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Jennifer Lindahl hones her passion for sports journalism at Austin Peay

By: Brian Dunn April 11, 2024

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Jennifer Lindahl, 36, took an unconventional path to pursue her passion for sports journalism at Austin Peay State University (APSU). The mother of three is set to graduate in May and hopes to write for a hockey organization, though she's open to other opportunities that will allow her to tell the human stories behind sports.

Lindahl's college journey began over a decade ago when she enrolled at a Colorado community college a few years after graduating high school in 2006. However, the large class sizes made it easy to get lost in the crowd. Lacking direction and struggling to get needed support from professors, she eventually dropped out.

Years later, after starting a family and moving to Tennessee with her husband, who is in the military, Lindahl's desire to return to school reignited while working at Bridgestone Arena, home of the Nashville Predators. In 2019, she enrolled at APSU to study sports communication.

“I knew that could open a lot of doors for me,” Lindahl said about her job. “Everyone has their own path, their own journey … I just knew I wanted to keep working in sports.”

Though pursuing her degree during the COVID-19 pandemic while balancing family responsibilities was challenging, Lindahl found the support she needed at APSU, even when classes shifted online. Small class sizes and encouraging professors invested in her success made all the difference.

“My professors have been the best resource that I've used on campus,” she said. “They provide me with extra material. They’ve directed me to the learning resource center here. There are just all sorts of resources that they’ve given me in order to ensure that I am succeeding.”

Another key resource for Lindahl has been the support and sense of community at APSU’s Adult, Nontraditional and Transfer Student Center.

“It’s like a family down there,” she said.

In January, Lindahl was one of 13 juniors and seniors selected from colleges across Tennessee to participate in The Tennessean’s inaugural Journalism Academy. Over three days, she received training in beat coverage, reporting techniques, visual journalism and digital production while networking with other aspiring journalists and Tennessean staff.

“I'd like to say it was like a three-day interview,” Lindahl said of the experience. “It was really cool.”

While Lindahl dreams of working for the NHL, she knows she may have to start her journalism career on a different beat and work her way up. Undeterred, she has used her time at APSU to build her skills and network.

Looking ahead to graduation, Lindahl is proud of the grit and passion that carried her through her unique educational journey and grateful for the home she found at APSU.

“I’ve created a family here, and I’ve created my next step in life here,” she said. “It’s always going to be a big part of who I am. I tell everyone I'll always be a Gov.”

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