Finding her voice

Brenna Donnelly didn’t know anyone at Mizzou when she arrived on campus. Now, she’s developed a robust network of friends and faculty members who are supporting her as she prepares to transition into life after college.

Dec. 11, 2023
Contact: Deidra Ashley,

From an early age, Brenna Donnelly developed dual passions for music and writing. The Wichita, Kansas, native began voice lessons in middle school and attended a college preparatory high school focused on literacy and writing. So, it made the University of Missouri a perfect fit when she decided to pursue dual degrees and journalism and music along with an Honors Certificate and a Multicultural Studies Certificate.

As a double major, Donnelly leaned on the friends she made at Mizzou through hands-on learning opportunities for support as she balanced schoolwork and time with friends.

Read on for a Q&A with Donnelly about her Mizzou experience.

Why did you choose Mizzou?

I had heard about how great the Missouri School of Journalism is, and I felt at home when I came to visit campus — especially after meeting all the people at the School of Music. One of my favorite Mizzou memories is from my campus visit where I bonded with some people over how anxious and excited we were, and I’ve stayed in touch with them ever since.  

How did you take advantage of hands-on learning opportunities on campus?

There's a lot of hands-on learning, and I think that the holistic educational experience is very valuable. I took the opportunity to do a lot of hands-on learning with Concert Chorale and Show-Me Opera through the School of Music. Everyone is so supportive of one another, and its fun getting to work with professionals as well as my peers.

In the School of Journalism, my capstone course involved working in AdZou, the student-run advertising agency. With a team of six students, including myself, we developed a campaign for a client. I really enjoy group projects like that because its like the types of experiences I’ll encounter after college, especially in the journalism industry. So, it’s great to have the opportunity to learn important life skills such as how to collaborate, work with others and offer constructive feedback when there is a disagreement.  

These dual experiences have helped me grow so much.

Tell us about your Honors Certificate and Multicultural Studies certificate.

I joined the Honors College as a freshman and have enjoyed how interactive they are — plus the challenge they bring due to their heavier workload.

A lot of the classes I was signing up for, in general, were related to multicultural studies, so when my journalism advisor suggested I work toward that certificate, I jumped at the opportunity.

What was your favorite class?

My favorite class was the opera workshop course. As a double major, it was always hard to have a solid friend group. This class allowed me to hang out and have fun with the same group of people every year.

What would you tell someone who’s interested in coming to Mizzou?

Do it! The faculty and staff are wonderful — especially Steven Tharp and Christine Seitz in the School of Music — and I’ve honestly made friends with some of my teachers.

Story written by Eric Stann

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