Published 04/28/14

Helpless no more: Ashley Cardona ’16

Ashley Cardona ’16 dislikes the word "helpless." She realized just how much in the days following the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013.

“In every interview I gave, when asked how I felt, ‘helpless’ was the answer,” she says. The Peabody, MA, resident, who was born in East Boston, wasn’t alone. More than 200 members of the Bryant community showed up to support Boston for the inaugural Run as One on campus April 16, which was organized by Cardona.

"Getting up that hill is symbolic of the stamina and tenacity you need to not just get through your four years of college, but to get the most out of your education."

“I was intimidated by the thought of putting together an event like this last year,” she says. “I was a freshman, worked a lot off campus, and was just starting to train for my first 5K. But when I emailed President Machtley and asked what he thought, I found so much support and encouragement.”

That kind of support and encouragement is a hallmark of the Bryant community. In fact, President and Mrs. Machtley joined Cardona and other members of the Bryant family to walk the mile. “President Machtley calls the hill on the road behind the gym ‘Bryant’s Heartbreak Hill’,” she says. “This year, as we struggled to get to the top, it hit me: Getting up that hill is symbolic of the stamina and tenacity you need to not just get through your four years of college, but to get the most out of your education. And I want to get the most out of this experience. I’ve learned a lot through this.”

In addition to her Run as One event, held this year on April 21, Cardona enjoys other activities on campus, such as participating in Bryant’s chapter of DECA. She is one of 12 Bryant students to win the DECA regional competition in her content area and advance to the nationals in Washington, D.C.

This past March, Cardona completed the first level of Bryant’s Linked Through Leadership Development program, called LEARN, which focuses on an individual’s values. She is looking forward to participating in the follow-up levels, LEAD and CHANGE. “The LEARN was an amazing experience,” she says. “It was completely life changing.”