From Brentwood to the Bluff: Duquesne Alum makes her mark working for the Pittsburgh Penguins

Courtesy of Sydney Bauer. Sydney in the Penguins’ locker room, underneath Penguins captain Sidney Crosby’s locker.

Michael Grecco | staff writer

Oct. 14, 2021

A Pittsburgh local, Sydney Bauer graduated from Brentwood High School in 2014 and graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2018. Now, Bauer is currently employed by the Pittsburgh Penguins, where she assists in creating and filming video packages with the team.

This interview with Sydney Bauer has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Question: What originally sparked your interest in media and video production?

Bauer: In high school, I always had a passion and an interest in all my creative classes, whether it was art, communications, wood shop, computer-aided design, etc. I knew I would enjoy working in a field that would allow me to be imaginative, innovative and bring a vision to life.

When I first visited Duquesne, I met with a professor in the media department. They told me about their Digital Media Arts major, which would allow me to take a variety of creative courses. Graphic design, web design, video production, U.X. design – I was immediately sold. At that point, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to specialize in, but I knew I would enjoy exploring these fields. After taking some of these multimedia classes throughout college, I really fell in love with the creative process of storytelling. Everyone has their own story that’s worth being told. Being the one who brings that story to light is truly a privilege.

Question: What are some of the greatest or most fun moments you can remember regarding your job?

Bauer: Going to Nashville and covering the 2017 Stanley Cup Final when the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Predators. Working that entire playoff run from the first round all the way to the Stanley Cup parade, I had some of the best experiences of my life.

Question: If you could give others one piece of advice who want to have a career similar to yours, what would it be?

Bauer: Remember that you’re never going to please everyone. Never lose sight of why you do what you do. Keep working hard and if you truly put the time and work in, it will pay off.

Question: How important do you think it is to network not only in your field, but for other fields as well?

Bauer: Always give people the time of day. I can’t stress how important networking is in everything that you do. You never know who you’re going to meet and who’s going to know who. Creating good connections can open so many doors that may have otherwise not been open. Having solid relationships can be the difference maker in why you’re selected over another candidate for a job.

Question: Which project and/or video are you most proud of and why?

Bauer: It’s so hard to pick a single video I’m most proud of, but I can share one of the most rewarding projects I did during my time at Duquesne.

For a video storytelling class I had with Steve Mellon, I edited and produced a video to showcase homelessness in Pittsburgh. After reaching out to a homeless shelter Downtown, they allowed me to interview one person who was staying there. Knowing this is a sensitive topic, before starting the interview, I sat down with my subject and we had a great conversation getting to know one another for about 20 minutes. When we started the interview, they opened up to me about not only their homelessness, but their gender transformation and past history of sexual, verbal and mental abuse from her father. The interview was raw, emotional, and eye-opening. The fact that I walked into the shelter that day as a complete stranger and by the time I left, they had felt comfortable enough with me to open up and share their most traumatic experiences they’ve endured, was one of the most gratifying feelings as a storyteller.

Question: Describe your everyday schedule. How hectic can things get, and do you have any advice on how to handle it all?

Bauer: My day-to-day schedule fluctuates heavily depending on the time of [hockey] season and game schedule. I develop and produce video content for Penguins live event presentation, broadcast, online and social media platforms. That includes long form and short form storytelling, including TV shows, narratives, highlight reels and in-arena game opens.

Things are always changing so you have to be on your toes at all times. Working in sports requires long hours so learning how to appropriately manage and balance your time is key. A piece of advice that I once received from a mentor that I now offer to others is stop stressing about things you can’t control.

Question: How much preparation goes into what you do? And what have you done in the past in order to prepare or get you to where you are today?

Bauer: When it comes to producing video, planning is essential. In my role, I execute all aspects of a shoot, pre-production through delivery. Skipping this first step affects an entire project. Preparation for me includes writing copy and scripts, brainstorming questions for interviews, storyboarding, finding shooting locations, etc. The better planning you do, the easier post-production will be. Overall, it becomes a better project and will showcase throughout your work.

Nothing can truly prepare you better for a job than real, hands-on experience. I can’t emphasize enough how valuable internships, volunteer work and clubs are. Whether or not it turns out to be what you wanted it to be, it can show you what you enjoy and don’t enjoy about a role. It provides a space for you to learn and grow through new opportunities. I’ve learned so much of what I do today through those experiences.