The saying, first things first, fits for someone getting into college.
For those applying to Meridian Community College, often their first step is a stop in the Admissions Office. And that’s where Ashley Tanksley meets her mission and finds purpose in the role as the new Director of Admissions.
“Being able to assist students on every level with their first step of obtaining a college education and serving our local community is the most enjoyable aspect of my job,” she said.
Tanksley, a native of Meridian and an MCC alumna, began working at the College in February 2018 as a recruiter and serving as the Live Chat coordinator for the MCC website, which became vital for both students and college when the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in the closing of campus in March.
“We’re excited to see what she’ll bring to the Admission Office and the Enrollment Services team,” said Deanna Smith, MCC dean of student services.
Admissions directors work with prospective students, other school administrators in the areas of recruitment and admissions; Tanksley has been at the helm for a month. One of Tanksley’s goals: to improve communication flow to prospective and admitted students by using the greatest degree of technology available.
“I also want to continue communication with various departments and individuals that have an influence in student recruitment and retention, communicating a shared vision to meet and surpass enrollment goals purposefully,” she said.
Tanksley holds a bachelor of science degree in communicative disorders from Jackson State University. She plans to receive her master’s degree in student affairs in higher education from the University of West Alabama this December.
Still, she remembers what it was like being a dual credit student at MCC. Enrolled in public speaking, Tanksley said she passed the class with a B. “Looking back, I wish I had an A, but the class enhanced not only my public speaking skills but also my study skills as well. I went on to Jackson State with determination and graduated with a 3.9 grade point average.”
She and her partner Elijah Tanksley have two sons, Ethan and Ean Tanksley. Her mom, Tracee Gaddis, is an MCC alumnus who earned her certificate in the College’s Commercial Truck Driving program. Her father is Terry Bryant Sr.
Tanksley said the best thing she likes about MCC is that every program at the College offers hands-on experience. She said, “A student will leave MCC with confidence in their ability to add value to our community’s workforce. MCC offers a family/home environment not only with the faculty and staff, but also with our student population.”