By Richard Zagrzecki
Ashton Connely has laid out a lofty goal for life after the University of Houston, and it requires combining a heavy dose of grit and determination with hard work, a bit of imagination and his favorite indulgence: cheeseburgers.
Connely, who just wrapped up his second year of studies at UH, is pursuing a business marketing major with a minor in sales. It’s an appropriate path for the Fort Worth resident to take, considering his desire to open a chain of burger restaurants in the downtown areas of major cities in Texas and California.
“I really love burgers and this is what I want to do,” he said. “I envision each location to have menu items tailored to the tastes and cuisine of the people who live there. I love the idea of having a bunch of crazy, unique burgers that taste really great.”
He still has time to mold and refine his plan. After graduation – which he anticipates will be in two years – he wants to return to campus and earn a master’s degree.
In the meantime, he keeps busy with college life. That includes working in the Cougar Card office, a job he landed during the middle of the spring semester. He can be found manning the front counter area of the office, which is on the ground floor of the Welcome Center Parking Garage. There, he assists students who walk in needing to get a Cougar Card. From time to time, he also helps staff and faculty who come in wanting to sign up for a meal plan.
“When I first come into the office each day, I get the computers set up and then review any photos that students may have submitted online for their Cougar Cards,” Connely said.
Ironically, he found out about the job when he lost his own Cougar Card and had to come in to get another one and spotted the help wanted sign hanging on the door.
Connely said he made the right decision choosing UH. He applied to several universities his senior year of high school. The decision came down to three. After he took a campus tour of UH, his mind was made up.
In his first two years on campus, he’s become involved with Uncommon Colors, an art organization that provides a platform for creativity, whether it is music, dance or art-related. Connely himself likes to create music, and wouldn’t mind at some point getting involved in the music industry.
He also was inducted into Collegiate 100 during the spring. The group is a mentoring and leadership-based organization that works with students at various schools in the area.
What does he like most about UH?
“If I had to pick one thing, I would say the school spirit and how much it has grown and continues to grow,” he said. “But I just love being here on campus and being involved.”