Class of 2020: Where are they now? Kortni (Wells) Gardner

The next generation of journalists graduated in 2020 into a challenging job market unlike any other. We spotlighted them last summer, shared advice from their role models, and are checking in with them to see where they are now and what they’re learning about journalism. 

Name: Kortni (Wells) Gardner 

School: Utah State University

Where are you working right now?

Gardner: I am currently working for the Utah State University TRiO and Student Support Services office as a social media specialist at home. I am also working part time at Bath and Body Works, and I’m a mom to a 9-month-old little girl. 

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned on the job search?

Gardner: It’s important to stay committed and focused, but it’s also okay to step back, take a break and re-evaluate from time to time. 

What’s been your best moment in journalism since graduation?

Gardner: The best moment I have had in journalism since graduation is watching my hard work and dedication pay off. I received three awards from my college newspaper (The Utah Statesman) for articles I wrote during my senior year. I was also able to publish an article in the local newspaper just after graduation and I recently was an honorable mention for a national journalism award this year as well. 

What do you wish you had learned as a student that you’re learning on the job?

Gardner: I wish I would have learned a little bit more about internships before graduation. I also wish I would have had a little bit more time to polish some of the skills I learned along the way, such as videography and the Adobe programs, but I like that I can learn as I go. I wish I would have been able to emphasize in social media, but that emphasis was not available until I was graduating. 

Have your journalism goals changed since graduation, and if so how?

Gardner: At the current moment, I don’t feel like my journalism goals have changed much, except for actually applying myself and looking for jobs in my field right now. I still would like to be able to write for agriculture but am kind of putting that on hold to raise my baby and provide for my family. 

How are you taking care of yourself and staying motivated right now?

Gardner: I am focused on getting back into my sewing hobbies and trying to keep up with my personal blog. Motivation ebbs and flows for me right now because of how busy my husband and I are working and raising Hazel, but I try to just focus on the positives and I often have to remind myself that I was blessed with talents and skills and I just need to apply them more and learn where to use them. Most days, I count it as a win for self-care if I am able to get even just a little bit more sleep than the night before and make sure there are meals on the table at the end of the day. 

Read Gardner’s original profile here.


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