Year: Junior
Majors: Journalism (News & Info) and Spanish
Leadership positions and other extracurriculars:
  • President of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)
  • JSchool Ambassador
  • Institute of International Journalism
  • InterActivist Magazine

Biggest accomplishment as a student leader:

I just got back from the Ted Scripps Leadership Institute in Columbus, which is a weekend conference hosted by SPJ National and financed by the Scripps Howard Foundation. It was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had so far to grow my leadership skills. SPJ has put on some great programs this year – we brought Mary Beth Tinker (think 1969 Tinker vs. Des Moines case about free speech in schools) to campus at the end of September, which is something I had been working on since May. I think that the best is yet to come though- in March, our SPJ chapter is hosting the Region 4 conference, in which student and professional journalists from Ohio, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania and Michigan will be coming to attend panels, resume and reel critiques, and more…and I’m in charge of getting that together (with help from my exec board, of course). The conference happens every year but to my knowledge, this is the first time that a student chapter has put everything together on its own, though in the past few years, Region 4 has been hosting at college campuses.

Best memory at OHIO:

Follow Kate on Twitter at @kmhiller!
I don’t think I could pick one, honestly. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to be involved with so many great people and organizations on campus. If I did have to pick though, one of the highlights of my OHIO experience thus far actually took place in South America… I studied abroad in Ecuador last spring semester and at the end of my trip I represented OU and the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at La Universidad de los Hemisferios and spent a day teaching Computer-Assisted Reporting to students, professors and professional journalists there (in Quito, Ecuador, to be specific). It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, teaching a journalism class in Spanish, but it was one of the best things that I’ve gotten to do and it’s all because of Scripps and the connections I’ve gained here.
I also had a great time at the SPJ National “Excellence in Journalism” Conference in Nashville in September, where our chapter won 2013-2014 National Campus Chapter of the Year. We’re hoping to repeat that this year. As I mentioned in the previous question, the OUSPJ chapter also brought Mary Beth Tinker (Tinker vs. Des Moines, free speech in schools case) to campus, so hanging out with her for a day was pretty awesome! Every opportunity I’ve had on campus has made the OHIO experience amazing for me, so I really couldn’t pick one specific event.

Biggest quirk:

If I can’t use a computer or my iPad in class, I write all my notes in cursive. I don’t know why it just happens. And my printed handwriting changes with my mood.

Your role model and why:

My role model is someone I didn’t recognize as my role model until somewhat recently. My dad and I have had our ups and downs, as all father-daughter teams probably do, but in the last few years we got to know each other and we’re a lot more alike than I used to think. My dad was the first person in his family to graduate from college, and when I was a junior in high school he got his Ph.D. from Temple University in Philadelphia. He is one of the most hardworking people I know and has an excellent taste in music. Despite many people (read: pretty much everyone else in my family) telling me that I won’t make any money being a journalist, he has always believed that I’ll be successful, and his support has meant more than anything else in the world. My dad works at the University of Dayton and has been instrumental (no pun intended) in building up its Music Therapy program. He’s a self-starter, and I hope to someday be as successful as he has been so far.

What makes a leader?

There isn’t a specific formula. To me, a leader is someone who knows how to follow (and when not to follow), someone who is open-minded, someone who strives to be as selfless as possible. While a leader has to be “one with the people,” so to speak, he or she also has to be able to take control of a situation and make executive decisions without insulting anyone. A leader is someone who gets along with all sorts of different people, and someone whose ideas are malleable because we can’t all have exactly what we want. The recognition and application of change and new ideas is what I think can distinguish a good leader from a great leader. I strive to meet my own description every day, but I know that there is always room for improvement.

Favorite quote:

“Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run…but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant…”
-Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Interested in international journalism or getting more involved with SPJ? Email Kate at

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