Quarterly Donor Spotlight- Katrina Mailloux
Many Marshall students are first-generation students. They are attending college and achieving the dreams of their entire families. They are planning to change their lives, the lives of their families, their communities and our world. They are choosing to study at Marshall because of the variety of programs, scholarship opportunities, outstanding faculty and new facilities. Because of the university’s proximity to home and remote campuses and centers, more students are able remain close to home to pursue their education at a fraction of the cost.
“I was only the second in my family to go to college and when I went to Marshall, that was a common story among my peers,” said Katrina Mailloux. “In Appalachia, it’s still a common story. It’s important for me to give back to the university that afforded me an opportunity to get a great education. I want to provide that opportunity to future Sons and Daughters of Marshall.”
Growing up in South Point, Ohio, Katrina wanted to attend college out of state, but due to her young age at the time of her high school graduation, Katrina’s parents persuaded her to attend Marshall’s Huntington campus. Because of the comfort she found in her community, she completed her business degree in two and a half years, an achievement she credits to remaining close to home.
“Once I was there, I took advantage of the familiarity I had with the campus. I was fortunate to have supportive professors and advisors and never felt like I missed out on anything,” she explained.
After graduation, Katrina attended law school at Vanderbilt and went on to work at Ashland Oil, prior to their move to Covington, Kentucky, and then at St. Mary’s Medical Center. There, she took advantage of a program in which St. Mary’s paid for employees to continue their education. Enrolling at Marshall again, she completed her Master of Business Administration in two years.
“The opportunity came to continue my education at no cost other than my time and commitment,” Katrina explained.
Facing an injury, Katrina discovered yoga and began channeling her hard work ethic in a different direction and opened Brown Dog Yoga.
“There are so many reasons for opening the Brown Dog studios. Primarily, I wanted to fulfill my life’s purpose of helping others realize their true potential. Yoga became an incredible catalyst for my physical, emotional and spiritual growth. It simply made sense to share my passion for health and wellness with the community,” she said.
With the original Brown Dog Studio in Heritage Station, a second studio was opened in Barboursville this year. Katrina hopes to add more studios across the Tri-state to help even more people.
“Every semester I was at Marshall, I requested an overload on my hours. My advisors believed in me. They didn’t doubt my work ethic or question my plan. I was surrounded by professors who believed in my spirit. Dr. Chong Kim, Dr. Robert Alexander and Dr. Cam Brammer are whom I admire most for challenging me in my goals. Their support ultimately gave me the confidence to go to law school at a top-tier university and work for a Fortune 50 company,” she explained.
Pair this support with Katrina’s hope for future generations to achieve their academic goals, she has chosen to remember Marshall University in her estate plans.
“My greatest joy has come from giving back to others. I have always told my children, ‘no one can ever take away your education.’ I want to give something to our youth that has real value and legacy, something that no one can take away from them,” Katrina said. “I hope the next generation appreciates the value of hard work and that they don’t get caught up in the ‘side hustles’ and ‘instafame.’ I hope they bring back family dinners and real conversations and that they interact with each other on a basic, human level and not through likes and comments on social media. I hope that they see the value of real world connection, eye to eye and heart to heart. I believe that this generation will be the one to heal the world.”
She advises today’s student to work smart and work hard because they never know what opportunities might come their way. As for the university, Katrina hopes it continues to grow, recruits and retains qualified professors and expands the curriculum, but most of all, she hopes Marshall never loses sight of its why.
“The students are the why behind the success of the university and I am honored to have been a part of that, as a student and now as a donor.”