Ashley Garcia Burns went from East Chicago Central to receiving her Master of Science (MS) at Purdue University. When she was young, she knew her parents’ income wouldn’t be enough to fund her college dreams, and to offset the amount of loan monies she’d have to take out, she applied to the Foundations of East Chicago (FEC) scholarship program.


In 2007, Ashley received a $1,500 FEC scholarship. This helped to fund her education, but it did more than just financially assist her.


“…it always reminded me that someone back home (aside from my parents) believed in my dreams enough to financially support [me],” said Ashley of her FEC scholarship.


Ashley began her college journey at Purdue West Lafayette as a Biology major, hoping to become a pharmacist. When she realized this “wasn’t her thing,” she changed majors to Organizational Leadership Supervision, specializing in Human Resources and Personnel with a minor in International Business. She discovered this was her passion, and went directly into getting her MS in Technology Leadership and Management.



Like many college students, Ashley used her time in school to primarily focus on her education, but also to explore socially. She served as a member of the Black Student Union, taught ESL at the Salvation Army and maintained membership with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., in addition to participating in various community service platforms.


Today she is a Project Manager for SAP, a leading Global Software Development Company, and supports projects and customer needs nationally and internationally. She is also the President of The Girl Code at East Chicago Central, and asserts to students to “use college as a catalyst.”


“Let your wildest dreams come to life! Experience the unknown! And if nothing else, East Chicago has prepared you to shine resiliently through the tough times ahead,” said Ashely. She adds that students should “apply, apply, apply!” for FEC scholarships.


“…apply to schools in new places, try different things, use study abroad as not only an opportunity to learn, but to explore the world. All this is possible with the help of the FEC scholarship.”


To learn more about the FEC Scholarship Program, visit


Garcia Burns