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Ashley Martin is a third-year student majoring in dietetics within the College of Allied Health Sciences. Outside of class, she is the captain of UC Dhadak International Dance Team, a nationally competitive Bollywood Fusion dance team that won first place at four national competitions last year.
A Cincinnati native, she says she chose UC to get the "college experience” while staying close to family. Three years into her program, she is excelling academically and leading the UC Dhadak International Dance Team to its next competition Nov. 9, at the Jhalak dance competition in Austin at the University of Texas.
What interested you in Dietetics as an academic major? "I actually started out as an Advanced Medical Imaging Technology major my first year. I was very driven to my specific plan and thought I wouldn’t ever change my major—and then I ended up switching to dietetics due to changes in the AMIT program.
"But dietetics ended up being a better fit. I’ve always had a passion for food, and nutrition is a field that is constantly changing. This keeps my mind fresh and always learning. I’ve loved it ever since I changed.”
What do you plan to do after graduation? "In my program, I will do four years of coursework and then interning for one year right after. Succeeding my internship, I plan to sit for my national board exam to become a registered and licensed dietitian in Ohio.
"I have a large interest in fitness, food, and general wellness, and ideally would like to work within in the community or with sports nutrition. My desired job would be to work with dancers or athletic teams to incorporate healthy daily habits into their daily lives, and to educate the public about them as well.”
How did you get involved with the UC Dhadak International Dance Team? "I’ve been dancing all my life, ever since I was 5. When I came to college, I took a year off to devote time to studies, and quickly realized how much I missed dance. One of my former teammates was on the the team, so I thought I would give it a try.
"I went to tryouts and was completely surprised. I had never done anything like it. We’re a Bollywood fusion team and do primarily Indian style dancing, so it was totally something I was not used to.
"But I was very open to it and immersed myself in that culture and everything else followed suit. I love it—it’s very enlightening to learn about the Indian culture and their styles of dancing. I was a member of the team this past year, and was nominated to be captain in conclusion to our season.
"Overall, I think it’s very important for students to not only make academics their priority but also to get connected with the spirit of their university. That’s very important for me and my success as a student and development as a person”
Do you choreograph your own routines? "We have a few members who are Indian and have been doing this style of dancing for quite a while. But overall, we choreography our own routines and work as our own coaches. We have to devote much time to researching the different genres and take advantage of our resources around us.
"We’re a co-ed team, with 16 dancers (13 girls and three boys) and one manager. We’re very diverse from other dance teams—in that we all come from different dance backgrounds and cultures.
"Around UC, we perform at events like Relay for Life, Asian Student Welcome, Sibs Weekend, and more. Out in the community, we perform anywhere from weddings and fundraisers to out-of-state competitions.”
For more information about the UC Dhadak International Dance Team, email Martin at email@example.com or visit its Facebook page.