When Kristen Gowdy graduated from Ithaca College in 2016, she has used her journalism degree to travel across the world and then bring her right back to New York and her current position as senior manager for digital content at the Women’s Sport Foundation advocating for women in sports.
Her journey into a rather unique corner of the sports media world started with an Ithaca College trip to the small village of Altenberg, Germany covering the Bobsled and Skeleton World Cups.
Gowdy always had a passion for sports. She played basketball her first two years at IC and served as the sports editor for The Ithacan. When the sports media department offered students a trip to Europe to study European sports over winter break, Gowdy was quick to jump on board.
“It was crazy, I’ve never seen any sporting event like it,” Gowdy said. “I really liked it there and got connected with the team- met a lot of the coaches, met a lot of the athletes.
Following the trip, she stayed in touch with the contacts she met from the Team U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton (USABS). Several months later, when they needed a new media and marketing assistant, Gowdy was asked to fill the role. While most students begin working after they graduate, Gowdy still had two months until graduation and a summer internship with the Seattle Times to complete when she began generating content for Team U.S.A.
In that role, Gowdy worked directly with the athletes to coordinate media coverage. She had to be flexible with a staff of five people and often juggled many responsibilities, even if they ventured outside of her journalistic training.
After working with The Ithacan, Gowdy was no stranger to adapting to new roles. She covered the women’s tennis beat before working her way up to more coveted beats on men’s baseball and women’s soccer before becoming sports editor.
Gowdy started her college career aiming for a career in print journalism but courses like visual journalism and mobile and social journalism prepared her for the digital content she would often manage with USABS.
“I had always thought that I’d wanted to be a writer, but when I got into the communications side of things it’s also a lot of social media and video editing and all of those things,” Gowdy said.
In 2018, Gowdy traveled to Korea with USABS to produce digital content for the team. She ran social media channels, wrote press releases and helped out with media relations.
When she got back, however, she knew she was ready to change gears and pursue her passion of advocating for gender equality in sports. She started looking for new jobs and soon came upon an opening as digital content manager for the Women’s Sport Foundation. Before she knew it, she was made the move from Lake Placid to New York City.
Gowdy said the Women’s Sports Foundation does a lot of programming in grassroots communities, particularly underserved communities, to get girls more interested in playing sports. The foundation will often bring women from the Women’s National Basketball Association as well as women who have won Olympic Medals into these communities to show girls that they can be successful in sports.
“One of my favorite parts is just seeing the impact that it has on the girls,” Gowdy said. “Just knowing that like those girls were inspired and hopefully continue to be inspired to play sports.”
As one of the first female sports editors on The Ithacan, Gowdy has a history of making breakthroughs for women in the sports industry. Since her tenure as sports editor, several women have followed suit, rising to that role.
“Something as small as being sports editor for The Ithacan or something as big as calling NBA Finals or NBA Playoffs on ESPN, you know, it's, it's getting women into those leadership roles,” she said.
Branching out of journalism to garner experience in social media and graphic design on top of interviewing, writing and taking videos is a venture likely to hold Gowdy’s attention for quite some time.
“It feels good to work for something you really believe in,” she said. “It’s something that I don’t know if I want to give up.”