October 11, 2016

Ashley Caldwell ’14, Current FIS World Cup Champion, to Speak at Student Academic Conference

Ashley Caldwell '14 raise the FIS World Cup. Photo/USSA / Greg Heuer
Ashley Caldwell ’14 raise the FIS World Cup. Photo/USSA / Greg Heuer

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Oct. 11, 2016) Ashley Caldwell, a 2014 SUNY Empire State College alumna, and the current FIS World Cup Champion in freestyle skiing, women’s aerials, will provide keynote remarks at noon, Saturday, Oct. 22, as part of the college’s 12th annual Student Academic Conference (StAC).

The two-time member of the U.S. Olympic Team, and three-time U.S. national champion (2014-16), placed 10th at both the 2014 and 2010 Winter Games.

A motivated student and self-described “math and science geek,” Caldwell was recognized in 2014 as a recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, SUNY’s most prestigious student award, and completed a Bachelor of Science in Business, Management and Economics, with a concentration in finance, and a GPA of 3.8.

“Growing up, I always enjoyed learning, particularly math and science, but in looking at colleges, I wanted a broad, liberal arts experience too,” said Caldwell. “SUNY Empire offered courses in literature, history, psychology, art and many other areas in addition to my core interests, which was a big part of why I enrolled and why I stayed. Having a full-time job with lots of international travel, and going to college at the same time, was tough. But I knew that a career as an athlete was not going to last forever and that I would need a college degree to help me make the transition and succeed after finishing with competition.”

“We are delighted Ashley is able to take a break from her intensive training schedule and participate in the college’s academic conference,” said Patricia Myers, director of SUNY Empire’s Office of Collegewide Student Affairs, which oversees StAC. “Ashley’s determination and persistence are mirrored in both her academic and athletic achievements. Her ability to overcome obstacles, achieve her athletic goals and complete her bachelor’s degree is an inspirational story and one that our nontraditional students can relate to.”

StAC brings together SUNY Empire’s students and faculty from all academic areas of the college and geographic regions of the state to share and learn from each other through participation in individual and group presentations, workshops and performances, as well as display of their visual artwork.

The conference takes place Oct. 21-22, at the Radisson Hotel on Wolf Road, Albany, N.Y., and typically attracts 500 students from throughout the state, across the country and around the world.

About Ashley Caldwell

A competitive gymnast for 11 years, Caldwell was watching the 2006 Winter Olympic Games on TV and thought it would be “totally awesome” to try aerials.

She began her career on snow in 2007 and, later that year, was invited to participate in the U.S. Ski Team’s Elite Aerialist Program at Lake Placid N.Y., where, with only three years of training, she made the 2010 U.S. Team as a 16 year old.

After her first Olympics, Caldwell claimed top-15 results in her first three World Cup competitions and claimed a silver medal at the U.S. National Championships, a feat she repeated in 2011.

Then, in December of 2011 and again in 2012, Caldwell sustained serious injuries to both her right and left anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs).

Overcoming both injuries, she earned a silver medal in women’s aerials at the 2013 World Cup competition, held in Lake Beida, China, on her road to Sochi.

After her second Olympics, Caldwell won her first-ever U.S. Freestyle Skiing National Championship at the 2014 USANA U.S. Freestyle Championships held in Park City, Utah.

She won her 2015 world championship during the very last event of the season, held in Minsk, Belarus, where she held a narrow 64-point lead over Australia’s Danielle Scott.

Caldwell successfully executed a back full-full-full jump – three full backflips with three full twists – on her way to victory.

Today the 23-year-old native of Ashburn, Va., lives in Utah and trains at the Utah Olympic Park, near Park City, as she prepares to defend her World Cup championship title.

In her FIS World Cup career, Caldwell has won five gold, two silver and one bronze medal, while also finishing the 2014-15 World Cup season ranked second in the world.

She was named the 2016 U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association Freestyle Athlete of the Year and was nominated by Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards for its “Don’t Try This At Home” award.

Follow Caldwell on Twitter, @AshleySkis, and Instagram, @AshleySkis93.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates nearly 19,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and coursework on site, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 78,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977. Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at www.esc.edu.


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications, SUNY Empire State College


518-587-2100, ext. 2918

518-321-7038, cell