By Olivia Schilcher (@oschilcher54)
Instructor Barb Benish, Department of Journalism internship coordinator and student adviser, earned the Excellence in Mentoring award for 2019. The UW Oshkosh College of Letters and Science presents this award to faculty and staff who demonstrate exceptional leadership and innovation in advising and mentoring students by inspiring innovative research and academic achievement, providing students with unique opportunities and offering outstanding support to students.
Journalism Chair Sara Hansen made the nomination, stating that Benish “has invested 25 years into mentoring young professionals and students with an inspirational attitude of working hard; helping them learn how to push and present their academic/professional work to reach their goals; and motivating them to achieve something greater.”
“The secret to Barb’s success is that she is quietly brilliant and has a huge heart,” Hansen said. “She knows the ins and outs of our very diverse field and she’s willing to share her immense knowledge all while working very hard for our students. She has received awards for her teaching and community service, but really, mentoring is her true superpower and passion.”
Benish has contributed to the success of the department’s internship program during her time at UW Oshkosh. Each semester she is responsible for collecting internship data that is crucial to departmental and curricular improvement, leading mock interviews and helping students learn more about their prospective careers through internships. She mentors students in journalism and the Interactive Web Management Program through the College of Letters and Science and the College of Business.
“My job as internship coordinator is both fun and rewarding,” Benish said. “I really enjoy helping students hone their skills or tweak their resumes, which helps them land an internship or job. A lot of times students have skills or experience that they don’t think to include on their resume because the work was done as part of a class or club. But that experience adds up and can make a difference between getting a particular internship or not.”
In addition, in the past year, Benish has taken on the role of adviser for the Advance-Titan, UW Oshkosh’s student newspaper. In this demanding position Benish mentors writers, manages the paper with student editors and has worked to fix the paper’s budget. This is a major undertaking that requires countless hours of work and dedication.
“Students appreciate Barb Benish’s help toward their internships, as well as in the A-T newsroom,” Hansen said. “She is very deserving of this honor.”