University Community

Commencement Spotlight: Journalism major Kayla Bennett

Journalism news and information major Kayla Bennett grew up in Dayton, and knew OHIO was the right place for her the first time she came to campus. A few of Kayla’s roles on campus included editor-in-chief of Thread Magazine, managing editor of The Post, president of Ohio University Society of Professional Journalists, and OHIO Fellow. She is a wellness specialist and marketing and communication assistant at WellWorks, and has a minor and specialization in political science. 

What are your next steps or plans for the future?
After graduation, I will be moving to Austin, Texas, to participate in The Texas Tribune's marketing and communications fellowship. I am so excited to take this next step in my journalism career. I don't know what will come next after my fellowship, but I hope to continue my career as a journalist in a nonprofit newsroom.

What memory stands out from your time at OHIO?
When thinking about my time at OHIO, it's hard to pick just one memory that really stands out because almost everything I've done here has become a memory I want to cherish. 

If I had to name one though, I would say it was when my parents dropped me off to move-in to the dorms my sophomore year. It was my first time living on campus and the first time I'd been on my own. I loved decorating my dorm room and getting my very own key to my room. Everything excited me—from the dining hall (yes, the dining hall) to making my own schedule.

Why did you choose OHIO? 
When I was choosing a college, I kept telling myself I wanted to be far away from home and have it feel like I was on my own, but close enough to home that I could go home when I needed to. I also knew I wanted to study journalism and there is no better place to do that than OHIO.

I wanted somewhere that felt comfortable and familiar as soon as I stepped on the campus. That was OHIO for me. OHIO was the first place I visited in high school, and I remember looking at my mom and saying, "You might as well call me a Bobcat." It was an easy pick.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?
I had so many impactful professors that helped guide me through college and prepare me for life after graduation. When thinking of who my favorite professors were, I would have to say Kelly Ferguson, Elizabeth Hendrickson and Eddith Dashiell. All three of them made an impact on my career and shaped me into the journalist I am today.

Together, they encouraged me and made me stronger. Without their help, I would not be the person I am today, and I wouldn't have been the kind of leader I was in the classroom or in my student publications. I always felt like they cared for me on more than an academic level, and they really wanted me to succeed in life.

What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?
Aside from Jeff Hill and Morton Hill, the hardest hill I had to climb at OHIO was finding balance. I wanted to do everything when I first arrived on campus, so I had to learn how to let go of some things while holding on to the things I loved.

I've always had a habit of "spreading myself too thin," so I knew I needed to really think about what I wanted to pursue. In a way, I had to prioritize my passions, which taught me a lot about myself and who I wanted to be post-graduation. I did this by talking with my professors, bouncing ideas off my friends and writing down many pros and cons lists. Overall, I think it was important to remember that everyone struggles to find a foothold in college, so I also had to remember I wasn't alone in my challenges.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?
My favorite OHIO memories are any and all with my friends and within the student publications I worked for. I worked for Thread Magazine and The Post during my time at OHIO and through these organizations, I met some of my best friends. 

That's what I'm going to miss most about OHIO: the people who really made it feel like home. I loved dining hall dinners together and living down the hall from each other in the same apartment complex. I truly had such a great community around me, and it helped me make the best memories that will make me miss being in college.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?
If I had one thing to tell a new OHIO student not to miss, it would be: don't miss being a college student. You have the rest of your life to be a grown-up. College is only four years, and it will fly by. Enjoy the late-night talks with friends, the deliciousness of Goodfellas pizza and all the hidden goodness Athens has to offer. You're only in college once, so make it count!

April 25, 2023
Staff reports