Meet Julia Mellett: The founder of WVU’s Association for Women in Sports Media

HC: Introduce yourself.

JM: My name is Julia Mellett. I’m a senior broadcast journalism and sport and exercise psychology double major. On campus, I’m the founder and president of the WVU student chapter of the Association for Women in Sports Media, a member of the Honors College, a Reed College of Media ambassador and a member of the Sport and Exercise Psychology Club. I also work for the WVU Athletic Department in the athletic-video department, so I create content for nine of WVU’s 17 Division I sports. I work at the WVU Coliseum, Milan Puskar Stadium and Monongalia County Ballpark. Through athletics, I’ve been able to technical direct, run replay, run game cameras, create graphics and edit hype videos.

HC: Tell us about the Association for Women in Sports Media.

JM: The Association for Women in Sports Media is a national organization whose members, both professional and student, advocate for women in the male-dominated industry of sports media. Whether it be in broadcast, print, public relations, advertising or even sports business, AWSM creates a nationwide connection between women in this industry. From a student perspective, this organization connects members with internships and scholarships, along with mentors who are already working jobs that the members aspire toward. Sports media is such a small industry, and it’s even smaller for women, so having already fostered connections to help and guide me in the future gives young women like me such a foot in the door. I’ve already been hired twice by Major League Baseball to work the 2017 and 2018 All-Star Games because of AWSM.

HC: Why did you feel the Reed College needed an organization like this?

JM: I think that the addition of the sport and adventure media major, an organization like AWSM will be a massive help to freshmen and sophomores who are unsure of how to get involved in the industry. There has been such an influx of young women who are interested in sports at WVU, so having this organization on campus and ready to help them is crucial.

HC: What is the importance of women in sports media?

JM: At WVU, we bring speakers who work in sports media either to campus physically for panels or via FaceTime. Getting to listen to household names talk about sports and being able to bounce questions and concerns off of them is such a unique opportunity. We welcome speakers to campus who interest our membership for the semester, so if the members like strategic communication more than journalism, we’ll bring in a panel from the Pittsburgh Penguins or a PR professional from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The previously mentioned events had standing room only turnouts, which just goes to show that there is a need on campus for an organization like this now more than ever.

HC: What are your future goals with the organization?

JM: I don’t have any real future goals for AWSM. I’m handing my presidency up at the end of the spring, when I graduate. My only hope is that the organization takes the momentum that we have now and runs with it. We have a great thing going on campus, and a dedicated group of young women who are passionate about the organization. Maintaining that passion through new and old members will be the key to longevity.

HC: What are you hoping to do in the future upon graduating WVU?

JM: I would love to pursue a master’s degree in sports performance psychology and then go on to become an analyst on a major sports network or have my own sport psychology-focused show. The goal is to be able to bring in athletes, coaches and team personnel to talk about performance techniques and mindfulness. This is a way to combine my degrees into something that is uniquely my own. I would have freedom to create content that is exactly what I feel passionate about.

HC: What is your favorite memory at WVU?

JM: How could I possibly pick one moment of the past years as my favorite? That seems so unfair to all the opportunities I’ve had and people I’ve met and worked with. WVU has been so good to me. I’ve had my entire collegiate career fully funded through scholarships. I’ve had at least an internship every summer. I’ve traveled around the country with AWSM and connected with my media idols. It would be impossible to round my entire college experience into one single moment. I thank WVU every day for that inability. Thanks for making college a place where I can meet people with the same and totally different passions. Thanks for giving me the resources of the Reed College of Media and the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences. I’ve been fortunate to do undergraduate research, represent WVU on social media and in front of prospective students and have been used as an example of what the underclassmen should “strive to be like”. If you have memories as sweet as all of those, why try to pick just one?

HC: Do you have any hobbies or side hustles?

JM: When I’m not working or watching sports, I love doing crossword puzzles and reading. I also really enjoy architecture, so I like combing through magazines and books and looking at how historic events have changed the course of architectural styles.

HC: What is your advice to someone wanting to start an organization at his or her college?

JM: The mound of initial paperwork is nothing compared to the joy that you see when students who relate to your organization walk into the meeting room. Having something that you created resonate with people is such a surreal experience. When I first founded AWSM, I had no real idea if it would be successful or not. Now, only a couple years later, we have 55 on our email list. That kind of interest is unbelievable to me, especially because the entire thing started out with my mom asking if we had a chapter at WVU because she thought I should join it. Now it’s founded, off the ground and other freshmen are now talking to their parents about this organization. That’s crazy.

If you find a passion of yours that isn’t represented in WVU’s almost 500 current student organizations, find a faculty member who feels the same passion and fill out some paperwork with the Student Life department. You can start finding members immediately. It will change your entire life.