Faces of CNM: Ashlee Simpson

Ashlee is in the photovoltaic program and wants to use her skills to help communities across the southwest
February 24, 2021

If all goes to plan, Ashlee Simpson will graduate next fall from CNM with her associate in Electrical Technologies with a Photovoltaic concentration. As a member of the Navajo Nation, she then hopes to install new solar infrastructure on the Navajo reservation, where her grandmas still live.

“I’d love to find creative solutions and be able to help,” she says.

Ashlee chose the electrical trades because it’s a family tradition. Her dad is a lineman and her brother is a groundsman. She originally thought she’d be a lineman, too, but then discovered the photovoltaic program and realized that’s where she wanted to concentrate. 

“Photovoltaic popped out at me because I believe in renewable energy and because there are a lot of job options in this field,” she says. 

Ashlee, who’s 22, is the first person in her family to attend college and says it was daunting at first. She didn’t know how to navigate the college process, but immediately got help from college advisors and settled in. 

Growing up in Rio Rancho, she was a shy student and didn’t ask many questions. But thanks to the small class sizes and approachable instructors at CNM, Ashlee says she overcame her fear and became more involved. 

“It’s always been difficult for me to ask for help, but all my instructors made it easy for me to get one-on-one time,” she says.

In class, Ashlee says she appreciates that her instructors have given her the tools needed to figure out her work, while challenging her and her classmates to apply what they’ve learned.

“I like being given a problem and tools, and then finding the solution myself,” she says. 

In five years Ashlee says she looks forward to having a degree, or maybe two, and hopes to have a good job that allows her to provide for herself and her family. She’s excited about the future of solar and is ready to start working.

“I have the training, and now I’m ready to apply what I’ve learned,” she says. 

Learn more about CNM’s Electrical Trades programs here.