Ashton attended Western Guilford High School in Greensboro, North Carolina. She graduated in June 2006. From Western, Ashton went on to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Ashton was described as a "very fun loving, but level-headed young lady" by her AP World and AP European history teacher, Brett Stell. Stell also described Ashton as "an extremely loyal friend who exuded love and kindness to everyone she came in contact with."
Upon graduation from Western Guilford, Ashton attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Here, Ashton was double majoring in art and art history. She was remembered as a "talented artist with a contagious smile."