Storyteller Katelynn McIlwain earns bachelor’s degree at Missouri

Katelynn McIlwain, 22, will graduate from the Missouri School of Journalism this weekend.  McIIwain, from Freeport, Illinois, resurrected her her abandoned high school newspaper.

It’s Katelynn McIlwain’s big day at the University of Missouri, though she has had many significant days.

Graduation weekend at the University of Missouri starts Friday. There are 17 ceremonies scheduled over three days, from 1 pm Friday through Sunday afternoon.

McIlwain, 22, will be part of the 7 pm Friday ceremony in Mizzou Arena for graduates of the Missouri School of Journalism.

From Freeport, in northern Illinois, McIlwain resurrected her high school newspaper after it had previously been abandoned. A retired reporter taught her her newspaper class, and that was the start of her journalism journey.

When job shadowing at the Rockford Register Star, the executive editor gave her advice on where to go after high school graduation.

“He encouraged me to check out Mizzou,” McIlwain said. It’s at least as good as Northwestern University and half the cost, she said he told her.

She was unfamiliar with the university, she said.

“I didn’t even know it existed,” she said.

She visited campus with her mom, dad and sister and immediately loved it, she said.

She pursued the magazine emphasis in the J School.

“I really enjoyed the magazine emphasis, with long-form, creative writing,” McIlwain said.

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