Student Spotlight: Ashley Sarne

Software Development major attends Virtual NCCWSL

Ashley Sarne, 19, is earning her Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Software Development at Dakota County Technical College. Ashley is an exceptionally engaged student at DCTC. This fall semester she will begin serving as the college’s lead student ambassador. She’s also a member of the Student Senate and president of the newly formed IT Club.

Ashley recently received a scholarship to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (Virtual NCCWSL, May 24–26, 2022) from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Hastings (MN) Branch.

Ashley Sarne

“I am truly grateful to AAUW Hastings for giving me the opportunity to attend the NCCWSL 2022!” Ashley said. “It was my first time attending the conference and my experience was a blast. One thing I noticed about the conference being virtual is that it created a safer space for women to share their opinions, ideas, and feelings freely.

“I love that women are supporting and uplifting each other using chat during Zoom sessions. Further, making connections with other student leaders and speakers was easier because we can just put our LinkedIn link on chat.”

Anna Voight serves as the associate director of student life at DCTC. Anna has been impressed by Ashley’s dedication to her coursework, professional development, and the college community.

“I am so glad Ashley applied for and was awarded the opportunity to attend this conference,” Anna said. “She is an outstanding student leader on our campus. Due to her demonstrated work ethic and leadership skills, she was promoted to become lead student ambassador this coming school year. She will serve as a mentor to new ambassadors, work on more complex projects, and assist with training new student ambassadors. Ashley has a bright future—and I am so happy our paths crossed at DCTC!”

Anne Johnson is vice president of student affairs at DCTC. Over the years, Anne has served on the Minnesota AAUW Board in multiple roles, including as the vice president of funds; she also served as a college/university representative.

“I am excited Ashley had the opportunity to attend the AAUW Virtual NCCWSL,” Anne said. “The conference allows young women from around the United States to learn how to advocate for one another as women-identifying people while also developing their leadership skills. This experience is invaluable and impactful for many women. They have the opportunity to attend the conference and meet powerful women leaders from politics to education to business. Additionally, the conference exposes young women to different cultural experiences, offering them an expanded view of the world.”

More about Ashley’s NCCWSL experience…

Ashley attended several workshops and panels at the conference, including:
  • Design Thinking
  • Financial Literacy
  • Empowering Your Own Personal Brand
  • College Student Women Leaders and Campus Activism
  • Claim Your Power: Empowerment Self-Defense
  • Elect Her

“If I were to be asked which session was my favorite, it will be a difficult choice because each has its own unique way of leaving me with so much knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement. It was a struggle choosing which session to attend per schedule, but the good thing was that other sessions were recorded. These sessions truly contributed to my personal and professional growth.

“Hearing the stories behind the success of these women who have achieved so much within their profession was motivating. Behind success comes struggles, and hearing what it took for these women to be where they are now made me realize that they are humans, too, and they were once young and still trying to navigate the world around them—like me today.

“Their success did not happen overnight and their path to success is not linear from point A to point B, but rather more branch-like. Their stories gave me motivation that I can be successful like these women someday, excelling in my career path, being a voice of change, and empowering young women.

Ashley reported that two conference speakers, Symone Barkley and Sarah Barr, delivered quotes that touched her the most:

“Your ideas are never too small.” — Simone Barkley
“Don’t compete, complete others instead.” — Sarah Barr

Ashley Sarne
Software Development Major
Lead Student Ambassador
IT Club President
Dakota County Technical College

More about the AAUW…¹


Over the past 140 years, AAUW has become the leading voice in advancing gender equity in education and workplaces. Through research, education and advocacy, we’re committed to ensuring that everyone gets the same opportunity to learn, earn and lead. Our programs aim at moving women forward—and we fight for policies that support our goals. AAUW Hastings Branch reflects the mission and vision of AAUW. Our branch was founded in 1970 and continues to actively proclaim this mission.

AAUW Hastings Branch offers scholarships to the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL). At NCCWSL, hundreds of college women from around the country gather for two+ days of virtual leadership training, inspiration, incredible speakers, awardees and networking. NCCWSL offers skill-building workshops and educational panels that are designed to challenge and inspire college students to make an impact on their campus and in their community long after they leave the conference. To apply for a scholarship, applications accepted in January 2023, contact

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Muriel Strode (American Poet)

Learn more about the AAUW Hastings Branch and NCCWSL Scholarships by contacting:

Gail Glashan
AAUW Hastings (MN) Branch


Women Empowerment: Learn. Encourage. Affirm. Develop. (We:LEAD)

We:LEAD is a social network to encourage, engage, empower, and cultivate strong female leaders. Main topics include bias in education, equitable pay, and advancing women in leadership. We:LEAD is a student chapter of the AAUW.

Learn more about We:LEAD by contacting:

Aria Kronebusch
Academic & Financial Aid Advisor
Dakota County Technical College

More about Ashley…

After graduating from DCTC with her Software Development A.A.S. in May 2023, Ashley plans on transferring to a four-year university to major in software engineering with a minor in graphic design. She is centering her career goals on becoming a front-end developer and web designer with her focus on UX/UI design and project management.

Ashley is originally from Quezon City, the most populous city of the Philippines and located just northeast of Manila, the nation’s capital. She moved to Minnesota with her mom in 2018. When asked what she loved most about life in Quezon City, she said, “Living in Quezon City means that you are mostly at the center of all the places you’re looking for. From great places you can go for food, entertainment, leisure activities, and even schools—all of these are nearby with the help of public transportation.”

Ashley’s favorite place in the Philippines is somewhere she hasn’t visited yet, El Nido, Palawan—or any beaches in Palawan. What she misses most about her birthplace are her friends and other family members. “And the food!” she added.

El Nido, Palawan Island, the Philippines

Ashley graduated from Apple Valley High School, Class of 2021. Her mom, Jaires, is a registered nurse at M Health Fairview-UMMC. Her stepdad, Dave, is a skills specialist at SkyWater Technology. Ashley doesn’t have any pets, but she would love to have a Pomeranian.

In her free time, Ashley enjoys dancing improv, journaling, acrylic painting, and learning to play acoustic guitar. She resides with her family in Lakeville, Minnesota.

Ashley life, family, and college gallery

Ashley acrylic and watercolor artwork gallery

One word that best describes your experience at DCTC:


Ashley Sarne Q & A

Ashley Sarne

What do you enjoy most about your role as a student ambassador?

Being a student ambassador has given me opportunities to grow and collaborate with others. I enjoy working on projects that fit my interests such as marketing-related tasks like digital posters for social media, flyers for events on campus, and social media management for DCTC Student Senate Facebook page. I was also able to coordinate a DCTC Campus Tour filming; it is fun because I’m working with other student workers as well!

What advice would you give students thinking about joining the Student Senate?

Join and let your voice be heard! If you’d like to be involved in decision-making on campus, initiate projects for campus improvement, and represent all DCTC students, then join Student Senate!

Why did you choose Software Development as your major?

Besides the aesthetics of the mobile applications and websites I interacted with, I am intrigued on how their features and functionalities are created. Often, I wonder, how would I make an app more user-friendly? What software can I build to solve or lessen the impact of real-life problems that were addressed? In Software Development, it is fascinating to think that there are endless possibilities that you can create to make life more convenient for everyone.

Three words that describe you as a college student:

What do find most interesting about the field of information technology?

It is interesting how information technology shaped and is shaping the world around us, and designs and creates systems that everyone relies on.

What do you like best about attending DCTC?

Opportunities! Attending DCTC has given me opportunities to work on my personal and professional growth, collaborate with students and staff, and meet wonderful people that later led to friendships.

What person has influenced your life the most and why?

My mom because her determination and grit towards achieving success has given me motivation to continue moving forward towards my goals and aspirations despite the hardship that may come along the way.

Where do you hope to find yourself in 20 years?

A CEO of a tech-startup or a sustainable fashion brand.

Ashley Sarne 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Dancing (a bit of contemporary and hip-hop)
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Tromso, Norway (one of the world’s best places to see the Aurora Borealis)
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: First time creating a black and white acrylic painting called Mystique (received an SSC Excellence Award)
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Invest 2) Start a business 3) Donate to charity in Philippines
  5. Best book or movie you’ve read or seen lately: Pride and Prejudice (2005 film)
  6. Time period you would explore if you could time travel: The 1800s
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Live life without worrying about living paycheck to paycheck
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Snowy owl
  9. Dream occupation: CEO or creative director or software engineer
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Melanie Perkins, the CEO & co-founder of Canva; (she is one of the youngest female CEOs of a tech start-up valued over $1 billion)
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Morse code
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: There are sustainability issues that revolve around most Fast Fashion brands. I understand it will be hard for some, and for me, too, at first to limit and not support Fast Fashion brands because of the cost-effective and “Instagram-worthy” outfits they produced. But hey, what if instead of using “#FitCheck” to highlight one’s outfit on social media, we use it to highlight if it is sustainable? Research and educate others about this issue, and let’s work together to save our environment.
Learn more about Software Development at DCTC by contacting:

Betty Krueger
Information Systems Technology Careers Faculty

Judy Suddendorf
Information Systems Technology Careers Faculty

Nathan Blommel
Information Systems Technology Careers Faculty

Austin Allman
Information Systems Technology Careers Faculty

Learn more about Student Life at DCTC by contacting:
Associate Director of Student Life

¹ SOURCE: Gail Glashan, AAUW Hastings (MN) Branch

More about Software Development at DCTC…

computer programmer

The Software Development program prepares you to become a computer programmer. As a student in the program, you will learn an array of programming languages used for software development. You’ll design, write, debug, and test application software while harnessing your creative and collaborate skills. Accomplished graduates are fully prepared to provide software solutions for wide range of employers.

Working conditions for software developers are generally indoors in offices or laboratories. Programmers convert data from project specifications and problem statements to develop computer programs. Often employed in a team setting, programmers are also working more from home or other remote locations as telecommuting becomes more prevalent.


Software Development: A.A.S. Degree: 69 credits: Rosemount campus
Software Development: Diploma: 60 credits: Rosemount campus
Desktop Programming: Certificate: 27 credits: Rosemount campus
Web Programming: Certificate: 27 credits: Rosemount campus

Delivery: Daytime and Evening Classes
Start: Fall or Spring Semester: Full-time or Part-Time


Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers

What Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers Do

Software developers design computer applications or programs. Software quality assurance analysts and testers identify problems with applications or programs and report defects.

Work Environment

Many software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers work in computer systems design and related services, in manufacturing, or for software publishers. They often work in offices and on teams with other software developers or quality assurance analysts and testers.


The median annual wage for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers was $110,140 ($52.95/hour) in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 189,200 openings for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

— U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook (01AUG22)