Since The Clemson Insider began in 2009, we have had many student workers who have helped in our overall growth in giving Clemson sports fans the most complete coverage of Clemson University Athletics.
We could not have done it without their help and dedication to making TCI the best Clemson Sports Website on the web.
After they have left our web site, our students have gone of to do great things, with four of the working for ESPN. We are proud of all of our student workers and we are glad we could help in a small way help their professional dreams come true.
Below are TCI alumni and what they are doing now.
William Qualkinbush (2013-2018): Joined the TCI staff in July of 2013 and served as a regular writer as well as wrote a blog, did video work and still writes for our collector edition magazines. Qualkinbush came to The Clemson Insider after a six-year stint as a freelance writer in college, where he attended Clemson University. The Clemson graduate has wrote for IPTAY Media, producing content on every athletic program on campus. He has also covered high school and Clemson sports for The Daily Journal in Seneca, SC since 2007. Qualkinbush is also involved with WCCP-FM 105.5 in Clemson – the university’s flagship station for Clemson Athletics. He was a producer and co-host for The Mickey Plyler Show, which airs from 6-9 on weekday mornings, and now is a co-host of Out of Bounds with Qualk and Kelly, which airs from 9 a.m.-Noon Monday through Friday. In addition, Qualkinbush spent six years as a student assistant and graduate assistant in the Clemson Sports Information Department, where he developed relationships with many coaches and student-athletes. He also did public address work for the Clemson baseball team and has filled PA roles in the Clemson area in a variety of capacities for several years. He also does play-by-play for Clemson women’s basketball and baseball, as well as the WCCP-FM Game of the Week.
Kaila Burns-Heffner (2014-2017): Burns-Heffner is a sports communication graduate of Clemson University and is a content associate at ESPN and the ACC Network. She has a passion for telling the stories that go beyond just the field. She is dedicated to her craft and aims to share both her knowledge of sports and the inspiring stories she comes across, along the way. Through various positions including both a news and sports internship at WSPA-TV (a local CBS affiliate station) and her three-year role as a sports reporter for The Clemson Insider, she has become proficient in writing, editing, shooting, reporting and on-camera work. She has had the opportunity to cover events such as the ESPN College Football Awards Show, the 2016 ACC Basketball Tournament, the 2016 ACC Media Kickoff, Carolina Panthers’ 2016 Training Camp, and the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship. For Clemson’s news station, she produced, shot and edited her own news packages on a weekly basis to be viewed on Clemson’s website. She then strengthened her skill set by editing video content for WSPA-TV’s sports segments.
Olivia Garrison (2016-2018): Garrison first worked for the NCAA.com after she graduated from Clemson in 2018. She has since landed a job with ESPN as a production assistant. She worked for two years at TCI where she reported on camera, wrote articles, and managed/created content for our social media accounts. She work behind the scenes at the 2016 and 2017 ESPN College GameDay shows, the 2016 and 2017 Football and Basketball ACC Media Days, the 2017 ACC Football Championship, the 2018 College Football Playoff, the 2018 ACC Indoor Track & Field Championship, and the 2018 ACC Basketball Tournament. Garrison also interned at WCIV-TV in Charleston, SC with Scott Eisberg, which led to an internship at WSPA-TV with Pete Yanity.
Ashley Pendergist (2017-2019): Works for ESPN and the ACC Network as a production assistant, is from Charleston, S.C., and graduated from Clemson University in 2019 with a degree in Sports Communications with a minor in Entrepreneurship. Pendergist joined the TCI staff in August of 2017. In addition to working at TCI, she worked with WSPA in Spartanburg. Pendergist has also completed a summer internship with the sports department at WCSC, Live 5 News in Charleston covering baseball, softball, hockey and football. She was a Campus Connection Correspondent for ESPNU where they have published several of her feature stories about Clemson athletics. Pendergist was a co-host for a weekly sports show on TigerVision — a student run television network at Clemson University.
Ashley Hodge (2017-2018): Hodge graduated from Clemson in 2019 and was part of 10-week internship at ESPN following her graduation. She was then offered a full-time job as a production assistant with ESPN and currently helps produce SportsCenter. She helped TCI with video and writing content during her time with TCI. She also worked as a camera and video production assistant with the Clemson Athletics Video Department. Hodge also did internships with television stations in Boston and South Carolina, the NFL Network and was a Campus Connection Correspondent for ESPNU. She also was a co-host for a weekly sports show on TigerVision — a student run television network at Clemson University.
Gabby Bates (2015-2016): Bates now works for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture in the public relations department. While at TCI is she covered football along with men’s basketball. Bates wrote articles and also did videos and video productions as well as social media updates and graphics. She had the opportunity to cover the 2016 ACC Championship Game and the 2017 National Championship Game, while working with TCI. She also was a co-host for a weekly sports show on TigerVision — a student run television network at Clemson University and she helped host a radio show as well. Bates graduated from Clemson in December of 2016.
Ashley Earle (2009): Earle is now the Senior Manager at the PUMA Group in Boston. She also worked in the media and communications department for the NBA’s Boston Celtics after she graduated from Clemson. She also worked for the Atlanta Falcons’ and the New York Jets’ press communication departments. Earle covered Clemson football, men’s and women’s basketball, as well as Olympic Sports at Clemson for TCI. During her time at Clemson, Earle also worked in the Clemson Sports Information Department and was a freelance writer for the Seneca Journal. She is the oldest child of former Clemson linebacker James Earle (1984-’87).
Ashley Westbrook (2010-2012): Westbrook is the Director of Public Relations/Adjunct Professor of Sports Communication. She graduated from Clemson University in December of 2010 with a BA in Communication Studies and obtained a Master’s degree in Mass Communication and Broadcast Journalism from the University of South Carolina in 2014. She covered Clemson football, men’s and women’s basketball, as well as Olympic Sports at Clemson for TCI. She also worked with IPTAY Media during her time at Clemson. Before accepting the Director of Public Relations position at Emmanuel College, she worked in Clemson, S.C. as the Sales and Membership Manager of the Clemson Area Chamber of Commerce for two years. Ashley joined Emmanuel’s Communication Studies Department as an Adjunct teaching courses in Sports Communication.
Gray Gardner (2009-2010): Gardner worked two years for TCI and covered Clemson football and basketball. He played tight end for the Tigers in 2007-2008. When he graduated from Clemson in 2010 he attended seminary school at St. Andrews and is now a full-time campus pastor at Forest Hill Church in Charlotte.
Trey McCurry (2010-2019): Joined the staff in July of 2010 and served as a writer that helped with both baseball and football coverage. McCurry has been around Clemson athletics his entire life as he grew attending most Clemson sporting events. As an undergrad at Clemson, he worked as an equipment manager with the football team working with tight ends and kickers. He graduated from Clemson with a degree in Sports Management with a business minor in December of 2007. After graduation, McCurry joined the Clemson Sports Information Office as a graduate assistant. For two years, he worked with the football, baseball, and men’s soccer teams. During that time, he assisted in various tasks around the office varying from arranging interviews to assisting in the publication of media guides to writing articles for football game programs. McCurry now works at Clemson University.
Kevin Shroat (2016-2018): Joined the The Clemson Insider staff as an intern in August of 2016. Shroat joined the TCI staff permanently as a writer after graduating from Clemson in May of 2018. While working TCI with writing and video production, Shroat was also an intern with Fan Media Network as the official video correspondent for Clemson football. He also worked with Clemson University in the public relations department. Throughout his tenure at Charlotte Catholic High School, Shroat played baseball and basketball while lettering in soccer. Being active is a major part his life and when he’s not in the library studying, he can be found at Fike Recreation Center or playing intramural football and basketball.
Katie Florio (2016-2019): Joined the TCI staff in December of 2016. She graduated from West Florence High School in June of 2016. Sports have always been an important aspect of her life considering her dad is a former professional hockey player, her brother is a high school varsity baseball player and she was a varsity softball player and cheerleader in high school. Florio’s ultimate goal is to be a Sports Reporter/Broadcaster for a television network. She was also an anchor for West Florence’s morning show, Knight Network.