SJI alum Shannon Scovel leads a discussion with NFL great Peyton Manning during a class at the University of Tennessee. Photo Credit: Hayden Antal CCI Creative Manager.
June 13, 2024

Scovel becomes one of many SJI alums to make the move to the classroom

Ahmad Garnett

Shannon Scovel (Class of 2016) became one of many Sports Journalism Institute alumni to enter the classroom. Although her early coaching experiences didn’t lead her to teaching, her later experiences and help from an advisor brought out another passion. 

“I think both from coaching and being a professor, and also just being a journalist were three things that forced me to come out of my shell. I'm naturally a pretty introverted person, and shy, so being a swim coach young at 16, 17, and 18 forced me to be a leader early and taught me how to command the respect of swimmers, to be that kind of energetic, passionate person that they could trust and look up to was a great skill for me to learn young. Then I did carry that into my experience as a graduate teaching assistant. That experience at Maryland, I had a phenomenal advisor at the University of Maryland, Dr. Sarah Oates, and she taught me how to be a teacher because as part of a Ph. D. program, you don't get a lot of education on education, but Dr. Oates really coached me through the process of creating a course and designing  curriculum, and how to teach with compassion and enthusiasm.”

Scovel, Ph.D, is now an assistant professor of sports communication at the University of Tennessee. Her passion for teaching came later, while she was pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Stirling.

“I still always loved the kind of deep thinking that comes with school and academia, but I didn't think I would be able to do both,” Scovel said.. “I thought, ‘OK, journalism is a profession that I know how that works.’ So, I was doing journalism internships, and that felt like a good fit. It was only until my master's program that I thought, ‘Oh maybe I could be an academic too.’And now that I've completed my first year as a professor at Tennssee, I love teaching. It's so rewarding, and it's a wonderful way for me to bring my passion for journalism into the classroom.” 

Scoval joins SJI alumni Ronald Clark (class of 2006), Shemar Woods (class of 2010) and Gregory Lee (class of 1994), who moved from journalism to teaching in the classroom. 

Scovel started her journalism career as a correspondent at The News & Observer in North Carolina. She then attended American University in Washington D.C. where she held several roles, including  editor-in-chief at the student paper, The Eagle.

After graduating in 2017 with a bachelor’s in journalism, she moved on to the University of Stirling where she received her master’s in gender studies. She kept her hand in journalism as the sports editor of the campus paper, Brig.

She began her long career covering college wrestling with the NCAA as a social media coordinator and continued with Turner Sports as a college wrestling beat reporter for 

Scovel is one of many professors who continue as working journalists, while maintaining a classroom.

She said one reason she makes the time to freelance “is because I see the impact that my experience in the newsroom has on my students.”

“I can bring real-world examples from things that happened last week, in a story that I was reporting,” she said, “and we can look at it in class.”

Ahmad Garnett will intern at the Detroit Free Press this summer.

you might also like