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Welcome New OTP Staff: Jen Zarate

otp logoI’ve always found it sort of odd that OTP has been able to achieve what we have without a significant student voice. Taking nothing away from the core audience of passionate BSU faithful, player families, and young alums, but it has always been astounding to me that the eyes on the site weren’t a lot of students. Granted, it’s hard to reach out to a student body when you live roughly 10 hours away from Muncie and the campus daily isn’t a tremendous supporter, but to say I was always a little perplexed about how to crack that student nut would be an understatement. I have sought out student voices from time to time, all with varying degrees of passion and interest, none of whom consistently stuck. It became my primary goal for site expansion to find someone that was passionate about Cardinal athletics and who attended BSU. My prayers were answered.

Our newest addition, Jen Zarate brings that student voice in spades, as she’s an undergrad who may actually rival my affinity and passion for BSU athletics (and judging on the BSU gear I have decorating my office, that’s saying a lot). Combine that with an interest in sports media and a taste of it at MAC Media Days and I honestly could not have created a better situation if I sat down and drew someone up from scratch. Even her bio screams Cardinal Through and Through. She’s the President of Charlie’s Crew for Pete’s sake!

Jen Zarate headshotThe youngest member of the OTP team, Jen’s weekly column, Chirps From The Nest, will give the Ball State student perspective on life, love, the pursuit of happiness, and hopefully mostly football. Jen hails from Crown Point, IN in the Region where everyone thinks they’re actually from Chicago. Go Bears! She is currently a junior at BSU and is majoring in Communication Studies. She is obsessed with all things Ball State and last year celebrated the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl more than the Super Bowl. Jen is the president of the student pep organization, Charlie’s Crew, and uses every opportunity to get more students chirping. She hopes to one day work with Ball State Sports, the MAC, or be the next Jo Ann Gora. Go Cards!

It should demonstrate how excited I am (and all of us are) to have Jen on staff that I will even refrain from making any smarmy comment about her potential to be the next Jo Ann Gora. It’s hard. It’s so very hard. But that’s how excited I am.

We asked Qs, Jen gave As. That’s how it works, you know…

How are you connected to BSU?
I currently attend the beautiful Ball State University. I am a junior majoring in Communication Studies, and your future Homecoming queen. If I don’t win queen, please don’t deny me a plastic tiara.

Tell us a little about yourself, what you’re up to now, etc?
I am a student, employee, and overall enthusiast of Ball State University. I work in the residence halls and am the president of the wonderful athletics organization Charlie’s Crew. I’m just a girl with a serious chirpin’ problem.

Favorite Ball State memory?
2011-12 Worthen Arena when Ball State beat Butler. It was magical. I may have cried a little. No shame.

Favorite BSU athletes during your time there?
Randy Davis, Keith Wenning, and Majok Majok.

Predictions for the Cards this year?
We’re going to a bowl….and winning. It’s gonna happen.

As Jen mentioned, she takes over the reigns of Chirps from the Nest, the column with the student perspective and voice here at OTP. This week it will run on Friday, thanks to the Thursday game, but normally, you can catch it on Thursday. And catch it you’ll want to be sure you do. Join me in welcoming Jen aboard and be on the lookout for her inaugural Chirps from the Nest on Friday amongst our post-game coverage.

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