ENMU Broadcast Journalism Student-Athlete Strives to Create Documentary Focused on the Importance of Mental Health in Athletes
Student from Long Beach Discusses ENMU Experience
Portales, NM (12/01/2021) — Qitana Sapiga is majoring in communication with an emphasis in broadcast journalism at Eastern New Mexico University and plans to become an ESPN sideline reporter or sports analyst.
The dean's list honoree and member of the ENMU volleyball team, who is a junior this year, discusses her dreams of making a documentary that shows the importance of mental health in athletes and other career goals.
What inspired you to attend ENMU?
I chose ENMU not only because I was offered an athletic scholarship but because I knew the amazing opportunities I'd be receiving through the Department of Communication. The hands-on experience you cannot get anywhere else! I genuinely feel like when I leave Eastern, I will 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 entails all of my favorite interests. Talking, public speaking and writing have always come easy to me. I love to have open discussions and create conversation, and to me, that's what broadcast journalism is.
What I love about the communications major is that it is very broad. I can go into almost any career field I want with a communications degree. I consider communication one of my strengths, and I can see myself becoming very successful in that field.
The Department of Communication at ENMU has also been a big part of my passion for broadcast journalism. I am currently the sports anchor on "News 3 New Mexico," a show that is shot live at the KENW communications building on campus, and I'm also a co-anchor on "Highschool Spotlight," which is a featured segment on every episode of "SportsLook," a talk show ran by the one and only Doc Elder.
Working with Doc and watching him in his craft has taught me so much. He is a great person to look up to because he is one of the most talented people I know and is an inspiration to all he meets! Because I am receiving a hands-on education in the Department of Communication, I am able to get a feel for the industry and what it will be like in the "real world."
I love writing scripts for my sportscast, I love being on camera and sharing the thoughts I have come up with, and I love creating that opportunity for discussion amongst a group of people. Whether three people watch our show or a million, I like being the person to spark a conversation with the audience.
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 is that I have been surrounded by the game my whole life. My whole identity is being an athlete, and I love it so much that even when I retire from playing the game, I still want to be a part of it in some way.
I love being a sports anchor for "News 3," but one of my goals is to be able to host post-game interviews and be able to get one on one time with athletes. Writing articles and game recaps is great and all, but I truly feel like my calling is to be face-to-face with athletes interviewing them! Like I have already mentioned, I love creating conversation, and a one-on-one interview is the best way to do that.
Ultimately, my dream is to broadcast the Olympics! I watch the summer Olympics every four years, but after watching Tokyo 2020, I would love to be able to be a reporter at the Olympic games. The Olympics is probably the highest level any athlete can reach, so to be able to be in that atmosphere with the athletes and to be able to interview them or report games would be my ultimate goal.
What other dreams do you have?
To be honest, although I am very sure of where I want my future career to go in terms of broadcast journalism, I still have a lot of interests outside of this field.
Some of my dreams outside of the communications field are to own a bakery, become an entrepreneur, create a resource for athletes who are struggling with their mental health, become a talk show host, have my own talk show and coach volleyball. For right now, I am going to focus on my future in broadcasting, but I will definitely keep these interests in my back pocket.
Are you working on any research at ENMU?
I am not currently working on any research projects; however, I would love 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 do not think people truly understand the stress and emotional rollercoaster that athletes have to deal with on an everyday basis, so I would like to bring awareness to that.
I would also love to shed light on the treatment of female athletes in a male-dominated industry. From the collegiate level all the way to the professional level, female athletes are not given the same treatment as male athletes. This has been displayed several times, and I would like to think that maybe one day I can make a difference, big or small. For right now, I will continue to do my research, but I would love to have an open discussion on this topic and start a conversation that needs to be had.
Which activities are you involved in at ENMU?
Outside of the classroom, you can find me at the arena! I am on the women's volleyball team, so if I am not in the Communications Building for "News 3" or "Highschool Spotlight," I am probably at the arena! I also work at the Max Pac when I have free time.
What is your advice to students looking to pursue a degree in broadcast journalism?
For anyone who's interested in broadcast journalism, I would say to register for Comm 344 Broadcast Practicum in order to get the best hands-on experience. A lot of students don't know that KENW produces their own shows (like "News 3 New Mexico"), and that is where I am getting a lot of experience from. If you are serious about writing or broadcasting or becoming an on-camera talent in the future, take this class because you will learn so much, and you feel like you are actually a part of a news station!
Which professors at Eastern have served as mentors to you?
Chris Leclure was not a professor at ENMU, but he worked at KENW and mentored me a lot for "News 3." He is no longer at Eastern, but he taught me a lot of things, motivated me, and gave me confidence that I needed in order to be on camera. He is someone who currently works in the industry and knows exactly what it takes to "make it." Before he left ENMU, he and I had many talks about what I need to work on, things I should focus on, my strengths, my weaknesses and he made me very excited to pursue my dreams in this industry.
Where is your favorite location on the ENMU campus?
My favorite place on campus is the Golden Student Success Center, and it's not to study or check out books; it's because Einstein Bros. Bagels is there! I am always down for a good bagel and coffee or avocado toast and a smoothie, so Einstein's is my go-to for breakfast or lunch! My second favorite place is the Campus Union because of the WOW Cafe, and I can see my friends.
Which class at Eastern has stood out the most to you?
My favorite class at ENMU is any class that Edward Caffrey teaches! He is an awesome professor, and as soon as you step into class, you can tell how passionate he is about what he is teaching. He makes his lectures fun and interactive, and I have learned a lot from the many courses I have taken from him.
Which aspect of life as a Greyhound is your favorite?
My favorite part 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 close-knit.
Tell us about your family and background.
I was born and raised in Long Beach, California, with three siblings, two sisters and a 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 at Eastern going to school together and playing volleyball together! She is a senior and graduates in the spring with a degree in social work.
My mom is a manager for a freight shipping company, and my dad is a social worker for the Department of Orange County, as well as a grad school professor at California State University Long Beach and California State University Dominguez Hills, and he teaches social work. How fitting that he is able to teach his own profession! He loves what he does, and he and my mom are always working hard to provide for our family.
What are your hobbies?
Because I've been a student-athlete my whole life, I haven't had much free time to develop hobbies. But I do love to bake and try out new recipes, so I'd consider that a hobby. I enjoy doing any type of arts and craft activity. As long as I'm with my family, any activity is fun!
Anything else you would like to share?
I love dogs! I can't have my own just yet, so I always dogsit my friends' dogs when I can. I eventually want to have my own dog one day, but maybe when I am settled down somewhere and have the means to provide for it.