Ashley Michels

Ashley MichelsCurrent Location: Denver, CO
Hometown: Carol Stream, IL

UIS Degree: M.A. 2012 (Public Affairs Reporting)
Other Degree: B.A., Northern Illinois University

Current Position
General assignment reporter at KDVR/KWGN-TV in Denver, CO

Career Highlights
“The biggest highlight of my career was covering former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich reporting to prison in Littleton, CO in 2012. I was still a PAR intern at the time. I traveled to Denver a week before he surrendered, covering stories that gave Illinois viewers some perspective on Blagojevich’s future. I was part of the only crew set-up at the prison entrance he used. Moments before he surrendered, he gave my camera his final wave as a free man. It was thrilling to cover such a high-profile story so early in my career. After my internship ended, I was hired on full-time as a political reporter for WCIA-TV’s Capitol Bureau.

I am also honored to have been a part of a national Edward R. Murrow award-winning newscast during my time as a reporter in central Illinois. I joined Peoria’s WMBD-TV to assist in covering the devastating and deadly tornado in November 2012. The night it happened, I was the only reporter able to go “live” from inside the disaster zone. I ended up doing satellite live-shots for dozens of stations across the country.

In April 2014, I made the move to KDVR/KWGN-TV in Denver. Since coming to Colorado, I have done follow-up stories to several national news stories including the 15 year anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, the two year anniversary of the Aurora movie theater shooting and the one year anniversary of the Boulder floods.”

Memories of SSU/UIS
“My favorite memory as a UIS graduate student is walking across the stage at graduation. I am the first person in my family to continue my education past high school, let alone graduate school. It was a surreal moment for me to don a graduate hood and receive a Master’s degree. I never imagined I would be able to achieve such an accomplishment.

A close second would be my study abroad experience with UIS. I chose to fulfill my final credit hours with a small group of students at Amauta Spanish School in Cusco, Peru. We lived with local families, studied Spanish, traveled to some of the world’s most famous ancient ruins, and ate guinea pig (a local delicacy!).”

How did UIS change or prepare you?
“UIS gave me an opportunity to fine-tune my reporting skills before heading into the ‘real world’. In my internship at WCIA-TV, I was able to perform as a reporter under expanded supervision and guidance. It took some of the pressure off knowing I was still in an educational phase of my career, while at the same time challenging me to improve my skillset daily. I was given much more responsibility than I had in previous internships. I feel like if I had not gone through the UIS PAR program, I would have been severely underprepared for a career in broadcast news. UIS gave me a leg up in the job search process because I was able to demonstrate that I had practical experience.”

Interesting Fact
“I would never have gone into broadcast television news if it was not for the game show ‘Wheel of Fortune’. I was cast as a contestant when I was a freshman in college. At the time, I was majoring in mathematics. When I walked off set after my taping, the executive producer pulled me aside and told me I need to be on television. I took his advice. The next semester I decided to switch my major to English and Journalism and here I am today!”

Posted on January 20, 2015