The NCAA has selected Bryan Baumgartner, a speech communication major at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania who competed in track and field, and Kimberly “Kimmy” Borza, a communication major at the University of Pittsburgh who competed in tennis, as recipients of the 2014 Jim McKay Scholarship.
Established in 2008 to honor the contributions of pioneer sports journalist Jim McKay, the program annually awards $10,000 each to one female and one male student-athlete in recognition of their outstanding academic achievement and potential to contribute to the sports communication industry.
For Bryan Baumgartner, son of Edinboro athletics director and former NCAA and Olympic wrestling champion Bruce Baumgartner, sports journalism was an obvious career pursuit.
“Being a student-athlete and a journalist have a lot in common,” he said. “In journalism, like in a race, you just have to be able to keep your cool, keep your composure and keep working hard.”
Although Baumgartner began his college career focused on print journalism, he quickly realized the need to diversify his experience and embrace technology. Broadcast and multi-media journalism became a passion.
“Technology will keep evolving,” he said. “It’s important, as a journalist, to know how to use it.”
Baumgartner’s dream is to be a top-tier sport journalist, and he is driven to tell untold stories of student-athletes. “Student-athletes are some of the most under-appreciated people when it comes to smaller schools and smaller sports,” he said. “They’re some of the hardest-working people because they have to go through a full course load and graduate with their degree while competing at a high level.”
He said he wants to uncover these great student-athlete stories and “tell them to the world.”
Baumgartner graduated this year and plans to take some time to work professionally before applying to graduate school.
Kimberly “Kimmy” Borza
Kimberly “Kimmy” Borza spent a lot of her life trying to find a way to step out of her two older sisters’ shadows. Like her sisters, Nikki and Kristy, Borza was a tennis team captain and communication major at the University of Pittsburgh.
Unlike her sisters, Borza discovered her niche in athletics communication. “The initial appeal of working in sports media was that it gave me an identity separate from my sisters,” Borza wrote in her application essay. “None of my coworkers, superiors or the media that I worked with ever compared me to Nikki or Kristy or mistakenly called me by their names.”
What began as a quest for personal identity, blossomed into a life-changing passion. Borza parlayed her experience in the athletics department into a year-long, post-graduate internship with Fox Sports in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., where she will receive experience in broadcast journalism and marketing.
Although Borza, who graduated this month, knows she will apply to graduate school following her internship, she is undecided on her graduate major. She hopes her time at Fox Sports will guide that decision.
Broza credits her experience as a student-athlete for giving her the skills to succeed in life after sports. The Academic All-American and former Pittsburgh Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member says life skills, time management and learning to balance sports and academics were some of her greatest lessons as a student-athlete.
“I had an amazing group of people who were there to help me in every area of my life,” Broza said about the athletics department. “Now that I’m done with my sport, I am aware that there is a life outside of my athletics and I am very, very well prepared for that.”