Create Your Own Path
Kat Grzeszkiewicz’20, a media studies major and intern with the Beloit Snappers minor league baseball team, Kat has connected her passion for athletics to her dream of sports broadcasting and journalism. She even helped media studies become its own department.
- Howard Korn’87
Class Year: 2020
Major(s): Media Studies, minor in Journalism
Where do you call home? Greendale, WI
How did you hear about Beloit? What made you excited to come here?
I received a flyer in the mail and I was recruited for softball. I came here for a visit and thought the place was pretty cool. I liked that it was small and the vibe on campus was really calm. I thought I’d be able to find a place here.
What kind of activities are you involved with on campus?
Softball (freshman-junior year), TV Studio–I’m in a class with Brian Morello that includes the process of getting everything together for the TV station to make it usable. It involves inventory, diagrams, set up, making sure things work, ordering new materials and supplies, and content planning for the broadcast. This is a first-of-its-kind on campus, so the class is kind of experimental in a way. We’re pretty much running the class and taking things into our own hands to get it ready for public and student use. The second part of the course will allow us to become regular content providers and have a team that can make shows or segments that will be streamed onto the public access station.
What off-campus opportunities have you enjoyed?
This past summer I worked with the Milwaukee Milkmen, an independent baseball club. I was a visiting media ambassador, video production assistant, and an assistant to the director of events. I would work with coaches, players, home and away broadcasters, press box officials, umpires, fellow interns, and other guests that may be at the game for promotional events. It was cool because it was a great experience to meet people from the professional realm I’m trying to work my way into. A typical day for me would be printing out stat packets and giving them to the coaches, broadcasters, and any visiting media personnel that may need them. I would also make sure all the broadcasters were set with rosters and stats and any other printouts they might need before the game starts. I would make the rosters and update them throughout the summer. I would also create the scorecard for each game including things like who the umpires are for the game, general facts about game time and weather, and the starting lineup along with each starting pitcher with their basic stats. Pregame, I’d arrange interviews with players for the pregame show that would be streamed on the American Association website. Afterwards I’d film the interviews, edit them, and hand it over to the webcaster. During the game I would take shorthand notes of game highlights, simple stats, and any changes that occur for use after the game. At the end of the game I would run any final stats back to the clubhouses, and make my way back to the press box where I would edit press releases from our writer, add pictures, schedules, and promos. I would send it out via the email list and post another version of it to our website, then finally lock up the press box once the broadcasters leave. Outside of games, I would film Milk on Tap, which is a Facebook web series with two hosts talking about promos, highlights, and an interview with a sponsor or sometimes a player. These would all be clipped together, edited, and sent out to the social media team to post it on Facebook and Youtube.
I have a sports media and marketing internship/special project with the Beloit Snappers, a minor league team affiliated with the Oakland A’s. I will be executing reporting assignments related to the team and conducting interviews with players, coaches, and other staff. I’ll be doing research on the team and developing stories for them. I’m doing this in place of an elective class. I need less than three credits in my final semester and I wanted to stay with my niche for my career. My advisor, Joe Bookman, Brian Morello, and I developed this project so I could get experience while also fulfilling a class credit.
I love that Beloit gives you the option to do a special project in your field of interest that can relate to your major in place of a traditional course. It allows you to go into a non-traditional classroom environment and gain valuable experience that is tailored specifically to you while still obtaining credits towards your degree. Not many other places allow you to be as flexible with the idea of creating your own class, but Beloit encourages students to take their own path and make your Beloit experience unique and different from anyone else.
What has been your favorite class so far?
My favorite class was Sports in and as Art with David Boffa. It was not one I expected to be enrolled in, I just took it because it seemed like it would be related to sports. I wasn’t totally sure what I was getting into because it was an art history class and I never took one of those classes before. I thought it would be a lot different than what it was but it turned out to be so engaging and exciting. David was one of the best professors I have ever had. He took the world of sports that I was so familiar with and compared it to the art world, something I wasn’t versed in. Seeing sports as art was a totally different experience for me and made me value both art and sports. Everything about the class was fun and it was never a dull class, it was a two-hour class on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I never missed it once because I loved it so much. I even went when I was sick because I didn’t want to miss what David was saying. I later TA’d the class last year because of my personal interest and David’s request, and because the idea of being in the class again sounded like a great idea.
What has been your most unexpected Beloit experience?
I came in with the thoughts of wanting to do something with science originally. My major has changed at least four times. I wanted to do communications but there isn’t an explicit major for that so I found myself exploring other majors trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. After my first semester of my sophomore year, I officially declared sociology as my major. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t what I was truly happy to be doing. Over that summer, I found the TDMS (Theatre, Dance, Media Studies) department and the media studies route. I figured that’s pretty similar to communications so I’ll do that. Over the summer before junior year, I emailed a professor here that taught three of the classes required for the TDMS major. I managed to get into her classes last minute and dropped three of my sociology classes. I went to talk to multiple people in the TDMS department about switching my major as a junior. They explained to me that they were no longer accepting applicants for the major because it was splitting off into its own department but that wasn’t actually an official thing yet. So here I was, not guaranteed a media studies major and dropped three of my classes I needed for my sociology major. I was told to go talk to Joe Bookman because he was the one who was creating this plan for media studies. I told him my dilemma and explained it was my dream to be a sports sideline reporter. He told me everything was going to be okay and that even if the major doesn’t get approved by the academic senate, I would be graduating with a media studies degree. Eventually, media studies was passed by the academic senate due to high interest from students like me and really supporting the idea of having classes directed towards film and broadcast journalism. In the end I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. I really like what I’m doing now with broadcasting and journalism and it has been a great surprise in my college and academic career because never would I have thought I would be a part of a movement to add a new major/department to the college.
What’s been your biggest academic challenge?
Definitely computer science. I thought it would be sort of easy for me because I’m pretty good with computers, and I also needed it for my 1S, which is a systems credit. It was that, a foreign language, or a music class. I didn’t have any interest in taking Spanish after high school, and I’m not musically inclined, so naturally it seemed like the best option. I entered the class with no knowledge of programming and I hit a brick wall, the professor was incredible, but none of the material was sticking. I found myself so stressed out and in for TA sessions once or twice a week for the entire two hours they were held to get my homework done. Even after all that, it still didn’t make much sense to me. What was funny is that even with all that stress and constant confusion, I somehow pulled a B out of that class.
Where is your favorite space on campus?
CELEB (Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education at Beloit). It is such an inviting space, I’ll sit in the lounge on the second floor and do some homework, steal some snacks from the student snack cabinet, or just relax and hang out. CELEB is off campus downtown, so it’s not a far walk or drive. I like it because when I feel like I just need to get away during the week, or even just leave my room, it’s a nice change of scenery from your typical study spaces.
Where are you and your friends on Saturday night?
Now that my friends and I are old enough we like going to the local bars for happy hours and appetizers. The local community is very friendly and they enjoy engaging with us when we go into their establishments.
What would your advice be to future Beloiters?
Don’t base your college decision solely on a major. You also don’t have to decide your whole life right away. If I based my college choice on a major I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now. Like I said, I didn’t find my true major until my junior year. If I had thought of a college decision based on a preconceived notion of plan A, I wouldn’t be where I am. I think what really helped me was being able to explore other majors and paths and find out what I like and don’t like. Faculty and staff are also crazy helpful if you have the motivation to get yourself to where you want to be. Everyone here wants to see you happy and successful and I couldn’t have done it without my advisors. This school is small enough to let me bounce around through departments easily and I had the help of close advising. College is about trial and error, making mistakes, finding things that make you happy, and finding out who you are, and that’s exactly what Beloit allowed me to do in my four years here.
How do you think Beloit has prepared you?
All the opportunities Beloit has given me. I was thrown some curveballs here and there but it prepares you for the real world. Nothing is cut and dry to the point, you’re going to have to work through multiple problems at once and keep pushing through. Everything here really allows you to gain insight about people with different experiences and backgrounds than you. Being exposed to different cultures or even just people from another state really puts a new perspective on life and shows you that the world is bigger than you think. The classes in general too prepare you a great deal. You learn not only academic material but life skills. You learn to become a better listener, speaker, and writer. At Beloit, you learn to become a better person, and not many institutions can do that.
What’s next for you?
I want to try to get into sports broadcasting and sideline reporting. Any job related to that would be great, honestly. If I had a choice in sport, definitely baseball. I love it so much and it’s always been a huge part of my life, so I would like to take all my passions and make a career and name for myself. It would be cool to stay in Beloit for a while and work for the Snappers after I graduate, especially if the internship goes well for me. It would also be great to be a part of their big new move to the stadium downtown in the next couple of years.
How has financial aid and other support from the college impacted you? What does it mean to you that alumni and others give to the college to support your education?
I was given the Presidential Scholarship after I was accepted. The merit funding I was granted made private education a viable option for me. I didn’t fully consider Beloit until my financial aid package came through. It was just an incredible deal that I couldn’t pass up. On my tour, I loved the campus and the vibe it gave off, so financial aid and scholarships from many generous alumni made it possible for me to come here. Being here has really been one of the best decisions I have made for myself and it let me prepare myself for life after Beloit. I just think it’s great that alumni can turn around and help the new generation of Beloiters be happy, successful, and get a high quality education. It truly is remarkable and means a great deal, not only to me but also to the rest of my fellow Beloiters.