All the Right Angles
Jenna McKnight has always been interested in environmental issues, but the
peaks, the pines, and the “impressive collection” of professors at Northern
Arizona University inspired her to combine two loves she discovered as a
student: journalism and environmental communications. "My interest in the
environment was amplified being at NAU and in northern Arizona," McKnight
says. "It is a hub of environmental activity."
Building environmental connections
McKnight, a journalism major, anthropology minor, and honors student, worked
her fair share of late-night deadlines at the Lumberjack,
but she also was inspired to create the university's Society of Environmental
Communicators in 1998. The organization continues to thrive, and sponsors
activities such as the Earth Day festival, a student task force for NAU
Recycles, and an anti-mining campaign. While working for the university’s Ecological Restoration Institute and
interning at the Grand Canyon Trust, McKnight also contributed to forestry
research and community outreach efforts.
McKnight now serves as the editor-in-chief for Architizer, a news and social networking site for architects,
designers, and design enthusiasts. “It’s great to work at a young, energetic
company where the possibilities are endless,” she says. McKnight credits Northern
Arizona University with fostering the kind of education that allowed a
journalism student to also gain valuable experience at the Ecological
Restoration Institute. That kind of background propelled McKnight to realize
her professional dreams, she says.
"NAU offered great career-building opportunities, and I took advantage
of them. I had a very strong portfolio by the time I graduated," she says.
"I credit this strong foundation to helping me succeed in my career."
Recognized by her alma mater
As an editor and writer, McKnight focuses much of her attention on green
issues in architecture and also contributes to GreenSource,
a sister publication that covers sustainable design and construction.
McKnight's work hasn't gone unnoticed, earning awards and recognition from a
plethora of organizations since her university days. She was honored at the
School of Communication's 2009 Associated Press/Robert R. Eunson award
ceremony—an award for which a former journalism professor, Lea Parker,
nominated her. McKnight says Parker encouraged her to follow her passion.
"She was especially influential, as she
inspired me to pursue environmental communication and the founding of the
Society of Environmental Communicators," McKnight says. "She got me
excited about using my communication skills to help the environment."