Saginaw Valley State University

Ashli Maser (2016)

My First Generation Story

Ever since an orthodontist removed the braces I wore as a teenager, my career goal has been to work in a profession that deals with improving the human smile—and giving those humans more reason to smile.

Getting braces in the eighth grade really set it off for me. Dentistry and your smile affects so many things, including confidence. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to help other people in that way.

Early on, I set my sights on becoming a dentist. Later, I thought orthodontistry might prove a better fit. Now I plan on becoming an oral surgeon, which is a career with work ranging from scheduled wisdom tooth extraction to emergency oral reconstructive surgery following an accident.

There is still a lot of work left to do between then and now. Schooling for oral surgery, after all, is a 10-year commitment: six years of studying and four years in a residency. In the meantime, I’ve found inspiration and causes to champion—many of them since I’ve been a student at SVSU. For instance, I take to heart SVSU’s role as both a community engaged institution as well as an advocate for promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies among K-12 students. So, on a weekly basis, I try to visit K-12 classrooms to promote STEM to their students. My focus is figuring out how to engage middle school students in STEM through hands-on curriculum.

My dedication to promoting higher education causes extends beyond STEM. As a first-generation college student, I decided it would be worthwhile to establish a scholarship that supports college-bound students from my alma mater, Au Gres-Sims High School. I fund the scholarship in part using tips I collected while working as a waitress between classes. The scholarship, called “My AM Dream Scholarships,” supported two students in 2014 and three students in 2015.

I also worked with state legislators to beef up the number of guidance counselors in K-12 schools. In 2015, I spoke to members of the Michigan House of Representatives about the cause. More counselors are needed to guide youths toward successful lives after high school.

One thing my family has always encouraged is, whatever you are going to be in life, be a good one. That’s what I’m trying to be.

About the Student

Ashli Maser

Ask Ashli Maser about her passions, and she will respond at first with a wide, white smile. That smile is more than simply the SVSU graduating senior’s reaction to the question — it’s also the answer to it. Or at least one of the answers. After all, she has a number of interests that inspire her. Among those interests are, quite literally, smiles. Ever since an orthodontist removed the braces she wore as a teenager, Maser’s career goal has been to work in a profession that deals with improving the human smile — and giving those humans more reason to smile.

Student Stats

Name: Ashli Maser (2016)
Age: 22
Year in School: Senior
Major: Biochemistry
Favorite Course: Biochemistry
Dream Job: Oral Surgeon

About the School


At SVSU you will experience opportunities of self discovery, leadership, and growth while pursuing one of our 90 undergraduate or graduate programs. You will be enlightened to international cultures through speakers, coursework, and perhaps even a study abroad experience. Our distinguished faculty are committed to undergraduate teaching.  The value of these opportunities is enhanced by the fact that SVSU offers the lowest tuition rate of Michigan’s public universities.



  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662