Senior profile: Kayla Denke


Photo taken by Valerie Thomas Photography.

Denke’s favorite article was on the recent BookTok trend on the social media platform TikTok. Check it out on “The Hiller” website to get lost in the world of literature like she did!

1.What is your current position on “The Hiller” staff?

I am currently the Arts and Entertainment editor. 

2. How long have you been on staff and why did you join?

I started my Sophomore year. When I first moved back to this area, I saw that journalism was one of the options [as a class] and thought it was pretty cool and interesting. 

3. What is your favorite memory from your time on staff and why?

I’d say my Sophomore year because we’d always get together and make up these weird cast lists [with each other]. We made this one Shrek one and O’Lare was Fiona. Everyone got involved and we all thought it was hilarious. 

4. What will you miss most about “The Hiller”?

I will miss the jokes that are made. I will miss the constant warmth in the room everytime we walk into it, and I’ll definitely miss O’Lare’s tea craze days. 

5. Do you have a favorite article you wrote and why?

Oh that’s a tie! My first article was on the Friends reunion and it was the first thing that made me jump into it [journalism] because I’ve been watching Friendsfor years. And the second one is the “BookTok” one I did this year. It made me fall in love with reading again and introduced me to books and authors that I didn’t otherwise know. 

6. What do you think is the most important thing you have learned from your time on staff and why?

That’s a hard one because there’s so many! If you put your mind to it, you can do anything and that even applies to friends. I just feel that everyone has a good solid relationship with each other and O’Lare. She’s so personable and all the credit really goes to her. 

7. What advice would you give to underclassman who are interested in exploring journalism or joining “The Hiller” staff?

It might be hard, but be open and be yourself. Everyone is super welcoming and loving — we’re all just one big happy family. That’s what I walked into, and that’s what I think everyone just gives off those feelings. And if you like writing, write – it’s a writing class for a reason! 

8. Do you have any plans for after graduation?

I’m going to Duquesne [University] to major in occupational therapy and hoping to get my doctorate in the next five and a half years. 

9. Do you have a favorite quote from a book that you live by and why?

“There’s no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who do bad things sometimes.” “It Ends With Us” (Colleen Hoover). It makes you realize that yes, we might hate or dislike someone because they seem like a bad person, but that might not be their whole personality. That has really stuck with me and changed how I view a lot of things. I actually used it as the opening line for my research paper this year. 

10. Anything you’d like to add?

Best of luck to the incoming staff, especially the seniors, because I know they can keep the safe, fun environment I know it is. It’s been hard at times, but I know it can only get better from here.