As early as age 13, Kayla Sample ’15 had a plan for her career. Because she was intrigued with listening to others and the current events happening in their lives, she wanted to be a psychologist. However, her eagerness to be in the professional world altered when she overheard someone say the word “newscaster” next to her one day.
“It was like a light bulb went off, and it clicked in my head that news casting was exactly what I wanted to do my whole life,” said Sample, who earned a bachelor’s degree in communication with a concentration in applied journalism.
During her senior year, Sample had an internship that she credits with her job search. As a Pittsburgh Sports Reporter for 93.7 the Fan, she was able gain experience while entering the locker rooms of the Pirates, Penguins, and Steelers for pre and post game interviews. Her experiences with these professionals were the confidence boosters she needed to put on her resume and land that first job.
Sample speaks highly of her professors through her undergraduate years and how they prepared her for a career in the journalism industry. First, she said that Anthony Moretti, associate professor, ripped her writing apart and helped her put it back together so she could understand objective aspects in news writing. Then, Sample explained how Andrea Frantz, previous head of the Department of Communication, imprinted on her that “journalists save lives.” When times are stressful, Sample thinks of Frantz to get back on her game. Lastly, Sample explains how sitting in a classroom listening to lectures was the opposite of how Gina Catanzarite, professor of communication, shaped her class, which resembled a newsroom with strategies of how to overcome the potential, nerve-wrecking environment.
“I feel as though everyone I was in contact with, every relationship, every professor, and even every activity had an impact on where my life is now,” said Sample.
Sample was offered a position shortly before graduation as a Northeastern Wyoming Reporter for KOTA Territory News. Although an opportunity to begin her career, Wyoming is a long way from her home in Pittsburgh. She said that she wouldn’t have made the move if it weren’t for support from her RMU family, including professors and her sisters in Delta Phi Epsilon sorority. Assistant Professor of communication Letrell Crittenden gave Sample professional advice as she was negotiating her contract with KOTA.
Sample was involved in a wide spectrum of extracurricular activities at RMU such as the Dance Team, Lambda Pi Eta (Communication Honor Society), National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Order of Omega (Greek Leadership Honor Society). According to Sample, these various opportunities around campus provided Sample with the leadership and networking skills she needed to stand out and pursue a career in news casting.
Sample recognizes RMU as the force that drove her to “change her own life” and move across the country to pursue a career in her field of study.
“I certainly would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the professors, friends, and opportunities that I had at RMU,” Sample said.