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Ashley Bertles ’23: ‘I Realized That Working in the Field of Education as an Instructional Designer Was What I Wanted to Do for the Rest of My Life’

Ashley Bertles

Ashley Bertles has always been interested in how technology can create opportunities for learning. When she was introduced to the field of instructional design, it felt like the perfect fit for her future career. 

Now, as she prepares to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in applied education studies with a concentration in learning design and technology, she is looking forward to starting an internship at SAS and continuing her education through graduate school.

Learn more about Ashley Bertles 

Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina 

Degree:  Applied Education Studies: Learning, Design, and Technology

Activities (Research or Extracurricular): During my time at NC State, I have been a Student Ambassador for the College of Education and a teaching assistant for USC 401: Transitions for the College Graduate. I have also participated in organizations such as College Mentors for Kids, Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women and Students Advocating for Youth (SAY) Village.

Why did you choose the NC State College of Education?

I chose the NC State College of Education because it is one of the top colleges for education in the country, especially in STEM. While touring the College of Education during high school, I had a chance to meet professors, students and many others. Everyone was so welcoming and excited about all that the college had to offer! This community environment was exactly what I pictured myself being a part of. 

Why did you choose your area of study?

Ever since I was young, I loved learning and the learning process! When I was in fifth grade, I set up a classroom in a spare room in my house and I would spend countless hours in my free time creating educational materials with technology. This included designing PowerPoints and creating worksheets for my “students” to complete. I also designed a class website for students to access materials outside of class. From a young age, I was fascinated with how people learn and how technology can be used to improve this experience.

As I grew older, my love for education continued. After coming to NC State, I realized that working in the field of education as an instructional designer was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I quickly found that instructional design is the perfect combination of what I am passionate about: education and technology.

What’s your next step? What do you have planned after graduation?

After graduation, I will start graduate school at NC State in the College of Education, which I am really excited about! I will be pursuing a Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology. This summer, I will begin an internship at SAS as an EVAAS E-Learning Development intern. In this position, I will be creating professional development training programs for K-12 teachers. I am really excited about this next step in my career!

How has the College of Education prepared you for that next step?

The College of Education has equipped me with the knowledge and skills to be an effective instructional designer. The well-rounded education I have received has given me the opportunity to study a variety of subjects including education, technology, design and psychology to ultimately gain an understanding of what makes educational content effective in improving learning experiences. The College of Education is very hands-on in how they teach. We not only learn about these concepts, but we apply them in their applicable settings. Through this method of teaching, I feel even better prepared to effectively carry out responsibilities in my future career.

What do you hope to accomplish in your field?

In the e-learning field, I hope to become an instructional designer. I want to be able to play an integral role in a company where I can make a positive impact on the learning experiences for students of all ages. I also hope to share my knowledge and experiences through mentorship with other professionals pursuing this field. 

Do you have a favorite memory from your time in the College of Education?

During my freshman year, I participated in the SAY Living and Learning Village. Once a week during the school year, I met with a fifth-grade student from a local elementary school to help with schoolwork, play games and, in general, develop a close relationship with the student. Over the course of the year, I got to know this student very well — their likes, dislikes, hobbies, passions, etc. This was during the COVID-19 pandemic, when school was 100% online, which was a very difficult time for students. Being a support system and friend for this student during the pandemic was so meaningful and I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. At the end of the year, I even received a note from the student’s mom thanking me for all that I had done. The impact that the student made on my life is something I will never forget! 

Tell us about an experience you had with the College of Education that had the biggest impact on you or your career.

The experience that made the biggest impact on my career was when my academic advisor, [Director of Advising] Amanda Beller, encouraged me to look into the applied education studies major, where I could pursue a concentration in learning design and technology. I was originally studying elementary education but, by the end of my freshman year, I was unsure if teaching was the right career path for me. However, I still loved education and had a strong desire to pursue a career in education, so studying learning design ended up being perfect for me. Amanda was such an integral part of my college career because she introduced me to the major, which ultimately led me to decide to pursue this degree that I am so passionate about!

Why did you choose education?

One of my most important values is learning. I love to learn, and I want to spread my love of learning. Choosing education will allow me to have a positive effect on all students’ learning experiences. Technology creates so many opportunities for learning and being able to use technology to create engaging learning experiences for all students is one of the primary reasons I chose the instructional design path in education!