Katie Howerton said Union taught her what community is and how important it is to the lives of the people within it.
“Union taught me how to care so much about the community I was in that now I feel inclined to care for the community I’m in at work,” she said.
Howerton is the communications manager for Our Jackson Home, an organization created to celebrate the people and the stories of Jackson, Tennessee. A 2015 Union graduate, Howerton worked on the design for the Our Jackson Home magazine as her senior project.
She said in her time in the Union community, she slowly developed a love for the Jackson community. After she graduated, she said she wanted to continue working for Our Jackson Home because of the way it speaks to Jackson.
“I knew I wanted to do it, but I knew it couldn’t just be a hobby,” Howerton said.
She said Our Jackson Home was run by volunteers, and they knew that if no one took over to run it full-time, it would not last long. They asked her if she would be interested.
“It could have become just this thing that happened in 2015 if nobody took over,” Howerton said. “They said, ‘Hey, we know that you may not be super confident, but we’re confident in you, and we’re willing to take a risk.’”
Howerton said she is glad to have had Union as a training ground for her professional career.
“On top of training to be a professional, I also was given plenty of room to be creative, which was what first allowed me to come up with the idea for Our Jackson Home (magazine) and continues to allow me to run it,” she said.
Howerton said her professors at Union gave her direction, but they also set her free to follow creative ideas. She said that has helped her as she continues to develop ideas for Our Jackson Home.
“I don’t feel aimless because I don’t have specific directions,” she said. “I’m comfortable allowing room to explore.”