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Katie O'Brien ’05 - Communication graduate - Winston-Salem, NC

Katie's passion leads to her success

September 16, 2011

When her alarm goes off each day, Katie O’Brien ’05 thinks, “Who gets up at three in the morning?” But she loves her job.

O’Brien is the on-air co-host on “Jared & Katie in the Morning,” which broadcasts weekdays on WKZL 107.5 FM.

She landed her first job as an on-air co-host and assistant producer on a different morning show, called “Murphy in the Morning,” just six months after graduating from Appalachian.

A communication graduate from the College of Fine and Applied Arts, O’Brien always knew she wanted to work in public relations, but she never imagined Appalachian was preparing her for a career as a popular morning radio personality. She fell in love with the university, she said.

“Appalachian was where I belonged,” O'Brien said. “I loved the classes; I loved the dorms; I loved football games. It just felt like a big family – like it was home.”

Hands-on coursework with stellar faculty prepared her well for her future, O’Brien said. She said a conversation with her academic advisor changed her life. “She knew my passions and helped me identify the path that I wanted to take.”

O’Brien’s advisor encouraged her to find a summer internship in radio, which led to a post-graduation job in radio promotions. Soon after, radio morning show host Jack Murphy offered her a job on his show. “It was a great opportunity for me,” she said.

O’Brien credits her Appalachian education for her early career break. “I would not be where I am, or who I am today without Appalachian,” she said. “I can't imagine ever going to any other college or feeling this passionate about another place.”

O’Brien now lives in Greensboro with her boyfriend, Ben, and her chocolate lab named Maizie.

O’Brien advice to current students? “Enjoy Appalachian for all it has to offer.”