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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Health Sciences Recipients

Young Alumna of the Year Award

Dr. Ashley Carson Ferraro


Kansas City, Mo.

Dr. Ashley Carson Ferraro came from modest means. Her mother, being very proud and with a strong work ethic, worked 12 or more hours a day to ensure that the family's needs were met.

“But my family’s expectations would not allow me to consider myself disadvantaged but rather rich in family, values and knowledge,” she says.

These days, Ashley is using her rich gifts as a fellow in pulmonary/critical care at Louisiana State University–Shreveport. She says her mother was always quick to point out the family's blessings and that her family challenged her to discover her calling in life and use it to make a positive impact in the world. Her Marquette experiences, and the time she spent after graduation working in Bihar, India, with Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity, helped her realize her vocation: working as a physician for individuals living in communities much like the one in which she grew up.

“It was in India that I witnessed the incredible impact a physician can have in the life of a patient and a patient’s family,” she says.

Which is precisely what she did at Samuel Rodgers Health Center in Kansas City, a Federally Qualified Health Center. These community-based organizations provide comprehensive primary care regardless of patients’ ability to pay. There, Ashley treated an ethnically, racially, linguistically and religiously diverse base of patients. Between 40 and 50 percent of them spoke little to no English, so she championed providing interpreters for those speaking Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Croatian, Dinka, German, Kurdish, Mai-Mai, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.

“Since medical school, I have made a habit of saying to myself as I am knocking on the exam door to enter, ‘Jesus, let me see your face’ — in the patient’s face whom I am about to meet,” she says. “On any given day, I find myself grateful to be a part of so many peoples’ lives. I cannot imagine waking up every day and doing something different.”

Fun facts about Ashley:
Hometown: Kansas City, Mo.
Favorite quote: “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist” and “People tend to forget their duties but remember their rights.” — Gandhi
Someone alive or dead she’d like to have dinner with: The head of the Department of Health and Human Services, John and Abigail Adams, Winston and Clementine Churchill, and Pope John Paul
The Marquette faculty members who had an impact on Ashley: The Medical Technology department
Favorite Marquette memory: “While going to daily mass at Church of the Gesu my freshman year, I met Evelyn, an elderly woman who had never married or had children. She was a very unassuming woman whom I had befriended quite by luck and over the years came to enjoy listening to. She was literally the most unassuming and soft-spoken woman, and I knew very little about her from a personal standpoint. However, she would say the most obvious things in such a way that I would ponder her words for days. I truly felt that the Holy Spirit was working through Evelyn.One day, I did not see her at Mass and inquired about her. A parishioner had informed me that she had passed away. I wanted to attend her visitation and funeral and thought I might be one of a handful of people to even notice she was gone. The night of Evelyn’s visitation, I climbed the steps to Gesu and opened the big, heavy doors. The church was at near capacity. Just like me, the mourners spoke of her simple, honest, gentle-hearted comments and meaningful conversations they had with her about faith and Christ. Evelyn’s life exemplified the life and philosophy of St. Therese of the Little Flower, that is: What is important is not doing great works but doing little things with the power of love. Evelyn demonstrated, at least to me, that if you let the Holy Spirit work through you, you can hear God’s word and thereby go on to do more of God’s work.
In grade school, Ashley wanted to make her mother proud and let her know she could be self-sufficient.
Most influential person/people: Albertina Maria Giarraputo, her mother