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Celebrating Wake Moms: Katie Van Schoor & the Power of Setting an Example for Her Daughters 

Katie Van Schoor is looking for her third act in life. 

Her first act fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a news reporter. After receiving her B.S. in Telecommunications, News from the University of Florida, Katie went on to be an anchor for News 14 Carolina. She loved her job, but after many years retired from news to welcome her first child in 2009 and two years later, Katie and her husband James welcomed twins.

“I would work every holiday, nights, and weekends, and I knew I couldn’t sustain it,” Katie recalls. “I knew I was burnt out and wanted to focus on my family.”  

So, Katie entered her second act. 

She took a step back from her career to stay home and be with her three young daughters. After a few years, she decided it was time to rejoin the workforce and pursued returning to broadcast journalism. However, Katie found that in those few short years away, technology and social media had changed the industry she once knew.

“It was like a different world and the work hours made it difficult for me to be there for my girls,” Katie says. “As a result, I had to make a pivot.”

Taking her experience in journalism and combining it with her passion for helping others, Katie transitioned to the marketing and communications world. She became the marketing and communications director for the City of LaGrange, Georgia. 

But to step fully into this third act, she knew there was a lot she still needed to learn. She took a digital marketing certification class through Georgia Institute of Technology but felt like she needed more. 

“I happened upon this online degree from Wake Forest,” Katie explains. “Of course, I have three girls, a husband, a dog – and I’m very involved in their lives. I needed a program that would still allow me to be present.”

She found that opportunity at the Wake Forest School of Professional Studies. In May 2023, Katie began the Master of Communications and will complete her degree December 2024. 

So far, Katie found the experience has exceeded her expectations. It allowed her to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to advance her professional career while still maintaining the flexibility to be an involved mother and wife.

“If it were not for this Wake Forest SPS program, I would never be able to get a graduate degree and learn what I’m learning from industry professionals who have actually done the work,” Katie says.

The real world experience of the faculty has benefited Katie by preparing her for the future and, at the same time, helping her tackle challenges in the present. When issues arose at her current position that made it evident she needed to create a strategic crisis communications plan, Katie knew who to turn to. 

Dr. Tricia Richards-Service is an industry professional who uses her knowledge to teach two courses in the program: Public Relations and Crisis & Issues Communications. She provided ongoing support for Katie as she navigated the situation at work.

“She was wonderful in helping me handle this,” Katie says. “I was able to call her and say, ‘This is a weird situation, and I need to be better at handling this, but I’m not there yet. Can you give me some advice?’”

Dr. Richards-Services’s professional advice helped Katie get through the worst of the crisis. She felt that could trust her professor’s advice because had been through similar experiences herself. 

For Katie, having more knowledge and tools keeps her options open. This mentality of ‘there’s no such thing as too much education’ is something that she wants to model for her girls: “I can’t just tell them things. I have to show them. I’m trying to raise strong, independent women who have the confidence that they can do whatever they want to do.”

Learn more about our online Master of Communications program today.

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