University Community

Ashley Johnson helps bring more law and society voices to campus

For alumna Ashley Johnson, Ohio University has been the portal through which she's met people from around the county. It all began when she was a kid on campus.

"Meeting people from various locations around the world is an amazing way to broaden your perspective," said Johnson, who grew up and is raising her own family in Appalachia.

Now as a graduate student assistant in the M.A. in Law, Justice & Culture program, Johnson runs the program's fall workshop series, bringing alumni, attorneys, scholars, and advocates to campus or through virtual events to discuss career opportunities and trends in law and society.

"One thing that I will tell a new student not to miss is the guest speakers and lectures," said Johnson, who is passionate about hosting workshops every other week in the Bentley Annex with guest speakers and students.

"My ah-ha moment happened after the first workshop presentation. One of the students came up to me after the workshop, and they were excited. They were asking questions and seemed to really take something from the series. In was in that moment that I felt like, 'Hey, I really did that.' It was amazing," she said.

Starting with Kids on Campus

Johnson traces her OHIO journey back through the Kids on Campus program and the online Bachelor of Criminal Justice program.

"Being an Appalachian, I have so many fond memories of OHIO before I ever was an OHIO student. The fondest memory that I will ever have of Ohio University is Kids on Campus. This is a great resource for local families, and it is something that helps alleviate the pressures of living in the poorest county in Ohio," she said.

"My time as a kid on campus allowed me to meet people from all over the county and to have opportunities to learn and play that I may not have been able to have, given my circumstances," she added.

When it came time to earn a degree, Johnson turned to OHIO's online offerings, earning a bachelor's degree from University College last spring and working extensively with faculty at Chillicothe and other regional campuses.

"Working in an online program was great for a working parent and made it easier for my schedule. Those years passed by so fast, and it was all thanks to my incredible teachers and online community of fellow students," she said.

"Being in a community of like individuals really can make or break your spirit and I was beyond blessed to be part of that community," Johnson added

Honing her Career Expectations

Johnson's experience as a graduate assistant has helped shape her career planning as she looks at the type of community she wants to be a part of and her role in working with others.

"During this experience, I have learned so much about respect, self-respect, being goal oriented, and self-reflection. This has changed my priorities in what I look for in a work environment," she said.

Johnson said being self-aware is key to being an integral part of a community and stresses "the importance of being mindful of how your demeanor affects others, that being aware of how you present yourself matters, and that you never know what others may be seeing."

October 24, 2022
Staff reports