Paying it back

Ferris alumni ESPN's connects current students with ESPN's Kevin Negandhi

Ferris students had the privilege of listening to and speaking with Kevin Negandhi from ESPN thanks to the help of a Ferris alumni. 

Negandhi met with Ferris students via Zoom in the University Center’s Room 116 on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Sports Careers RSO and Bulldog Radio co-hosted the event with help from Ferris Athletics.

Gilbert Bransford, a former Ferris student who now works as a Stats Analyst for ESPN, works with Negandhi and set the event up. Bransford took the time to share his success stories and interact with students. 

“I remember back then when I joined Bulldog Radio to do a sports podcast for Ferris athletics and get experience,” Bransford said. “It helped me determine whether I wanted to do it on camera or behind the scenes for sports. I have grown to love it. I figured out it’s more amazing to work behind the scenes than in front of a camera. I am blessed to have met so many different personalities on ESPN and work with Kevin Negandhi.” 

The event began at 8 p.m. Negandhi was live on Sportscenter from 6-8 p.m., so Bransford opened the event by discussing his experiences and elevation to his current position at ESPN. Negandi joined the meeting shortly thereafter, much to the delight of the students in the crowd.

Negandhi began talking about how hard he worked to get where he was today. 

“It took me a long time to get where I am today,” Negandhi said. “I’ve been told no more times than I can remember, being one of the only people who looked like this on TV, I had to keep trying and work twice as hard. I dreamed of being the Indian kid at Sportscenter, so I worked to achieve that goal. I learned to be myself and find my comfort zone in my career and knowing what I want to do.” 

After Negandhi talked about his rise to fame, he opened up the meeting for questions from students. Freshman sports communication major Brenden Totomir talked about how much he learned from Negandhi.  

“I think it was an awesome experience,” Totomir said. “He is one of my favorite sports analysts, and he is someone I look up to, and for him to be here and talk to us and share his experiences was amazing. For him to describe how he had that no-quit attitude and to be someone who never gave up was a big takeaway for me.” 

Sports Careers RSO President Niko Lagreca thought the event was a success. 

“Having Negandhi here was very cool and very impactful,” Lagreca said. “We got to see how much work he puts into his career. He does all this himself with research and finding time to balance his incredible career with family time. It was amazing for the program and students to learn about this.” 

This was the first event Sports Careers RSO hosted this year, but club advisor Sandy Alspach hopes to bring in more speakers throughout the year.

“I think our first adventure in a zoom seminar has allowed us to reach out to people we know that we could not bring directly to Ferris by opening a treasure chest of contacts,” Alspach said. “I was most excited to see my students in the room filled with energy, engaged at the moment. Networking and thanking Gil for connecting us with Kevin Negandhi. This meeting opens a new opportunity for us as the sky’s the limit.” 

Alspach mentioned the importance of networking and meeting people in the industry, and thanks to Negandhi’s virtual visit to Ferris, that is exactly what students got.