February 13, 2024

National Girls and Women in Sports Day (Feb. 7) is devoted to recognizing the progress of girls and women in athletics. At Susquehanna, more than 200 women student-athletes take to fields, courts, tracks, courses and swimming pools every year to compete on the university’s intercollegiate athletics teams.

Women are also breaking barriers on the sidelines and in the press box.

Susquehanna’s chapter of the Association for Women in Sports Media celebrated NGWSD with a variety of events that offered professional development and fun — and sometimes both at the same time.

“We wanted to provide women with the chance to work in sports and gain more experience while also planning fun events for our members that celebrate their hard work in sports media,” said Abigail MacMillan ’24, a journalism and digital media major and president of AWSM.

The highlight of the week was the organization’s production led by all women – announcers, camera operators, director – of the women’s basketball team’s Feb. 7 matchup against Lycoming College, a game the River Hawks won to clinch their place in the Landmark Conference Tournament.

“With a women’s basketball game falling on NGWSD, we knew that we had to do something special,” MacMillan said. “I was very happy to see it put together and promoted on social media and around campus.”

AWSM also aired productions – with all-women hosts and guests – of two Susquehanna studio programs: Coach’s Corner and River Hawk Athlete Spotlight. Other activities included a field trip to a Monster Jam monster truck event where they spoke with women drivers and got a behind-the-scenes tour, as well as fundraisers, socializers and a résumé workshop with a headshot opportunity.

“Twenty years ago, you could count the number of women working in sports on one hand, and we usually only saw women on camera within a group of male coworkers. This is a growing industry that more young girls and women are getting interested in and that’s an amazing thing to see,” MacMillan said. “Recognizing and celebrating this day allows women across the world to feel represented and recognized for their roles in the sports media industry.”

Less than five years after it was founded, Susquehanna’s chapter of AWSM was named 2023 Student Chapter of the Year by the national organization. SU is one of only 17 colleges or universities nationwide to have a chapter, and is by far the smallest, said Dave Kaszuba, associate professor of communications and advisor to AWSM, making the national recognition all the more impressive.

“AWSM provides a great way for our students to network, gain access to mentors and guest speakers, and take advantage of AWSM resources like scholarship competitions, competitive internship placements and an annual convention,” Kaszuba said.

After graduation, MacMillan plans to work in the sports media industry as a sports photographer for a professional or collegiate team.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I picked up a camera and photographed a soccer game for the yearbook. Capturing the highs and lows of that one game had given me the gift of knowing what I wanted to do in my lifetime,” MacMillan said. “To be able to tell the stories of athletes on my college campus through photos is such an amazing privilege and opportunity — an experience I’ll forever be grateful for.”