Katherine Rodgers '22 grew up watching her dad write television commercials. She always admired his ability to tell a good story, so when it came time to think about college, she thought a communication degree would be a good fit.
Her dad's funny stories about living in Syracuse and the snow tunnels of western New York inspired Rodgers, a Westchester, N.Y., native, to search for colleges in the snow belt.
She visited a lot of SUNY schools but says Geneseo's beautiful campus sealed the deal.
“I got into a lot of schools, but I was waitlisted by Geneseo, and that made me want it more,” says Rodgers. “So I drafted a speech and drove up here with my dad to try and convince them to let me in.”
Coincidentally, by the time Rodgers and her dad arrived on campus to plead her case, the admissions staff had already reviewed her files and gave her the good news in person—she would be a Knight for the next four years.
The Intersection of Media and Human Connection
Since arriving at Geneseo and focusing on journalism and media, Rodgers, a Presidential Scholar, has found her perception of traditional media has evolved since arriving at Geneseo. She's now interested in interpersonal communication—more specifically, how people interact with one another while consuming media.
“This semester I'm doing a research paper on women viewing parties of The Bachelorette,” says Rodgers. “There's a phenomenon that happens when people get together and the ways they use media as a toolkit to connect and understand things about themselves and each other.”
Rodgers is interested in examining the larger impact that media processes have on society. “They influence us to our core,” she says.
A Pandemic Project Is Born
The onset of the pandemic enhanced Rodgers' first-hand understanding of how media can connect people. With campus shut down during her sophomore year, she found herself at home scrolling through her camera roll and longing for life back in Geneseo.
“I'm someone who takes pictures of everything, and I kept thinking, am I ever going to go back and see these places and be this happy again?” says Rodgers.
With dozens of photos in her camera roll, Rodgers created an Instagram account to share her Geneseo experience and called it geneseocameraroll.
“I started posting one image per day, and people just started following,” says Rodgers. “I realized that I wasn't only documenting my experience, but that everyone has had these experiences and moments at Geneseo, and I could remind them of those in a time when we couldn't be on campus.”
Rodgers returned to a mostly empty Geneseo for a 2020 summer job. Recognizing that students were still searching for a connection back to the area, she continued posting on a daily basis.
“I was exploring Geneseo when it was completely empty, and that was when it really took off,” says Rodgers. “It made me so happy that people were finding joy in that as much as I was.”
What started out as a passion project about the special places within our community has turned into a practical portfolio that Rodgers can use for life after Geneseo.
“I had an internship with an ad agency in Washington, D.C., this past summer,” says Rodgers. “During the interview, they asked me what I knew about digital marketing and catering to a specific market. This project was a perfect example.”
With graduation looming, Rodgers is still very interested in a career in media, but she isn't in a rush to figure it all out just yet. She's savoring the time she has left on campus and is grateful the College is back to (almost) full swing for her senior year.
“Obviously COVID-19 was really devastating and it threw some obstacles my way, but now that we're back I feel like I have a second chance,” says Rodgers. “I'm doing my senior year how I want it.”