Journalism Major Finds Career Path to Write Her Own Future
For as long as Skylar Trostinsky can remember, she’s loved writing.
Notebooks filled with her short stories stacked up in her room throughout grade school. But it wasn’t until she took a journalism course at Chico State that she felt confident to pursue writing and communications as a profession.
Trostinsky is the general manager of Tehama Group Communications (TGC), Chico State’s student-run public relations agency, and is president of the University’s 16-person hip-hop dance team, Envy. For 1.5 years, the graduating senior also has worked as a copy editor for the NorCal Design Center, the design headquarters for Digital First Media’s Northern California publications.
“I knew I wanted to be a writer from a young age and since finding public relations and the TGC team, I’ve found exactly where I belong.”Skylar Trostinsky
The East Coast native said it was in professor Stephen Caldes’ ”Magazine Writing” class that she felt her path became clear.
“This class provided a space for honesty and self-reflection, which caused me to share experiences I never would’ve done otherwise,” Trostinsky said. “In turn, my writing moved the classroom and made students emotional. The class showed me that my writing was impactful, encouraging that goal of wanting to change the world for the better with my words.”
She is now less than a month away from graduating with a 3.9 GPA and a BA in journalism with a public relations option with a minor in women’s studies. A dean’s list honoree for multiple semesters, Trostinsky said she is eager to enter the workforce in the entertainment industry or an organization focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion.
“I knew I wanted to be a writer from a young age and since finding public relations and the TGC team, I’ve found exactly where I belong,” said Trostinsky, who is bilingual in English and Russian. “Being general manager has shown me the true leadership potential I have as well as the skills I can utilize to grow others in my career.”
Trostinsky’s rise to leadership in the department didn’t come naturally at first, she said. Usually reserved, she had to push herself to sign up for opportunities. But once she did, Trostinsky fully embraced her roles.
“One of the things I really appreciate about Skylar is she’s very reflective and intuitive about the different things that will motivate the people who are part of her team,” said Janell Bauer, Journalism and PR Department chair and professor. “She strikes a wonderful balance between having high expectations of herself and other people, but also communicating that she is a strong advocate and support for them.”
“TGC was my first experience being in leadership in my department,” she said. “I’m the PR handler for Envy, so I knew that being an account executive was something I would be able to do.”
It’s also in this role that she learned she is good at managing stressful situations and keeping people calm, she said. There are times when a client is unhappy with the result and it’s important to look at those experiences as opportunities to understand what went wrong and what could have been done differently.
Bauer recalled a time Trostinsky’s team received a critical comment regarding a social media post. Trostinsky allowed her team to process it, share how they felt, and lead them to make a decision on how to respond to the comment, Bauer said.
Trostinsky also brings laughter and levity into working situations in a way that enhances people’s creativity. At TGC, Trostinsky leads a team of 14. Since August 2022, she has also overseen public relations projects for Butte College’s Office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Antiracism, which is one of TGC’s clients.
“I felt like this is exactly what the department is trying to do in a learning environment,” Bauer said. “It was a challenging situation and she handled it with grace and integrity in a way that allowed everyone to have a positive learning experience. It’s been fun to see her leadership grow and for her to develop her confidence and recognize how much she has to offer.”
Outside of Chico State, Trostinsky teaches art classes at a Russian preschool in the summer and volunteers at a residential care facility in the Sacramento area. And aside from her on-campus experiential learning opportunities, the Chico Enterprise-Record newspaper has published her work.
Trostinsky said she feels grateful Chico State offers TGC as a real-life training ground for students to work with clients while honing their skills.
“My leadership skills have grown a lot since I enrolled at Chico State,” she said. “I never was put in a position to lead a group of people before. I know that in the future, I’ll be even more thankful knowing that I have had these experiences.”
She said she appreciates the support from the Department of Journalism and Public Relations. While she loves writing, Trostinsky does not think she would have pursued it as passionately as she has if not for the encouragement and support of Chico State faculty.