STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Ashlee Fox
LONDON, ENGLAND – Cherokee Nation citizen Ashlee Fox, of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, is a junior studying economics at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.
“I decided to study economics because after taking my first economics class as a freshman at Reed it changed the way I thought about the world. Economics has given me the tools to think about policy, ask big questions and solve problems with a combination of theory, math and critical thinking,” Fox said.
While at Reed, Fox won four fellowships that advanced her in different areas of economic studies – the Financial Services, Evan Rose Fund, Winter International Travel and the Opportunity fellowships. She also founded American Indians at Reed, which is a Native student union.
“When I got to Reed, thousands of miles from home, I knew no Native students. It was a steep learning curve. I didn’t want new Reedies to walk on campus and have that same experience, so I wanted to create a community for Native students at Reed,” she said.
In September she traveled to England to begin study at the London School of Economics.
“I was placed in the social policy department at LSE, which has given me the opportunity to think about how policy works, and what doesn’t work, in the United Kingdom and European Union,” she said. “It is an interesting time to be in the UK, given that the country is in the midst of Brexit (Britian’s exit from the EU) and facing a lot of difficult questions.”
While in London, Fox has involved herself with the nonprofit agency FoodCycle, which takes would-be food wasted from grocery stores and restaurants and turns it into meals for those in need. She said this also helps her understand food and agriculture policy in the UK.
Also, Fox was recently named a 2018 Truman Scholar. The scholarship is for aspiring public service leaders in the United States. Fox was one of 59 students selected and will receive a scholarship up to $30,000 for graduate study.
“I’m humbled and deeply honored to represent Oklahoma as this year’s Truman Scholar, and the scholarship has undoubtedly changed my life. I figured out a long time ago that I wanted to pursue public services. I started working on campaigns in high school, from Tribal Council campaigns to congressional campaigns, and I led a political organization. I was fired up to create change and I decided politics was the way to do it,” Fox said.
Upon graduation from Reed, Fox said she would pursue a master’s degree in public policy, a law degree and wants a career in federal Indian law and policy. “I strongly believe that tribal sovereignty is at the heart of every good policy in Indian Country. Tribal sovereignty is a fundamental right of nationhood, but too many policymakers on Capitol Hill don’t understand that. I want to change that. Broadly, I am interested in the intersections of tribal sovereignty, food and agriculture policy and economic development.”