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December 16, 2010
By Matthew Hoover
Former University of Nevada, Reno student Katie Cavender was recently promoted to the position of director of new media and technology for the Mountain West Conference.
Cavender, a 2005 graduate of the Reynolds School of Journalism, knew she would be involved in sports from an early age.
During high school, Cavender worked as an intern for NevadaPrep.com, which covered high school sports throughout Nevada. In an email interview, Cavender said, "I really enjoyed writing about something I enjoy (sports), so I was interested in the Reynolds School of Journalism."
As a third-generation Elkoan with deep roots in the state, her background also had some influence on her decision to come to Reno pursue her bachelor's degree.
By her sophomore year, Cavender was a media relations intern for the Wolf Pack athletic department. During her time in Wolf Pack athletics, Cavender's position grew into doing almost everything the department needed. While of this was going on, she still maintained a sterling academic record. In her senior year, she was the Reynolds School's Senior Scholar and Public Relations Student of the Year.
She was also involved during this time with the creation of the student-led booster club, the "Blue Crew."
"One of my proudest moments on campus was that first year of the Blue Crew, since we had recruited more than 1,000 spirited and dedicated Nevada students," she said.
Cavender's timing could not have been better. Many on campus said later that the enthusiasm of the Blue Crew was one of the defining memories of the Wolf Pack men's basketball team's magical run to the Sweet 16 during the 2004 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Following graduation, Cavender took an internship with the Pacific-10 Conference from August 2005-August 2006, as media relations contact for the conference's offerings in baseball, swimming and diving and tennis. She followed the internship with a position at Boise State as an assistant in operations and game management as well as assistant media coordinator for the 2007 Humanitarian Bowl in Boise.
Cavender's experiences with Wolf Pack athletics, the Pac-10 and Boise State helped her decide to pursue her master's degree in intercollegiate athletic leadership at the University of Washington. While in the year-long program at Washington, she was hired in August 2007 by the Mountain West Conference. Once she graduated with her master's degree in June 2008, Cavender took over media relations for the Mountain West.
Cavender now oversees online operations for the Mountain West, including the conference's website, and social media initiatives on Facebook, Twitter and the "Inside the MWC" blog.
Cavender, who is also media relations contact for the conference's offerings in swimming and diving and women's golf, also designs publications and produces audio and visual content for the conference office.
She said taking courses in all fields while at the Reynolds School helped prepare her for her duties today.
"When I was an undergrad, I had the hardest time deciding on one specific track, so I was able to take courses among all four sequences (print, broadcast, public relations and advertising)," she said, adding that experience in all of these fields has helped her pursue her passion for sports media and propelled her to a career in athletic administration.
The University of Nevada, Reno will become a member of the Mountain West Conference in July 2012.