Sports junkie that she was growing up in Chicagoland, Emily Jaenson arrived at Illinois intent on landing a career in the industry.
But it didn’t go exactly how the highest-ranking female in minor league baseball drew it up.
“I headed off to Illinois knowing I wanted to work in sports but not exactly sure how I would get there, so I selected what seemed obvious to me — physical therapy.
“Despite strengths in English studies and lacking in math and science, I thought this would be the path. A few months into school, after departing 415 Scott Hall too many times feeling lost, I dropped some classes and entered into what felt like no man’s land.
“That’s when I signed up for Advertising 101 and met Steve Hall. Finally, a subject I was interested in studying that I could connect to my goal to work in sports,” says Jaenson (BS ’05, advertising), who in May was named general manager of the Reno Aces, the only woman with that title in all of Triple-A baseball.
“Sophomore year, I had the chance to apply to the then-College of Communications. I vividly remember walking into Greg Hall, up the granite steps, in my flip flops, to turn in my application. What a life-changing moment.
“I went on to straight As, being involved, getting to know my professors, TAs and classmates, and senior year serving as co-president of the AAF competition. Illinois defined my studies and set the direction for the rest of my career.