Busy BVU senior lands cherished job five months before graduation
Andrew Bandstra may disappoint his parents by not making it to his own Buena Vista University commencement exercise on May 25.
He’s got a great reason, though, an excuse all parents, including Scott and Laura Bandstra, would gladly accept.
“I’ll be working that day,” Bandstra says, noting how his employer, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs professional baseball team will be in the midst of a six-game homestand at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, Maryland, some 1,200 miles from the campus of Buena Vista University.
Bandstra serves as broadcast and media relations coordinator for the independent league baseball franchise, an organization that competes in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.
Baseball helped bring Bandstra to BVU in the first place. Baseball is what takes him away, diploma in-hand. Well, almost.
“I have two online classes I’m taking right now,” says Bandstra, a digital media major who came to BVU from Des Moines Roosevelt High School in the fall of 2015. In addition to playing baseball for the Beavers, Bandstra completed three internships; serving a stint in medial relations with the Minnesota Vikings as a junior before working four months last winter and spring for PBS’ “To the Contrary” in Washington, D.C.
His PBS experience, coupled with his work for the Minnesota Vikings, including a weekend of work as U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis hosted Super Bowl LII, led to Bandstra landing broadcast positions with both the D.C. Grays, a collegiate baseball team in Washington, and the Blue Crabs, a stint that led to his full-time paid internship, a position he aims to turn into a full-time job.
Additionally, Bandstra developed his skills working as a broadcaster for Storm Lake Radio and the Des Moines Radio Group during his time as a BVU student.
“I’m doing sales with the Blue Crabs, media relations and broadcasting,” he says. “I may even get to help pull the tarp off the field. You get a chance to experience it all here.”
Bandstra says he has friends, professors and coaches to thank as he takes his first “cuts” in professional broadcasting. “As a freshman I came to BVU with dreams of one day becoming a sports broadcaster, but I didn’t do much about it initially. I had a class with Tanner Hoops, who became one of my best friends, and he invited me to come broadcast a game with him.”
Hoops, a 2018 BVU graduate from Storm Lake, now serves as sports director for ESPN-UP in Marquette, Mich.
“Dr. Andrea Frantz (professor of digital media) at KBVU always kept challenging me to be the best person and journalist I could be,” Bandstra says. “And Coach Steve Eddie and the Beavers baseball team gave me the best experience possible as a collegiate athlete. The hardest thing about leaving BVU was stepping away from baseball and the 40 to 50 guys on the team who had become like family to me.”
“It was Coach Eddie who advised me to go chase this dream, to take an opportunity when it presented itself,” Bandstra says.
Even though his final semester as an undergraduate will be spent a short drive from Chesapeake Bay, as opposed to being mere steps from the shores of Storm Lake, this Beaver baseballer has no regrets.
“I’ve spoken about my college choice on multiple occasions and each time I tell people that going to BVU was the best decision I ever made,” Bandstra concludes. “I learned life lessons and developed lifelong friends. I was truly blessed to be at BVU.”