Student Spotlight: Katie McDonagh

Juggling a part-time marketing internship with Sonoma State’s School of Business and Economics, managing the position of Editor-in- Chief at Sonoma State STAR, as well as completing her last 16 units of college, senior Katie McDonagh doesn’t get much sleep.

“I find time to sleep when I am supposed to have a social life,” the communications major and business minor joked. McDonagh reflects that while the last five months have made for a “…crazy semester, it’s been fun and worth it.”

McDonagh’s job after graduation proves the age-old saying that all hard work pays off. She will be working as the Marketing Coordinator at the Internet provider, Sonic.net in Santa Rosa. McDonagh sees the job “as a great place to grow” and is looking forward to having a bit more time on her hands after working in multiple roles this semester.

“I’ll be doing a bunch of different things in the job but at least I am getting paid for what I’m doing there,” said McDonagh. “It starts and ends from 9 to 5. It’s going to be a great time to recharge, relax and I’ll be working but at least it ends when I come home. I can read, see my friends more, exercise more.” 

McDonagh’s dad is a significant source of inspiration that drives her to embrace opportunities and work hard at everything she does. 

“My dad is really successful and he puts a lot into what he does and I just want to emulate that. He taught me that a job worth doing is a job well done and that’s been my mantra. If I’m going to do something then hell yeah, I should at least try to kick ass at it. There’s no point in doing something half-assed,” McDonagh said. 

Annemarie Brown, Director of Business and Operations at the department and also the head of the marketing interns, saw McDonagh’s strong work ethic and felt immediately that she was someone Brown wanted on her team.

“Her energy is remarkable you can feel her focus and her professionalism, as well as her positive energy. She’s positive without just being bubbly and she’s serious without lacking personality,” said Brown. 

From working on the Business school’s social media campaigns, writing press releases and designing advertisements, Brown said, “Katie has been a delight to work with, she’s been a great asset to a really strong team of interns and I’ll miss her.”

McDonagh cites her time at the college newspaper, the Sonoma State STAR, for helping her secure the marketing internship as well as significantly developing her writing and professional skills.

“Part of the reason why working at the STAR was so beneficial was because I’ve learned to communicate with people, to interview people, to write about things and to be professional,” said McDonagh.

Behind the paper and all of McDonagh’s professional roles, she is also a talented singer and ukulele player.

Friend Lindsay Strongman reveals McDonagh is known to enjoy playing a new tune on her ukulele or singing songs from one of her favorite musicals, Les Misérables. 

“When we lived together in the dorms, I’d hear her singing in the shower, playing ukulele in her room strumming her heart out. I feel like it’s a happy place for her,” Strongman said.

McDonagh’s singing and ukulele talents have gone beyond the bathroom to performing open mic night at Lobo’s bar in the Student Center earlier in the semester.   

On a personal level, McDonagh sources playing ukulele is a significant stress reliever that helps her to relax and stay grounded in busy times. She explained the feeling by quoting ukulele musician Jake Shimabukuro’s quote that, “if everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.”

Strongman describes McDonagh “like the girl next door”, who enjoys eating good cuisine and is great at lightening the mood in any situation.

“She’s one of the most loyal people I’ve ever met … she’s so funny, we can have serious conversations and she knows exactly what to say to lighten the mood,” Strongman said. 

Meeting her long-term boyfriend and forging strong friendships throughout her college years, McDonagh sees the past four years as a fun and ‘fundamental time of meeting people and building on these relationships.’

As the final week of the semester approaches, McDonagh reflects upon her experience at Sonoma State, crediting the smaller school for providing opportunities for students to stand out.

“The advantage of Sonoma State is that we are a small community there are plenty of opportunities [for students] to show what you have to offer. Getting involved [on campus] is one of the best things I could have done because I’m not just a face in the crowd. I am very satisfied with my time at Sonoma State and I don’t think I would have had it any other way,” said McDonagh.

As for what the future holds for Katie? Brown predicts she will ‘be kicking butt, being wildly successful and having her own team of people she’s leading.”