Antunovic Receives ‘Rising Star’ Award for Work Empowering Women; Advocating for Equity in Sport

Dr. Dunja Antunovic, an Assistant Professor of Sport Sociology in the School of Kinesiology, was awarded the 2022 Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle (WPLC) Rising Star Award last week. The award, new in 2022, recognizes a pre-tenure faculty member who is committed to empowering women and demonstrating leadership through academics, research, service, and teaching.

L to R: Hokeun Choi, Sam Dreher, Lauren Cattapan, Lindsey Lehrfeld, and Dunja Antunovic at CEHD Research Day

“Dunja’s scholarship empowers women through her work on their access and visibility in all areas of sport. Her recent book on feminism, media, and women’s sports is further cementing her recognition and legacy. She is an outstanding teacher, mentor and colleague who is very giving of her time and talents,” said Dr. Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, School of Kinesiology Associate Director and among the faculty members who nominated and recommended Antunovic for the award. 

Antunovic joined the School of Kinesiology in fall 2020. She is also an affiliated scholar with the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport and the School of Kinesiology’s Honors Faculty Representative. 

L to R: Nicole M. LaVoi, PhD, Tucker Center director, and Dunja Antunovic, PhD at the NCAA Women’s Final Four Tournament

“My research examines the relationship between gender, sport, and media, including on women’s status in the media industry and representations of women’s sports,” said Antunovic of her work. 

“Telling stories about women’s sports remains a primary goal of my research. Because of the continued marginalization of women’s sports in the media, telling stories entails challenging assumptions with empirical evidence and with new methodological approaches,” added Antunovic. 

Antunovic recently co-authored a book with Dr. Cheryl Cooky (Purdue University), entitled Serving Equality: Feminism, Media, and Women’s Sports, among other published articles and chapters. In addition to her scholarly research, she actively mentors graduate and undergraduate students who are preparing for careers in sport, physical activity, health, and higher education. 

L to R: Kim Soltis, Tucker Center research assistant, and Dunja Antunovic at Kinesiology Research Day 2022

Many thanks to the Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle and College of Education of Human Development for this exciting recognition of Dr. Antunovic’s work, which is already spurring cultural dialog, inspiring reflection, and accelerating change. 

Congratulations, Dunja!