Howling Success: Caitlin Carroll
Caitlin Carroll (Communication ’23) doesn’t care for the expression, “When one door closes, another opens.” However, she admits that it’s the best way to describe how she became one of the highest ranking staff members for NC State’s student-run radio station, WKNC.
As a first-year in the fall of 2019, Carroll joined the Alpha Phi Omega Iota Lambda service fraternity and completed multiple projects in Raleigh with the Boys and Girls Club, Parks and Recreation, and Habitat for Humanity.
“Joining Alpha Phi Omega my first year gave me a lot of intangible skills I’ve used throughout college, like how to socialize with people and how to organize events,” Carroll said. “I’m really grateful for my time there because I met my two roommates — and best friends — through that program, and it was really awesome just to be out in the community and make a difference.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, Carroll continued to look for ways to be involved from home, and she applied for a leadership position within the fraternity. After being turned down for that role as well as another job on campus, she did some soul searching.
“It was such a hit to my self-esteem, and after that I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted out of college,” she said. “That’s when my older sister, who also went to NC State, told me about WKNC and thought I might like it since I had always been really into music.”
So, Carroll reached out to the station manager at the time and asked how she could get involved. A few emails and a Zoom call later, she joined WKNC as a blog content creator. She went on to write more than 100 weekly blog posts about various music, artists, events and more. When she returned to campus in the spring of 2021, she also became a volunteer DJ. WKNC listeners might remember her by her DJ name, Carbon Copy, and her show, “Passing By.”
“DJing really helped me fall in love with WKNC,” Carroll said. “I liked writing the blogs, but being able to create a show and share my favorite music with people really harnessed my love for WKNC.”
The following year, Carroll was promoted to her current role as a content manager. In that position, Carroll manages a staff of 15 fellow students, providing feedback on their submissions, publishing blogs, videos and podcasts, and ensuring her team adheres to AP Style and the station’s publication schedule.
In addition to serving as content manager, Carroll was hired last fall as one of WKNC’s first social media content creators. On Twitter, in particular, she crafts daily tweets for the radio station’s 10,000-plus followers that feature blog posts, shows, visual media and other content made by herself and her colleagues. Using the “bold and trendy” tone Carroll developed, WKNC’s tweets draw engagement from listeners from all walks of life and occasional shoutouts from artists featured on the station. If she ever experiences a case of writer’s block, Carroll browses the news for inspiration.
“I’m always looking at things happening in the world and thinking ‘How can I relate this to college radio?’” she said. “And sometimes I can’t. Like when I was watching the World Cup, I literally tweeted ‘Me watching the World Cup final: How can I make this about college radio?’”
Carroll’s involvement in college radio has also helped her decide on a career path. Her communication classes’ timing and subject matter have often overlapped with her work at WKNC.
“It’s crazy how things work out because I got the job creating social media content at the same time that I was taking a class about visual media,” Carroll said. “I just feel like everything I’ve experienced with WKNC has correlated with something else happening in my life, and my path has been very serendipitous.”
Following her graduation this spring, Carroll wants to continue working in social media and potentially in higher education.
“I’m glad to be a Howling Success, but I’m also glad that my being recognized brings recognition to WKNC,” she said. “I had a professor recently say that it’s one of NC State’s best kept secrets, and I feel like it’s kind of true. I hope after seeing this, more people will tune in and see what we’re all about!”
The Howling Success award recognizes undergraduate students for their outstanding work in campus leadership, community service and other areas in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs. If you know someone you consider a Howling Success, nominate them here: https://dasa.ncsu.edu/student-life/howling-success/.
This post was originally published in DASA.