Purdue University North Central student Stephanie Duff admits that for most of her life the only programs on her TV screen were somehow related to sports and news. “Not the usual television preferences of a child or college student,” she admits.
Her interest in news and sports reporting motivated her to major in Communication and fueled her desire pursue a career in news or sports reporting or broadcasting.
“Communications opens up many doors that lead to job opportunities in a wide range of fields that interest me – public relations, broadcasting and reporting,” explained Duff, who also has a minor in Spanish. “My focus is news and sports.”
She does admit that when she came to PNC she initially wondered if she would be able to pursue her interests in sports management, news reporting and broadcasting. As it turned out, Duff found the ideal opportunity to follow her passions and hone her craft when PNC launched the Panther News Network (PNN).
PNN is an online, student-run news network that covers all aspects of Purdue North Central – including student and club activities, breaking campus news and information on navigating student life. PNN airs all PNC sporting events, with students doing the play-by-play, conducting pre- and post-game interviews and running the the cameras.
Duff was involved with PNN from its start. Thus far she’s had the opportunity to broadcast basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball games and write articles on a variety of topics.
“I can say with confidence that I am, slowly but surely, making my way toward my goal,” said Duff. “I have gained nothing but useful experience and lessons throughout my participation within PNN.”
Duff admits she has a passion for sports, calling herself an “extreme athlete” in her younger years. During elementary and middle school, she played every sport available – cheerleading, gymnastics, volleyball, basketball and track. “I wore sweats, basketball shorts, sports-related t-shirts, hoodies and tennis shoes nearly every day,” she described.
At LaPorte High School, she was on the varsity track and basketball teams for all four years. She would have played additional sports if time would have allowed. If PNC had offered a women’s basketball team, she certainly would have tried out.
Today, if she’s not broadcasting games for PNN, she’s watching from the stands.
“I enjoy the intense feelings of competition, motivation and team-relationships. Being an athlete means much more than just playing a sport. You fall in love with the sport you play because of everything that comes with it; there is always something to look forward to. Your teammates become almost like your family. The thrill of competing is unreal. I love all of it,” she said.
That is why she wants to continue her connection with sports after graduation. Duff knows that the knowledge she thought her PNC studies and her involvement with PNN will give her an edge in the competitive job market.
Her PNN tasks and assignments give her hands-on experience that not only helps her learn more about her profession, but helps her academically, too.
“Being a part of PNN is not like being in a classroom listening, reading or watching how to complete coursework; I am actually doing it,” she explained. “What can be better than learning about the topics that you love?”
Duff is also a member of the PNC Dean’s Leadership Group, Lambda Pi Eta communication honor society and she helps out with the annual Communication Day event on campus.
She works hard to seek out new challenges, ask questions and go beyond what is expected. She thanks the faculty and staff members who have taught her in the classroom, shared their time with her and inspired her.
“They are the reason for my success,” she said. “I never could have reached the point I am at, without their help and support. I am thankful to have worked with them and hope to be in contact throughout my time at PNC, as well as in life.”