Cambridge, Mass. (March 10) -- As part of a series that is taking place throughout the 2020-21 academic year, the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER) is featuring a number of head coaches and DAPER staff members to learn more about them. This next installment of the series features Mindy Brauer, who is in her 18th year at MIT as the assistant director of communications, promotions and marketing.
As part of each feature, we have included a written question and answer session, along with a video interview where recruits, alumni, fans and others can learn more about the MIT staff. If you can't currently visit MIT, we will bring MIT to you!
Q: What do you think has been the biggest evolution within athletic communications during your career?
A: I would say the development and presence of social media. It requires a very different approach and it's constantly changing. However, social media helps us share content, both internally and externally, that might not be viewed otherwise. It also gives us a place to do something fun or quirky.
Q: What is your favorite book?
A: Similar to my taste in music (which is explained in the video below), I'm all over the place in terms of the books I read. Some of my favorites are "Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman's Quest to Make a Difference" by Warren St. John, "Shades of Grey" by Jasper Fforde, and "Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam" by Mark LeVine. "Outcasts United" is a true story and serves as a reminder of how sports can positively impact individuals and their community. "Shades of Grey" (not the one some of you might be thinking of) is a novel about people in a society where the ability to see the higher end of the color spectrum denotes a better social standing (at the same time they're unable to see a natural color other than their own). Another non-fiction book, "Heavy Metal Islam" explores the influence of Western music on the Middle East as young Muslims struggle to reconcile their religion with a passion for music and a desire for change.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant?
A: For sentimental reasons, I would have to say the Asgard because I went there with some co-workers my third day at MIT. Other than my supervisor, James Kramer, everyone else worked in Recreation. It was great to meet people who I might not have crossed paths with during my first week.
Q: Do you have a particular TV show or movie that you have discovered during the pandemic?
A: On Netflix, I flew through "Cable Girls," which is a Spanish show set during the 1920s. I don't typically marathon-watch shows but it was very cliffhangery (to use the technical term) in a "Scandal" or "How to Get Away With Murder" kind of way. I'm currently watching the first season of "For All Mankind" on Apple TV+ which is about an alternative version of 1969 during which the Soviet Union landed on the Moon before the United States.
Q: What is your favorite athletic event that you have ever covered at MIT?
A: From a hosting perspective, despite the amount of work and planning, I would say the three times we've been selected to host a regional for the NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament. We have enthusiastic crowds and the energy builds throughout the weekend, which helps me battle my exhaustion. During my long tenure at MIT, I've been fortunate to witness amazing accomplishments by our programs. Some of my highlights include:
- In 2009 when the field hockey and women's soccer teams both defeated Springfield at Wellesley, almost simultaneously, to win their first official NEWMAC Championships (the previous titles were NEW 8). I was standing between both fields as this occurred and then we took a photo with both programs on the soccer field. The timing also allowed both teams to cheer for each other during the post-game ceremonies.
- In 2015 when the women's lacrosse team scored six unanswered goals during the last 12 minutes of regulation to come from behind and defeat Springfield for the program's first NEWMAC Championship. During the rally, I remember standing in the Springfield press box, my heart was racing, I was chewing gum and thinking "So, this is happening." When it was over, I thought "Well, that happened."
- The 2018 NEWMAC Tournament run by the women's basketball team, culminating in the program's first championship. I still haven't processed it or the fact that we won it again in 2019, much like my reaction to the NEWMAC Women's Lacrosse Championship.
- In 2019 when the men's heavyweight Collegiate 8+ won the Gold medal at the Head of the Charles. Obviously, it was exciting for the program but I really enjoyed interviewing captains Ben Koenig '21 and Orrie Page '22 to learn about the team's experience.
- Any time we have a fencer qualify for the NCAA Championship. We're in a very competitive and deep region, especially from a Division I standpoint. Therefore, it's incredibly difficult for a Division III fencer to qualify for the NCAA Championship.
- Saturday night of the NEWMAC Swimming and Diving Championship, when we're hosting, of course. It's standing room only and there's so much energy and excitement throughout the Zesiger Pool.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: "What do you have to lose by treating people with kindness and respect" from the television show "The Good Place."
Q: What are you most looking forward to when we are able to be back on campus?
A: Not to sound creepy, but interacting with the students. It's one of the reasons why I've chosen to work on a campus instead of being in a conference office (once again, not trying to be creepy). Granted, some of our conversations remind me of how old I am and that I've been at MIT as long as they've been alive. However, I enjoy shifting gears and learning about what's going on in their world (in a non-creepy way).
Q: If you weren't in athletics, what type of career do you think you would have gone into?
A: Honestly, I don't know. The way I got into the profession, it just seems like something I'm supposed to be doing (a teaser to get you to watch the video below).