119 Gregory Hall
          810 S. Wright St., MC-462
          Urbana, IL 61801


  • B.S., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (Advertising)
  • M.A., Webster University, St. Louis (Media Communications)
  • Certificate in Marketing Excellence, Management Institute School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Teacher Scholar Certificate, Center for Teaching Excellence, Illinois
  • Certificate in Technology-Enhanced Teaching, Center for Teaching Excellence
  • Citizen Scholar Certificate, Center for Teaching Excellence, Illinois


  • Visiting Lecturer in Advertising
  • Contributing Editor, tED Magazine
  • Katrina Olson Strategic Communications, Principal

Course Specialties

  • Public Relations Writing
  • Public Relations Strategy
  • Advertising Strategy

Katrina M. Olson worked in public relations and advertising for 25 years before discovering her passion for teaching. Having worked for both agencies and internal departments – and running her own firm for seven years – she enjoys sharing her experience with her students.

Prior to joining the Advertising Department, Katrina taught Persuasive Writing for the Department of English. Currently, she teaches Introduction to PR, PR Writing, Advanced PR, Introduction to Advertising, Advertising & Society, and Advertising Management & Planning. She also taught PR, advertising, and communication at Parkland College and time management at St. Louis Community College; and she enjoys conducting seminars on PR, advertising, and marketing planning/strategy for working professionals. In her youth she was a stringer for The News-Gazette, covering local school board and city council meetings, and the occasional feature story.

Her work has been recognized by the Indiana Bank Marketing Association, Healthcare Advertising Review, Financial Advertising Review, Vision Awards, Summit Creative Awards, IABC, and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. But her most treasured award is her Ginny from the Champaign-Urbana Theater Company for “most enthusiastic chorus member” in her role as “the stunning blonde” in Meet Me in St. Louis.

Her fondness for non-profits has led to class projects for such organizations as Balanced and Restorative Justice, CASA (children’s advocates), Companion Animal Resource Center, Crisis Nursery, Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Family Service of Champaign County, 40 North/88 West, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, Illinois Green Business Association, Illinois Patriot Education Fund/Bucks for the Brave, Prairie Rivers Network, ServeIllinois, SHARE (horse rescue), and Stand Up To Coal.

Katrina consistently appears on the list of Teachers Rated as Excellent by their Students and has continued to hone her teaching skills by taking more than 20 workshops and earning three certificates from the Center for Teaching Excellence.

She lives in rural Urbana with her husband Scott, an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering; their two daughters, Hailey and Sydney; Whiskers the cat; Mayzi the dog; Casey the bunny; and their two horses, Boots and Okie.

Research/Creative Endeavor
Katrina writes two regular columns on social media and public relations for tED magazine and has judged their annual Best of the Best annual marketing competition for eight years.

She continues to operate her strategic communications consultancy and enjoys writing for various clients and publications.