Alumni Relations
Alumni Relations
UNCP Home Spotlights Drs. Joe and Ashley Danielle Ballard
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Drs. Joe and Ashley Danielle Ballard


Alumni Class Year

c/o 2009

Alumni Major

Biology with a molecular biology concentration

Alumni Current Occupation

Optometric Physicians

1.      Favorite thing about your job?

Interacting with a new person every 15 minutes and knowing that there will always be new things to learn in this profession. 

2.      Least favorite?

If I had to choose...Working on Fridays, unless it's raining, then it's okay :)

3.      If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Some skill that allowed me to practice/compete on a professional level; i.e. playing Chess (like a champion), playing an instrument, creating art, growing or building something of great value. 

4.      What's something most people don't know about you?

Joe: I love building and creating things with my hands. I love making furniture, wood lathing, artwork, etc. 

Ashley: My ears are not pierced! So many family and friends have given me earrings as presents; I don't have the heart to tell them. 

5.      In what ways were you involved in campus life as a student?

Joe: I lived at Wellons Hall and Village Apartments on campus. I was a member of the Biology club, and took several courses outside of my major like oil painting and writing composition. 

Ashley: I had a work study in the science department assisting Dr. Jeremy Sellers on a cholesterol genetics study. Who would have known fruit flies were our subjects?!?! The Biology Club always had some type of event going on whether it be a plant sale or kayak trip. Honors college events/field trips, attending motivational speaking events, and GPAC performances. 

6.      Why did you choose to attend UNCP?

Small school, good curriculum, close to home (Fayetteville), but far enough from home to live on campus (very important). 

7.      Favorite UNCP memory?

Joe: Just walking through campus, making new friends, Relay for Life, and eating at Bert's Cafe. 

Ashley: There are a boyfriend, (now husband) made a huge Valentine and hung it on the bridge outside of Belk Hall. What a surprise! If any students are reading this...he did get permission.  The Honors College members were invited to dinner at The Chancellors house. It was neat seeing what was beyond the gate. Racquet Ball was an awesome study break and cardio work out! 

8.      Advice to prospective UNCP students?

Joe: Get involved. Don't let yourself become bored with college, or you won't get much out of it. Take more than the minimal credit hours; keeping yourself busy will make you less likely to slack off and skip classes. Consider a minor in something interesting like art, music, drama or sports - you'll be glad you broadened your horizons, plus you'll look like you have personality on paper. 

In the same sense, don't keep your nose buried in text every day. College is the place to make mistakes and explore the world. The life lessons that can be learned in college are sometimes more important than the classroom lessons. 

Ashley: UNCP does a great job setting your foundation, but don't get complacent. Build on you knowledge and stay as current as possible on whatever your career choice or studies may be. Keep learning! Challenge yourself...Apply to The Honors College, apply for scholarships (big and small ones, they add up), join clubs, job-shadow someone in your prospective career. 

9.      Advice to UNCP Alumni?

Joe: Be proud of your roots.

Ashley: Give back to your community. Tell people your success stories so that you can be an inspiration for others. 

10.  How did attending UNCP shape your life?

Joe: It was the perfect launching pad for making something of myself. I got the "teenager" out of my system, and became the adult I needed to become while at UNCP. 

Ashley: Much of my undergraduate education at UNCP prepared me for Optometry School. I learned how to study high volumes of material for one test, and retain that information for future use; this attribute carried over and became critical in optometry school. Extra-curricular activities helped me balance much needed social time with friends, while still staying on track with my studies. I appreciated the small class sizes and sense of fellowship between professors and classmates; I have no doubt that excellent letters of recommendations from several professors helped me to get to where I am today.