management Vienna School of Economics July 2011 to August 2011
University of Florida 2010 Hall of Fame
Florida Blue Key´s William E. Rion Outstanding Graduate Award
John M. Kinzer Award for Outstanding Service
Dean Beaty Service Award
J. Wayne Reitz Scholar, 2009-2010
Co-Founder of the Center for American-Russian Engagement of Emerging Leaders
EBC International TEFL Certificate with Distinction
Kentucky Colonel, 2009 to Present
College Leadership Florida Class XII
Library of Congress, Open World Program Kremlin Fellow
Accepted to the 2013 Women's Campaign School at Yale University
I am a lover of words, life and SEC Football.
- Places Lived
- Places I've been
After receiving my TEFL Certificate from EBC International based in Madrid, I started teaching private English classes and helping students prepare for English examinations. Through teaching, giving ...the gifts of communication and language become possible. There is no greater feeling or a more rewarding experience than seeing students progress and succeed.
Director of Business Development, USATyba Madrid, Spain September 2011 / Present
I am responsible for creating implementation strategies, content development, user feedback, and other special projects concerning the product. I look forward work everyday, because I know together a...s a team, we are benefiting the lives of students daily.
The Center for American-Russian Engagement of Emerging Leaders (CAREEL). CAREEL is a nonprofit corporation which finances, organizes and promotes collaborative US-Russia exchange programs. CAREEL p...rovides opportunities for accomplished students and young professionals to meet each other, work together and remain connected. CAREEL focuses on short-term, specialized exchange programs, each centered around one specific educational objective related to academics, civics or entrepreneurship. The mission of CAREEL is to sustain a cooperative rapport and trusted network between the next generation of American and Russian leadership. Alumni of US-Russia exchange programs may apply for grants from CAREEL to complete a follow-up project building on the specific educational objective of the exchange program in which they participated. CAREEL helps the first post-Cold War generation of American and Russian leaders replace preconceptions and stereotypes with firsthand experience.
Student Body Presidentthe University of Florida Gainesville, Florida May 2010 / May 2011
Elected with 58 percent of the vote to serve as the Chief Executive Officer to representing 52,000 students at the University of Florida. Oversaw the Executive Branch and 500 members within Student Government. Operated the organization and oversaw the use of a $16.9 million USD budget.
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In order to form a stronger foundation for the future, it is important to break down barriers and form collaborative partnerships between nations.
Student AssistantThe University Athletic Association Gainesville, Florida May 2006 / January 2009
Organized daily office activities by conducting all secretarial duties for Dr. Jason Storch. Helped monitor student athletes´progress through reports and spreadsheets. Mentored, recruited, and help...ed coordinate the athlete mentor program. Working for the UAA allowed me to truly find my passion for teaching through tutoring Student-Athletes and giving them the confidence to succeed in academics.
Learning from the past is essential for a better future. I am particularly interested in American History, Global Conflicts, and the Roman Empire.
Outliers Malcom Gladwell
Fall of Giants Ken Follett
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats Jan-Philipp Sendker
Harry Potter Series J.K. Rowling
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
Lean In Sheryl Sandberg
I know it may sound strange, but I have always dreamed of traveling to all seven continents. The unfamiliarity of Antarctica has in actuality drawn my fascination to learning more about the frozen co...ntinent even more.
Gators for Higher Education
We are an organized group of University of Florida alumni, faculty, students, staff and friends who want to help communicate the University’s goals to Florida’s elected officials. Our mission is to be advocates for UF and make it the best it can be — a top-ranked U.S. University that educates Florida’s future leaders, drives the state’s economic development, produces breakthroughs in scientific research, and serves the people of our state.
Gators for Higher Education is a project of UF Government Relations in partnership with the UFAlumni Association.
In order to achieve our goal, we must work together to urge lawmakers in Tallahassee to invest in Florida's future by supporting higher education.
For more information, go to www.gatorsforhighered.ufl.edu.
Having played competitive soccer for over 17 years, I am an avid fan of the sport. Over the years, soccer has instilled determination, ability to work as a team, and a tenacious spirit to win in me.
TED talks are inspirational and beautiful speeches comprised of "ideas worth sharing" that are free and available online. Two of my favorite talks are "Half a Million Secrets" by ...Frank Warren and Shawn Achor's "The Happy Secret to Better Work."
Rarely is there a movie that I do not enjoy. From dramas, to classics, to documentaries, the cinematic experience of going to the theater is one of my favorite pastimes.
With a natural sweet tooth, I have recently discovered the joys of baking. I enjoy creating sweet treats to give to others to brighten their day.
In the words of Elizabeth Bennett, "I dearly love to laugh."
College Leadership Florida
College Leadership Florida is based on the belief that knowledge is a key element and prime motivator of leadership. Over a six-day period, 40 college students, studying in a wide variety of majors, w...ill meet and be exposed to the many societal and economic issues facing the state in order to stimulate inquiry, analysis, personal development, and a commitment to Florida.
I have always been fascinated with different cultures and countries. Traveling gives me the opportunity to gain an international perspective and learn from experiences abroad to be a better global ci...tizen.
Community Service has always been a strong passion in my life. However, after co-founding Gators United for Haiti in the wake of the Haitian earthquake, I fully realized the uplifting and rewarding n...ature of giving back to those in need.
Beginning in childhood from the world of adventure created by authors such as Roald Dahl and Jerry Spinelli, I have since been a voracious leisure reader and enjoy nothing more than a great read.
#WIENningPosted on February 29th, 2012 Posted on February 29th, 2012
When I made it to Vienna and found my way to the train into the city, there was a brief period of time where I thought the language barrier would continue to be a hindrance. In hindsight, I probably should have mapped out the way to my flat, but I did not.
Nonetheless, after putting jeans on to avoid hypothermia, I made my way to a hotel, called a taxi, and handed the paper with my address over to the driver. To my surprise, I discovered we were living off campus and very far off campus at that. I started walking down the wrong “gasse” and the cab driver turned around to tell me he had dropped me in the incorrect place.
By the time I made it to the flat, checked in, and unpacked my suitcase, I was incredibly relieved to be in home sweet Kandlgasse (my flat). At that point, I had been up for 62 straight hours. My brilliant plan to stay out all night with Ariana and take General Kratzer’s advice to sleep on the plane was thwarted due to a six year old Asian with pertussis and her uncontrollable tyrant of a little sister. There is not a verb in the English language that could truly capture this toddler’s incessant shrill/cry. I felt like I was in ADPi with Jana’s annual whooping cough and a yell equivalent to the deafening fire alarm.
My last night in America was totally worth the sleep deprivation, but I really wished these parents would have exercised control over their children. I love children and old people more than anything in the world, but these two kids were out of control.
Needless to say, I got very solid sleep that night in my surprisingly spacious flat. I discovered a huge, fully furnished room, kitchen, and bathroom in my flat. Cha-ching! I didn’t even need to make a trip to IKEA considering that I had a desk and all the storage space I could have ever used already included in my apartment. My Calgarian flatmate, Ashley, and I ventured out to find food around 10:30 PM CET. Big mistake. We quickly discovered that Vienna shuts down at 7:00 PM in terms of food, so you better be well stocked. We eventually found a piece of pizza, played charades with the store owner to show what we wanted to buy, and made it back to the flat.
The next morning, we met the full graduate group before making our way to the university. Our weeks were separated by the three subjects from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Within those days, we had a full semester’s worth of classes. Our first professor was amazing. I was really fascinated by the International Human Resource studies and was impressed that he took an active effort to come to all the social events with us.
Sadly, the second week was a drastic change from our engaging German professor to our uncommunicative, harsh Czech professor for International Finance. I learned that my UF friend from the July session unleashed a wrath of fury on her Finance teacher in July, and I thought I would make it a streak for the University of Florida by the end of the week. Thankfully, I was able to bite my tongue throughout the course and even felt sorry for him at a few points. If he actually considered what we were saying and lifted his unfeasible expectations, the class could have been significantly more enjoyable.
Our final professor was a precious, Spanish man that had taught the first group the week before. They warned us that we did not have to pay attention. However, the combination of my love for sweet old men and not wanting him to feel badly when everyone was glued to their computer screens inspired me to pay attention. After the rollercoaster from the week before, I actually enjoyed knowing what to expect each day in the third week.
By far though, the greatest learning experience came from the people around me in my program. I was extremely thankful that I chose to do an International Summer University instead of a regular exchange program. While I was able to interact with Austrians, I was able to make lifelong friends with students from Japan to Iraq to Colombia. Breaking down stereotypical barriers through fascinating conversations and experiencing our European travels together created an incredibly interesting way to study abroad. I would recommend it to anyone. Outside of the UN, where else can you interact and form lasting friendships with people from over twenty different countries in only three weeks? Let’s face it; you really can’t even do that in the UN.
Aside from simply talking about our backgrounds and different experiences, we had such a good time together. The whole group was “D.T.T.” (Down to Travel) and wanted to explore everything Vienna offered, as well. Vienna’s central location and cultural history was ideal for accomplishing a significant amount on my European Bucket List in a short amount of time. Our time at ISU seemed like it went by at warp speed, yet took years at the same time. I know it sounds strange, but in 21 days, we felt like we knew each other for our most of our lives.
In terms of summarizing one of the greatest periods of my life, I have thus far covered the journey across the ocean, the academic side of the Vienna School of Economics, and the incredible class mates in my program. It is now essential to highlight Vienna itself. Otherwise known as “Wien,” Vienna is a captivating city with expansive historical treasures and a vibrant culture that offer endless opportunities for exploration. It would be virtually impossible to include everything from my time in Vienna, so in my next post, I am going to tell you the top ten best things about the land of the Hapsburgs.
Viennese Top TenPosted on February 29th, 2012 Posted on February 29th, 2012
This gem is one of the best features I stumbled upon in Vienna. In the summertime, they told free movies on the lawn and the backdrop is Ringstrasse, they most beautiful City Hall that I have ever seen. Their City Hall lit up at night is truly breathtaking. Not only is the sight at night worth the trip in itself, there are posh yet fairly inexpensive food a drink stands around the park. If you find yourself in Vienna in the summer months, Ringstrasse is a must.
2. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
After experiencing the urbanization of Vienna, I never want to live in a city where I am dependent on a car to get around. Vienna is divided into districts, which makes navigating and transporting around the city a piece of cake, whether you speak German or know approximately 27 words or less like me. The Metro, tram system, bus system, and general breakdown of the city make getting around the city so easy that Marie Antoinette wouldn’t be opposed to sightseeing without a carriage.
After going to the Naschmarket, I am convinced that the Yiddish word “nasch” derived from the Viennese Jews or that the Viennese Jews founded the Naschmarket. Either way, experiencing the market is a delightful treat, pun intended. Anywhere that offers 4 falafel for 1 Euro (really 5 when the workers flirt with you to give you an extra) and a huge container of hummus for even less is a win in my book. The Naschmarket is one of the oldest markets in Europe and the biggest in Austria. Aside from the Mediterranean yum yums, there is a plethora of nuts, homemade ravioli and pasta, candies, and the best variety of fruits and vegetables you can find in the city. Another plus is the non-food portion of the market where you can find “football” jerseys, little knick knacks and great European scarfs for about 5 Euros.
4. VIENNA STATE OPERA HOUSE
The program coordinators at Vienna School of Economics arranged for social outings or tours of typically Austrian landmarks, which were always extremely impressive. It probably was influenced by watching Amadeus over a hundred times as a child, but this organized tour was my favorite. I would have never expected the massive size “backstage” covered. As it turns out, it is the same size of the audience portion of the theatre despite only being about to see what we typically acknowledge as the stage. There are 1,000 people that work to make the production of each show a reality. I felt like I was in Finding Neverland or in the original rehearsal for Swan Lake. Our tour also included the immaculately decorated intermission rooms and a view of the Emperor’s suite! Sadly, I did not get to see an actual performance as the crew takes holiday in August. However, I check Ryan Air almost daily to see when I can make it back for a performance.
If Lil’ Boosie had eaten the ice cream in Eis, he would have made Webbie rap “See this Eis in the cone how it glist-en” in the song Wipe Me Down. Oh my heavenly, is this ice cream lovely. I am not going to lie, after experiencing it once, you will find excuses to go back if not once, multiple times a day. Not to mention, there is a store with an enormous alligator statue on the awning directly across the street that you can look at as you wait in line. Even though the line is inevitably out the door every time, you will need the time to choose which flavor combinations you want. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
After seeing the extravagant lifestyle that Marie Antoinette had as a child, I am not surprised in the least that she met her demise on a guillotine over a cake. The grounds of Schonbrunn were just as impressive as the ornate intricacies inside the palace. Not only were there gorgeous gardens that Mary and Colin would even envy, but there were also Roman ruins on the grounds to add to the grandeur. The Glorietta on the hilltop was incredibly impressive as it overlooked the palace and all of Vienna and it was given to Marie’s mother—as a present. It must be nice. We spent the entire day on the grounds and still didn’t manage to see everything. However, what we did see was “divine.”
The Stephanplatz Metro Stop is in the heart of District 1 (for all you Hunger Games fans, it is also the center of the city). The reason it is called Stephanplatz is due to the fact that you emerge from the Metro directly in front of St. Stephan’s Cathedral, a perfect representation of a gothic, Viennese church. The church was bombed and set ablaze during WWII. It has since been reconstructed but the charred exterior remains. As juxtaposition to the burnt marble, the roof was redone in a colorful mosaic that quickly identifies this Austrian landmark. Like many European cathedrals, you can climb the tower and sing, “These are the stairs that never end, ‘cause they go on and on my friends.” Even though Lambchop is not there to sing with you, you will be rewarded by the best shopping district in Vienna once you make it back down. It is a perfect area to walk around.
Furthermore, you will stumble upon Demel and Sacher bakeries, the apartment where Mozart died, and the Bermuda triangle. The Bermuda Triangle is a series of bars and clubs that twist around small alleys. Very fun, but if you have too much fun, you can’t find your way out—hence the name. Eis and typical Austrian restaurants can also be found at this Metro Stop. My friend from Vienna and his girlfriend took me to a restaurant here that was over 400 years old, had an accordion player, and all the schnitzel and goulash you can eat. It was delicious, and I even managed to find a vegetarian dish that was phenomenal.
If the Jewish people got the term “nasch” from the Naschmarket, then J.R.R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson both got the visions for the Shire here. In the affluent section of Vienna, there are traditional food and wine restaurants draped in ivy and other greenery that make you think Frodo is going to pop out at any minute. The rich food selection and freshly brewed beer are a must if you make it to Vienna. The atmosphere is tranquil, yet energetic and the meal is out of this world.
9. “THE SOUTHERN ALPS”
We were under the impression that we were visiting the Southern Alps when we were told to see the “mountains” outside of Vienna. I would say they were more along the lines of hills despite being borderline mountains from the altitude we reached. Nonetheless, the views were spectacular. Our Chinese friends Claire and Annie recommended that we make the trip up the 34 A bus to the top of the “mountain” for the best view of Vienna. We happened to make it just as the sun was setting the last free day of our time in Vienna. It was so incredibly peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful that it was the perfect way for our main travelling group to end our time together.
10. ST. CHARLES’ CHURCH
I saved the best for last. Thank God, literally, that Emperor Charles and I have the same namesake. Had the Bubonic Plague not hit Vienna twice and inspired Emperor Charles to build the church and name it after St. Charles if they escaped the plague and had my last name not been Charles, I would have never visited the church. The fold out, panoramic post card of Karlskirche caught my attention on one of the first days I was in Vienna. When I saw that it was named Charles’ Church, I thought to myself, “I definitely have to go, especially when I am sending it to all my Charles relatives.” However, it wasn’t on any of our tourism guides, so I saved it until the very end.
My friend and I ended up going before our closing ceremony and were so blown away by the greatest representation of Baroque architecture in the world, that we were very late to the ceremonies—hah, extremely late is more like it (getting Vegan schnitzel also didn’t help matters, but it was a must). St. Charles Church was definitely worth being late and the best 4 Euros I have ever spent to go inside. Holy Charlemagne was it impressive! I felt like Michelangelo. I kid you not, you get to take the elevator to the top of the dome and practically swim in the frescos. You literally could touch them if you wanted, but I avoided the urge out of respect. Best. Experience. Of. My. Life. It was so beautiful and powerful that I was nearly moved to tears. We barely got to spend time at Belvedere Castle, Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s residence, but we were able to make it and finish our Viennese Bucket List, which made the extra time in St. Charles even more worthwhile. Karlskirche is by far the best kept secret of Vienna. It is the epitome of a “hidden treasure.”
"PraHAHA"Posted on February 29th, 2012 Posted on February 29th, 2012
When we got to Prague and woke up the next morning, my friend and I were on a site seeing mission. Prague was similar to Budapest, but cleaner and more touristy. St. Charles Bridge and the view leading up to Prague Castle was enchanting. Once inside the Prague Castle walls, we determined it was worth it to buy to full pass to see all nine attractions within the castle grounds. It is not your typical castle. There are sections and buildings within the castle walls.
I would have to say that the most impressive part of the experience was definitely St. Vitas’ Cathedral. Not only was it stunningly beautiful, but it took –over-six-hundred-years-just-to-BUILD! It is mind blowing to think that the construction period was more than twice as old as our country. The Millennium Clock was worth bracing the crowds, but only to say you have seen it. Don’t get your hopes up. You can see better things in the city, but still go at least once. There are delicious treats in the market square next to the clock.
Now for the funnies and reason for the title-- for brevity's sake, I:
1) was to landing target for a pigeon’s droppings after we joked about what our reactions would be if one of the Alfred Hitchcock birds relieved themselves on us throughout dinner. I found out.
2) got trapped in a sudden torrential downpour about 1/10 of the way to the other side of an extremely long bridge with my friend from WU. We had to take shelter with the group of German tourists and the homeless under the stairs when we sprinted to the other side—drenched.
"Kutna HORROR"Posted on February 29th, 2012 Posted on February 29th, 2012
The Kutna Hora World Heritage site was created in Bohemia, modern day Czech Republic, as a result of the Bubonic Plague and the Hussite Wars. There were too many dead to bury, so they made a church out of their bones. Eerie, yet so, so cool.
Bratislava: "Worthy to try"Posted on February 29th, 2012 Posted on February 29th, 2012
When we first got off the train, my first inclination was, “Oh my god, what have I done?” It was very Eastern European without any English---anywhere---speakers or signage. I thought that the “Eurotrip” Hollywood stereotype might not be exaggerated at that point. However, once we figured out how to get into the old town, my original thoughts were thrown to the side. It was absolutely charming. Simply walking around the streets and enjoying a good meal in a relaxed environment were wonderful. I feel in love with this little Eastern European gem.
We discovered a Sky Bar that gave some of the best night views I have seen and the best cocktails I have ever tasted. We originally were just going to get one drink, but every one’s turned out so well, that we got the menu again and ordered another round simply to try more. They were that good. However, my drink had the funniest description ever. We laughed so hard at the “Mango Madness- Worthy to try,” that I had to order it. It was indeed very “wortttthy to tryyyyy.”
Kentucky by birth, Gator by the grace of GodPosted on December 13th, 2011 Posted on December 13th, 2011
"The Hiiills are Aliiive with my Mediocre Singing!"Posted on February 29th, 2012 Posted on February 29th, 2012
When I thought of Salzburg before going, my mind would always think of Captain von Trapp. While my mind will still instantly think of Captain von Trapp, I will now also remember literally hiking up a 70 degree incline to get to the fortress, drinking Almdudler, yodel lemonade while singing throughout the full Sound of Music tour, and retracing the steps of Julie Andrews with my great friend from WU.
“Fa, a long, long way to run!!!” I would run, swim, climb, crawl back to Salzburg at any time. I am seriously considering learning German, so that I can move there one day.
The United States of America
Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky until moving to Tampa, Florida at age ten, I am thankful for both backgrounds as the experiences from each have shaped me into the person that I am today.
Whether I am painting picture frames, making stationary, visiting the Museo del Prado, or drawing for the Tyba video, I am rather fond of artistic expression. I enjoying making crafts myself and admi...ring the work of artistic masters like painter Salvador Dali, photographer Ansel Adams, or pointillist Camille Pissaro.