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Frankie Ashun

1265

Bold Points

2x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

Hailing from the Last Green Valley in Northeastern Connecticut, Frankie grew up in a predominantly white, conservative town as a funky Black queer lady, and learned early on that her career goals would focus on inclusion, justice, and empowering underserved communities. Frankie graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019 with a double Bachelor’s in Gender Studies and Communication; She has returned Fall 2021 to pursue a Master’s in Public Health with a focus on health disparities and generational trauma. Frankie currently works as a case manager for those transitioning back into society from incarceration. Frankie previously worked as a recruiter and screener for the UConn SHARE Project, a research study focusing on HIV prevention. She also has history as a Service Coordinator for chronically homeless men managing their mental health and addiction recovery. Frankie hopes to serve her community as a Health Educator and Birth Worker in the near future.

Education

University of Connecticut

Master's degree program
2021 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Public Health

University of Connecticut

Bachelor's degree program
2016 - 2019
  • Majors:
    • Communication, General

Killingly High School

High School
2012 - 2016

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Health Education

    • Dream career goals:

      Trauma-Informed Health Educator

    • Alternative in the Community Case Manager

      Perception Programs, Inc.
      2022 – Present2 years
    • Project Screener/Recruiter

      Perception Programs, Inc.
      2021 – 20221 year
    • Study Coordinator Intern

      Planned Parenthood of Southern New England
      2018 – 2018
    • Student Administrative Assistant/Peer Health Educator Coordinator

      University of Connecticut Health Education Office
      2017 – 20192 years
    • Service Coordinator

      Reliance Health, Inc.
      2019 – 20212 years

    Research

    • Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education

      Connecticut College — Graduate Research Assistant
      2021 – Present
    • Psychology, General

      Rhode Island College Psychology Department — Research Assistant
      2018 – 2019
    • Communication, General

      UConn Communications Department — Research Assistant
      2018 – 2018
    • Communication, General

      University of Connecticut Communications Department — Research Assistant
      2017 – 2017

    Arts

    • UConn Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department

      Poetry
      Body Diaries
      2017 – 2017

    Public services

    • Advocacy

      Wesleyan Doula Project — Community Doula
      2019 – 2020
    • Volunteering

      UConn Community Outreach — Community Outreach Volunteer
      2018 – 2018
    • Volunteering

      UConn Health Education Office — UConn Sexpert Coordinator
      2017 – 2020
    • Volunteering

      True Colors, Inc. — True Colors Mentor
      2019 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Bold Happiness Scholarship
    I believe humans spent (and waste) a lot of their time trying to figure out what makes them happy, as well as how to keep doing what makes us happy. Happiness is ephemeral, it comes and goes as all emotions do--we need it in order to live full and rounded lives but I believe it's important to understand that a lack of happiness does not indicate a lack of fulfillment. In that sense, what makes me happy is the anticipation that another moment of happiness will come, and it is a natural part of our lives that it ebbs and flows. The joy I experience while connecting with friends playing our favorite game, while crafting with my mother and grandmother, when petting my cat and feeling her relax, knowing she's safe--these are all experiences that remind me why I pursue community-based opportunities throughout my life. It is my connection to other people that makes me happy and keeps me happy through the complexities of life that come my way. I noted before that happiness is ephemeral, but I think in some ways it is also eternal, as I will always know that the next moment of joy is moments away when I have a community of loved ones to care for me.
    Charles R. Ullman & Associates Educational Support Scholarship
    Humans weren't put on this earth in order to navigate the world alone. We are meant to uplift each other, challenge each other, and change each other in order to grow as a people and in our individual life paths. It's important for folks to be involved in their communities because all we have is each other on this space rock. By participating in our communities on a personal, professional, and legislative level, we are investing in our futures. With future-thinking, I'm reminded of my involvement with a young Black girl in my predominantly-white area as her mentor and support. My mentee is part of the DCF system, and I've come to realize that my time spent with her is the most stability she has had in many years. I was connected to her through my state's only LGBTQ+ related mentorship organization, True Colors, and we've been in each other's lives for almost 3 years. I spent my undergraduate career at the University of Connecticut studying Communication as well as Gender Studies, meaning that my academic realm circulated around my mentee's and my experiences very intimately as young Black LGBTQ women. It wasn't until I started visiting with my mentee did the 2014 statistic of "trans individuals are 2x more likely to think about self-harm or suicide" come to light, as well as the understanding that just one caring adult in their life could interrupt that statistic. Although I spent most of my life volunteering in different ways, whether it was at my local hospital, Planned Parenthood clinics, harm reduction centers, and then eventually pursuing these volunteering passions in my career as a case manager, it wasn't until I truly connected with my mentee that I understood why I wanted to continue looking for "caring" positions. My time spent building communication skills, boundary-setting, and raising my mentee's efficacy for self-advocacy is a form of community-building where she could offer these skills to young trans women like her who deserve care, love, and support in this world. It is important for people to be involved in their communities because it allows for untapped potential to be reached and understood--so that young women like my mentee aren't left in the dark. It is a type of investment to connect with others individually, just to show that there is a caring adult in their lives. I plan to help my community through my future career by continuing to pursue case-management roles, mentorship roles, and teaching roles. This is not only to broaden my horizons, but to empower my community to feel like they can stand up for themselves and others.
    Bold Motivation Scholarship
    When I am left feeling disinterested in the world, in my future, and the potential of my impact as an aspiring Public Health professional of color, I am reminded that systems of oppression exalt in my lack of energy. It may sound silly but the fact that racist or sexist historical precedence has rolled over into the present day due to the bone-aching tiredness of fighting against systemic -isms motivates me to stay fresh, strong, and cognizant of ways that I can support myself and others. I am motivated by the past lack of opportunity given to people who look like me, which makes me want to take my chances and lean into the determination to go farther than ever expected in my career and personal life more than ever. Not only does this motivation have to do with me, it also has to do with lifting up others around me--as I'm a believer in the fact that if one in a marginalized population is down, that means that we all are not able to move forward. Truly, I am overall energized by the constant reminder that we have a long way to go as a society in order to grow, and it is people like me and those around me who have to be the change-makers.
    Bold Loving Others Scholarship
    Winner
    Loving others isn't a passive activity, it is a cyclical choice and a motivated effort to meet others where they are, regardless of your understanding of their situation. When it comes down to how individuals love each other, I'm a firm believer of different love languages. My love languages happen to be acts of service as well as spending quality time with another. Growing up the only way my family was able to physically show each other love was through making sure each other's lives were made easier by simple tasks we could accomplish. This looked like making my grandmother her tea the way she likes it, or organizing my mother's craft supplies so when she wanted to unwind after her 9 to 5 she could just get right to it. We didn't have a lot of excess income to give gifts or pursue new experiences together, but we did have our open hands and a warm heart. That translates to the present-day ways in which I show love, by cooking for an overwhelmed friend or just listening to their day. However, growing up as a person of difference has also made it important to me to show my loved ones that they are not only seen and heard individually, but as people belonging to a system that makes them navigate the world differently depending on who they are. My acts of love stem from making life easier, being there for a friend, and honoring the lived experiences of others through acknowledging difference rather than ignoring it.
    Pride Palace LGBTQ+ Scholarship
    IG: @blkagstempire. I'm proud to be a Black lesbian woman because this identity comes with a bevy of ancestors such as Audre Lorde and Angela Davis. Being a Black lesbian is a unique position, where the intersections of our identity interrupt how we navigate the world. Our struggle and success is one that births many community workers, knowledge producers, and activists in the effort to build a world that cherishes our lived experiences.
    Bervell Health Equity Scholarship
    The field of Public Health is severely lacking when it comes to honoring Black and Indigenous, queer, and disabled voices. There isn’t an aspect of my community’s lives that haven’t been touched by public health or the medical institution. Using my studies and lived experience, I would encourage folks of marginalized backgrounds to advocate for their own reproductive health, as well as providing the tools to facilitate conversations with healthcare providers about potential shortcomings regarding equity in their own practice. As a student of Public Health under the University of Connecticut’s guidance, I plan to develop specific programming informed by the analytical framework of intersectionality to present to historically underserved populations as a health educator. As a previous peer health educator with the University of Connecticut’s Health Education Office, I spent my undergraduate career presenting sexual health information students could use to empower their autonomy. With a team of fellow women of color, our connection with students reached further than offering health promotion information—it was an opportunity for us to start conversations about underserved populations, racial and gender equity, and how voicelessness is an enforced behavior for many vulnerable communities. By taking on the mantle of Student Coordinator in my 3rd semester as a peer health educator, I quickly learned that facilitating conversations between students about their sexual autonomy was essential in showing them they have the efficacy to fully control their reproductive health. Through countless conversations about reproductive health with students of all different backgrounds my career goals pointed further in the direction of offering educational spaces for those historically barred from reproductive health knowledge. My time as an undergraduate student of Communication and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies taught me invaluable lessons about examining privilege and making actionable steps towards trauma-informed work, but it also taught me about the power institutions have over whole communities’ life opportunities. As a community abortion doula with the Wesleyan Doula Project, I provided emotional, informational, and physical support to individuals receiving abortion services. I had the opportunity to practice patient advocacy, but more importantly I had the opportunity to inform patients about their rights for their own advocation past my involvement. In this role I supported those navigating their reproductive health choices by translating medical language through the lens of accessibility, working with clinic staff, or by just holding a hand. I had multiple conversations with Black, gender non-conforming, and disabled patients that further shaped my career objectives. Some of which taught me that meeting individuals where they are is more important than trying to force a perspective more commonly appreciated by academic or professional communities. The greatest challenges I've faced in these roles stem from recognizing the brilliance of my clients and then coming to terms with the ways in which oppressive structures snuff that light out. By sharing my public health knowledge with them, as well as self-advocacy practices, I believe I'm able to support historically underserved populations find their voice, especially in the realm of reproductive health.