Sarah Wolter ’02

Alumni and Faculty

Visiting Assistant Professor in Communication Studies

My connection to Gustavus started when I attended yearbook camp the summer after 7th grade. Although my photography skills left something to be desired, I left campus that summer knowing that I wanted to attend college at a place that was as amazing as Gustavus (although I’d like to say my draw was because of the educational opportunities, at that time, I thought the people, the food, and the campus were pretty great). My interest continued, and I returned to Gustavus to pursue a B.A. degree in Honors Communication Studies. After graduation, I could only stay away a few years until coming back as a Visiting Instructor from 2005-2009. I left again to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota and returned again as a Visiting Assistant Professor in 2012.

I teach a variety of courses in Communication Studies at Gustavus, though mostly media courses for the 2016-2017 academic year. Pedagogically, I approach media courses from a critical cultural perspective, where mediated communication is socially influential, economically powerful, and politically significant. My goal as an educator is to inspire students to be thoughtful, inquisitive, compassionate, and critically-reflexive citizens.

My research centers on analysis of mediated representations of female athletes from a critical feminist perspective. My dissertation research was on the website espnW, ESPN’s first business initiative geared toward female fans and female athletes. I employed critical discourse analysis to examine ways the site produces specific subjectivities around sport and how these subjectivities reflect power relations in the broader sphere of sport in general. I also looked at how the site represents digital convergence, especially in its emphasis on interacting with fans via social media.

I harbor tremendous pride for my hometown of Red Wing, MN, home of the Wingers, world-famous Red Wing Pottery, and Red Wing Shoes. I currently reside in Northfield, MN with my partner (Blake Kane ’02) and our two children, Sullivan and Spencer. In my free time, I enjoy playing golf, boating, and spending time with family and friends.


B.A. Gustavus Adolphus College, 2002; M.A. Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2005; Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 2012.

Courses Taught


COM-208 (Media Literacy 2.0)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
COM-117Interpersonal Communication122014/SP, 2009/SP, 2008/FA, 2008/SP, 2007/FA, 2007/SP, 2006/FA, and 2006/SP
COM-120Public Discourse112016/SP, 2015/SP, 2014/FA, 2014/SP, 2013/FA, 2013/SP, 2012/FA, 2009/SP, 2008/FA, 2008/SP, and 2007/FA
COM-235Media and Society82016/FA, 2016/SP, 2015/FA, 2015/SP, 2014/FA, 2013/FA, 2013/SP, and 2012/FA
COM-110Public Speaking72007/SP, 2006/FA, 2006/SP, and 2005/FA
COM-219Teen Girls and Media52009/JN, 2008/JN, 2007/JN, and 2006/JN
COM-344ST:Gender & Sport42016/FA, 2015/FA, 2015/SP, and 2014/FA
COM-383Communication and Gender32016/SP, 2014/SP, and 2013/SP
COM-113Social Impact of Media32015/JN, 2014/JN, and 2013/JN
FTS-100FTS:Gender/Sport22016/FA and 2015/FA
NDL-268Career Exploration22016/JN
COM-375Media/Culture/Power22013/FA and 2012/FA
COM-268Career Exploration12016/JN