ENMU broadcast journalism student-athlete strives to create a documentary focusing on the importance of mental health in athletes

Qitana Sapiga is majoring in communications with a major in broadcast journalism at Eastern New Mexico University and plans to become a secondary ESPN reporter or sports analyst.

The Dean’s List winner and member of the ENMU volleyball team, who is a junior this year, talks about her dreams of making a documentary that shows the importance of mental health in athletes and other goals careers.

What prompted you to join ENMU?

I chose ENMU not only because I was offered an athletic scholarship, but because I knew about the amazing opportunities I was going to receive through the Department of Communication. The hands-on experience you can’t get anywhere else! I really feel like when I leave Eastern, I’ll be more than prepared to apply for a real job.

Why did you choose to study broadcast journalism?

I chose this field of study because it brings together all my favorite interests. Speaking, public speaking and writing have always come easy to me. I love having open discussions and creating conversations, and to me, that’s what broadcast journalism is.

What I like about the communication major is that it is very broad. I can enter almost any career field I want with a communications degree. I consider communication to be one of my strengths and I see myself succeeding in this field.

ENMU’s communication department has also been a big part of my passion for broadcast journalism. I’m currently the sports anchor for “News 3 New Mexico”, a show shot live in the KENW Communications Building on campus, and I’m also a co-anchor for “Highschool Spotlight”, which is a featured segment on every episode. from “SportsLook”, a talk show run by the one and only Doc Elder.

Working with Doc and watching him in his craft taught me a lot. He’s a great person to look up to because he’s one of the most talented people I know and an inspiration to everyone he meets! Because I get hands-on training in the Communication Department, I’m able to get a feel for the industry and what it will be like in the “real world”.

I love writing scripts for my sports show, I love being in front of the camera and sharing my thoughts, and I love creating that opportunity for discussion within a group of people. Whether three people watch our show or a million, I love being the person who sparks a conversation with the audience.

Qitana visiting Bennett’s Farm with her teammates.
qitana with team

What are your career goals?

I hope to one day work for ESPN as a sideline reporter or become a sports analyst. What drew me to sports was that I’ve been surrounded by the game all my life. My whole identity is being an athlete, and I love that so much that even when I retire from the game, I still want to be a part of it in some way.

I love being a sports presenter for “News 3”, but one of my goals is to be able to host post-game interviews and to be able to have one-on-one interviews with athletes. Writing articles and game summaries is great, but I really feel like my calling is to be face to face with athletes interviewing them! As I mentioned before, I like to create a conversation, and a one-on-one interview is the best way to do that.

Ultimately, my dream is to broadcast the Olympic Games! I watch the Summer Olympics every four years, but after watching Tokyo 2020, I wish I could be a reporter at the Olympics. The Olympics is probably the highest level an athlete can achieve, so being in that atmosphere with the athletes and being able to interview them or report matches would be my ultimate goal.

What other dreams do you have?

To be honest, although I’m very sure of the direction I want to take my future career in terms of broadcast journalism, I still have a lot of interests outside of this field.

Some of my dreams outside of communications are to own a bakery, to become an entrepreneur, to create a resource for athletes struggling with their mental health, to become a talk show host, to have my own talk show and coach volleyball. For now, I will focus on my future in broadcasting, but I will definitely keep those interests in my back pocket.

qitana with group outside
Qitana with his teammates during a football scrum.

Do you work on research at ENMU?

I am currently not working on any research project; however, I would like to create a documentary showcasing the importance of mental health in athletes. Being a student-athlete myself, I have had my own personal experiences of having poor mental health. I don’t think people really understand the stress and emotional roller coaster that athletes have to deal with on a daily basis, so I’d like to draw attention to that.

I would also like to shed some light on the treatment of female athletes in a male dominated industry. From the college level to the professional level, female athletes are not treated the same as male athletes. This has been posted many times, and I’d like to think that maybe one day I can make a difference, big or small. For now, I’ll continue to do my research, but would love to have an open discussion on this topic and start a conversation that needs to happen.

What activities are you involved in at ENMU?

Outside of the classroom, you can find me at the arena! I’m on the women’s volleyball team, so if I’m not in the communications building for “News 3” or “Highschool Spotlight,” I’m probably in the arena! I also work at Max Pac when I have free time.

What advice would you give to students wishing to pursue studies in broadcast journalism?

For anyone interested in broadcast journalism, I would say enroll in the Comm 344 Broadcast Practicum to get the best hands-on experience. Many students don’t know that KENW produces its own shows (like “News 3 New Mexico”), and that’s where I get a lot of experience. If you’re seriously considering writing or broadcasting or becoming a talent in front of the camera in the future, take this course because you’ll learn so much and feel like you’re part of a news station!

Which professors from Eastern have mentored you?

Chris Leclure was not a professor at ENMU, but he worked at KENW and supervised me a lot for “News 3”. He’s no longer at Eastern, but he taught me a lot, motivated me, and gave me the confidence I needed to be in front of the camera. He’s someone who is currently working in the industry and knows exactly what it takes to “succeed”. Before leaving ENMU, he and I had many discussions about what I need to work on, things I should focus on, my strengths, my weaknesses and he made me very excited about pursue my dreams in this industry.

What is your favorite place on the ENMU campus?

My favorite place on campus is the Golden Student Success Center, and it’s not for studying or checking books; it’s because Einstein Bros. Bagel is here! I’m always on the hunt for a good bagel and coffee or avocado toast and a smoothie, so Einstein’s is my go-to place for breakfast or lunch! My second favorite place is Campus Union because of the WOW Cafe, and I can see my friends.

qitana with team inside

Tell us about your family and background.

I was born and raised in Long Beach, California with three siblings, two sisters and one brother. My younger brother is currently a sophomore at Los Alamitos High School, my younger sister is a freshman at Adams State University and my older sister and I are in Eastern, we go to school and play volleyball ball together! She is a senior and obtains a diploma in social work in the spring.

My mom is a freight company manager and my dad is a social worker for the Orange County Department, as well as a graduate professor at California State University Long Beach and California State University Dominguez Hills, and he teaches social work. . How fitting that he should be able to teach his own trade! He loves what he does, and he and my mom are still working hard to support our family.

Which class at Eastern impressed you the most?

My favorite class at ENMU is any class taught by Edward Caffrey! He’s a great teacher, and as soon as you walk into the classroom you can tell how passionate he is about what he teaches. He makes his lectures fun and interactive, and I learned a lot from the many classes I took with him.

What aspect of Greyhound life do you prefer?

My favorite thing about being a Greyhound is the small community that is Portales! Even though Portales is a small town, the people are what makes the community so supportive and tight-knit.

I was born and raised in Long Beach, California with three siblings, two sisters and one brother. My younger brother is currently a sophomore at Los Alamitos High School, my younger sister is a freshman at Adams State University and my older sister and I are in Eastern, we go to school and play volleyball ball together! She is a senior and obtains a diploma in social work in the spring.

My mom is a freight company manager and my dad is a social worker for the Orange County Department, as well as a graduate professor at California State University Long Beach and California State University Dominguez Hills, and he teaches social work. . How fitting that he should be able to teach his own trade! He loves what he does, and he and my mom are still working hard to support our family.

What are your hobbies?

Because I’ve been a student-athlete all my life, I haven’t had a lot of free time to pursue hobbies. But I love to cook and try new recipes, so I would consider it a hobby. I enjoy doing any type of arts and crafts activity. As long as I’m with my family, any activity is fun!

Anything else you would like to share?

I like dogs! I can’t have my own yet, so I always babysit my friends’ dogs when I can. I eventually want to have my own dog one day, but maybe when I’m settled somewhere and can afford to support him.

Qitana with her family at a Dodgers game.
qitana with family

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