Woebse Fights Fires Both on Campus and on the Side

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Published March 29, 2020
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The Montclarion
Woebse in half gear posing for the camera. Photo courtesy of Katelyn Woebse.

Throughout her years at Montclair State University, senior public relations major Katelyn Woebse has always been involved on campus in numerous clubs. Woebse’s itinerary ranges from a student ambassador to firefighting. With so many activities on her plate, Woebse had to learn to balance out her hectic life.

Woebse started off as a student ambassador, guiding prospective students and families around campus. She showed prospective students what a day in the life of a Red Hawk looks like. Eventually, her involvement landed her a position as a firm director of Montclair State’s first student-run public relations agency.

Woebse joined the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) as a general attendee. PRSSA works to provide students with real-world experiences on campus. Around her sophomore year, Woebse got a hold of her first internship with Amy Delman Public Relations, a boutique public relations consultancy.

“[Woebse] has made tremendous, tremendous improvements and helps me run the business more smoothly,” Delman said. “She’s dedicated, charismatic and eager to help and has a real solid presence.”

This past September, Woebse found herself in her second internship for Schumacher Chevy Auto Group.

Group photo of the graduating class, taken after the ceremony. Photo courtesy of Melissa Johnson

Group photo of the graduating class, taken after the ceremony. Photo courtesy of Melissa Johnson

With such a diverse background in being involved with the public and giving an extra hand when needed, Woebse decided to try out something new. She decided to receive her certification in Firefighter 1 in December 2018 after coming across a video announcing their recruitment for new volunteers and deciding to give it a try.

Going to classes as a full-time student is hard work on its own, but to add two part-time jobs, an internship and firefighting, can sound overwhelming.

“Firefighting wasn’t on my list of career options growing up, but I was driven to try different things,” Woebse said.

Despite the challenges that come with trying something new, Woebse put all her hard work to the test.

Group photo of the graduating class. Photos by Michael Nunn

Group photo of the graduating firefighter class in full gear. Photo courtesy of Michael Nunn

“The training for my certification was intense, it was like nothing I have ever had to endure,” Woebse said. “Firefighter 1 is designed and required by the NFPA [National Fire Protection Association]. Training consisted of classroom theory as well as skill-oriented [physical] drill sessions. I completed a four month long semester to obtain my certification as a New Jersey firefighter.”

With such a busy schedule, managing school, work and firefighting caused a lot of struggle in the beginning.

“During the four month long journey, I found it pretty difficult in preparing for my final exam, which would determine my eligibility for becoming a certified firefighter,” Woebse said. “Juggling school, the fire academy, my on-campus job and club activities, it was an uphill battle fall semester of 2018. It was hard finding extra time to study all the material in addition to everything else I was doing.”

Katelyn Woebse, a senior majoring in public relations. Photo courtesy of Katelyn Woebse.

Katelyn Woebse, a senior majoring in public relations. Photo courtesy of Katelyn Woebse.

Woebse eventually found a way to juggle everything at once and is grateful for the people that supported her through her journey.

“I have to admit that I am surrounded by some wonderful people who have been so supportive and loving,” Woebse said.

Finishing the final stretch of this semester through all the challenges thrown at her and the different jobs she upholds, Woebse is excited to see where she lands. With a soon to be a degree in public relations, she plans on furthering her education as a firefighter once she graduates.

“I’ve learned self-discipline and have attained greater compassion for self-development and just believing in myself overall,” Woebse said.

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