We sat down with our very own Editor-In-Chief to discuss her journalism career, how it feels to be in the spotlight, and why she supports anti-bullying campaigns.
Ashley Offenback was casually browsing the Her Campus website one September afternoon when she noticed an advertisement that has sent her spinning into a whirlwind of a semester. She applied to start a magazine here at Berks and in the next few weeks Her Campus Penn State Berks was born. Ashley serves as Editor-In-Chief, responsible for editing content submitted by others and writing content that hasn’t been submitted, managing the social media accounts, publicizing the branch, and recruiting new members. While she agrees the position can be overwhelming at times, she shares, “I love every second of it. This is what I want to do with my life; run a magazine. It’s an invaluable experience that will help me in the future.”
A journalism major, she realized her passion for the magazine industry in high school when she was chosen to be part of a panel of teen writers called reality. The section publishes weekly in the Bucks County Courier Times and admission is very selective. This helped her realized that writing was one of her talents and started considering it for a career. Her second experience with journalism was an internship with the website College Prowler, where she researched and wrote a complete guide to the college she spent three semesters at, Messiah.
When we ask why she left Messiah, a troubled expression comes over her face as she explains that she is never sure how she should answer that. After contemplating the question, she admits that she was the target of “some mean and immature girls” living in her dorm, including her roommate. Because she knows how it feels to be bullied, she supports the anti-bullying campaign Love Is Louder and hopes to spread awareness about bullying. “If someone is harming you, maybe not physically, but emotionally and mentally, if someone is making you feel dumb or unwanted, or a joke, it’s not your fault. You aren’t weak for wanting this to stop. Honestly, confronting the bully can make things worse and more confusing. Do everything you can to get out of the situation and away from the bully ASAP.” As a freshman at Messiah, she wishes someone had been there to give her this advice. While she did eventually go to the coordinator of her dorm for help, she didn’t fully explain the severity of the situation because she was embarrassed. She tells us, “This happens in a lot of bullying situations. The victim doesn’t want to admit that the bully is affecting them because they might be seen as weak. We are taught by society that people can’t hurt us unless we let them.”
Although the situation subsided during her sophomore year, the memories still remained and she made the decision to leave Messiah in search of a fresh start. “Of course I was scared because Messiah was the only college I’d ever known,” she shares. “But I knew that no matter what Berks had in store for me it was going to be better than this. Things could only get better.” After a moment of reflection, she smiles and says, “Sometimes I think God put me in that living situation at Messiah because I was following the wrong life path. I didn’t belong there. My future is at Penn State.”