If Ashley Lamoreaux’s Jeep Cherokee breaks down in the middle of a desert, she doesn’t want—or need—to rely on someone else to fix it.
And for Lamoreaux, that’s a real possibility: While studying abroad in Cape Town last December, she drove a 100cc Sym Scooter across South Africa. The two-week, 3,000-kilometer journey took her through five provinces, from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg, where she tended to goats, chickens, and cows on a dairy farm during her summer break.
Now, the senior International Studies major can be found watching mechanic tutorials on YouTube, tinkering with engines, and imagining where her passion for international service might take her next.
But it wasn’t always an easy road for Lamoreaux, who received the prestigious Horatio Alger National Scholarship in 2016 to attend her first-choice university, Arcadia. The $25,000 scholarship is awarded to outstanding students who overcame adversity, displaying integrity and perseverance in their pursuit of higher education.
I used academics to distract myself from my home life, so it was an honor to be recognized for the hard work I put in to trying to do better for myself.
- Ashley Lamoreaux
Lamoreaux was just 11 years old when her family home in Exeter, Pa., was destroyed by an intentional explosive. Her childhood remained tumultuous, with her living arrangements in flux, her guardians battling alcoholism, and her father passing away while incarcerated.
“It was a difficult environment to grow up in, to say the least,” said Lamoreaux, who was interviewed by representatives from the Alger association on Nov. 15 and will be one of two students featured in a video about the scholarship. “I used academics to distract myself from my home life, so it was an honor to be recognized for the hard work I put in to trying to do better for myself.”
As one of the nation’s largest financial aid providers, the Alger association assists high school students through funding from its members, many of whom achieved success in the face of hardship. Similarly, Horatio Alger scholars often maintain a commitment to supporting academic opportunities for the next generation of disadvantaged youth.
As a senior at Wyoming Area High School, Lamoreaux found an ideal match in Arcadia’s international opportunities and global community. In addition to her academic year in Cape Town, she picked up a French minor and studied in Stirling, Scotland, through the University’s First-Year Study Abroad Experience (FYSAE).
“I knew from the get-go that I wanted a future that involved traveling,” said Lamoreaux, who learned to embrace the unexpected after breaking her foot on a volunteer trip to Thailand when she was 16. “Career-wise, I wanted to get into international development, get my Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate, and teach overseas.”
With TEFL certification still on her to-do list, Lamoreaux says the rest is up in the air: She’s considered joining the Peace Corps, moving back to Northeastern Pennsylvania to save money for travel, or relocating to Serbia for a volunteer opportunity that would allow her to train as a mechanic. Lamoreaux’s father, who worked as a mechanic before the destruction of their home, shared her interest in auto repair, passing the technical skills he developed on to his daughter.
An “interdisciplinary individual,” Lamoreaux is also evolving as a guitarist. The solo artist—who counts staying in Philadelphia, applying for local jobs, and joining a band among her many options—will play one of her first (paid) gigs on campus this Saturday, Nov. 23.
And if she has a bit of free time? Lamoreaux has her sights set on the Rickshaw Run, a two-and-a-half-week tuk-tuk race across India. Her interest, of course, lies in the challenge—Lamoreaux listed “[the rickshaw] breaking down, and having to fix it” as one of the event’s perks.
“I don’t really know what I’m going to do after graduation,” shared Lamoreaux. “But in whatever order, I feel like I’ll do all of these things.”