College:College of Sciences
Degree Program:Sociology PhD
Research Focus:Race, gender, and education
Throughout her career as an educator, Ashley Stone has kept two groups of people in mind — her family and her students. Her maternal grandmother and great aunts were deeply involved with the Civil Rights movement in Birmingham, Alabama, organizing to combat voter suppression. Inspired by their selfless efforts for justice, Stone possesses a strong desire to respond to their work and continue their legacy. Because of her, current and former students across the country participate in social justice activities.
“As an educator, I feel compelled to ensure that I am using the classroom to provide them with the tools to transform society in their own areas of endeavor,” she says. “I am simultaneously motivated by those whose shoulders I stand on and those who will ultimately stand on mine.”
Stone completed a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in her home state at the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 2006. She received a Master of Arts in Sociology at DePaul University in 2012 with Distinction. In 2017, Stone sought to continue her studies and pursue a doctoral degree at another university. “From my first encounter with UCF, I saw how my professional goals aligned with the Department of Sociology,” she says. It was clear to Stone that her research interests would be valued and encouraged in the department. She also appreciated the university’s reputation as a large research institution, which would enable her to engage in an active research community and provide her with impactful opportunities. “There is never a shortage of ideas at UCF, and therefore, always someone who wants to collaborate on a project with you!”
Today, Stone is continuing her social advocacy efforts through her many research projects in areas of race, gender, and education. Her current project focuses on the inclusion and exclusion of Black women’s scholarship in graduate-level classical sociological theory courses. In her analysis of syllabi from graduate-level classical sociological theory courses, she found that the scholarship of early Black women theorists was not included, as often as other theorists and that less time was spent on their scholarship. She also found that faculty like to include classical theorists they studied in their graduate training in their own courses, thus reproducing the sociological canon. Stone aims to use these findings to develop strategies for supporting faculty in diversifying the theorists included in classical theory courses.
Numerous faculty members have assisted Stone with her research and provided great support during her time at UCF, especially Drs. Shannon Carter, Jonathan Cox, Michael Armato, Scott Carter, Bhoomi Thakore, and Carolyn Hopp. “There are many ways they have affected my studies and personal life – almost too many to name,” she says. She describes how they encouraged her to find and express her authentic identity as a researcher, assisted her in cultivating research ideas, and valued her not only as a scholar but as a person, which has impacted her experience.
Stone has received numerous awards and accolades for her achievements at UCF, including the College of Sciences Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching Award, the Graduate Student Teaching Award, and the Service to Sociology Award. Most notably, Stone was an inductee into the 2022 Order of Pegasus. The prestigious award recognizes students’ academic achievement, professional or community service, and leadership. The significance of receiving this honor is a testament to Stone’s passion for helping others and her fierce advocacy for social justice, diversity, and inclusion.
After graduation, Stone plans to continue her research while collaborating with scholars in the field to develop curricula that are reflective of the increasing diversity of student populations. She will also support emerging scholars at all levels of education by developing funding opportunities to assist marginalized students in preparing their research.
- 2022 Order of Pegasus inductee
- 2022 College of Sciences Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching Award
- 2021 Graduate Student Teaching Award
- 2021 Developing Leader Award
- 2021 Service to Sociology Award
- 2020 Finalist, K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award, Association of American Colleges & Universities
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