It’s been a few years since Jenn Sterger set foot on Florida State’s campus.
She made a name — an “internet persona,” she calls it — as an “FSU Cowgirl,” making her first appearance on national television during FSU’s 2005 game against Miami.
Magazines like Maxim and Playboy wanted her to grace their pages, but once the photo shoots were done, she wanted a career in sports media.
That’s when the challenges started. And she wants to help young journalists avoid the roadblocks and tribulations she’s faced as a woman in media.
Sterger faced controversy in 2010 when superstar NFL quarterback Brett Farve allegedly sent her explicit photos while she was New York Jets’ “Gameday Host.” She also recently ripped ESPN on Twitter for a job interview conducted by the company she says ended in a strip club.
Since we are being honest, I will say this: I HATE how Barstool Sports treats women. But the other side is JUST as bad. pic.twitter.com/i8kSoyA98A
— Jenn Sterger (@jennifersterger) October 24, 2017
“For eight years it felt like I didn’t have a voice,” she said.
Sterger’s voice will be heard again around the nation soon enough. Next Saturday, she starts with NBC Sports.
“I’m so pumped because I was never sure whether or not I was going to work in sports again” she said. “I’ve been given little jobs here and there, but I’ve never had a channel back me. It was little online things here and there. I just never felt like I regained the momentum I lost 10 years ago. ”
She said it felt good to be home in Tallahassee, speaking to a class of about 40 students in a talk called “Changing Channels: The Raw Truth About Sports Media” at FSU’s Health and Wellness Center.
“I’ve spoken at other colleges before, but it just felt so good coming home,” she said.
“You know, this place was where everything got started. It kind of closed everything for me. Being able to come back here and tell the whole story, it’s very empowering.”
Sterger, 33, spoke for about 90 minutes about her time in sports media — and the trials she’s faced as a woman — and took questions from the class.
She said she wanted to make sure the class left knowing they’re part of the changing landscape of journalism.
“They’re going to be a part of the next wave of sports media,” she said.
“Of media in general. There’s a big change that’s coming right now, with all of the Weinstein scandals and stuff that’s breaking. I think people who have abused their power are now being exposed. I think it’s showing young people they don’t have to be treated a certain way in order to get ahead in life.”
She was candid in the way she spoke to students, not holding back in her criticisms and answering tough questions with sincerity.
She also gave her fair share of deadpan jokes.
“I love being able to help others and give back,” she said. “This university gave me so much. I have such fond memories here. The camaraderie and the family I built here at Florida State, I don’t want to say I peaked in college, but I had the college experience of a rock star.