Ashlyn Grace Brothers
Student Q & A
Hometown: Springdale, AR
Year in School: Senior
College: J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences in the School of Journalism and Strategic Media
Major of Study: Journalism in the Broadcast Sequence
Tell us something about your academic passions and how those relate to your role in Student Affairs program or department?
Where do I begin? I have always been a student who takes academia very seriously. With that being said, I think a lot of enhanced academic enrichment happens outside the confines of a brick and mortar classroom. My goal as a scholar here at the University of Arkansas has been to maintain a very high GPA and take a wide scope of classes that will lead to a mass amount of knowledge. As a journalist, it is important to be well-versed and to be well-rounded. Every class I have taken at the UofA will, in some way, aid me in my career. How so, you might ask? In the field, as a general assignment reporter or MMJ, you are going to be telling a wide variety of stories that contain a number of subjects. Having a wide scope of knowledge helps the storyteller properly and confidently convey information. While my classes are extremely important and build the foundation for my academic success, it is what I do at UATV that is going to enable me to be successful in my field, become marketable, help build my brand & make me employable upon graduation. As Station Manager for UATV News, I am not only learning how to allocate a budget and manage my peers, but I am gaining an imperative appreciation for all facets of journalism. In being an integral part of UATV, I am engaging in practical application of real-world experiences. I am learning the importance of media convergence and the significance of networking and communication. Additionally, I am discovering the basic building blocks of my desired profession and using my hands-on experience to appreciate the industry for what it is, was and will become. In investing my time and energy into UATV, I have gained the experience of operating all of our equipment in the control room and studio, producing content for our newscasts and social media accounts, anchoring, reporting, commentating on sports shows, hosting entertainment shows, just to name a few. Not to mention I have learned how to deal with deadlines and troubleshoot. I have learned how to proficiently interview, write, shoot stories, edit and report during live shots set up by myself. My passion is to pursue student journalism in an effort to become properly equipped and prepared for a job as a reporter or multimedia journalist in television news. What I have gained, beyond what I have mentioned above is a passion for people, a desire to do good and think ethically, to be evolutionary, to grow thick skin and to be confident. How do we best prepare for a job? Do the job. How to you become a reporter? Be a reporter. Act like a reporter. Think like a reporter. Become a reporter. At UATV we speak our dreams into existence.
What has been your greatest experience outside of the classroom?
I am beyond blessed to have many opportunities outside of the classroom. My experience at UATV is one of the greatest experiences simply because I am learning and growing through practical application. I am making mistakes and learning from them. Plus, I am getting to experience roles in my industry of choice that I wouldn’t understand or appreciate to this capacity if I hadn’t worked with the position hands-on in college. When you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you can better understand how things operate, why things are organized a certain way, how you can help them and how they can help you. More than anything, I’ve learned to see both sides and appreciate everyone’s role in journalism. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to work at KNWA/Fox 24 first as an intern, then as a production assistant and finally as a digital content producer. My time interning at KATV in Little Rock this past summer also provided me with newfound perspective and opportunities to build my reel and resume. Lastly, I had the honor and privilege of working for Sunday Night Football during a Texans v. Cowboys game in Houston, Texas, as well as working for SEC Network during an Arkansas game. All of my experiences in television broadcasting have helped me grow as a journalist and as a person.
What advice would you give new students about getting involved on campus?
Your experience is what you make of it, and what you put into it, you will get out. College is about learning and growing. Students would be doing themselves a disservice if they didn’t take risks and try new things, in terms of leadership and acquiring new skills. I’ve learned more about myself by being involved in UATV than I ever have. When you get involved on campus, you find a purpose bigger than yourself. You find a niche and group in that niche to share experiences and make new memories with. Do you want to make your mark and leave a lasting legacy, or do you want to be just another name etched in the stone of Senior Walk? Getting involved allows you to discover your desires and learn what matters most to you. It gives you a voice, a purpose and a place to call home.
What do you like to do with your time outside of the university?
Most of my time is spent studying or working for UATV. I do those things because I love them. I love learning and firmly believe that you never stop learning in your lifetime. My passion is journalism and storytelling, so what better way to spend my time than at UATV doing the very thing that motivates me to get up in the morning. Beyond that, I love experimenting with my GoPro, Drone and Canon 5D Mark III. I also love to engage in musical theater, whether that be performing or attending a performance. I’m a very social person, so I love meeting new people and being intentional with my friends. I also love spending time with my family. I often create news stories for fun and network on the side, as well. One thing a lot of people don’t know about me is that I love to listen to, read and write poetry. My experiences growing up have allowed me to share my platform and help those who struggle with mental health, so that is a huge part of what I do in my free time. Lastly, I am a huge news nerd. I love watching newscasts from stations across the country. I also have an obsession with CBS Sunday Morning. All of these things are very important to me, but what matters most is my relationship with Christ. I try to set aside quiet time for prayer, time to spend in God’s word & time to go to church and worship.
When do you plan to graduate and what is coming next for you?
I plan to graduate a year early. This is my third year at the university; however, I will attend the commencement ceremony in May and take one more summer class to complete my degree by the end of June 2020. After graduation, I hope to work in the television news industry as a Reporter/MMJ. Above all, I hope to be a storyteller who provides fair and accurate information to the public, instills a newfound confidence in journalists, and gives a voice to the voiceless. I don’t know where my first job will be yet, but I know I will continue to learn and grow long after I leave the University of Arkansas.
Is there anything else you would like to add or let our readers know?
Yes. I was asked the other day if I considered myself lucky. After a moment of wrestling with my thoughts I answered, “I think I am one of the luckiest people in the world.” I’m lucky because of my relationships. I am lucky because of the opportunities I had growing up. I am lucky to have the most incredible support system. I am lucky to have access to an incredible education. I am lucky because I am a child of God. I am lucky because God gave me passion and a hard work ethic. My passion is people and as people read my responses, I hope they see transparency. I hope they are inspired. I hope they know that they are capable and worthy of great things, because at the end of the day, my ultimate dream is to serve the public. I hope this provides some perspective.