Graduate student Shannon Szefinski is the second-year graduate assistant (GA) in the Sports, Communication, and Media (SCM) graduate program. Szefinski also graduated from Sacred Heart as an undergraduate in 2021, where she served as managing editor of the Spectrum Newspaper, as well as a senior producer for the Pulse Television show.
Szefinski is a helping hand to her classmates in the SCM program and undergraduate students in the School of Communication and Media Arts (SCMA). Her role also includes helping professors in the classroom, assisting guests from outside the university with the studio and control room in the Martire building, and taking on a large role in the preparation and production of live sports broadcasts for Sacred Heart athletics including football, basketball and hockey.
“I am someone that people look to (for help),” said Szefinski. “I really need to know my stuff so that not only I know it, but I can help others understand it too.”
Professor Brian Thorne, a graduate professor in the SCM program, works alongside Szefinski.
“I don’t know if I have ever met anyone with a better work ethic than Shannon, and I don’t say that lightly,” said Thorne. “She is just overall the perfect kind of person that you want to collaborate with.”
Shannon Torres, a graduate student and the assistant director of production at Sacred Heart, has been friends with Szefinski since they met as undergraduates.
“She’s caring and light-hearted,” said Torres. “She’s not a person you can put into words. She cares a lot and that is what makes her special.”
Growing up, Szefinski’s interests levitated towards the world of sports, including watching the Olympics and her favorite team, the New York Yankees. The love for sports was a large factor in deciding what degree she would pursue at Sacred Heart.
“My dad would always say ‘Whatever you were meant to do in life, it goes back to what you were interested in when you were seven or eight years old,’” said Szefinski.
Upon coming to Sacred Heart, Szefinski was introduced to a welcoming environment.
“When you walk onto campus, it feels like a home,” said Szefinski. “You feel like you’re supported and you feel like you’re being lifted up by the people around you.”
Szefinski was offered a job right after graduation, but turned it down to pursue the SCM program and the GA role. Nearing graduation, Szefinksi’s mindset about going into the workforce has changed.
“Not only being a part of graduate school but also being a GA gives you a whole other experience,” said Szefinski. “Now I can honestly say ‘I’m ready,’ and itching to get out there and start working.”
For Szefinski, work has never truly felt like work. Much of her free time is spent working broadcasts, editing, and filming content by choice, not by force.
“I love what I do so much,” said Szefinksi. “They always say, ‘If you love what you do it is never work,’ and that is genuinely what I feel.”
Dr. Andrew Miller, the director of the SCM graduate program, has an office that is adjacent to Szefinski’s cubicle in the Martire building.
“What happens is that everybody walks by her (cubicle) and they’re constantly asking her questions,” said Miller. “It is incredible because she has an answer for all of them. She does it with a smile and she does it effortlessly.”
Szefinski will come out of Sacred Heart with six years of schooling, three different degrees in media studies, and according to Thorne, an infinite amount of opportunity in the future.
“I believe the future for Shannon holds amazing things,” said Thorne. “I could imagine her being a director or technical director for some of the biggest sports shows on television.”