The Association for Women in Sports Media has picked Michigan State as its 2022 student chapter of the year.
Michigan State's student chapter is led by co-presidents Jayna Bardahl and Regan Holgate, outreach and fundraising chair Grace Durfey and social media manager Sara Tidwell. Former AWSM board chair Joanne Gerstner, who is a Brandt Fellow Sports Journalist and the coordinator of Michigan State's Sports Journalism program, along with L.A. Dickerson serve as the chapter advisers. Michigan State, which first received this award in 2016, now joins Oklahoma State and Penn State as the only student chapters to receive this award twice.
"We were very impressed with the growth Michigan State was able to achieve this year while still navigating the evolving landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being able to double membership is a hard task to achieve under normal circumstances and is part of why they were chosen as our student chapter of the year." said Ashley Colley, AWSM’s president. “As someone who has been in their shoes, seeing their dedication and commitment to growing this area the entire year is impressive. The variety and popularity of events were notable, from holding a portfolio workshop including headshots and resume tips to planning an outing to a Detroit Red Wings game that included a panel of speakers. These experiences really stood out to us as examples of what AWSM is all about, with networking and bonding events. Their members benefited greatly."
In addition to the chapter's portfolio assistance workshop and Detroit Red Wings panel and game outing, Michigan State also hosted several speakers, including ESPN production coordinator Sierra Galanza and MSU women's basketball social media manager Portia Pettis. The chapter put an emphasis on finding unique guest speakers that were extremely personable and could be lifelong connections for their members that could touch all the different areas of the sports media world, such as sports marketing, broadcasting, social media and reporting.
"The women of our group truly embody the hard work and enthusiasm that make our chapter deserving of this honor," Bardahl said. "We have nearly doubled our chapter size during the last year. We revamped our website and changed our mission statement to include AWSM at Michigan State is open to all students, regardless of gender identity and area of study. We made ourselves accessible and inviting, while holding our members to a high standard that challenged everyone to be their best self. We combined guest speakers with bonding to make our organization different from others on campus. As an executive board, we made our goal to bring a sense of community back to our chapter and the programming proves this goal a success. The most special part about our group is seeing the successes of our members, and getting to learn from and hear about these experiences in the future. Our members will change the future of sports media. Their commitment to their profession, but most importantly to each other, make the members of AWSM at Michigan State worthy of the 2022 chapter of the year award."
Officers for the upcoming academic year will be president Bella Gorisek, vice president Annie Heeder, outreach and fundraising chair Madilyn Weigland and social media manager Abby Larson.
The student chapter at Missouri was chosen as runner-up for chapter of the year. Some highlights of Missouri’s programming included AWSM members Mirin Fader and Brooke Pryor as well as Mizzou grads Jalyn Johnson and Mikayla Looney. The chapter also partnered with On Her Turf and APSE at Mizzou for special events this year.
Previous AWSM chapter of the year honorees: Penn State (2020), Quinnipiac (2019), Oklahoma State (2017 and 2013), Michigan State (2016), Missouri (2015) and Michigan (2014) No chapter was selected in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.