Coles Scholar Partners with Wife for KSU Success
KENNESAW, Ga. (Feb 14, 2019) — Husband and wife Josh and Ashley Wolfe haven’t attended Kennesaw State University simultaneously, but they certainly have been a good team.
Josh worked full time while Ashley earned her degree in early childhood education from KSU. They then switched roles, as Josh is a junior majoring in marketing in the Michael J. Coles College of Business and Ashley is the primary breadwinner as a special education teacher in Canton, Ga.
“For us, this was the only way we could have done it,” Josh said. “When she went to college first, I don’t know that either of us anticipated that I was ever going to get to go to college. So it’s neat to be able to do it this way because, in the end, I think we’re both going to be better for it.”
“It really works between the two of us because I’m very serious and Josh is very spontaneous,” Ashley said. “I keep him grounded, and he helps me have fun and not be in work mode all the time.”
Josh, 26, and Ashley, 25, began dating 10 years ago when they were in high school. After they graduated, Ashley began attending college right away on a full academic scholarship awarded by the Billy and Shirley Weir Foundation. Ashley felt that teaching was her life’s calling, and she graduated from the Bagwell College of Education in December 2016, just six months after the couple married.
Meanwhile, Josh delved straight into the working world and enjoyed success. As a teenager, he was promoted to manager of a music store. Once he felt he had gone as far as he could with that company, Josh became a relationship manager for Bank of America, advising customers on financial decisions.
Though Josh was making good money at a young age, he still wanted to earn a college degree. Once Ashley graduated from Kennesaw State and began her teaching career, the time was right for them to switch roles in what Josh called their “divide and conquer” approach of one of them working while the other attends college.
“Everything aligned, and we figured it was now or never,” Ashley said.
Their strategy has worked well. Ashley has a rewarding job she loves, and Josh is a student in KSU’s Honors College and a Coles Scholar, a select Coles College of Business program that emphasizes leadership, critical thinking and – something Josh knows well – teamwork.
The couple’s focus is on May 2020 – Josh’s graduation date, which is written in dry-erase marker on all the mirrors in the home they rent. Once Josh joins Ashley as a KSU graduate and begins his marketing career, the Wolfes can move on to goals such as buying a house and starting a family.
“May 2020 is written everywhere in our house,” Josh said. “It’s everything. We are excited for May 2020.”
Ashley said, “Josh is doing amazing things in college, but we are so ready for the next chapter.”
In moving toward that, the couple that has been nearly inseparable for several years soon will have to acclimate to spending some time apart. In May, Josh will take a two-and-a-half-week service learning trip to the Dominican Republic with the Coles Scholars Program. That will immediately be followed by a 10-week summer internship in business leadership with Geico in Macon.
“I told Josh, ‘I can hold down the fort here. You do what you need to do,’” Ashley said. “I told him he even could look into internships out of state, to take whatever opportunity he can because it will help us in the long run.”
For now, they will celebrate another Valentine’s Day together. Although Ashley describes Josh as a “hopeless romantic,” they both anticipate a quiet February 14 because of their busy schedules. Along with Ashley’s teaching schedule and Josh’s classes and homework, he is working as a marketing intern in the Honors College and also runs his own business teaching guitar lessons.
“We’ll probably just take it easy this year, but I’ll come up with something for Valentine’s Day,” Josh said. “She is everything to me.”
– Paul Floeckher
Photos by Rob Witzel