Reel Big Dreams

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Dear boys, if you think you can out fish her you might want to think again! Her Campus at UCF’s very own, Devan Coffaro is a freshman worth reading about!
Breaking stereotypes left and right, Devan has already mastered things seniors in college wish they had the chance to do! Majoring in Radio Television, Devan is hoping to become a sports broadcaster for ESPN. After having the pleasure of meeting this advantageous addition to our student body, I learned a lot about Devan. She has dreams as big as the ocean.
Read more about what makes her extraordinary:
Sara: When did you become interested in fishing?
Devan: Well, I come from a very outdoors family. I loved fishing when I was little, whether it was on the lake in the backyard, or in the ocean near my grandparent’s house in Boca Grande. I actually got out of it for a while though. I guess you could say I became less outdoors oriented and more of an art nerd. My grandmother found out she had breast cancer my freshman year of high school. In response to her situation my mother and I joined a wonderful organization called Hooked on Hope, where money is raised for breast cancer through fishing. This reignited my love, especially once I started hooking tarpon!
S: Starting your internship with Professional Tarpon Tournament Series hardly out of high school is quite an accomplishment! At what age do you feel you should start interning?
D: Thank you! I don’t think there should be a designated age for interning. If you are offered the opportunity and the time in your life allows it, I say go for it. However, make sure you know enough about the job to do it well.
S: What was the most memorable part of your internship with Professional Tarpon Tournament Series?
D: The entire experience was memorable. I moved to Boca Grande on my last day of high school. It was my first time ever moving out of the house. I remember the drive there feeling so surreal. Working with Joe Mercurio and Sheli Sanders was a great experience, as well as seeing the “behind the scenes” aspect of the show. Also, the Shark Men from National Geographic were studying hammerheads in Boca Grande at the same time. Joe was good friends with Chris Fischer of the crew, so I got to hang out on their massive ship and talk with them regularly. Jumping off the roof of that ship was awesome!
S: What was the hardest part of your internship with Professional Tarpon Tournament Series?
D: The hardest part was definitely filming the tournaments! The events of the show are filmed in a live to tape, play by play, sporting event style. I was on the boat with Joe and the camera crew holding an iPad that was updated with live stats. As Joe was hosting the show, I was feeding him the stats as he said them on camera. Also, If Joe wanted to know a team’s tarpon weight or how many points (the tournament involves a point system) they achieved in a previous week, I had to open up a new page and look through the list as fast as possible. While I was doing this, I was simultaneously updating the PTTS Facebook page for the fans to tune into. This definitely opened my eyes to how fast-paced the industry is.
S: Running for Gasparilla Debutante and being a lover of fishing… You have broken the mold when it comes to the ‘fishing is for men’ stereotype. What would you say to everyone who thought you couldn’t be good at a man’s hobby?
D: I believe this stereotype will be coming to an end real soon. There are many ladies I know who can fish just as well, if not better, than the men. Women also look better in bikinis while they do it!
S: Who do you look up to most?
D: I would have to say my mother. She is a successful business women and I admire how headstrong she is. She has always taught me to be confident in who I am. We have been through it all together, and she is honestly my best friend. I also get to inherit some pretty sweet clothes from her. I love you mom!
S: Tell me about Gasparilla Debutante, what made you want to run for that?
D: My mom’s fiancé is a Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla pirate. The YMKG is the oldest and most prestigious krewe in Tampa. All of the debutantes have to be affiliated with a pirate, and as of next year I will be the step-daughter of the Woodroffe family. The grandchildren of the family are all boys, and I am honored to be invited as the first girl to represent them. You have to be twenty years old to be a debutante, but this past November I got to attend the Debutante Ball and meet everybody. It’s fun to dress up in heels and a floor length gown. This year I wore a teal gown that reminded me of a mermaid. Next year I will have to wear all white. The tomboy in me makes me feel like I’m going to be Amanda Bynes in “She’s the Man.”
S: Where do you see yourself after graduation? 
D: I honestly can’t say. The ultimate goal is to be an ESPN broadcaster. But life doesn’t always go the way you expect it. A few weeks before high school ended I was only expecting to fish in women’s PTTS, but I ended up being the intern! A potential career is also a world literature professor at a university. I plan on publishing a few novels in my life, one being a biography of my great-great Aunt Anne who has an amazing story. I can’t give an exact answer to where I will be after graduation. I do know this though - I want to impact the world in some way. I want to help the things I am passionate about, and I want to inspire.
So UCF, if you happen to see Devan on campus; don’t be afraid to reel her in and say hello!

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