We had the good fortune of connecting with Katelynn Rentería and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katelynn, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Being able to demonstrate perseverance when pursuing something you’re passionate about is a quality I admire greatly, and I think it’s a valuable skill to be able to keep moving forward in making your dreams come true, regardless of how hard it may be or how long it may take. When working as a creative professional, it is important to recognize your ambitions, and the capabilities you have within you to make those dreams come to life. Even in the face of obstacles, practicing perseverance and trusting in your own abilities is key to accomplishing your goals and moving forward. If you have a passion for something, or a dream that you want to work towards, then there is immense value in the work and effort put in to making those goals come true, especially in the face of obstacles. Honing your skills, striving to improve, and working to meet your ambitions is very admirable, and when all the hard work and effort builds up to your dream being accomplished, that’s the greatest thing. When your goal is finally achieved, the feeling is all the more triumphant.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Reading and writing were two things I’ve loved dearly since childhood, and I was always writing stories as I grew up. My freshman year of high school I began to write my first manuscript, and at the age of 16, I published my first young-adult fiction novel, “The Other Side of the Law.” It was a surreal experience to be able to accomplish one of my life goals at such a young age, and ever since I’ve been working to inspire students and youth to follow their passions and dreams. I’ve pursued this goal by giving presentations to elementary, middle, high school, and college campuses, libraries, literacy fairs, and events all across deep South Texas for the past five years. Many milestones have been earned along the way, including “The Other Side of the Law” having been the 2017 Recipient for the Literary Classics Silver Book Award for the Middle School Division.
I became an award-winning author at the age of 17, and a year later I graduated valedictorian of my high school class with an Associate of Science Degree in Biology. Two years later I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology, and am now pursuing a Master of Arts Degree in Experimental Psychology. It’s been wonderful to have met so many talented writers, authors, and literacy advocates throughout this journey, and in doing so, I created “The Write Crowd: A Virtual Author Expo” in October of 2020, meant to connect students, schools, and readers with authors from all over the nation and world during a time of a global pandemic where that connection between writer and reader may not have been so readily available. “The Write Crowd” featured over 45 panelists of local, regional, national, and international writers, authors, literacy advocates, and artists, completely virtual and free both live and on-demand for the public. Being able to keep human connections strong and bring national and international authors to deep South Texas virtually in a time of our nation’s crisis has been one of my greatest accomplishments thus far.
One thing I have learned and continue to see every day as both an author and presenter is the sheer amount of talent present in the youth and students in the communities of the Rio Grande Valley of deep South Texas. The love of reading and writing is in the hearts of so many, and I’m blessed to be able to use my platform and reach to encourage these brilliant minds to hone their talents and pursue their passions to further enrich the realm of literacy. If there is one thing I could share with the people I meet in my work, it is to always pursue your passion, no matter the adversity you may face. Believe in yourself, and there is no telling what you may accomplish.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The Rio Grande Valley has several gems to uncover, but my favorite place to visit regularly is the beautiful beaches of South Padre Island. You can spend hours on the miles of sand, and you’re never far from a breathtaking ocean view. With fishing piers, weekend fireworks, a birding and wildlife center, seafood dining, live bands, sandcastle contests, skateboarding, sports, and even horseback riding on the beach, the possibilities to spend in the sand and sun are endless. Another favorite attraction is the Gladys Porter Zoo, home to about 400 animal species from all over the world. It’s a beautifully landscaped zoological and botanical park, with animals of land, air and sea for the whole family to learn about and enjoy. Finally, if there is one thing that everyone knows about the Rio Grande Valley, it’s how rich in culture and food the restaurants are. From five-star restaurants to great tasting taco stands and food trucks alike, the Mexican food is as rich in flavor as it is in culture!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Achieving so many of my goals thus far would not be possible if not for the profound support of my family from a very young age. My parents always sought to nurture my love of reading and writing, and many teachers and librarians helped that love blossom throughout my school years. Through my publication and journey as both a writer and author, my family has been there every step of the way to offer guidance and encouragement. Even now that I’ve been published for several years, every accomplishment is celebrated alongside them.
Other: Link Tree: https://linktr.ee/KateRenteria
Anthony Medina, 40/40 Advertising