Communication Grads Featured in Summer 2017 Alumni Magazine

In the Hot Seat with ESPN’s Molly Qerim ’06 (CLAS)

Photo of Molly Qerin

(Photo courtesy Melissa Rawlins / ESPN Images)

For most citizens, political debates are all about assessing the candidates. But not if you’re Molly Qerim ’06 (CLAS). “I pay a lot of attention to the moderators,” she told UConn Magazine while sitting outside a TV studio at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. “I want to see how they craft their questions, how they follow up.”

Qerim’s a moderator of a different sort as the host of “First Take,” ESPN’s fiery sports debate show starring the emphatic duo of Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman (on the set with Qerim above). “They definitely have strong opinions,” says Qerim, “and it can be challenging to keep the conversation moving along, especially when the guys are having a heated debate. You don’t want to move on, but we have to. There are other topics we need to get to.”

When Qerim landed in Bristol in July 2015, it represented a full-circle return to ESPN, where she had started as an intern a decade earlier while a communications student at UConn; she then had worked in the company’s digital media and on the TV side before moving on. Now she’s back, and her dream job of hosting “First Take” doesn’t even feel like a job. “You’re talking about things you’d be talking about anyway in your free time,” she said. “We’re all big sports fans.”

Qerim grew up in Cheshire, Conn., in a family of Husky fans. Her father and an older sister went to UConn as undergraduates, and her mother earned her master’s degree here. The family has had season tickets to men’s and women’s basketball since even before Gampel Pavilion opened in 1990. “I’ve been going to games my whole life,” she says. “I was the little girl with Husky tattoos on my chubby cheeks.”

Read the full interview.

Andrew Schwartz is Revamping NYC’s Seaport District

Andrew Schwartz stands against NYC skyline

(Photo courtesy of Andrew Schwartz.)

n the office of the New Jersey Devils NHL hockey team.

“He said, ‘Well, I’m very busy, Andrew. Can you tell me a little about yourself over the phone?’” Schwartz remembers. “I said, ‘Sure. As you know, I just worked at the NHL. Before that, I was at the University of Connecticut.’ He said, ‘You went to UConn? So did I. Can you come in today?’ I put on my dad’s suit and went in that afternoon. He hired me on the spot.”

Schwartz has worked for several of the coolest organizations in entertainment, sports, and business: the NHL, Major League Baseball, SiriusXM, the Brooklyn Nets, the 19,000-seat Barclays Center, and his current position as senior vice president of Strategic Partnerships at the Howard Hughes Corporation, a real estate development company. But the Fair Lawn, New Jersey, native’s journey began at UConn. On a campus tour “I was standing in the co-op looking at all that navy blue and said to my mom, ‘You know, I think I could be in navy blue for the next four years,’” Schwartz recalls. “The school spirit had captured me even before I had been to a game at Gampel Pavilion, even before our team had gone to Division 1-A football.”

By senior year, he was head coach of the women’s ice hockey club team as it transitioned to Division 1-A for the next season. He was handling all the purchasing, scheduling, traveling, and liaising with Pat Babcock, the then-associate director of athletics for the transition from club team to 1-A while also getting credits for his bachelor’s degree. “Two days a week we had practice at the rink at 5:30 a.m.,” says Schwartz. “I’d be a leader, and a few hours later I’d be sitting side by side with some of the players as peers.”

Read the full story.

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