Ashley Goldon, Nation Outside’s Executive Director, is a social worker, survivor, and fierce reform advocate of underprivileged communities. Within just three years from her release from the Michigan Department of Corrections in 2010, Ashley graduated Magna Cum Laude with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from South University, built a service-based student organization, and secured employment working with adjudicated youth in residential placement at Metro Detroit’s largest child-welfare agency, Vista Maria. Ashley’s expert experience, passion, engagement, and ability to inspire stakeholders, quickly earned her a leading role as Project Manager of Therapeutic Initiatives where she designed and innovated therapeutic, educational, and wellness programming for hundreds of youth, and families. In 2018, Ashley served as founding chair of University of Southern California’s Unchained Scholars, a student caucus for graduate students of social work adversely affected by the carceral system, the first of its kind in the nation. In 2020, she graduated Suma Cum Laude with her master’s degree in social work from USC, where she is currently pursuing her doctorate. In 2022, Ashley was sworn in as a Genesee County Deputy Sheriff and continues supporting racial equity work across the nation in her tenure on MacArthur Foundation’s Steering Committee for the Safety and Justice Challenge, Racial Equity Cohort.
Today, the Aspen Institute announced its 2023 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellows, 20 leaders from across the United States who are transforming systems so that all children and families can thrive.