With a strong belief in public media and making connections with the community, Carolyn Donaldson has begun a new phase of her life after serving as a news anchor for WTAJ-TV for more than 20 years.
She has recently taken on the role as community engagement manager at WPSU Penn State, a new position for the public media station. Not only does she bring to the position her skills and resources but also the experience of having served on the advisory board at WPSU for several years.
“I got to see first-hand the unbelievable quality and the content and all of the cool stuff they were turning out in forms of the stories and the different programs they were releasing both nationally and locally,” she says. “[It was] a little bit of an evolution and reinvention for me.”
This new position of community engagement manager at WPSU lets Donaldson explore her love for public media even further than her time spent on the advisory board. Her goals and priorities are to first connect with the community.
“I’m trying to reach out to all of the different levels — business, social, community, government — trying to make contacts and see what are we doing right and what are we doing wrong; here’s what we’re doing, here’s how we connect; what can we work on together,” she says.
She is already in the process of making PBS K-12 classroom resources available for local school districts.
“The PBS Ready To Learn Initiative is a huge collection of digital curriculums that are available to educators all across the country, and through us, we have access to be able to arm educators with the latest cutting-edge curriculum guides and videos,” she says.
For example, students are currently learning by using programs on tablets, and in this digital age, Donaldson wants to connect teachers with the latest technologies from this PBS program so they can be successful in the classroom. She is looking to make connections with educators across the region.
“Some of our school districts around our region are already so digitally connected, and we hope to engage them as our early promoters in this process,” she says.
When asked about her transition from being an anchor on WTAJ-TV to this new role at WPSU, she says, “It was a very hard-wrought decision. I knew I was leaving a great place that tells great stories to go to another great place that promotes our area and tells our region’s stories.”
From being a communications instructor at Penn State Altoona to serving as a news anchor for many years to making connections and being involved with the State College community, Donaldson has made an impact and touched lives of many in the region.
“I had to reinvent myself a little bit,” she says, “and I’m still learning, but it’s exciting, it’s challenging, and changing up the game plan just adds a new boost of energy to anything that you do in life.”