Student Spotlight: Katlynn Whitaker (’17)

By: Margaret Scott (’18)

Katlynn Whitaker may not be a Communication Arts major, but Katlynn still plays an active role in the department through her dedication to The Wood Word and classes she has taken in the major.

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Katlynn Whitaker

What is your year, major/minor?

I am a senior graphic design major with a minor in advertising.

What are you involved with on Marywood’s campus?

I’m a resident assistant in Loughran Hall, design editor for The Wood Word, a Eucharistic minister for Campus Ministry, a member of Zeta Omicron, which is an honor society for art majors, the CMYKlub, which is graphic design club, and a member of the Society for Collegiate Journalists.

What has been the most helpful Communication Arts class you have taken while pursuing the minor?

Hmm, that’s a tough one. All the advertising classes I’ve taken have complemented my major nicely and have given me further insight into the field. The class I didn’t immediately expect to be applicable was News Writing with Dr. Wotanis. I’m not a journalism major, and I wasn’t sure how learning this skill would help me in my field of graphic design or advertising. However, learning to be a journalist turned out to be much more than writing articles and interviewing people. It got me out of my comfort zone and helped me to thrive despite my sometimes-introverted nature. I am a much better overall communicator, and that is applicable to any field of study. Plus, I now have a tremendous amount of respect for the news industry that often gets a bad reputation.

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Katlynn (front row, far left) and The Wood Word staff in 2015.

Since starting on The Wood Word back in 2013, how has your role there evolved?

Wow, I cannot believe four years has passed so fast. I first joined The Wood Word as a freshman in November 2013 to be a part of the graphics team. One of my art professors, Sue Jenkins, told me that they were looking for more designers, so I took a risk and joined. It was nerve-wracking at first to join this group as a freshman from a completely different department where I didn’t know anyone, but I am so glad I did it anyway because they welcomed me with open arms and the rest is history.

From that point to May 2014, I worked on graphic illustrations that accompanied articles. The Wood Word was in a print format at this point, and one Sunday a month we would sit in the Mac Lab all day and prepare the paper for publishing. It was time-consuming, but I received great print design experience.

From Fall 2014 to Spring 2016, my role expanded to photography editor. I took a Photojournalism class at the same time and learned valuable photography skills that have helped me to utilize my own photography in my designs. Taking photos across campus resulted in an added benefit of getting myself better acquainted with the campus community. Last year, I received an Honorable Mention from the Society for Collegiate Journalists for a photo I took on the Marywood trip to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia.

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Photo of Pope Francis by Katlynn Whitaker that received an Honorable Mention from the Society for Collegiate Journalists in 2016.

In January 2016, The Wood Word changed to a web-only publication. I was disappointed at first, because I liked designing for print, but going web-only has fostered our growth as an organization. Articles and photos get out much quicker, and the web has less constraints.

In August 2016, I became the design editor, which is my current position. I create graphics for stories and produce a weekly MailChimp newsletter to promote the stories.

If you could describe the Communication Arts Department in one word, what would it be?

Family. The Communication Arts Department is a close-knit community that I am so happy to be a part of. Despite being from another department, I’ve made so many good friends in Comm Arts, and I’ve received so much support from the professors. I’d highly recommend pursuing a minor.


Margaret Scott is a junior Advertising/Public Relations major. In her free time, she enjoys being a DJ for 91.7 VMFM and taking part in  Marywood’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter.


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