Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

A-T says farewell to graduating staff, adviser

Cassidy Johnson / Advance-Titan In classic Barb fashion, she edits her own sendoff after telling the staff there was no way she’d let them publish an entire page about her. Too bad so sad Barb! We love you too much. 

Six years and 153 issues later, our beloved adviser Barbara Benish is retiring. Seniors write their own sendoffs, but after everything she’s done for us we thought we’d write this for her. 

Barb, thank you for everything you’ve done for us over the years. We’re going to miss you, but we have a feeling you’ll still be around. 

Here’s your very own adviser sendoff from Advance-Titan staff and alumni. 


Joe Schulz 

In September 2018, I joined the A-T as a junior with zero journalism experience. Barb was always an encouraging mentor for me and the other A-T reporters and editors. She was often our “news mom.” As most mothers do, Barb wore multiple hats. She helped us navigate campus politics, newspaper finances and even served as our de-facto legal counsel. When a local business or campus official was mad at the newspaper because of something naive college kids published, Barb helped us organize meetings with stakeholders to set things right. Just ask her about the “barista bellyaches” story sometime.

Barb cares deeply about the Advance-Titan. She used to work at the paper during her time at UWO, and she always pushed us to serve the campus and wider community. She trusted us to cover stories beyond campus to help fill the void of hyperlocal coverage.

She also served as an outstanding advocate for her students when we graduated. She was happy to serve as a job reference and many graduates, including myself, found jobs in journalism or public relations on her recommendation.


Kelly Hueckman

Where would Oshkosh be without Barb? Her contributions to Oshkosh’s journalistic landscape have been immeasurable, and the world has so much to learn from her skills, work ethic and pure desire to learn. As a student, it is a blessing to have crossed paths with her.

If I had to describe Barb in one word, it would be “go!” As an adviser, she teaches us to have that same curiosity and live as many experiences as we can. She is eager to pass along her knowledge and skills to new journalists like us and isn’t afraid to take the time to get us where we need to go. She’s spent countless hours proofreading stories, giving feedback, looking over resumes and writing letters of recommendation for our benefit.

Barb is a strong and steady force in any environment. At the A-T, she has grounded us in a newsroom of tears and comforted us when some of us were convinced our careers were over before we even started. 

The world has so much to learn from Barb, whether that be in her writing and design abilities, her sheer intelligence or her lust for learning. And although she has a hard time keeping track of her cellphone on production nights, I would trust Barb to navigate the A-T through any city or airport.


Cassidy Johnson

Barb has been a ray of sunshine from the moment I met her. The first time we met, we sat and talked for hours while she taught me how to upload the newsletter and stories onto the website. She told me all about her early years in journalism, even back when she was an A-T reporter and editor herself. 

Barb has had an awesome impact on me and my college experience in so many ways, but the most impactful thing was her willingness to take a chance on me and others. Barb sees the potential in every person, and works with them until they see it, too. It was this positivity that motivated me to do better and work harder.

Despite being the oldest in the room, she never felt out of place. She fit right in with us, always smiling, laughing, joking and even dancing with us during production nights. Her age is truly just a number; Barb is the definition of young at heart. She looks the part, too!

I’m going to miss all the wonderful ways she’s helped the A-T and its members, but most of all I’m going to miss her smiling face and bright demeanor lighting up our office in the basement. I’ll never forget joking with her, dancing to Nicki Minaj with her, or the face she makes when she overhears us say something crazy. Barb is truly such a special soul, and even though I selfishly want her to stay, I’m glad she’s finally getting the chance to focus on herself rather than everybody else. Thank you for all of your years dedicated to the A-T. The impact you’ve had is irreversible and irreplaceable. 


Angela Rose Satterlee

Barb welcomed me into the A-T with open arms. I was completely unfamiliar with a newsroom setting but when I walked in for the first time I felt right at home. She taught me so much about what it means to be a journalist and a leader. If I ever had a question, I knew I could go to Barb and she’d be able to answer me without judgment.

Not only has Barb helped me in the A-T, but she recommended me for a position as a publications intern for the same place she freelances at. (I got the job!)  Without her I wouldn’t be where I am at all. And because of her we’ve all grown to have the skills to continue the A-T, and hopefully make her proud.


Leo Costello 

Barb has been in the background of my life since I was a kid growing up in Oshkosh because her children are about the same age as my siblings and I. But it wasn’t until the A-T that she really came into my life as a mentor and a bottomless pit of encouragement. I had a tough go in college, my 10-year story making its way into an A-T article that launched me behind the commencement podium. I’m not sure if that would have happened without Barb. 

She looked past my inner struggles, saw what I was capable of, and worked to bring that to the surface in many small but meaningful ways. Barb doesn’t do what she does because it’s her job. She truly loves bringing out the best in people, even if they don’t see it themselves. Barb also really understands the power of journalism and encourages the impressionable A-T staff to take chances and make the right kind of mistakes before entering the more risk-averse workforce. To this day, Barb is still my go-to college reference for jobs and she’s always a phone call away if I need some career or life advice.


Cory Sparks 

Barb is someone who has always been willing to go above and beyond for others. As a member of the Advance-Titan’s production nights for 3½ years, I vividly remember Barb’s “I’m just stopping in for a bit” introductions turning into nights where she’d spend hours helping us perfect that week’s issue. She never wavered when it came to lending herself as a resource and always led with compassion. There aren’t many advisers, or people in general, out there who have a heart like Barb’s!


Katie Pulvermacher

I know everyone says this, but Barb is truly everyone’s mom away from home. I still find myself, as a graduate, texting her for advice on all sorts of things. Her kind words go a long way. Whether it be bringing in caviar from sturgeon spearing for the whole staff to try, showing us pictures from her latest camping adventure, or telling us the craziest Barb lore, Barb always kept the office lively and was a friendly face and encouraging mentor.

Barb and I basically have the same phone and phone case. The amount of times during production nights that our phones ended up right next to each other is countless. Let’s just say our phones got mixed up just about every Tuesday night.

Washington D.C. was a memorable trip. She somehow had the staff power walking all of D.C. in a few days when we had time after the newspaper conference we were at. I desperately wanted ice cream on this trip and Barb convinced everyone to go on a walk to get some from a shop. After walking far enough to exhaust just about everyone, we arrived to find the shop closed. But Barb promised me that we would get some ice cream, and she found a gelato place for us all to go the next day. She always helps you reach your goals — even if that goal is eating some ice cream. 


Lexi Langendorf

I remember meeting Barb on my very first day editing for the A-T. That day, I walked into the A-T office for the first time feeling nervous and unfamiliar. Barb pulled up a chair beside me, welcoming me warmly, and gently began guiding me calmly and patiently as I learned my way around the editing software. She encouraged me and complimented my work so that by the time I was finished, my mood had completely shifted, and I was feeling confident and secure in my new editing role.

As I got to know Barb, I started to understand that my very first impression of her was symbolic of who she always was. She naturally left you feeling better than you had before interacting with her. Barb was always a comfort and a light to be around because you always knew every interaction with her would be genuine and kind. Even in silence, she radiated supportiveness and confidence in every student she worked with.


Anya Kelley

Oh Barb, what am I going to do without you? 

A month into my transfer to UWO, Sara Steffes-Hansen urged me to email the A-T adviser to ask for a story assignment. “She’s very friendly and super helpful; give her an email!” Little did I know that would be the beginning of the whirlwind that is working for a student newspaper. 

From my first story assignment, to becoming the assistant news editor, and now serving as editor-in-chief, Barb has guided me every step of the way. I don’t think I ever would have figured out InDesign if it wasn’t for her (terrifying) crash course on the program. 

Barb, I wouldn’t be the reporter I am today if it wasn’t for you. I will carry the lessons you’ve taught me through my career and I can’t thank you enough. But don’t think you can get rid of me quite yet! I’m still going to come over and hang out with your cat… and you of course. 

Try and take a break sometime. Maybe leave your laptop at home for a weekend? I promise the world won’t end. 


Owen Peterson

I was lucky enough to work with Barb for all four years I was at UWO, and I can confidently say that the A-T would not be the wonderful, welcoming place it is without her. 

It really cannot be overstated just how much Barb brought to the A-T – and I’m not just talking about the tacky singing fish or questionable assortment of CDs. Her kindness and leadership made the A-T not only a great place to be, but an amazing opportunity to learn and grow as a writer.  

More than anything, her dedication to helping each staff member grow is truly admirable. I know I would not be the person I am now if it were not for her believing in me and pushing me to do more – a sentiment I’m sure is shared by other staffers. 

To end, I’d like to say this: There’s a reason so many staffers refer to the A-T as a ‘home,’ and it’s Barb. 


Nolan Swenson

Barb is a radiant person. Despite how happy I am for her that she will have more time to focus on her amazing self, I know that this campus is lesser without her. 

All of my peers have become who they are as a result of her love and investment and I can’t thank her enough for it. She is a true leader and I hope that as I grow, I’ll have half the impact she has had.


Kyiah Nelson

When I first started at the A-T, Barb was so welcoming. Though she had a lot of other responsibilities at the time, she was incredibly patient with a table of completely new copy editors who not only had never heard of  Associated Press Style, but weren’t even journalism majors.

Me being me, I had a million questions about the style, where to find things and how to best correct things in different situations. She answered all of my questions without ever discouraging me from asking.

While I was easily the slowest copy editor of the three, she praised me for being thorough. I began to take a bit of pride in that strength because of her. Later on, she even referred me to do some freelance work, an experience I learned a lot from.

Barb treats us like people and asks about our lives. She is always excited to celebrate our accomplishments. Honestly, she’s been a role model for me—she lights up any room she’s in, and you feel her absence when she leaves.

Even when I was thinking ahead to graduation over a year ago, it was hard to think that I won’t see her on my Tuesday nights. But imagining the A-T without her is… strange. Of course, it will carry on, but she is definitely a staple in the A-T office.

Barb, thank you for everything you’ve done for the A-T and for me. I will miss you, as will the rest of the staff.

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