The Women Behind the Scenes

On Jan. 28, the Sacred Heart University (SHU) women’s basketball team hosted Stonehill College in a tight game that they won by a final score of 66-61.

For those that tuned in to watch on Northeast Conference (NEC) Front Row, it might have appeared to be an average broadcast.  However, behind the scenes, they probably didn’t know that this was another historic day for Sacred Heart.

To celebrate National Women in Sports Day, The School of Communication, Media, and the Arts (SCMA) at SHU put together an all-female broadcast for this game for the second consecutive year.

“It is very important for girls to get involved in sports,” said Tammy Petrucelli, the deputy athletic director at SHU. “It helps build confidence, self-esteem, teamwork, and leadership skills.”

As a woman in sports herself, Petrucelli understands the significance of putting together an event like this, as well as what it means for SHU and women.

“Research shows that girls who participate and work in sports graduate from college more often than girls who don’t,” said Petrucelli. “They are also more likely to land competitive jobs, which is helpful in such a male dominated industry.”

According to, women account for about 17% of professional athletes and 21% of sports reporters, which is a significant increase from last year, where only 14% of women had a job in the sports industry.

While women are still underrepresented in the sports world compared to men, they are making strides here at SHU.

Last January, the SCMA program made history by becoming the first school in the NEC to put together an all-female broadcast, which was spearheaded by Brian Thorne, a graduate professor of Studio and Live Production in the program.

Petrucelli noted that this year’s broadcast wouldn’t have been able to come together without the hard work of Shannon Szefinski and Shannon Torres, who are both graduate assistants in the SCMA program and were also involved in last year’s production.

“There is a lot of planning that goes into an event like this,” said Torres. “We have undergraduates and alumni that dropped everything to be here because they didn’t want to miss this for the world.”

Torres, Szefinski, and the rest of the crew did such a great job that Petrucelli is considering making the all-female broadcast a yearly thing.

“For us to get recognition not only for being an all-female crew but for the job we did as a broadcast was nice,” said Torres. “We really took the broadcast to new heights this year because people were more confident in us, and we were more confident in ourselves.”

Although this was only the second all-female broadcast at SHU, the SCMA department feels this is the start of something special.

“It was awesome to be a part of an event like this because you are doing something that is bigger than yourself,” said Szefinski. “This broadcast went better than we could have ever imagined, and I am so thankful for everyone that played a role in making this day so special.”

Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.

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