Alumna Profile: Ashli Linkous ‘23
Ashli Linkous just graduated from King this past April – but even before she walked across the stage to receive her diploma, she had already snagged her dream job.
If you know Ashli, that’s not the least bit surprising.
She majored in Business, with tracks in both Marketing and Management, and had two minors: Digital Media Art & Design (DMAD) and Communication. She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of Arts and was selected by her professors as the Outstanding Business & Economics Graduate of the Class of 2023. She also received the R.T.L. Liston Medallion for Academic Excellence, which is presented each year to a traditional undergraduate major graduating with the highest grade-point average.
Ashli was also a member of the Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholar Program, a competitive scholarship program comprised of a small group of female students who complete service projects, throughout her four years at King.
A native of Abingdon, Virginia, Ashli is now working at the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) in Bristol, a relationship that began in 2021 when she volunteered to work during Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. She then worked as an intern, which became a part-time position last year, before landing her full-time position as a Marketing Specialist/Photographer.
Last September, during Rhythm & Roots, Ashli took photos and handled social media for the festival. Norman Jacobs, who is with 49 Winchester, asked her to get a shot of the band with the crowd in the background.
“Two days later, Norman said, ‘We made good use of your photo – it’s in Rolling Stone,”’ Ashli said. “That was really exciting for me. That was the first time I had anything in a publication. It was really cool to have your very first published photo to be in Rolling Stone.”
Just a few months ago, Ashli received a message from the photo editor of Garden & Gun magazine. Ashli had posted a photo of singer Molly Tuttle on social media for Rhythm & Roots, and the editor asked if she could see her entire gallery. From the gallery, the editor chose a photo of Tuttle that was published in the magazine’s April-May issue, marking the second national publication of her work.
“The Birthplace of Country Music really helped me get these opportunities,” Ashli said. “It’s been amazing. Everybody is connected with tourism, and everyone knows whom you need to talk with, so I was very blessed to have so many opportunities to network before I even graduated.”
Ashli also gives a great deal of credit for her success to her experience at King.
“I loved everything about King,” she said. “I liked the small class size and having more personal relationships with my professors. That was so much better than being in a big lecture hall where the professor never even knows your name, and you never really interact with them. I also liked that it was a tight-knit community, and there were so many scholarship opportunities that make it affordable. I was a first-generation college student, so that affordability was very helpful for me.
“I was able to get so much hands-on experience to supplement the teaching that I got in the business program. Combining all of that really allowed me to have good business knowledge, which helped going straight into an internship and then into a full-time job.”
Ashli says her DMAD professors deserve a great deal of credit for helping land at BCM.
“Professors Joe Strickland and Lee Jones really helped me more than anyone,” she said. “Those two have done so much for me and their other students, helping us get as many opportunities as possible. They have truly been amazing.
“And I also have to say that my business major advisor, Professor Brendia Morrison, really helped me a lot in the business program by helping me stay on track and helping me think about the future.”
King was always high on Ashli’s list when it came time to decide where to attend college.
“I grew up knowing all about King,” she said. “In high school, I took an introductory marketing class, which put me on the path of business and marketing and creativity, and I knew that King had that program.
“I also liked that it was a faith-based university, and I was able to stay close to my family while going to college. I had heard great things too about the Digital Media Art and Design program. It was also nice that it was a small school where everybody knew everybody. When you know everybody your relationships and friendships are all that much greater.
“I had a lot of fun at King – and a lot of late nights studying. But I loved it – it was the perfect place for me.”
To see Ashli’s work, in Rolling Stone, visit https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-country/49-winchester-country-music-band-1234591033/
To see Ashli’s work in Garden & Gun, visit https://gardenandgun.com/feature/the-new-guitar-greats/