Alumni Spotlight: Ashley Bartman Watson '12

January 4, 2017
Ashley Bartman Watson and Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan

"Don't be afraid to make your own opportunities"

Originally born in Arizona, Ashley Bartman Watson, CBC 2012 Alum, lived a lively undergraduate student experience within CBC – from studying abroad multiple times to having her undergrad research take her to London, AND double majoring. Ashley is an ideal representative of living life to the fullest and taking advantage of the countless opportunities Ohio State has to offer.

Ashley grew up in Toledo, Ohio, graduating Valedictorian of her class in 2007. She was amused by the fact that it’s nearing her 10 year high school reunion! Ashley grew to enjoy Chemistry from her High School Science teachers. Post-graduation, Ashley was ecstatic to apply to NYU – unfortunately for her, and fortunately for her parents, Ashley ultimately decided to attend OSU – and selfishly, we’re glad she did! Ashley’s father, Mark, was excited to see his daughter attend his alma mater. Mark graduated from OSU in 1982, majoring in Aero & Astro Engineering.

Beginning freshman year, Ashley was behind in credits in relation to her peers due to the lack of AP classes at her high school. She also noted that Honors Chemistry was challenging and that Dr. Gustafson wasn’t necessarily the easiest grader – who would have thought? Ashley and Dr. Gustafson first met on her Honors London trip her first semester here. Honors London is a unique opportunity for first semester freshman honors students which allows them to study London’s culture and history, including a 10-day visit to England. This connection was the start of everything for Ashley’s future in Chemistry. Onto the Gustafson group she went!

In addition to traveling to England for Honors London, Ashley studied Archeology in Greece, Art Conservation in Italy and traveled once more to England in relation to her undergraduate research project. She’s forever thankful for the numerous letters of recommendation from Dr. Gustafson. Ashley’s undergraduate research project was centered around an English Tyndale Bible circa 1566 that was owned by a prestigious Cornwall, England family, but now resides in the Rare Books Collection at OSU. The Bible’s pages were covered in a yellow coating which was placed there in the late 18th century. Ashley’s research focused on what the coating was, why it was put there, who put it there, and what the best way to preserve this rare document was. Her tests showed that the yellow coating was most likely a beeswax and turpentine mixture including a yellow pigment – potentially saffron or yellow ochre. The reason behind the yellow coloring is still unknown but Ashley theorizes that it may have been used to preserve and disguise the Bible – or as an attempt to make the Bible look more expensive.

Despite Ashley’s success as an undergrad – her research, studying abroad, and double majoring in Chemistry & Art History – she was still a normal student working hard to pass her classes. She remembers crying in Dr. Gustafson’s office, cracking under the pressure of taking a 22 credit hour semester and getting a 40% on his exam – she was mortified! The pressure was immense, but she got through it with thanks to the support system in the department and great friends.

Post-graduation from OSU, Ashley attended Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, studying Art History & Museum Studies. She became interested in curating and museum policy, which ultimately led her back to Law School at OSU where she will be graduating in May of 2017 and will take the Bar Exam in July of 2017. Having a technical degree helped her in law school and was a good conversation starter at law firms. We wish the best to Ashley as she will have a position in law after graduation at Brennan, Manna, & Diamond LLC specializing in health law and art law.

Ashley’s love for Art History has landed her a current internship – an Art Collection Intern at the Supreme Court of Ohio. In 2003, the Supreme Court of Ohio moved into the Ohio Judicial Center – a historical gem on the Scioto riverfront. Ashley’s interests have led her to narrating the below article.

Ashley is most definitely on her way up and will be in her dream job sooner rather than later – Executive Director of and Arts & Cultural Organization. Her love for school and learning has presented her with unique challenges which she will always be grateful for. Though it seems as if Ashley has moved away from her scientific studies, having a technical eye and dedication to detail will serve her well in her future pursuits. Lastly, Ashley provided advice for current undergrads and alums: “Don’t be afraid to make your own opportunities, be independent and don’t wait for someone to give you want you want.”

Photo: Ashley is pictured (right) with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan (left). Photo credit: Moritz College of Law Photographers

Please see below for a current article Ashley wrote in regards to Art & the Law...

Bartman Watson Article Page 1Bartman Watson Article Page 2