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katie feeney
katie feeney
Culture > Digital

For Katie Feeney, Turning 21 Opens Up A Brand New Chapter

Katie Feeney is about to celebrate her 21st birthday. “I’m excited about it! It means I’m one step closer to graduating and entering the real world. After that, the possibilities are endless,” she shares in an exclusive interview with Her Campus. The milestone comes the week before the Penn State junior moves back to college, where she’s studying broadcast journalism. 

Once she cleans up the confetti, she’ll settle into a semester of hybrid classes, create social media content for her 3.3 million YouTube subscribers and 7.4 million TikTok followers, and decide which NFL events she’ll report on next. You know, the typical college student routine.

Feeney’s been working toward a career in sports broadcasting since her freshman year. Her resume is seriously impressive: She’s the NFL’s first-ever social media correspondent, has taken viewers behind the scenes at the 2023 NFL Draft, and walked her first red carpet at Super Bowl LVI. She owes it all to her followers. “The presence I built on social media across not just TikTok, but especially YouTube and Instagram, opened up so many doors for me. I’ve gotten hands-on experience in both the social media world and broadcast journalism,” she says.

Sports have always played a big role in Feeney’s life, thanks to her two older brothers — but it wasn’t always what she envisioned for her career. Feeney entered Penn State as a business major, but switched her degree when she stepped on the field for her first college football game. “It was so unreal: the atmosphere, the students… I knew from that point forward, I needed to pursue something in sports, because there really is nothing like it,” she says.

Feeney’s sports journalism experience has been mostly rooted in football so far, but her ultimate goal is to get an Olympics-level breadth of sports broadcasting experience under her belt. She’d love to report on hockey, basketball, soccer, and “definitely get more into women’s sports — the women need some love!”

As a young female reporter, Feeney’s looking to make a name for herself in the male-dominated sports broadcasting world. She considers reporting at the MLB’s 2022 All-Star Weekend her career highlight so far, and not just because she got to interview some of the current biggest names in baseball like Mike Trout and Aaron Judge. “I really had to put myself out there. I was one of the only female reporters. I was definitely the youngest there,” she reflects. “Asking professional, All-Star baseball players a question when big reporters are also asking them questions is definitely nerve-wracking, but you’ve just got to jump in the deep end.”

Feeney’s definitely in the deep end now. As a budding sports broadcaster and established YouTuber who’s at the halfway point of her college experience, it’s safe to say her plate is full. Time management and online classes have been key in helping her stay balanced. She says her favorite form of self-care outside of school is “going on walks outside. It is so therapeutic. If my brain feels a little bit clogged or I feel a little stressed out, I’ll get some fresh air and go on a walk.”

Fall semester brings fresh air and fresh opportunities, including Feeney’s 21st birthday on Aug. 16. She suspects her friends are planning an extra-special celebration. She playfully shakes her head. “I told them I don’t want anything big. I’m not a huge partier. I just want dinner with the girls, but I know they’re not going to do that,” she says.

She might be lowkey about celebrating the milestone, but Feeney couldn’t be more excited about turning 21. Always a career woman, Feeney knows there are new professional opportunities that come with age. “There are certain brands and events I can work with now that I’m 21. It’ll be helpful that there won’t be any restrictions from that standpoint anymore,” she explains.

Feeney’s got a list of goals that she’s excited to accomplish during the next year of her life (“The first thing I want to do is start a podcast,” she reveals), but her main goal is to keep building her connection with her audience. “Sometimes it’s hard for me to choose what to keep to myself and what to post on social media,” she admits. “I’m becoming more comfortable sharing my personal life on camera. Ultimately, I want people to get to know me as a person.”

As the world gets to know Feeney online, she’s also getting to know herself. Her time in college has taught her that she loves being busy and that she wants to cross as many countries off her travel bucket list as possible. Her dream vacation spot is Italy because “eating pasta all day sounds like a dream!” she laughs. 

Whether her feet are planted firmly on a field or on the streets of Rome, Feeney’s going into the next year with her head on her shoulders — and she’s taking you with her.

Fabiana Beuses is an entertainment journalist at Her Campus, where she interviews celebrities and professionally fangirls over pop culture phenomena. She previously served as the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus at FSU and as Her Campus' Summer 2023 Entertainment & Culture Intern. She graduated from Florida State University with double majors in Media/Communication Studies and English (Editing, Writing, and Media) and a minor in Film Studies. When she's not polishing her latest article, you can find her browsing bookstore aisles, taste-testing vanilla lattes around town, or rewatching the Harry Potter series for the millionth time.