Spotlight Iowa City: Finding a passion in a crusade


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When college seniors approach the finish line, it’s probably normal for them to be a tad numb about graduating.

After all, the big moment is the culmination of years spent immersed in textbooks and bogged down trying to write paper after paper while working two jobs, a time in which caffeine is the only sustenance keeping stupefaction at bay.

Ashley Croghan is unlike most college seniors.

Seated on her plaid couch inside her living room, the native of Manning, Iowa, is beaming.

“I am so excited to walk,” she said and laughed, reacting to the teasing by roommate Pamela Maxey, who pointed out that parents normally have to beg, or coerce, their children to get them to walk the graduation perambulation.

Croghan’s jubilation comes after surviving mono, taking a rigorous final course load, and deciding her next step after donning her black cap and gown Saturday.

She has decided to intern in Iowa City for Campus Crusade for Christ, or “Cru,” as it is known by those who love it.

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Chip Martinson, the Iowa director of Campus Crusade, described someone who joins the staff as a person who “can really help the spiritual needs of the undergraduate community.”

Martinson, who has known Croghan throughout her time at the UI, classifies the integrative physiology major as one whose personality dovetails with working with college students.

“She is really warm and welcoming,” he said. “She has good insight, is very teachable, responds well to authority, and has a real listening heart.”

Croghan decided to commit to the ministry full-time after spending the 2008 summer in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., with Campus Crusade.

“I felt as if God was laying [doing ministry] more on my heart,” the 23-year-old said, fiddling with her vintage-style glasses and an olive scarf wrapped around her neck. “Like, ‘Ohhh. Full-time ministry.’ And I was like, ‘No. I’m going to be a chiropractor. What are you doing? This isn’t for me.’

“[Then I] just really came to the reality that this is why I’m designed. This is really why I have certain skills and talents and to be able to use them — and seeing how I could use them in full-time ministry — it was there that I decided to put chiropractic on hold.”

Croghan, who also has a Spanish minor, had planned to join the staff in Miami, to which Martinson will relocate to head the Miami organization. But he asked her if she would stay to build the Iowa City movement.

“The time to relate with University of Iowa undergrads is really narrow,” he said. “The first few years [after graduation], you can still be an insider and yet also an outsider.

“It helps to be much of an insider as possible.”

Now, Croghan is ecstatic about the opportunity to remain involved in the community in which she has led Bible studies and met with underclassmen weekly.

“It wasn’t until I sat with Chip that I saw the pros of staying here,” she said.

“So I’ll intern here, and possibly the year after, and then I plan on joining staff and going to Miami.”

She will spend the spring raising her income so she can begin her work as an intern by the fall of 2010.

Since seventh grade, she has wanted to be a chiropractor, so the change in vocation was somewhat abrupt for her parents at first.

“They didn’t think I had thought through it as much as I had,” Croghan said. “But they’re OK with it. I think they understand that I am really serious about this, and this is really my passion.”

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