By Mark Alewine
INDIANAPOLIS- Two IUPUI sports journalism alums joined current students in the program for a career panel detailing their stories in navigating the sports industry and building their careers.
Kate Guerra and Katie Donnar fielded questions from students as well as panel facilitator, Dr. Pamela Laucella, covering everything from how to deal with professional rejection to what they’ve learned as women working in sports.
“I’m proud to be an IUPUI grad,” Donnar said. “I came here with a pretty specific mission to get a job, and IUPUI made that very easy because of its location. I had a chance to work full time as a sports professional while going to school here. Not many schools can offer that opportunity.”
Donnar told the class that she came to IUPUI not expecting to pursue sports, but rather the entertainment industry. However, an opportunity with Indy Car opened her eyes to career possibilities in sports. Today, Donnar has moved on to become the Marketing Manager with the Indy Eleven professional soccer team.
Guerra also began her career working in motorsports. She was a member of the first graduating class in the IUPUI sports journalism master’s program in 2011, and said her original goal was to be a journalist with ESPN. An internship with IndyCar was not in her plans, and she was reluctant to even apply.
“At first, I completely did not apply at all,” Guerra told the class of the internship. “I think I waited until the very last minute to apply to it because it was a PR internship and I was like, ‘I’m going to be on ESPN. I’m going to be a sports journalist.’ I didn’t want to crossover.”
But like Donnar, an internship with IndyCar opened the door for Guerra to grow into her current role as the Senior Manager of Advance Communications for the Verizon IndyCar Series.
“It quickly became life,” Guerra said.
Both Guerra and Donnar encouraged students to take advantage of all opportunities at IUPUI and the sports industry.
“The opportunities are out there, and it just takes hard work to make it happen,” Donnar said