Public relations professional urges students to take advantage of opportunities

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Catherine Duncan, communications director at University of Texas Health San Antonio, speaks to a public relations class about her career and gives tips for success Oct. 25 in Loftin. Duncan attributed her successful career to her time on The Ranger staff, obtaining a bachelor’s degree and becoming skillful in writing various types of articles. In addition, she discussed the importance of learning about advertising, photography and graphic design. Nicole M. Bautista

Education leads to a higher paycheck, the former student said.

By Shamona Wali

Students at this college should not be discouraged because they are not studying at a prestigious four-year university for their first two years of college, the director of communications for UT Health San Antonio, told a public relations class Oct. 25.

“Toward the end of my high school career, I realized that going to college and getting a higher education was going to be all up to me,” Catherine Duncan said. “I started off at San Antonio College with the determination that I will get out of here no matter what it takes.

“I was given all the right tools that I needed for great journalism and communications here at SAC, and I found out later that I would not have succeeded the way I did if I didn’t start off here first.”

Her passion for journalism began when she started off at this college, saying that she had been a student sitting in Room 209 of Loftin Student Center where she was speaking to the class taught by journalism Adjunct Teresa Talerico.

Duncan explained the importance of being dedicated and professional in whatever it is that students do in college. Her hard work and dedication led her to graduate from this college in 1987 and continue her education at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Once I started going to UT, I realized that the students around me who started off at UT instead of going to a community college first were not as polished and devoted as I was. It showed me how grateful I should be for the education I received here at SAC,” Duncan said.

During Duncan’s years at this college, she got a position as an editorial assistant at the San Antonio Express-News, which kick-started her career.

While at UT-Austin, Duncan became a general assignments reporter at the Austin American-Statesman as well as a reporter for the Huntsville Item. After graduating from UT-Austin, Duncan became a reporter for the McKinney Courier-Gazette.

“After graduating from UT, I realized that there weren’t many jobs available for UT communications graduates in the Austin area and decided to move back to San Antonio. Once I got back, I realized there weren’t many jobs available in San Antonio either.

“I applied to many jobs and finally received a call from KTSA. Although my passion was in journalism and not radio broadcasting and television, I created a job for myself there. My background knowledge from SAC also benefitted me at this job,” Duncan said.

Duncan stressed the importance of diversifying as a student and to remember to always say yes to any and every opportunity because people never know what could end up benefitting them.

“Always remember to do more than the next person,” Duncan said. “Being able to write, read, take photographs, videos, and being able to do things online will all benefit you when looking for careers.”

In her job as a communications director for the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, now known as UT Health, she creates articles, magazines, pamphlets, annual reports, videos and short documentaries. She also works to raise money for the center’s projects.

“There will be things that come up and distract you from your goals, but just remember to complete your education to its fullest potential because no matter what happens, nobody will be able to take your degree away from you,” she said.

“When it comes to promotions and higher paychecks, education is the key,” Duncan said.


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