By Victoria Mescall
Circulation Manager & Staff Reporter
Senior Media Arts major Sarah DeNisco is representing Sacred Heart University in a contest to be the New England Sports Network (NESN) “Next Producer.”
NESN is a sports network located in Boston in its second season of a collegiate contest to offer a post-graduate job to the New England based student who wins.
“I first heard about it through my friend, Kieran McGirl, who actually won the contest in 2015 and is now working at NESN as a producer,” said DeNisco. “Kieran and I were on a Habitat for Humanity trip to Chicago when he was in the middle of the competition, so he told me about the amazing experience it was.”
In October 2016, DeNisco saw that NESN was coming to Sacred Heart to present the contest to some of the media arts students, and that was when she decided to enter it as part of her senior project.
“The minute I sat down in the presentation, I knew I was supposed to do this,” said DeNisco. “From that point, I only had about three weeks to hand in my first draft of the film.”
She has had support from other students, as well as recent alum, who saw her passion for producing early on.
“I’m so happy that Sarah decided to take part in the competition. We were actually good friends while I was at Sacred Heart,” said alumnus Kieran McGirl, class of 2015. “It’s been incredible to watch her do the work for NESN.”
The second season premiered on NESN on Feb. 4 featuring DeNisco’s film, “Worth the Fight”, about a local Muay Thai fighter named Noemie Dos Santos.
“In the School of Communication and Media Arts, we are committed to both theory and practice,” said Dr. Andrew Miller, associate professor. “By moving through an educational program that focuses on how media works in contemporary culture, our students are able to produce compelling multimedia stories that resonate with audiences.”
When searching for her story, DeNisco said that when she told her dad that she needed an interesting athlete to do a documentary on, he immediately told her about one of his co-workers from France.
That is when DeNisco reached out to Noemie Dos Santos.
Dos Santos was a former model and bodybuilder in France and then the United States. Now, she is a Muay Thai fighter and works as the Director of Internal Medicine at the Southwest Community Health Center in Bridgeport, Conn.
“In my intro, I stated that my film wasn’t the typical sports story, meaning that Noemie had to overcome more mental obstacles than physical,” said DeNisco. “She had to convince herself that she was good enough, strong enough, and could break the barriers of sex and gender in order to be a successful Muay Thai athlete.”
Muay Thai is a sport and an art that combines boxing, kick boxing, Taekwondo and clinching technique.
“I wanted to show how these two elements can blend together,” said DeNisco. “Through my film subject, I was able to show the internal obstacles people face in their lives and how the sport can help them overcome it.”
Regarding her future, DeNisco said that even though she’s a New Yorker at heart, she can see herself working in Boston sports and finding inspiring and unique stories through athletics.
“The second portion of the contest is strictly determined by the two judges, Tom and Brad,” said DeNisco. “My first film got me to the finalist round, but now it depends on what I make for my second video, which is a 60 second promotional video for the Red Sox’s upcoming season.”
You can vote for DeNisco’s film online at http://nesn.com/nesnnext/ by March 15 and by watching “NESN Next Producer” every Saturday on NESN.