This post appears here courtesy of ECU News Services
. The author of this post is Crystal Baity
Creating the "People of Greenville" podcast helped fulfill Kateryna "Kate" Kosolapova's dream of telling other people's stories.
She grew up watching TV hosts and news anchors and pored through magazines each week. "I liked photos and seeing how they arranged everything and reading the interviews. It was a main goal to be in the media,"
Kateryna Kosolapova reads at the cupola on ECU’s campus.
When she moved to Greenville from Ukraine about 10 years ago — as a newlywed for her husband's job — she didn't know English. She had been in college and planned to major in journalism because of her passion for working with people and storytelling.
But navigating a new culture and learning a new language shifted those goals.
Kosolapova became a student again at Pitt Community College, earning an associate degree before transferring to East Carolina University, where she graduated in 2020 with a bachelor's degree in communication with a concentration in public relations. Now she works full time as a media relations specialist at PCC and is a graduate student in communication at ECU.
"I found something close to my heart with the PR concentration,"
Kosolapova said. "There are wide options with this degree. Attending graduate school is a huge bonus and it already helps me professionally and academically. I can directly apply what I'm learning in the program in my job."
She also leans on experience she has gained from her podcast
, along with internships as an undergraduate student at Greenville Utilities Commission and through the School of Communication's PiRate PR firm.
The student-run public relations firm associated with the Public Relations Student Society of America gives hands-on experience with local organizations and nonprofits on communication needs including branding, logos or social media.
Kosolapova also served as a School of Communication ambassador and ECU Student Government Association election committee member. "All of these provided great teamwork and leadership experience,"
After five years, this mother of a 6-year-old daughter has kept the podcast going.
"Each person I interview has impacted me as a person. I feel so inspired by them, and I feel like it impacts other people,"
At ECU, communication faculty members and fellow students have become like family. The online program has been valuable for her, especially as a working professional and mother. "The instructors and professors help and care about me,"
she said. "It's not just an institution or a program. It's something special."
The program has made such an impact that Kosolapova is considering eventually pursuing a doctoral degree to teach. "It's a long shot but the idea about teaching students really attracts me,"
After arriving in Greenville as a stranger a decade ago, she and the city have changed. "I did not give up my dream, and I'm happier,"
she said. "I feel like I'm growing up with Greenville. I feel like it's home now."
What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year?
Honors College program. I would love to participate in it, but I found out about this opportunity too late.