Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

Economics, football recruiting a good match for Ashleigh Gwarjanski


One of the most basic concepts of economics involves supply and demand.

Head/shoulders photo of Ashleigh Gwarjanski
Ashleigh Gwarjanski

But there’s far more to the social science than the availability of a commodity, product or service and what consumers are willing to pay for them.

Just ask Ashleigh Gwarjanski, a senior economics major who says understanding the principles of economics has been invaluable in her role as a student intern in the Athletic Department. When she isn’t studying macro- or micro-economics in the John E. Walker Department of Economics, you’ll find her lending a hand in the recruitment of student-athletes for Clemson’s football program.

‘’I started as a university tour guide, then had a similar role with the football program. Now, as a student intern, I’ve taken on more responsibility that involves working with the director of recruiting and external affairs,” the Alabama native and Thomas F. Chapman Leadership Scholar said.

Ashleigh’s work ranges from coordinating visits and tours of student-athletes and their families, to event planning, including game days, junior recruitment days and football summer camps. She also had a hand in organizing the national championship parade the weekend after Clemson defeated Alabama for its second national title in three years.

“There is no question in my mind that understanding economics helps one in their ability to solve problems,” said Ashleigh, a 4.0 GPA student who will graduate from the College of Business in May. “It’s helped me be more analytical in creating efficiencies, and thinking about the long-term effects and what’s good for everyone, instead of being shortsighted.”

Economics chair Scott Baier concurs with Ashleigh on how an “economic way of thinking” can help a person in life, and not just in the classroom application of economics.

“One of the benefits of the economic way of thinking about life is that it often requires you to view the world through the eyes of someone else. That is, you are asked to think about how you would act if you were presented with an objective and there were constraints you would have to face. One can better understand choices people make if you can make informed decisions based off that understanding.”

Thad Turnipseed, the football program’s recruiting coordinator and director of external affairs, who supervises Ashleigh, said she is a sound decision maker and a great fit within one of the nation’s elite football programs.

“Ashleigh exemplifies what we’re looking for under Coach (Dabo) Swinney’s program. Best is the standard here and she’s a special student who is wise beyond her years,” Turnipseed said. “When you empower a young person like Ashleigh, their ideas can make us better and she is that kind of person. Ashleigh’s very forward thinking, and there’s never been a job too large, or too small, for her. She’s always open to stepping up and taking on new challenges.”

Ashleigh’s ties to Clemson, and its football program, run deep. Her mother, Kelly, was a student here and her uncle, Danny Pearman, is the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator for the national champs. And, her great uncle, Danny Ford, was the head coach in 1981 who led Clemson to its first national football championship. Adding to that football connection is Ashleigh’s sister, Abigail, who is on the football recruiting staff at the University of Florida.

“I grew up going to Clemson games, so I was real familiar with the university when it came time to consider a college choice. Being from a small town (Fort Payne) in Alabama, I didn’t want to go to a really large school. Clemson is big enough to present great opportunities, but small enough to offer the charms that you won’t find at many schools.”

Ashleigh’s interest in football led her to an internship last summer in Indianapolis. She organized football camps across the country for USA Football, the amateur sport’s national governing body. Among her duties were player registration, grant reimbursements and organizing equipment.

Ashleigh’s involvement in many campus organizations and activities has opened her eyes to a myriad of career opportunities.

“Right now, I’m looking at not-for-profit, or government sector career opportunities. But I have so many interests, so I’ll see where my heart pulls me.”

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