Everyday People: Carlos Garcia and Juan Mendez

Broadcast journalism students Carlos Garcia and Juan Mendez are bringing new ideas to the College of Communications.

Carlos Garcia and Juan Mendez in broadcast studio, photo by Cardoni

Fresh Faces

Juan Mendez (above, left) and Carlos Garcia met as freshmen through the student-run club Penn State Sports Night, which gets aspiring sports broadcasters in front of the camera. They connected over growing up in Miami and their Hispanic heritage—Garcia’s family is Cuban, and Mendez is originally from Colombia—and decided to pitch faculty producers on their bilingual abilities: a new segment on the student-run TV show Penn State Sports Night, in Spanish, called “Sports Night Deportes.” After the go-ahead, the co-hosts put out their first show in April 2021 and covered international soccer topics such as the proposed European Super League and the World Cup. “The crowd of Spanish speakers at Penn State is small, but it’s growing,” says Mendez. “It’s a good thing to represent the College of Communications as a Spanish speaker—and as an English speaker.”


Air Time

In addition to the sportscast and working at CommRadio, both students have landed other broadcasting gigs. Last fall, Mendez was a commentator and play-by-play announcer for Penn State men’s soccer on Big Ten Plus and covered the NCAA women’s soccer tournament for ESPN+. Meanwhile, Garcia interned as a broadcast associate with Major League Baseball; he’s also working on a new show called The 31, which reports on all 31 varsity teams at Penn State.



Although the first “Sports Night Deportes” was taped at Innovation Park, they now record in the Bellisario Media Center, which lets them use the latest industry technology.


Future Goooooooals

After Penn State, Garcia sees himself on the air and covering sports; Mendez would love to work a World Cup one day, ideally with bilingual commentary.


Quality Content

Mendez says they’ve been supported in their endeavors by Gary Abdullah ’03, ’07 MA Com, assistant dean of diversity and inclusion for the college, and professor Steve Sampsell ’90 Com. Says Garcia: “Hispanics are a minority at Penn State, but there are still a lot of us with unique stories.”