Medical student shares passion for serving, attributes success to SPSCC

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Inspired by SPSCC: Ashley Gundermann

Naturopathic Medicine Student, Bastyr University


Ashley smiles in white coat with stethoscope in a lab space among models of muscle tissue and skeletal system

“Some of the most interactive and enthusiastic teachers I’ve ever had were in my community college classes.”

Ashley Gundermann, SPSCC (2005), AA via Running Start

Ashley is a compassionate and bright individual whose foundation in education was made solid through her experience at SPSCC.


She is one of the 1,100+ students each year that participate in the Running Start program for high school juniors and seniors.  Ashley graduated with both her high school diploma and associate degree in 2005 and was swiftly able to transfer to Western Washington University as a junior. 

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Ashley credits her time at SPSCC as critical to building a strong foundation in writing and English language, especially at a college level.  “The value of writing skills as you enter a four year school and graduate studies is invaluable.”

While attending Western, Ashley worked as a caregiver for a disabled man where she began to realize her passion for serving others.  After graduation, her compassionate character took her even further when she served in the Peace Corps in Uganda.  As a Community Health Volunteer, Ashley’s work involved malaria and hygiene education and a nutrition project, which received a special grant to start a poultry business and piggery project in a Ugandan orphanage.

Ashley sits at a computer in patient exam room

“That’s when I realized how much I wanted to work with underserved populations,” explained Ashley.  And because she’s bilingual in Spanish and English, she has an especially strong passion for serving Spanish speaking populations.  She also volunteers as a medical interpreter.  “But it all stems back to those base skills in writing that I learned at SPSCC.”

When we visited Ashley at her quiet college campus on that sunny winter day, it was obvious that her combined experiences had created an intelligent and compassionate person who really wants to make change in the world through holistic health and wellness.

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Ashley earned an associate degree through Running Start, holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Journalism, and is currently a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine candidate (2019) at Bastyr University.  And she’s proud to say that it all started right here at SPSCC.

“I’m so thankful for my start at SPSCC.  The teachers there really love their fields and want to share their knowledge.  That set my baseline for writing and success later and I'm grateful for that.”

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