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Org Comm Students Get Big Break

By Mary Leet ’16

The Golf Channel lineup includes a reality series called “The Big Break,” where golfers vie for the opportunity to earn a spot in a PGA, LPGA or other professional tour event along with cash and other prizes.

Emily Forrester

However, competition in golf isn’t restricted to the fairways and greens. For instance, the PGA recently staged a competition for aspiring journalists. The prize? Cover the PGA Championship in August at venerable Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester.

Seventeen college students from New York state entered the contest and four received their big break, including Keuka College organizational communication majors Emily Forrester ’14 from Irondequoit and Danielle Alred ’15, from Horseheads.

Dr. Anita Chirco, professor of communication studies and adviser to both students, said “having two students chosen from a very small communications program with no journalism or broadcast classes in such a competitive field is a major achievement. Both had to do it on their own; it was all their doing.”

Forrester and Alred began the journey by posting a self-composed bio on Facebook, sharing it to get as many votes from friends as possible. The PGA chose the top 8 as finalists and asked them to create a one-minute video that showed why they were the best choice to report at the PGA.

Danielle Alred

While they don’t know for sure what they’ll be doing just yet, Alred guessed “probably tweeting scores, following players and sharing photos from the event.” Facebook and Twitter will be their primary communication vehicles.

Alred, a member of Keuka’s volleyball team, sought the position not only because of her interest in sports broadcasting, but because she “loves golf,” having played since her senior year of high school. “I like reporting, but I’m super excited to meet the players and talk to them, especially as a golfer,” said Alred, a member of Lambda Pi Eta (communications honor society.) “I’m also very excited to report and get the real world experience.”

Chirco seconded this enthusiasm, calling herself a “huge believer” in experiential learning. “Every experience that simulates real careers can’t be missed.”

Similarly, Forrester has a passion for sports. She conducted her January Field Period (required internship) with the Rochester Knighthawks doing a “bunch of different things from event planning to interviews and writing articles.”

She continued to work with the National Lacrosse League team through the spring semester.

“She just [became a] communications [major] last fall, and I could tell right away she was a good speaker,” Chirco said. “She also has a lively voice in her writing.”

“I am a big enough sports fan to know that the PGA Championship is a really big deal, and the fact that I had a chance to be there and add that to my portfolio was too good to pass up,” Forrester said.

Although gaining hands-on experience at one of golf’s four major tournaments was her prime motivation for entering the contest, Forrester admits she is anxious to see young star Rickie Fowler, her “golfer crush.”