Campus News

'Behind the Blue': UK journalism alumna Ashley Westerman tells the stories of everyday life in war-torn Ukraine

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 12, 2022) — Part of the mission of the University of Kentucky’s College of Communication and Information is to teach students how to communicate effectively, obtain and evaluate information, and to create, produce and disseminate effective communication messages. Implementing that mission into their careers, many of the college’s graduates are doing important work in their area of study that often takes them across the globe.

Ashley Westerman is one such graduate. A 2010 journalism major from Western Kentucky, she has lived out her dream of working in public radio. Currently, she is a producer for National Public Radio (NPR) based in Kiev, Ukraine, where she and her team cover the current war there, and the stories of the Ukrainian people living day-to-day in uncertainty.

On this episode of "Behind the Blue," Westerman talks about growing up in Kentucky and the importance of attending the University of Kentucky, how her career path took her from Washington, D.C., to southeast Asia and eventually Ukraine, and how her mentors and teachers at UK prepared her for the unpredictable path her career as a journalist has led her on.

"Behind the Blue" is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify. Become a subscriber to receive new episodes of “Behind the Blue” each week. UK’s latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.

For questions or comments about this or any other episode of "Behind the Blue," email BehindTheBlue@uky.edu or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue. Transcripts for this or other episodes of "Behind the Blue" can be downloaded from the show’s blog page.

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The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.