Maddie Harper

Graduate Spotlight: Maddie Harper, Master of Science in Sports Product Management ’21

Growing up in Portland, Maddie Harper loved soccer and dreamed of one day working for Nike.

After living and working for a time in Chicago, she returned to the Pacific Northwest and considered her next move.

“I knew I really loved sports products and business,” she said.

So when she found the UO Sports Product Management (SPM) program, she knew she had to apply.

The fact that it was at the University of Oregon–Portland, was even better. This is where I want to be, she thought.

Judging by her time with the program—as well as securing her dream job—Harper’s instincts were correct.

In recognition of her achievement, Harper’s classmates selected her for the Karsten Tindal Leadership Award for best representing the five “KT” leadership qualities: athletic, authentic, collaborative, curious, and generous. The award is named in honor of Karsten Tindal, who in 2018 passed away while pursuing his SPM degree.

Harper was honored to receive the award. Before entering the program, she aimed to push herself socially, to be inclusive in her cohort, and demonstrate her leadership skills in a way that was authentic to who she is as a person.

Her hard work was validated.

Harper said she is less type-A and more introverted than many who are considered leadership material.

“I take a different approach to leadership and my classmates recognized that, and it feels great,” she said.

Harper’s time in the program also taught her many tangible skills, such as the ability to accomplish big things with a small team. She’s already employing this expertise in her position as an associate merchant at Nike.

Looking back, much of what initially attracted Harper to the SPM program proved accurate.

“I got what I was expecting,” she said. “They were very forward about what problems the program aims to solve and what they wanted to teach us. That was exactly what I wanted. I definitely have gotten what I hoped for,” she said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harper and her cohort did miss out on a planned trip to Asia; however, professors and administration worked hard to compensate for that study tour experience, she noted. And pandemic-related adversity only helped her cohort grow closer, she continued.

“We bonded through shared experiences and new methods of communication. We had to rely on each other in a different way, and it brought us together. I’m thankful to this program.”

—William Kennedy, Lundquist College Communications