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Creating change through communications

A mass communication specialist, Katie has devoted the majority of her career to helping veterans and service members successfully assimilate to civilian society. Her work in federal public affairs has made an impact that has reached as far as Congress, the White House, national media and has even been featured on the global stage.

  • Major BA, Mass Communication
  • Work history Senior Director at Powell Strategies
  • Hometown Grand Junction, CO
  • How would you describe CMU? Impactful, Fun, Challenging, Gratifying

A calling

Katie translated her degree in mass communication from CMU to a niche specialty contracting for the federal government. She’s written briefs for the White House. Prepared directives for Congress. Consulted for the U.S. Department of Defense. And traveled the world while working on programs to help military personnel transition back to civilian life. 

So how did Katie go from growing up in Grand Junction to working on government contracts in D.C.? Her career was first kick-started in college, where CMU’s community network connected her to a position in law enforcement communications her freshman year. At the time, she was majoring in mass communication while also taking criminal justice classes (including an underwater crime scene investigation class that she says was so fascinating, it has stuck with her to this day). For Katie, the experience was pivotal; she discovered a true calling for governance communications that, before she knew it, had her packing her bags and moving to Washington, D.C. the week after graduation.

CMU is special for a lot of reasons. They make every student feel seen and heard. You feel like a part of the family when you are on that campus. CMU offers you a family — a Mavily.

What CMU taught me

  1. Take advantage of every opportunity you’re offered

  2. How to master public speaking

  3. How to apply knowledge in real-world settings

  4. Bigger doesn’t mean better

My Advice

Don’t be afraid to get involved. Some of the key things that led up to the successes in my career was by participating in events and getting involved.


When we spoke with Katie, she was fresh from her move to Arizona after a seven-year run in the ever-competitive, yet ever-exciting environment of D.C. Throughout her time in the capital, Katie largely specialized in federal communications. From contracting for U.S. Army communications to working in Public Affairs for the Naval Medical Research Center, where her communications work for the Navy’s Phage Therapy — a solution for antibiotic resistance — was featured by BuzzFeed and TEDx, Katie reveled in the dynamism and complexity of her many assignments. 

But her favorite thing about her specialty? The unexpected nature of her day-to-day work, never knowing where a task, project or contract will lead her. This became especially true when she began working on the Transition Assistance Program, which is a Congress-mandated program focused on better transitioning military personnel to civilian life. First contracting through the Department of Defense before moving to her current role at Powell Strategies, Katie’s traveled the world to support the transition of those in military service globally.

Fast forward to today, Katie’s current communications position is still focused on preparing America's veterans, service members and their spouses for meaningful careers by providing them with employment resources and expertise, protecting their rights and promoting their opportunities. Through her job, she frequently dictates briefs for Congressional hearings and interacts with some of the most influential leaders shaping the legislation and policies that impact millions of lives nation-wide — a role Katie says CMU prepared her for well, by giving her the personal mentorship, tools and confidence to command a room and unapologetically own her abilities.

Article published January 2023

I loved the professors at CMU and had some great mentors during my time. I couldn’t have gotten that if I went to a larger university. CMU offers this really special, unique attention to the students that go there.

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