Female Kent State students prepare for futures in male-dominated field


Bridget Looney a junior and student manager for the Kent State women’s basketball team, cheers on the Flashes at the game against The University of Akron in the M.A.C. Center, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017. The Flashes won 73-69.

Danielle Johnson

While working for Kent State’s athletic teams, female students have pushed to prove they are qualified to be in the male-dominated sports industry.

“Personally, I find me pushing myself to know a little more than those around me,” said Taylor Campbell, a senior sports administration major and Kent State student equipment manager. “Knowing the industry is predominately men, I, myself, have worked harder than those around me to prove that I can compete with everyone else.”

Even though students are not necessarily being held to higher standards by their co-workers, many female students hold themselves to these standards.

“I realize I am definitely working in a male-dominated field,” said Bridget Looney, a junior exercise science major and student manager for the Kent State women’s basketball team. “But, I have never once felt less-than or below anyone I work with at Kent State when it comes to my gender.”

Maria Zaynor, a junior managerial marketing major with a minor in sports administration, works for the Kent State football team as an equipment manager.

“It took me a little more than a year to prove to everyone, especially myself, that I am just as capable and worthy of being here as any guy,” Zaynor said.

Students who work for the athletic department possess multiple team responsibilities. They assist coaches with drills, help with equipment malfunctions during events and even travel with the teams across the country.

“Right now, I’m working on implementing an online inventory recording and distribution system,” Zaynor said. “This will make handing out clothes to the players and placing orders with Under Armour easier.”

While working in a field they enjoy, female students are also learning valuable skills that will help them in their professional careers.

“My goal is to do physical therapy for a sports team,” Looney said. “This job helps me see the administrative side of being on the team.”

Campbell said she hopes to work for a sports team after she graduates, specifically involving college athletics, and she said this job is helping her learn important skills and network with many people.

“Interacting with the coaches and athletes has helped me expand my communication skills,” Campbell said. “Working in the equipment room also allowed for me to expand my professional network that could possibly lead to a future career.”

Working for athletic teams and having powerful female figures to look up to has helped Zaynor feel more confident to reach for jobs in her industry.

April Goss, the female kicker who graduated last year, was such an inspiration to me.” Zaynor said. “She taught me that we, as girls, are powerful, and we can change the world of football for the better, and I hope I have the opportunity to inspire that in someone else.”

Katie Schilling, the assistant director of student athletic development, said she does not think women should feel less than their male co-workers in anyway.

“The women within athletics are much like the mother figures that are often needed when students are away from home,” Schilling said. “They can relate to both men and women athletes but enjoy the bond they make with the athletes while taking care of what needs to be done.”

Similar to many female students involved with Kent State’s athletic teams, Schilling said she has women role models who work in the sports industry. 

“I took a class taught by the wonderful Judy Devine, a true trailblazer for women in athletics,” Schilling said. “Through this class, I figured out at that time I wanted to work in NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) compliance, where I worked for six years. She is a true inspiration to all women and taught me to be a strong woman and always stand up for what I believe in.”

Schilling said she wants female students who want to work in the athletic industry to keep pushing toward their career goals.

“My advice is, you are an equal,” Schilling said. “Don’t ever stand down to someone who is taking advantage of you because of your gender. Don’t be scared to stand up to men who feel it’s necessary to have empowerment within their jobs over women. Never give up on your career goals and keep fighting.”

Danielle Johnson is the jobs reporter, contact her at [email protected].