Courtney Robinson’s passion for sports began as a child growing up in a family where athletics were often the center of conversation. Her father and brother played high school sports, while her mother played and later coached basketball at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Robinson carried that love of sports through her time as an undergraduate at San Diego State University, where she played lacrosse for four years. And it’s pushing her at Arizona State University, where she’s pursuing a Master of Arts in Sports Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication while serving as an in-game host for ASU athletic events. As an in-game host, Robinson hosted live segments and announcements inside Mountain America Stadium during games.
“I grew up in a family that revolved around sports; whether we were at games, watching games on TV, or talking about sports, it was always on the forefront of my mind,” Robinson said. “Being around sports my whole life inspired me to bring that passion into the professional field. It has shaped my work ethic and commitment to everything I do.”
Robinson originally wanted to become a sports reporter, but switched her focus to digital marketing with the goal of eventually attaining a leadership position with a sports organization. She currently works as a digital marketing specialist in the Cronkite Agency, one of the school’s signature immersive capstone experiences.
“Although my journey at Cronkite began in sports journalism, I shifted to digital marketing. This experience has immensely benefited my master’s degree, allowing me to discover my dream of working with a sports-related company in digital marketing,” she said. “Cronkite stood out to me because of the hands-on experience I could gain here. I wanted to add valuable experiences to my resume that would impress future employers.”
This semester also marked Robinson’s debut as an in-game host at ASU athletic events, which allows her to step outside her comfort zone, she said.
Robinson worked four football games, including the team’s Nov. 18 tilt against Oregon, plus three baseball games and ASU basketball’s game against UMass Lowell on Nov. 16.
She finds great excitement and adrenaline on game days, enjoys the challenge of memorizing scripts and sees her role as an in-game host as the perfect blend of on-the-field experience and broadcast.
“My experience as a former athlete gives me a different level of respect and awareness for what [athletes] are going through. I appreciate how valuable their time is, and how it can sometimes be challenging to fit interviews into their schedule,” she said.
Now in her last semester at ASU, Robinson believes every experience is valuable for others who aspire to work in sports media.
“Saying yes to opportunities, especially those outside your comfort zone, can lead to personal and professional growth. Exploring different paths is crucial to understanding what you enjoy and where your strengths lie,” she said. “In retrospect, I wouldn’t change a thing, as each step has contributed to my journey, ultimately leading me to a fulfilling career in digital marketing.”
Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?
Answer: Over the past few years, I have been able to gain incredible hands-on work experience. From working as a real estate communications intern, to head of media for a team in the Cape Cod Baseball League, and the experiences at Cronkite. I was able to try everything. I truly believe that because of these opportunities, I was able to acquire invaluable lessons that led me to my passion for digital marketing.
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?
A: Entering into master’s degree coursework can be intimidating. My peers were coming in with experiences at some of the biggest brands in sports, like ESPN and MLB. During my time at ASU, I learned to be my classmates’ biggest cheerleader. Instead of comparing companies and accomplishments, I learned to acknowledge that everyone’s path is different. Being able to support and uplift others’ accomplishments is crucial. I found genuine happiness in seeing everyone succeed and celebrating our wins together.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: It was always ASU for me! After my time as a student-athlete at San Diego State concluded, I wanted to continue to gain professional experience before applying for jobs. I knew that Arizona State and the Cronkite School provided unparalleled exposure. When I decided to pursue my sports journalism master’s degree, Arizona State was my top choice. It is one of the highest nationally ranked programs and the only program I applied to. Forks up forever!
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
A: I am so grateful that many of the professors at Cronkite had prior work history in the sports industry. In addition to the coursework, they were able to share invaluable real-world advice and experiences. (Instructor) Bill Hill taught me how to write a game recap and a feature story but also how to succeed in interviews and in life. (Faculty Associate) Bailey Chamblee ingrained creative writing through broadcast but also taught us the importance of building lasting relationships and networking. For my professional program, I spent Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Cronkite Agency Digital Marketing Lab, and each week I found myself learning new lessons from (Clinical Assistant Professor) Abby Zufelt, (Professor of Practice) Nicole Macias and (Cronkite Agency Executive Director and Professor of Practice) John Nicoletti. They provided the tools and lessons to succeed in my post-graduation job and never failed to carry out traditions.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: Say “yes” to more! Whether it’s the elective you are on the fence about, a program you are interested in, an extracurricular club or an internship opportunity, you will never regret pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. This will open so many doors and create exciting new experiences. Stepping out of your comfort zone leads to the development of a growth mindset, and by saying “yes” you can start that trajectory.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: The Digital Marketing Lab in the Cronkite School! I loved the floor-to-ceiling windows and natural lighting; it never felt like a traditional classroom. The professors truly cultivated an environment that felt like working in a real agency.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I am in the process of applying for jobs! I am currently seeking a position in the digital marketing field. I would love to eventually land in the sports realm, but I am open to anything!
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: There are so many causes I would want to help, but first I would strive to tackle child hunger. All children deserve to have enough food to eat. With the holidays approaching, many children who rely on school meals will not know when or where their next meal is coming from. Malnutrition is an immense threat to many children today. In food security crises, children are the most vulnerable, so my first step would be tackling adolescent food security needs.