For many journalists, the college career pathway is pretty straight-forward, but for Katrina Troy, her path has a few more twists and turns. Huntley High School (HHS) Class of 2018 graduate, Katrina Troy, is a Senior at the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou) with a major in journalism and a minor in statistics. 

Following her time at HHS, Troy’s next destination on her path to a career in journalism was to decide which college she wanted to attend and what field of study to specialize in. She says journalism was her ‘home’ when picking her major at Mizzou but quickly realized the challenge that comes with choosing just one major. Troy recognizes her time at HHS as the catalyst for her passion for journalism and often reflects on her time spent with the yearbook and newspaper clubs. She says that Ms. Teeter, the sponsor of the yearbook club, and Mr. Brown, the sponsor of the school newspaper, were integral in the formation of her love for journalism.

“Ms. Teeter definitely brought in my creativity, I would say, while Mr. Brown brought in a lot of the ethics, and the process, of what I do now,” said Troy.

Throughout her college career, she changed her major not once, but twice. Torn between her love for creative writing and statistics, she struggled to declare a major in either print journalism or strategic communications. After going back and forth with her emotions, Troy ultimately went with her heart and chose strategic communications as her field of study. Troy chose this major over print journalism due to her understanding and appreciation that there is a bigger picture behind a story and wanting to find the medium between art and analytics.

“In high school, it’s like you do yearbook or newspaper and then you do TV production and there are three lanes, right? Then I got to Mizzou and there’s like 50 lanes. There’s 50 ways to do journalism and some of them are very different and some of them overlap” said Troy.

 As Troy finishes up her time at Mizzou, she has reflected on her internship and capstone course and how they impacted her college experience. Her internship with CSM Sports & Entertainment allowed her to work as a Creative Strategy & Design Intern in New York City over the summer and gave her a taste of what it would be like to work with an experiential agency on a bigger-picture scale. 

In addition, Troy’s capstone course at Mizzou has served as the inspiration for where she wants to set her sights on employment and has effectively prepared her for the job market following graduation. During her time in this year-long course, she and her classmates mimicked a communications agency, ‘MOJO Ad’, where they were all assigned a unique role. Troy was assigned as the Art Director and worked together with her team to create a fully-integrated campaign on the ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’ film set to release this spring. They even had the opportunity to work closely with Warner Bros. Studios in order to fulfill their roles within their ‘agency’. 

“I love the work on a fully-integrated campaign. So, to think about the user experience from start to finish of getting ‘eyeballs’ and then getting traction and how all of the creative links together” said Troy.

Troy’s hard work during her capstone course gained her the recognition of her University and she was honored with the Larry Powell Award at the end of her semester. This award is given to a MOJO Ad staff member who, according the the University of Missouri School of Journalism, “exemplifies the traits we hope each of you strive for: selflessness, going above and beyond for their team, taking on duties outside of their own role and their own team, growth over time and representing the spirit of MOJO Ad.”

“It’s a great honor because of how excellent my peers are, so to be selected among them is just really, really special,” said Troy.

Although Troy’s path was not as straight-forward as other graduates, she expressed how grateful she is for all of the experiences she’s had and relationships she’s made because it is what allowed her to gain multiple perspectives. Despite her various attempts at changing career paths, Troy recognizes that her experience in various journalism fields has allowed her to gain a sense of respect and knowledge for the other fields. There’s a lot of decisions to be made as a high school student looking to apply to college and choose their field of study, however, the biggest piece of advice Troy has for HHS students is to know that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ decision. Looking back on her time when applying to college, Troy wishes she would have not feared making mistakes. 

“I wish I would have been less scared to make mistakes and just fully have gone in with my whole heart in what I wanted to do in that moment” said Troy.