Jillian Asay '12, left, received an Outstanding Senior Award at the 2012
ODK Awards Ceremony.
Laura Young '14 presented the award.
Randolph-Macon College student Jillian Asay ’12 has benefited from
the mentorship of many people.
“Coach Carroll LaHaye, Psychology Professors Kristen Klaaren and Susan Parker, Robert
and Anne McDougall '79, and Stuart and Pepper Laughon ’56 have been incredibly helpful
to me,” says the psychology major. “They
have given me the guidance that I needed to grow as an athlete and student. I cannot
thank them enough. They are excellent role models.”
Asay is a standout on the women’s
basketball team in more ways than one. The 2009 and 2011 ODAC Championships
are some of her proudest moments. But she is just as proud of the team’s 2009 “adoption”
of 7-year-old Reese Klauer through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, a group that
matches pediatric brain-tumor patients with sports teams who provide support. Asay
met the Klauers when the team hosted a tea party on campus to celebrate Reese’s
“I consider the Klauers part of the Yellow Jacket family,” says Asay, “and I am
happy to report that Reese is cancer-free.”
In 2012, Asay took part in a field placement at the ASK Pediatric Oncology and Hematology
Clinic at the VCU Health System.
“I made sure patients were as comfortable as possible,” she says. “I became very
close with many of them, and I plan to stay involved in the organization.” Asay
is also a member of Connor’s Heroes Foundation, which was designed to help families
battling childhood cancer.
“Mrs. Klauer introduced me to the foundation, where I was matched with a family
who has 5-year-old twin boys,” explains Asay. “One of the twins was diagnosed with
a rare form of cancer. I got to spend lots of time with him while he received chemotherapy
in the ASK clinic.”
Charting Her Course
In 2011 Asay participated in a study-abroad
voyage through the Semester At Sea organization. Aboard a ship for 26 days, she
traveled to seven countries in conjunction with a service-learning course.
“Service-learning fits my interests in social work and psychology,” says Asay, who
traveled when the ship was docked in port.
“In Guatemala, I spent time at an orphanage; I also traveled to a special-needs
school where I spent time with an 8-year-old autistic boy. We walked along the countryside
and spoke to each other in Spanish. Another highlight of the trip was in Costa Rica,
where I went zip lining and whitewater rafting, and at night I slept in a hammock!
I have always loved to travel and I look for every opportunity to explore the world.”
Asay, a Presidential Scholar,
is a member of the Honors Program,
Psi Chi and Omicron Delta Kappa.
In addition, she is the recipient of the Ira M. Lechner Scholarship. This
scholarship fund was established in 1988 by Ira M. Lechner ’55 to provide
full-tuition scholarships for students interested in pursuing careers in public
Asay will enter Virginia Commonwealth University this fall to earn a master’s in
social work. Her future plans include working with children battling cancer or with
children who have special needs.
“R-MC has given me a solid undergraduate education that will serve me well in my
future studies,” she says. “Through classes, athletics,
travel, and other opportunities at R-MC, I have acquired the skills to help
others. I have committed to two years of public service after I finish my master’s.
It is my goal to represent Mr. Lechner in my future work.”
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