At the age of 27, Colorado State University graduate Ashley Colburn traveled to over 25 countries on six continents within two and a half years, and was awarded two Emmys for her TV series “WOW Croatia!” and “Wonders of the World: Machu Picchu.”
Colburn graduated from CSU in 2008 with a major in journalism and technical communications, and a minor in Spanish. According to Colburn, finding a media-related job fresh out of college was not an easy task for her.
“I graduated early, which was something I was not expecting and that essentially forced me to fast forward my mindset, so I started sending out a lot of applications to be a news reporter,” Colburn said. “Basically I didn’t get a news job, but I got hired at Wealth TV in San Diego, and I was hired as a TV host and producer, which was where it all started.”
Colburn then began producing “WOW Croatia!”, her first travel show. “WOW Croatia!” was awarded Croatia’s Golden Pen award and an Emmy in 2010.
“My first travel show was based in Croatia because I’ve always wanted to visit there, and I felt like it was a country that a lot of people don’t know a lot about,” Colburn said. “After it won the Emmy, my bosses wanted me to keep producing travel shows.”
Colburn started producing her next travel series, called “TAKEOFF with Ashley Colburn,” that premiered in 2010 and enabled her to travel to over 25 countries in two and a half years.
“I wanted a travel show that was more than just going to a country tasting the food and going to different historical sites,” Colburn said. “I wanted to really dig into the culture by participating in different festivals. Every single show was different, fun and very chaotic. Upon arriving to the country, we would immediately start filming for seven days and it was always just ‘go, go, go’ in a different time zone.”
According to Colburn, climbing the Matterhorn in Switzerland was one of her most memorable moments filmed for her travel show.
“A couple of years ago I climbed the Matterhorn, which is the 6th hardest and most dangerous mountain to climb,” Colburn said. “It was a whirlwind to be climbing the mountain and remembering that you’re on camera, so you have to smile and say the right things. I have all my travels on video, so someday I want to sit down and watch all the episodes.”
According to Colburn, she would not have the career and lifestyle she currently possesses without the help of her family and professors at CSU.
“My parents were both very involved in the aspect of travel, and the way they raised me helped me transform into who I am today – independent woman traveling the world,” Colburn said. “My CSU professors and classes also prepared me for my career. I left CSU feeling 100 percent prepared.”
Greg Luft, a professor and chair of the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication at CSU, was Colburn’s professor in the Advanced Electronic Media capstone course.
“Ashley was always very motivated, energetic and determined to accomplish her goals,” Luft said. “She was especially interested in style and travel journalism, and as a student produced several stand alone travel programs focusing on Colorado travel destinations. She was keenly aware of the importance of how style influenced her personal presentation on camera, and more importantly, she was aware of, and willing to take care of all the preparation and work before and after starting a production.”
Patrick Plaisance, a professor in the journalism and media communications department at CSU, was Colburn’s professor in the JTC 411 Media Ethics course.
“I have 55 students every semester in the media ethics class, and although I don’t remember all of them, I do remember the ones that stick out for various reasons and Ashley was one of them,” Plaisance said. “She was always engaged and was one I could always rely on if I’m trying to challenge the class to talk about a particular ethical issue or understand a particular concept. She is an exemplar of this department, and an individual who we always talk about when we talk about graduates who have always done great things and really accomplish a lot.”
Colburn is currently working on expanding her production company, Ashley Colburn Productions. Colburn said she hopes to continue to construct a travel oriented brand and to continue to build a larger audience overall.
Collegian Reporter Amanda Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @amanduhh3003.