Name: Julie Hopp
Minor: Sports Business Management
Hometown: Mount Pleasant, MI
How’s your senior year going so far? Anything to cross of your MSU bucket list?
It’s good — it’s been incredibly busy but I’m having a good time so far.
I feel like I’ve done a lot of things. A big goal of mine over the last year was to get an on-campus internship with athletics, and I did that! I started about a month ago and have been able to cross off a lot of really cool moments since then. For example, I’ve been on the field at Spartan Stadium for all the home games, which is amazing every time; meeting Coach Izzo and Dantonio and people I’ve looked up to for years. I’ve had a few other good moments so far, but I’m looking forward to expanding on that throughout the year.
What advice would you give to freshmen starting at MSU right now?
I think take a chance. Don’t be afraid of anything, and just talk to people. As a freshman, I was really unsure of what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be when I left here. Thankfully, I’ve been able to surround myself with an amazing support system down here that has really encouraged me to step out of my shell. I’ve talked to advisers in a bunch of different programs, met with people and asked for a half hour of their time, and learned a lot along the way. MSU has an amazing community and network of people that want to help you, so don’t be afraid of that.
What led you to choose Kinesiology and Sports Business Management?
I came to MSU with the mentality that I wanted to do something in the healthcare field. Freshman year was a mess— I actually changed my major four times, finally deciding on kinesiology. Kinesiology seemed to allow me the flexibility to work in sports in the healthcare industry. About a year in, I realized I wasn’t interested in the healthcare side of things and I only stuck with it because of the idea of sports. I found my minor that way and have enjoyed it so much since.
So, Julie, you’re a woman working in a male-dominated field. Can you speak to how you feel gender has impacted your experiences working in athletics?
This is something I’ve been really conscious of over the last two years since I picked my career path. I’ve been told by a lot of people that I’m going to be viewed differently, and there would be different expectations set for me as a woman in sports. That’s something my mentors and advisers — shoutout to all of them for being strong women in sports — have really helped me through. It’s also something that’s come up in the last week actually. I had two separate instances in the same day that really made me look at myself differently and question what I was doing — which hasn’t happened to me in this industry before. I had experiences with two older men: one wouldn’t even look at me and only spoke to my male co-workers; he wouldn’t even make eye contact with me. Another one changed his speech pattern to try and be more inclusive, but actually made me feel more excluded. So, the biggest thing I took away from these, being a loud and boisterous person, was that I hesitated in both of these instances like I never had before at my job. I go in every day with the mentality that there’s nothing one of my guy co-workers can do that I can’t do— and do better. I kind of learned this week that I have to prove myself to some people even though I don’t feel like I should have to.
What would you say to other women like you who want to work in sports or in STEM or anywhere else that men reign supreme who will also encounter moments like these?
I think my mentor hit it on the head. The first thing she said was she apologized for this man’s behavior— and I thought that was kind of funny and I laughed. Had a guy come forward and said this happened to him, no one would have apologized to him. They would’ve said “do better, be stronger.” That’s kind of how I interpreted it throughout conversations. I don’t have to prove anything else to anyone. I’m there, I was chosen to be there through an interview process, and the people who hired me, and the people who hired you, believe in you. You can’t doubt yourself. You have to prove yourself when given the opportunities. Know your stuff and be confident in who you are. Those examples made me doubt who I am— and that’s not me. I’m confident in what I do and have a really good time doing it. As long as you bring that mentality and consistently show your confidence, they shouldn’t be able to question you.
What are you most proud of accomplishing here at MSU thus far?
I think everything that’s happened to me so far this year, and really getting into sports the last three years. I worked for the tours program and became a supervisor, so I think I have really good leadership experience that I can apply to future positions. This was really my foundation for today. This semester, I started an internship and two jobs in athletics, which was my goal this past year. I just wanted one role, and the fact that I have three in athletics makes me really proud and want to push myself even more throughout the rest of the year.
Where are you hoping to end up after graduation?
I’m thinking about grad school right now. I’m not sure exactly what I want to do. I’m looking at roles with a professional sports team and just using my network to rely on throughout this process because they’ve all been through it. They’ve been great guidance and support through this because I’m still really unsure what’s next.
And finally, what is your Zodiac sign and what do you think that says about you?
I am a Gemini. I receive a lot of flack for this. I didn’t really believe in that stuff before, but my roommates and friends have shown me there’s a little truth to everything. Maybe sometimes I am two-faced. ;)