Marcela Cartagena

Marcela Cartagena

Marcela Cartagena

By Emily Gouin

For Marcela Cartagena, a favorite college memory transformed into a career that she loves. Cartagena’s experience writing for The Reflector, Mississippi State University’s student newspaper, prepared her for a successful career as a journalist.

“My experience with The Reflector was fundamental in preparing me for the real world… I think the experience overall prepared me to be a strong professional,” Cartagena said.

Cartagena graduated from MSU in 1999, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication. Following graduation, Cartagena went on to work for several newspapers in Mississippi including the La Raza, a Spanish language newspaper in Chicago, Illinois. She has held jobs in writing, editing, design and copy editing, both in English and Spanish.

Cartagena believes that MSU’s professors successfully prepared her for the professional world. Specifically, she credits her mentor Frances McDavid, an instructor in the communication department, for making her years at Mississippi State so enjoyable. Her favorite class at MSU was Mass Media Communication Theory taught by Dr. Mark Goodman.

The time that Cartagena spent as a student at MSU helped her grow and become a more independent person. She says her alma mater greatly contributed to her success in life. She believes that “growing up, learning from mistakes, listening to others and loving your job with all your heart,” is what, combined, defines success.

Many of Cartagena’s family members also attended Mississippi State, including both of her sisters. Her older sister is an architect and her younger sister is a teacher.

Cartagena encourages students to “do what you love and be in love with what you do” but if “you realize that the career you chose wasn't what you expected, don't panic. It's never too late to close a chapter and start a new one. The possibilities are endless.”

Cartagena is proud of her degree from MSU, and is delighted to show it off wherever she goes.

“MSU was kind to me. Everywhere I go, in all my travels, I feel proud to wear a Mississippi State T-shirt. People have asked me why I chose MSU, and my answer is always the same,” said Cartagena. “Mississippi is home to some of the greatest thinkers, writers and performers in the country, and its people are more gracious and generous than anywhere in the country.”

In her free time, Cartagena enjoys reading, writing, and cooking. She also enjoys various physical activities, specifically running and swimming.

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