Communication Major Gains Real-World Experience With Library Support

Image of Hunt Library in early evening on the Partners Way side of the building.

Communication major Katie Gruninger has a passion for helping people. 

Katie Gruninger

Focused on a career in event planning, with eyes toward the nonprofit sector, she serves as a student administrative assistant at Hunt Library.

NC State University Libraries recently announced Gruninger as one of two winners of the third annual Library Leaders Scholarships. Recognizing exemplary contributions to the Libraries by current students, the $2,500 awards come from the Library Leaders Scholarship Endowment. 

Growing up, Gruninger enjoyed helping her father — a professional chef — cater large events. She wasn’t interested in following precisely in her father’s footsteps, so she chose to pursue a communication degree rather than go to culinary school.

Interacting with all users of the Hunt Library — from NC State students and faculty to community visitors and dignitaries — is broad-based training for the kinds of client relations she expects in the professional world.

“I knew that communication was a major that could potentially get me into that field of hospitality or events,” says Gruninger, who also makes time to volunteer for the campus Feed the Pack program. “Going into event planning or coordinating would allow me to use my communication skills, as well as my creative side.”

Although her position at Hunt Library and the scholarship have a lot of practical value, Gruninger also enjoys how it connects her to other students’ experiences and likes the thrill of getting to work in a prestigious building.

“I think everyone should work on campus at some point because it makes you feel like you’re more part of your school,” she says. “Especially because it’s the Hunt Library and everyone knows Hunt no matter what school you go to. It’s awesome that we have this library, so why not work there, you know?”

An earlier version of this story appeared on the NC State University Libraries website.