Hi there! I am Tonya Whitaker, user experience (UX) writer with a long history of helping clients attract, not distract, customers to their products.
Born in Houston, Texas.
Reared in Port Arthur, Texas.
I’d call myself a “B” student because I didn’t like to read.
High school. I developed my chops for writing when a hole in my 10th schedule led me to take journalism. Really wanted to be like Oprah one day (sigh). Had aspirations of attending UT-Arlington, majoring in journalism. Dreams dashed when I failed to win a scholarship.
For college, I remained close to home and attended Lamar University. Original major was home economics. Second major sealed when I stepped into Dr. Stone’s intro to sociology class. Junior year I recaptured my interest in journalism. Great timing for a return: Lamar was in turmoil and there were many stories that needed to be told. I became the first Black to lead the publication.
Sociology has its place everywhere, so earning a degree in it would open doors. Instead I went where every former journalism student travelled: to work in a local media outlet. I was hired at The Port Arthur News as a copy editor. I earned $6 an hour but I was able to buy a car and travel to Houston for Astros games and do some shopping.
After the News, I moved on to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Brazosport Facts, Huntsville Item, and Orange Leader. I also did a second stint at the news before rounding out my journalism career.
Grew with industry and upgraded to digital journalism. Took a pt role as staff writer for a Black newspaper in Dallas while attending graduate school. Freelance copywriting, web design, and technical writing. After earning my degree, I integrated more marketing communication into my portfolio, and even taught blogging and technical writing to college students.
I’d like to close with an ode to Virginia Woolf (1882-1941). I was never into reading as a child. But, as an adult, Woolf keeps me engaged. I first discovered her works in graduate school. Her greatest literary feat is stream of consciousness. Anyone who can tell a story through their memories and reality at the same time has gotta be a genius!