Photos By: Katie Snyder
Jeremiah Hassel, Features Editor
In the most quintessential terms, college experiences are considered the gateways to professional life, the beginning of a permanent career and adult life. Sometimes, college experiences lead directly where the label suggests, unlocking engineering-based careers for engineer majors, corporation positions for business majors, or nursing jobs for those majoring in medicine or health-related fields of study. Other times, however, the path can be arduous, dropping individuals in several different career paths that may all converge and come full circle into a unique career unlike any other.
Katie Snyder, a 2001 graduate who currently works as a freelance journalist for the News and Advance, a newspaper based in Lynchburg, Virginia, has had a variety of careers.
Snyder began her extensive career at Westmoreland County Community College, completing a year there before transferring to Behrend for her sophomore year.
While at Behrend, she majored in communication and media studies, earning her bachelor’s in the field. During this time, she served as a news editor for the Behrend Beacon beginning her first semester at Behrend, a scheduling accident that would transform her life and eventually lead her to her current career. She later served as the editorial editor and was a member of Behrend’s first women’s water polo team, achieving great success in both pursuits.
Snyder also completed a work study with the childhood center Behrend hosted at the time, a position that fostered her love for helping and working with children and the community and that inspired several of her careers through the years.
“All of these different things, all of these different little skills that I learned in all of my classes and all of my activities while I was in school, I was able to pull things out of each one of those, like at each job or everything I’ve done. I was able to pull aspects of what I learned while I was at Behrend out of there,” said Snyder.
When Snyder graduated from Behrend, she began working as the creative services manager at WJET-TV, placed in charge of advertisements and commercials the station aired and responsible for coordinating with the station’s local clients.
Snyder moved on to careers at the Barber National Institute in Erie, a crisis hotline in Virginia, and served as a member of the Lynchburg City School Board for six years, moving to Virginia with her husband Jason Snyder, a former Behrend Beacon editor-in-chief, at some point in the midst of these. She and her husband now have three children, and she began working as a freelance reporter for the News and Advance, a media outlet in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Snyder attributes the majority of her successes in life, including meeting her current husband and the successes she’s had throughout her career, to the activities she participated in while at Behrend. She strongly encourages students to pursue each opportunity that comes their way and to get involved on campus and the community in any way possible.
“If something seems interesting to you, you should try it. It might turn out to be something that you like doing, whether it’s a team sport or a group you can join. You might not end up liking it, but there are so many different opportunities at Behrend… you should just try them. You won’t regret it,” said Snyder.
In the future, Snyder hopes to pursue a career working with nonprofit organizations, a career she believes would fulfill her passions working for the community and for kids. She hopes to find a nonprofit focusing on education.
“Helping people and taking care of people, my own family and my community, that’s really what I want to do in the end,” said Snyder.