Hollie Strano, weathercaster and journalist for WKYC-TV, smoothed down the front of her bright pink dress in the dim lighting of the Dolan Reading Room. The space was filled with students chattering excitedly. Glancing at the podium, she stepped into the center of the room, opening with, “I’ve been up since 1 a.m. This is the same dress I’ve had on since one this morning. So, let’s just take down the barriers for a minute.”
Strano is a John Carroll alumna. During her tenure here, she was involved in what was then known as JCUTV. In fact, she founded the organization with the help of professors Bob Noll, Bob Stevenson and Dave Reese.
“I walked into JCU radio and I said, ‘I think you need a weather forecast on the radio station.’ And [Professor Stevenson] looked at me like ‘okay.’ And we did it,” Strano said. “Every professor in the [Communication] department was really supportive of me.”
Strano, however, did not have a clear road to her current career. Originally from Lyndhurst, Strano grew up knowing the family business — construction. As she matured, she realized that a life in construction was not the path for her. That’s when she told her parents she wanted to pursue a career as a weathercaster.
“I was a homebody,” Strano said. “I was … the first grandchild to go to college.”
Though she was a first-generation college student, Strano did have doubt about her choices. “I really, truly knew what I wanted to do. And it’s not always that way. I think that everyone’s journey is different. I know that. I don’t think that, I know that. And I was fortunate enough to know at a young age what I really wanted to do. So much so that my family asked, ‘Really? What are you thinking? You’re going to work in construction and get married.’ And I said, ‘No I’m going to go to college and I’m going to be on TV.’ Not only did I do that, but I had a job [in Toledo] before I left this school.”
Strano said she has a very supportive family. At John Carroll, she drew on that support and worked everyday to secure the practice she would need in her future career. “My journey [at John Carroll] was probably the best experience of my life,” Strano said.
Strano reflected on her time at John Carroll and remembered it fondly. “What I loved so much about this school is that I felt like it was a family. I really did,” she said.
When Strano received a job at a news station in Toledo, the University excused her from classes and asked her back for graduation. Since then, she has realized her dreams at WKYC, working as a weather-forecaster, a journalist, a reporter and many other news-focused roles.
Though Strano works long and hard hours, she loves the work she does. She also loves how her early hours enable her to spend time at home with her two children, Jessica and Brady.
Walking the snow-laden paths of Carroll before sharing her experience with John Carroll hopefuls, Strano recognized the influence John Carroll had on her early career and present life.
“It’s amazing to be able to come back to an institution that not only is based on religion, values and what really matters in the crazy world that we live in, but [it’s] an awesome education. [There are professors] you will…still talk to 20 years from now. Because that’s me.”