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OU Graduate Lands Dream Job with ESPN

OU Graduate Lands Dream Job with ESPN

Before she was working as Motion Graphics Controller for ESPN, Sierra Sanders was a student at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

From her first week on campus, Sanders knew she was meant to be at the University of Oklahoma. Sanders participated in all different areas of OU, from SoonerVision, to Camp Crimson, to working on OU Nightly, and even operating video boards for Football, Baseball, Basketball, and Softball games.

“I really did everything I could to learn as much as possible while I was still somewhat protected by my student status,” Sanders said. “There are so many opportunities available and I tried to make sure I was part of all of them.”

Sanders knew she wanted to work in sports as soon as she started SoonerVision. Although the news can sometimes be very serious, Sanders loved the multi-camera world. “Sports are generally pretty happy, and people are passionate about them,” Sanders remarks. She also remembers all of the experience she gained, and “it helps that Oklahoma's teams are generally amazing.”

Sierra Sanders


One of Sanders' most influential moments at OU was when she decided to join a Gaylord club called the Association of Women in Sports Media (AWSM). Through AWSM, Sanders said she was able to make really good contacts and land a Production Operations internship at ESPN in LA working on Sports Nation and Nacion ESPN. That internship “completely relates back to AWSM,” Sanders said. “That organization is a large part of why I am where I am now. Oklahoma has a rockin' college chapter.”

Another defining moment for Sanders was the first time she heard the word “Rokerthon.” The student-run event, which broke two Guinness World Records live on The TODAY show with almost 1,000 Sooners, “totally changed” Sanders’ final semester. Sanders produced Oklahoma's original audition video, acted as event coordinator, wrote the script for the day and directed the crowd. “Even though I was exhausted, the day was awesome because it's exactly what I want to do.”

Sierra Sanders1


After graduation, Sanders went to LA to start her internship with ESPN. Sanders remembers “it was expensive, and the traffic was awful, but the experience was awesome.”

Near the end of her internship, Sanders applied and interviewed for a job with ESPN. Although she did well, there wasn’t exactly a spot for Sanders, yet. So, she returned back to Oklahoma as a freelancer at SoonerVision.

The months that followed for Sanders were marked by uncertainty, “I had zero clue what the next step was. But I knew I could not just wait for something to happen.”

As a Sooner, Sanders said she couldn’t give up. In her years covering Oklahoma athletics, she knew the mentality of a Sooner is to strive for excellence -- and that’s exactly what Sanders did.

Keeping in touch with her recruiter, Sanders eventually returned to ESPN and is now working on different studio shows like Sports Center and NFL Live. Sanders knew because she was a Sooner, “smart, resilient, hard-workers always find a way.”

Like a true Sooner, Sanders didn’t quit until “she was taking a solid step forward to where she wanted to be.”

Sierra Sanders at ESPN