University of Minnesota Crookston senior and sports enthusiast, Olivia Puttin, is diligently molding her path to becoming a Sports Information Director. Throughout her years at UMN Crookston, she has looked for opportunities to learn, grow, and define the career she would like to pursue in the future to come. 

UMN Crookston Senior Olivia Puttin

Puttin chose the University of Minnesota, following in the path of her father, grandfather, aunt, and great uncle. As she mentions, “it felt right being able to continue the tradition.” More specifically, she chose the University of Minnesota Crookston for the degree and her chance to continue her collegiate soccer career. During her time at UMN Crookston, Puttin played on the soccer team for three years. Her team became an integral part of who she is. 

Puttin not only found opportunities to enrich and expand her interests, she also met people she admires.

“My favorite thing about UMN Crookston is all of the people I have met here. I could go on and on about the communication department staff and professors, the coaches, the sports information department staff, and most importantly, the friends I have made (big shout out to Starbucks Club).  Everyone I have met there has helped guide me to be the person I am today.”

The four years of an undergraduate career can truly be formative and shape a person. Most, if not all of the experiences students go through have an impact on their life and become fond memories to look back upon. For Puttin, it is no different, she struggled when asked to pick a favorite memory from her time at the UMN Crookston campus. 

Nonetheless, Puttin did mention a few memories she fondly recalls, “I think my favorite memories are either on press row at basketball games, helping call or input stats or up in the UMC baseball press box.  We always have a great time.  Traveling to Idaho with the soccer team was another great experience I had.  I loved Boise! I also have many great memories with the women’s basketball team, especially when we traveled to Seattle.” 

As Puttin turns her focus into her career and her future, she remembers all of the internships that led her to where she is now. 

“I worked in the UMC sports information department the past three years.  Shawn Smith, the UMC sports information director, gave me an unforgettable experience.  He allowed me to write, run social media accounts, learn about sports (we even talked about weird baseball rules for an hour one time) and allowed me to ask plenty of questions.  He is someone I can give a lot of credit to for preparing me for everything that is to come.” 

Over the summer, Puttin was a special events intern for the 3M open. The 3M Open is a new PGA Tour event that is the week of July Fourth and it will be hosted at TPC Twin Cities. Puttin has also worked at other high Being in that position Puttin has often gotten asked how she has been able to work at other such high profile events such as the final four. Puttin attributes it to networking. “Do what you can to make yourself memorable.  When you finally get the position, work hard and prove to those people and yourself that you earned your position.  One thing I have learned over the past few years is to always put yourself in situations that make you nervous or uncomfortable (ex. a new job, a new sport, a new place).  This is what I did with these events and I took them head on and learned so much as well as meeting a ton of people who also work in the industry.” 

Furthermore, Puttin mentioned that through being in the sports industry, she has learned that it is about who you know.

“I can give a lot of credit to the Gopher Sports Communication team for helping me build my network.  I reached out to the University of Minnesota Sports Communication Directors, Paul Rovnak and Michelle Traversie two or three years ago just to get some input on what they do.  Since then and because I have stayed in contact with them, they have allowed me to shadow and work many events.”

The events that Puttin has been a part of include, the first and second rounds of 2017 and 2018 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament, the 2018 NCAA Women’s Volleyball National Championship (held at Target Center), regular season Gopher Volleyball games, Gopher hockey games, the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four (held at US Bank Stadium). 

Puttin is currently a student contact for Gopher Athletics at the UMN Twin Cities campus. While working there, she is finishing her degree from the UMN Crookston. After graduation, Puttin hopes to get a graduate assistant position and earn her master’s degree. From there, Puttin would like to get a position as a full time Sports Information Director for either a major university or professional sports team. Puttin looks forward to her career and reaching her goals in the sports industry. Nonetheless, she will never forget all the people who she crossed paths with at UMN Crookston that helped her to be where she is today and helped her set a track towards her future.

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston cultivates curiosity by engaging students in hands-on learning connecting theory to practice. As the experienced leader in delivering education online, the Crookston campus offers a distinctive learning environment providing personal attention and mentorship to develop leaders, lifelong learners, and engaged citizens. Visit Crookston at 

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Learn more at

Photo: UMN Crookston Senior Olivia Puttin third from the left

Story Contact: Shawn Smith