Guiding the way: a new intern in guidance


Karen McDaniel, Writer

BFA welcomes some new additions to the faculty and staff. Mrs. Ashlie Olio is a new intern in the guidance department as a social worker.

Mrs. Olio is not a native Vermonter, and in fact comes from somewhere drastically different.

“I was born in Detroit, but I grew up on Long Island,” Olio said.

Although she’s more used to the city life, she has stayed in Vermont for almost a decade.

I moved to Vermont about nine years ago,” Olio said. “I was in the 10th grade. I went to Richford High School when I moved [here]. It was an adjustment to say the least!”

She has a bachelor’s degree, but she is in school once again to earn her master’s.

I graduated with my Bachelors of Social Work in 2016 from Castleton University. I am now completing my graduate degree at the University of New England. I’m completing an online program to obtain my Master’s of Social Work and love it! I graduate in May of 2019,” Olio said.

Not only is she an intern at BFA, she also works to improve the community.

“I’m a residential counselor at a transitional house for women being reintegrated into the community after incarceration,” Olio said. “It’s a tough job but I love the people I work with and for. It’s very rewarding.”

Mrs. Olio was drawn to BFA after learning about the opportunity from Mr. Randall.

Finding an internship was a challenge for me. However, I was connected to Preston Randall through another social worker and it was the perfect fit,” Olio said.

So far, Mrs. Olio has really enjoyed her experience here.

“It has been amazing! Everyone is so welcoming and friendly. I really enjoy my time with the students and being supported by an awesome team of faculty and staff,” Olio said.

Upon asking what she likes most about BFA, she replied that she is impressed by all the opportunities that are offered here, and how welcoming everyone has been.

“I really like the sense of community I have experienced this far,” Olio said. “I am learning so much already and it’s because of everyone’s willingness to teach me, even students! I [also] think that BFA has a lot more to offer than the other schools I have experienced which makes it great for students and staff because there is a lot of opportunity here.”

Mrs. Olio exposes what led her to become a social worker.

“I think everyone has a story. We all come from different backgrounds and experiences and I think somehow that always applies to how we choose our careers,” Olio said. “There were points in my life that were really tough. However, it has made me who I am today, someone who wants to help people, give back, and be a support for people who may be struggling.”

She gives insight into what responsibilities her internship entails.

“I mainly do individual therapy and work on coping skills with students. However, I am instructing a grief group and am now becoming involved with the Student Voice and Diversity Club which I’m very much looking forward to,” Olio said.

Starting a new learning experience can be nerve-wracking to most. Mrs. Olio is no exception. Being in a new environment, meeting new people, and facing new issues is not easy.

“Yes [I was nervous]! I had no idea what to expect. I’m usually an outgoing person but felt pretty shy my first day of school. It made me have a lot of empathy for freshman and new students and what they were feeling those first few days,” Olio said.

She has plans for her ambitions and goals for the future. Mrs. Olio would like to continue working in the field of social work.

“I always pictured myself working as a hospital social worker. Though it sounds cliché, I think I have found my calling. I enjoy being in a school setting so much and being able to interact with this age group and population,” Olio said. “Every day is different, and that’s really exciting for me!”

Mrs. Olio also has some pieces of advice to share with BFA students. High schoolers often experience the same stresses and emotions, and Mrs. Olio is something of an expert in this field. She welcomes anyone to make an appointment to come in, eat candy and chat with her in the guidance office.

“Always be true to yourself. I know that’s such a typical answer, but high school is hard. Whether it may be life at home, kids in school, or other struggles you may endure, it can make the days hard. But it’s important to know your worth, not change for anyone, and reach out. If you’re struggling, remember teachers and staff are here for you. I guess since I have this platform I’d like to say, my office is always open. I am always willing to listen. And I always have snacks! I am here for anyone and I’m looking forward to the time I get to spend here,” Olio said.