ERIE, Pa. (EYT/D9) – For West Sunbury native and Penn State graduate Fontaine Glenn, watching Pittsburgh Penguins’ games with her father, Greg, helped her discover a career she could see herself in one day.
(Photos submitted by Fontaine Glenn)
“I wanted to be in Dan Potash’s job,” said Glenn. “I have loved hockey and sports since I was a kid. I also have always loved to talk, so sports broadcasting made sense.”
While her career today does not entail sports broadcasting, she was not far off from being a member of the press. Today, she works as a news reporter for JET/FOX/YourErie in Erie, a role she has been in since March 2021. However, this is far from her only role that she has had in the communications industry. In fact, this is her second stint in Erie.
A graduate of Moniteau High School, Glenn was a standout on the basketball court for the Warriors. She was a two-time Second-Team All-KSAC, took part in the Sportsmanship All-Star Game, and she was even the team’s leading scorer as a junior. Glenn was making connections in the college basketball world from all over the country initially; she hoped to play college ball as far away from Butler County as possible. However, once she connected with Penn State Behrend, something clicked for her.
“I went on a tour and I could just really see myself there,” Glenn said. “It was great because it had the Penn State name. Every college I visited after Behrend was not the same.”
Glenn represented the Lions for three seasons as she played in 79 games with 68 starts. She was a consistent two-way player as she was a capable scorer at 6.7 points per game for her career while also averaging 7.2 rebounds per game as a Lion. Basketball was going great as Glenn was a key member of the team in those three seasons, but as a Division III athlete, sometimes there are other opportunities that take priority.
For Glenn, she decided that one more season of college basketball was not worth sacrificing a chance to expand her experience and knowledge by transferring to University Park for her final three semesters of her education. This decision, Glenn said, was difficult.
“It was scary because I didn’t know who I was without basketball or what I was going to do without it,” Glenn said. “It is all I did for six or seven days a week for years, and it was a huge part of who I was. I said to myself that I needed to be selfish and find a way to further my career. I loved Behrend, playing basketball, and working with Professor (Tom) Deau while at Behrend. He’s still a mentor to this day, but I know today it was 100 percent the right decision.”
Heading to University Park helped her to expand on some experience in the journalism realm as she first wrote for the campus newspaper at Penn State Behrend called The Behrend Beacon. Her experience from this, as well as a solid interview, helped her to earn a chance to write in the sports section for The Daily Collegian at Penn State, with her beat being Nittany Lions’ fencing.
She also assisted Penn State Behrend Athletics with game day management and sports information work, which included social media work and some appearances calling the Penn State Behrend men’s basketball games.
These experiences helped her earn an internship in Jacksonville, Fla., with the Jacksonville Sharks organization, a professional indoor football team. She also joined Swank Construction to diversify her experience in media, as she was in charge of social media development and implementation for the firm.
However, perhaps the most important insight she gained through her time in college was the ability to build relationships and connections. It was through the network she developed that she eventually earned her first full-time role as a photographer, and later as a Multimedia Journalist/Morning Anchor in Elmira, New York, for NBC WTEM 18 News.
It was a role that helped her to gain insight and experience in the entire process of creating a newscast and content. It was also some of her first experience on air, something that is serving her well as a blooming on-air personality in Erie.
“When I first got to Elmira, I was a nighttime photographer and was only on air once a week,” she explained. “Looking back, I was not ready to be on air more than that. I was then promoted to nighttime reporter and was then on the air five days a week. At the end of my time in Elmira, I became a morning anchor, which was much more lighthearted and enjoyable because people could see my personality more.”
It was a solid year and a half of experience that prepared her to come back to Western Pennsylvania, back to the city that helped her grow in her first three years in the adult world. However, it was not the easiest of transitions, she admits.
“I was and still am so happy to be back closer to friends and family,” said Glenn. “It was a hard transition because my space became a conference room because we were still socially distant and working through COVID-19 mandates when I arrived. I could not interact with people the way I hoped to, but once I got into the newsroom, things improved.”
Now, she has been back in Pennsylvania for nearly a year and is in her fourth year of being a full-time media member – something she is thankful for and believes would not be possible without her support system.
“My parents (Tina and Greg) and my teammates have been there for me in everything I do,” she said. “I wouldn’t be where I am without my parents and teammates’ extra push.”
As a growing media professional and media professional, Glenn has sacrificed a great deal in order to work in the newsroom. However, the early morning and late nights continue to shape and prepare her for a long and successful career.
“The advice I have for people is to put their head down and work,” she said. “Doing what you are told and listening to advice from those more experienced have helped along with not being afraid to ask questions. I encourage everyone to take advantage of opportunities they are presented with and to not be afraid to fail. If you work hard and do these things, it will work out in the end.”