Colleges & Schools 

Patience and preparation pay off

Ryan Ashlock

Ryan Ashlock’s career in criminal justice
is a work in progress, but it’s already a
great example of how patience, persistence
and continuing education can move you up
the job ladder.

After graduating from Clinton Prairie High School in 2004, Ashlock moved on to Indiana University-Kokomo, where he graduated in 2007 with an associate degree in criminal justice. He put that degree to use in 2008 working in corrections for the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department in Frankfort, Indiana.

Ashlock advanced his career from there, becoming a merit deputy in 2009 and adding canine handling responsibilities the following year. He was promoted to sergeant in 2015 and became a lieutenant in charge of the patrol division in 2018. A year earlier, in 2017, Ashlock sustained a shoulder injury on the job. That’s when he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer. 

But he needed a bachelor’s degree to get into law school.

He enrolled at IU-East, which offered a flexible online program that allowed Ashlock to continue working full time. 

“As a primarily online student, I did not have a traditional on-campus experience, but the organization of course work and interactive staff provided an excellent educational experience,” Ashlock said.

He graduated with a bachelor’s in criminal justice in 2020. The 4.0 grade point average he maintained at IU-East qualified Ashlock for a scholarship that the IU McKinney School of Law at IUPUI offers to graduates of IU’s regional campuses.

The scholarship sealed the deal for Ashlock to attend McKinney, which he liked because of the part-time, in-person program it offers.   

After a year off because of COVID-19, Ashlock has started law school and his nightly commute to Indianapolis for classes. He hopes to graduate in 2024. 

The year off gave Ashlock and his wife more time to prepare for the challenges of balancing his law studies, his full-time job in Clinton County and his most important job as father of two sons—one who is 8 and another who is 8 months.

Preparation involved understanding the demands of school (Ashlock talked to current law students) and making sure he had a support network. 

“I rely on my wife a lot,” said Ashlock. “Without her support I would struggle to do what I’m doing. It’s very demanding, and we planned for that. We’re taking it a day at a time. I have a study plan and a family time plan.”

Ashlock’s advice for anyone contemplating working full time and going to school? “Have a plan, make a schedule and understand what you’re getting into before you start. The research I did really helped me and prepared me.” 

Ashlock and his sons

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