Keuka College’s Adam “AJ” Pankowski ’21 has been interested in the wide world of sports since he was a child. He would watch ESPN’s "SportsCenter" each day before going to school and thought co-anchors Neil Everett and Stan Verrett had the world’s best job.
“Being paid to cover sports and talk about sports for a living … sign me up!” said AJ, who was a Business Management major with a Sports Management concentration at Keuka College.
Now the sports anchor for WRGB (CBS6 Albany), it was a Field Period® internship that gave AJ his chance to “sign up” for a taste of sports broadcasting. He worked at WSYR News Channel 9 in Syracuse, N.Y., with the station’s sports team, where he “fell in love with sports broadcasting.”
“I knew right away that I wanted their job,” said AJ, who played baseball as a relief pitcher for the Wolves. “Field Period offered me the experience to learn about my career path directly from the people who did it for their living. Once I did more research about the profession, I realized it was my dream job.”
In addition to his Field Period, AJ took a marketing class where his professor connected him with ESPN analyst and broadcaster Beth Mowins, a play-by-play announcer and sports journalist, to be his mentor. This is just one example of how Keuka College professors connect their students with talented professionals they would have never otherwise had the opportunity to connect with.
“Mrs. Mowins told me about the industry, to be myself, and to show my personality,” said AJ, who, like Beth, earned a master’s degree from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. “She said ‘everyone wants to be the next [NFL sportscaster] Mike Tirico. Just be you.’ I still tell myself that every day.”
Just as his classroom interactions helped shape his future career, so did his time on the baseball diamond. On the field, AJ soaked up all he could from his baseball coaches. He said his time playing baseball also helped him on the road to finding his career. And he appreciated that his coaches “had my back on and off the field.”
“Whenever I needed to talk to them about anything, they always made sure to pick up the phone or keep their office doors open,” said AJ. “Playing baseball taught me about the highs and lows of sports. I learned life lessons, experienced teamwork, and created bonds with many of my teammates. I don't know where I'd be without the four years of playing college baseball.”
Now, he is living his dream and tells the stories of athletes from Little League up to the pros. He has covered high school football, March Madness games, and races at Saratoga Race Course. His coverage of the fall of the Albany Empire Arena Football team garnered national exposure in periodicals like Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report.
Not bad for someone who has only been covering sports professionally for just over a year.
Each day is different, and I am forever grateful to Keuka College and being in this career field. I truly love covering sports in Albany.