Students

Kyle Caron and Maddy Hooper team up as interns at The First Tee in Connecticut

Kyle Caron at his internship this summer during golf lessons.Written by: Kyle Caron

My name is Kyle Caron and I am a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut, having received my Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management. This past summer, I interned with The First Tee of Connecticut in Cromwell, Conn., this region’s chapter of the international First Tee organization. The First Tee is an organization that focuses on teaching the game of golf and instilling important life skills in young players. During my time there, I was able to gain experience in many aspects of running a non-profit organization such as marketing, financial development and community outreach.

For the first half of my internship, I worked in several community outreach efforts. This included going to different golf courses to teach clinics to children who may have not had access to the game otherwise as well as attending networking and marketing fairs to organize demo stations for kids to play in while I explained to their parents what The First Tee is all about. I also spent time volunteering at various tournaments throughout the state, as a representative of the organization, to help foster relationships with local golf clubs to attempt to spread the word about our programs and attract new students. I spent the second half of my internship working as a counselor for our Summer Camp program where I supervised campers and taught them ways and techniques to improve their game.

My time spent with The First Tee of Connecticut allowed me to learn more about what it takes to run a golf and youth development organization, specifically a non-profit one. As a non-profit organization targeted at kids who want to learn the game, I saw how creating relationships with other organizations in the community could be just as beneficial to an organization’s reputation as a large marketing campaign. I also saw the impact that sports can have on the development of a child’s life by teaching them ethics and values to live by such as respect, perseverance and integrity. Many of the kids who came up through The First Tee program are now successful college students with plenty of accolades and scholarships that reflect the character that our programs assisted in building. Because of the effects I saw due to children’s involvement with The First Tee, I would like to further pursue a career in sport-based youth development and try to make that same difference in the lives of future generations. Working with The First Tee of Connecticut was a valuable and enriching experience, and I am very grateful for the opportunity.

Written by: Maddy Hooper

My name is Maddy Hooper and I am from West Hartford, Conn. I did my summer internship at The First Tee of Connecticut, which is located in Cromwell on the grounds of TPC River Highlands. I first saw the position of Community Outreach Intern for this summer in one of the Sport Management weekly newsletters. I noticed it one day over Christmas break and immediately emailed Mark, my boss from this summer, and sent in my application. I interviewed for the position at the end of March and found out a week later that I gotten the position.

A photo that Maddy Hooper included in her internship experience of students during summer golf lessons.I did a lot of different things this summer. In my first few weeks before the kids came for the summer, we worked with children after school and completed tasks around the office. A few of the big projects that I completed during this time were reorganizing all of the closets and storage spaces in our building. The week before school got out was the week of the Travelers Championship. This was truly the busiest week of my life. We ran a ton of events that week and worked all over the course during the pro-am and tournament. This week was really cool for me because I met tons of important people in the golf world including the president of the PGA Paul Levy, and many professional golfers, such as Rory Mclroy and Paul Casey. Once school got out, I really began the work that I did this summer. For the remainder of the summer, I spent most of my time at different summer camps all over the state giving golf lessons. I went to places like Camp Courant, Channel 3 Kids Camp and Boys and Girls Club of New Haven.

My main takeaway from this summer is that it’s important to be helpful in every way possible. I became really close with everyone that I worked with and the full-time employees called me “the best intern ever.” I think they called me this because I was willing to do anything they asked me to do and did everything to the best of my ability, even if some days this was just sorting golf balls and moving cases of water. You can really leave your mark in a place by doing more then what is asked of you and making positive and friendly impressions. I hope to use the skills that I learned this summer and bring them with me as I pursue a career in non-profit youth development. The First Tee or any organization similar is where I would love to end up after graduation.

Kelly Andujar Interns at Stonehill Sports Camps

Written by: Kelly Andujar

Spending my summer working for the 2017 Stonehill Sports Camps has been one of the most important learning experiences of my life. I had the opportunity to work with a group of staff that I now consider family. My time working for the sports camps consisted of long hours and sleepless nights. My goal for the internship was to learn about the administrative side of the sports industry and in doing so, I gained valuable experience in marketing, customer service, event organization and coach communication.

I learned quickly that people often notice when tasks are done with half-effort. I worked for the camps with the mentality that I would give it my best and soak up as much knowledge as possible. Without the support of my fellow interns and work-study students, I would not be where I am today. We relied on each other during difficult times and trusted each other’s judgment. No one can be successful alone, and I’ve learned more from my peers than I could have ever imagined. I was pushed outside of my comfort zone and thought critically about my role in the sports camps. I recognized my strengths and weaknesses and held myself to the highest standards of professionalism.   

Although I constantly received praise during my internship, I always wanted to find ways in which I could improve. I became heavily invested in the sports camps and felt personally responsible for its successes and failures. There were instances in which I felt like I needed to do everything to make sure the day ran smoothly. This wasn’t due to a lack of trust between my fellow colleagues but rather my “do it all” mindset. I could have reached out to my coworkers for a lending hand and to share some of the responsibilities. I am constantly learning and growing and will use this experience as a tool to improve.

The internship was also very time-consuming and I rarely had time off. Courtney Osier, my supervisor and sports camps coordinator, noticed how much I was working and knew when I need time to myself. I learned that taking time off is important for peace of mind and personal development. As I prepare for life after college, this experience has shaped my understanding of the work force. The sports industry is growing competitively every day and I want to stick out as a “must-have” candidate. I want to show future employers my diverse skill sets and abilities. This experience was more of a “resume-builder,” but will allow me to jump start and be prepared for a future career in athletics. Lastly, I would like to thank Courtney Osier for believing in me and allowing me the opportunity to grow as a young man. I am forever grateful.

Maggie McEvilly Interns in the WHDH TV Sports Department in Boston

Written by: Maggie McEvilly

My name is Maggie McMaggie McEvilly on the field at Gillette Stadium during the New England Patriots pre-season opener. Evilly and I am senior at the University of Connecticut studying Sport Management and Journalism. I hope to pursue a career in the sports broadcasting industry upon graduation and spent this past summer interning with the sports department at WHDH TV Channel 7 in Boston. During the few months that I spent with the station, I learned about the inner-workings of the broadcast industry and how to one day become a successful sports reporter.

Both of the sports producers that I worked with every day were very helpful in teaching me how to write television packages for sports in a conversational and casual tone, something that I struggled with initially due to my prior experience with written journalism. My favorite aspect of interning with WHDH Sports this summer was getting the opportunity to go out into the field and experience what it’s like as a reporter on a normal day, from start to finish. Whether it was at a Red Sox game or Patriots training camp, I was able to be fully immersed in the action, whether it was during pre and post game interviews and press conferences in the locker rooms and clubhouses, on the field during games and practices or in media workrooms at the end of each day to watch the writing and editing processes.

7 News Station in Boston, Mass.

Although I worked primarily with Chelsi McDonald during my time at my internship, one of the three sports reporters at the station, all of the anchors were extremely helpful and accommodating with all that I did this summer.  They thoroughly explained everything that they did while they were doing it so that I was able to both observe and understand, encouraging me to ask any and all questions that I had. One instance of this was when I filmed my first stand-up at the Patriots first preseason game. Although I was extremely nervous and anxious to be on camera for the first time, especially as I was surrounded by professional sports reporters on the field, both Chelsi and our sports photographer encouraged me that I could do it, making me feel confident enough in my own abilities to be successful in doing so. Although they probably do not know how much that specific moment meant to me, it was one of the best from the entire summer because I felt as though I could experience for the first time what it would be like to have a career in this field, and knew that I had the full support of professional reporters to help me get there.  I truly think that this internship has prepared me for a career in the sports broadcasting industry in the near future, as I know now what will be expected of me in an entry-level position and all that I have to do now to be successful in earning one.

Cristina Vincente Interns as UConn Sport Management’s Event Planner

Written by: Cristina Vincente

Having grown up in Mansfield, Conn., my entire life has lead me to create a special bond with the University of Connecticut. After being accepted into the UConn Sport Management program and becoming a Digital Media Creative Team intern during my second semester in the program, that bond with this school and this program has only grown stronger. This summer, I was fortunate enough to build upon this bond while interning with the programs’ department head, Dr. Jennifer McGarry, to plan events for the Sport Management program. I was able to obtain this internship with the help of both Dr. McGarry and Digital Media Manager Nellie Schafer. They were aware of my passion for working with social media and event planning, and therefore lead me into this current position as event manager for Sport Management. I have been working right on campus, in Storrs, to plan alumni events and expand our program’s social and digital media efforts.

Sport Managemnt Event in Hartford
Sport Management alumni and friends gathered for an evening of networking on Aug. 24, 2017.

So far this summer, I have coordinated the Sport Management Alumni event that was held in New York City toward the end of June. In addition to planning it, I also was able to attend the actual event which was an amazing experience that connected me with a lot of alumni from the program. I also planned an alumni networking event that was held in Hartford, Conn. at the end of August as well as the 2017 Master’s Orientation that took place during the first week of the semester. I am currently in the process of planning this fall’s Career Night in Sport, which will be held in October. While establishing all of these events, I have been collaborating with several different individuals to figure out logistics for everything from food and catering, to photos at the event, to sending out invites. The event planning aspect of my internship has certainly been rewarding and a great experience.

Along with planning the events, part of my internship has included conducting several job interviews. I met with a variety of women working in different fields of the industry who were all at different stages in their respective careers. Speaking to such successful professionals exposed me to many career paths and opportunities. Each professional provided me with great advice and encouraged me to find my own path.

In addition to the events, job interviews and valuable connections, I have been continuing working with the Sport Management Digital Media Creative Team. As an intern for the team last spring semester and this coming fall, I have been helping to keep the program’s Twitter and Instagram actively engaged throughout the summer months. I have been able to highlight the events that I planned, use connections with alumni to feature them on our platforms and have been researching interesting topics and events in the sport world to feed our Twitter campaign, #EngageInTheDialogue.

The Digital Media Creative Team during last spring’s Sport Management Send-Off event.

There have been so many valuable takeaways from this internship for me. I have learned that the connections you make and the relationships you build in the sport industry are what will take you a long way in your future career. I have also learned a lot about appropriate etiquette for professional communication. Having to constantly communicate with the faculty, alumni, vendors and others in the field has taught me how to communicate effectively, whether it is via email, phone or an in person conversation.

Finally, I would say that one of the biggest learning experiences from all of the job interviews that I conducted is to stay true to who I am. Everyone has varying likes and interests and therefore everyone will have a different career path and different goals that cater to them. This has been an important lesson for me to learn as I enter my senior year and think of my future beyond undergrad and the path that I want to create for myself. I have enjoyed this experience in event planning and hope to continue along that same path as I more forward in my career. I hope to stay on the athletic side of events, because I love the atmosphere of working game days and just being around the excitement of sports. I love the unique connections that sport creates between people of different genders, ages, races, ethnicities, religions and much more. I am beyond thankful for this opportunity and I am very excited for how it will affect my post-graduate future plans.

Graduate UConn student Kraig Page experiences the annual (2015) Career in Sports Forum hosted by the NCAA National Office

Student Feature

Kraig Page (Graduate Student in UConn Sport Management Program)

While attending Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), I dedicated myself to getting the most out of my student experience through my participation in athletics and several leadership roles from various departments within the university. In doing so, I had fun and positioned myself to be a strong candidate for the annual career in sports forum hosted by the NCAA.

In my final year at MCLA I applied for and was awarded the opportunity to attend the career and sports forum at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis. There were speakers, presentations and workshops at the forum dedicated to helping students to understand how behavioral styles are able to impact individual effectiveness, gain an accurate view of the role of the intercollegiate coach and athletic administrator, network and consider how personal values intersect with career opportunities.

Speakers shared their pathways to their current roles in sport, provided us with tips and advice on how to become more desirable to organizations and answered any questions that we had for them. Participating in t workshops provided me with an opportunity to brainstorm through scenarios within small groups, ask questions and reflect on my values and myself as I was making the transition from student athlete to member of the sport industry.

The experience overall was educational, motivating and rewarding. I left with a deeper understanding of the sport industry and the opportunities within it. The forum motivated me to take the next step in positioning myself for a career in the sports field, while also allowing me to make new friends, exchange information and develop contacts.

Graduate Student Isaiah Jacobs experiences with the AmeriCorps Public Ally service in partnership with UConn Husky Sport

Student Feature

 Isaiah Jacobs – Program Leader (Public Ally AmeriCorps), Current Graduate Student in UConn Sport Management Program

 “Throughout our nation’s history, lasting social change has always resulted from the courageous acts of many, not just the inspiration of the few. “

From 2014 to 2016, I spent my time as a public ally with the AmeriCorps Public Ally service organization in partnership with UConn Husky Sport. Public Allies is a national movement grounded in the conviction that everyone has the ability to be a leader. The organization prides itself in believing that everyone truly has the power to make a difference, and works to inspire individuals to believe in themselves, step up and act. We provided service under the mission to create an equitable society and to foster the diverse leadership necessary to sustain it. We work to change the face and practice of leadership in communities across the country by demonstrating our conviction that everyone can and should lead, and that lasting social change results when citizens of all backgrounds step up, take responsibility and come together.

A vital aspect of working as a Public Ally was the process of constructing and implementing a team service project held to benefit the community that we were stationed in. Luckily, I was stationed right in my hometown of Hartford, Connecticut. It was a pleasure giving back to the community that I grew up in and held so close to my heart.

To help fund this project, we decided as a group to host a 3-on-3-basketball tournament. Though the event was focused around it, basketball was simply acting as the driving force to get people in the door – this event was bigger than sports. It was an opportunity to bring local organizations together and partner with one another to host teams and enjoy the company of the community. I began to realize how successful our event was when people started asking when the next one was – people who were not concerned with the sport itself, but what that sport is able to produce. In holding this event, we exhibited the power that sport has to unite people and bring happiness to all of those immersed in its culture.

10 Questions With Student-Athlete and Current Sport Management Student, Marisa Maccario

Editor’s Note: This story, written by Neag School's Stefanie Dion-Jones, originally appeared on the Neag School’s website.

In our recurring 10 Questions series, the Neag School catches up with students, alumni, faculty, and others throughout the year to give you a glimpse into their Neag School experience and their current career, research, or community activities.

Marisa Maccario is a junior forward on the UConn women’s ice hockey team and a sport management major in the Neag School. (Photo courtesy of Marisa Maccario)

UConn women’s ice hockey forward Marisa Maccario ’18 (ED), a native of Marblehead, Mass., has been playing on a hockey team since the age of 5. Currently a sport management major in the Neag School, Maccario created a video this past fall for what she describes as her favorite class at UConn: Sport in Society, led by assistant professor Joseph Cooper. The video she co-produced has since been featured on youcanplayproject.org, an initiative dedicated to ensuring equality, respect, and safety for all those who participate in sports, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Here, Maccario talks about her experience as a student-athlete, about the video project, and more.

What kind of time commitment does the ice hockey training and traveling schedule demand? How do you balance that with coursework and free time? The ice hockey season sits between both the fall and spring semesters, so our school year is very busy. We get started within the very first weeks of school and go all the way until March. We are on campus training over Thanksgiving, most of Christmas break, and sometimes spring break.

Once classes start back up, most of our team manages time very well with classes in the morning, a break in the afternoon for hockey, and classes at night. Mostly after classes is when we have study hall, tutors, and time to get all of our work done for the weeks ahead. The good part about the league we are in (Hockey East) is that all the schools are relatively close (for example, Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern, Providence, University of Vermont, and University of Maine). Seeing that we play schools that are close by, we are able to do day trips and do not have to travel Thursday through Sunday. Instead, we do day trips, which in turn helps our study schedule.

“Never use a busy schedule as an excuse. You can always make time to do something you love. Here at UConn, they give the option to play a sport you love — and enter into a very competitive program that will help you be successful once your sport it over.”

What made you decide to major in sport management? It just felt right. I can never see myself leaving the sports world. Seeing that I have been an athlete my whole life and got the chance to further my athletic commitment into college, once I am done competing, I want to be able to see what goes on behind the scenes — [something] that, typically, athletes don’t get a chance to see. I want to be part of someone else’s experience, not as a teammate or a competitor.

What about the sport management program at the Neag School have you found most valuable so far? Sport management not only is in a field related to sports, but it’s also in a school that has an educational leadership program. … Having a sport management program in the same school as educational leadership, for example, shows how leadership is important not only on the field or ice, but also in the classroom.

Tell me about the video project you created for Joseph Cooper’s Sport in Society course last semester. The guidelines were very open to whatever you wanted: pictures, PowerPoints, paintings, or videos. You just needed to talk about how society impacts sports and what you have learned throughout the semester.

We decided to put together this video in particular because we thought that not only was it a topic we talked about in class, but also something that impacts athletics at UConn greatly. We are a campus and athletic culture that accepts everyone and anyone for who they are, and not what society tells them to be. Student-athletes need to show their openness in these matters to make sure they and their teammates feel comfortable competing for a school that doesn’t care about your gender, race, or sexual orientation. If you can play the sport, that’s all that matters!

In your own words, why is inclusiveness in sports so important? With a sport like ice hockey, you have six players on the ice at a time: one in the net and five skaters. To be a team, you need to have skills from each player to win and, with hockey, everyone brings something different. If we didn’t have inclusiveness in sports, we wouldn’t have teams; we would have individuals playing sports.

The whole point of sports is to win, and with winning comes a group effort. You need to have different abilities with the same goal in mind. You need to be able to have open arms to new people because you never know who will be leading you to a national championship. If you can play, you can play. It shouldn’t matter about anything else as long as you want to win.

Marisa Maccario and UConn Women's Ice Hockey Team “The rink is not just for hockey, but a safe place where I can always go when I’m stressed,” says Maccario, No. 13. (Photo courtesy of Marisa Maccario)

How can coaches and teammates ensure that the team they lead or play on is as inclusive as possible? I think the best attitude that any player or coach can have is to look at work ethic, skills, and technique because that’s what makes an athlete an athlete. I believe at UConn we have a lot of student-athletes and coaches that judge off those rules and nothing else. … We bring each other up. Positive attitude and inclusiveness are key especially on our team, because your team is your family away from home. With 500+ athletes at a top university, everyone has to be on the same page and know that discrimination is something that doesn’t mix well with a winning culture. So that is left at the door the second you set foot on our campus.

What kind of reaction have you received from those who have seen the video? I have experienced a lot of positive feedback from the video — way more than I thought. I had someone tell me that when they attended the university, an article was released stating that UConn was ranked by the Princeton Review as No. 12 among the 20 most homophobic campuses in the country. Today, we have a video stating that we support our teammates that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. How times have changed — and will continue to change for the better. When doing this video we, the UConn student-athletes, pledged to keep our campus safe for all, and I think that, in itself, has touched a lot of people, both current and alumni student-athletes.

What’s your advice for those students who may be interested in checking out either the Neag School’s sport management program — or the sport of ice hockey? Never be afraid to do too much. By this I mean: Do everything you want to do and more. Never use a busy schedule as an excuse. You can always make time to do something you love. Here at UConn, they give the option to play a sport you love — and enter into a very competitive program that will help you be successful once your sport it over.

Always ask questions because you never know who you might be talking to and where they can lead you in the future. That’s what is great about the sport management program; the professors are great connections for down the road when you’re looking for jobs.

What’s your favorite spot on campus? My favorite spot on campus would have to be the rink, not only because I spend most of my time there on and off the ice, but also because it is home. The rink is not just for hockey, but a safe place where I can always go when I’m stressed and have a lot of work.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? I am second-generation Italian- American; my grandmother was a refugee during War World ll and traveled to America.

Read other installments of the Neag School’s 10 Questions series here.

Jackie Kelly Interns with the NCAA National Office in Indianapolis, IN

Story written by: Jackie Kelly 

After graduating from the University of Hartford, I was able to accept a position with the NCAA National Office in Indianapolis, IN.  The NCAA offers a postgraduate cohort based internship program that works with various departments throughout the national office. I worked as an intern for the Leadership Development department, which was responsible primarily for creating professional development programming for student-athletes, coaches, interns, graduate assistants and administrators across the NCAA membership.

Many of my daily tasks were focused on preparing for our programs. While working on site, I facilitated activities, panels and group discussions. I really enjoyed traveling to each of the programs, my favorite of which was the Pathway Program. This specific program is a yearlong professional development series held for senior level administrators aspiring to become athletic directors. I spent the majority of my time working on logistics, but was able to sit in on mock interviews and media training sessions as well. We were also able to take site visits to Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, Emory and Clayton State University. During our time at these universities, the participants met with presidents, athletics directors and other current staffers. I was able to sit in on some of these conversations and presentations, which was extremely informative and allowed me to gain some valuable experience.

Over the course of that year I was able to create memories and relationships that I know will last a lifetime. My fellow interns in my cohort were and will always be like my family. Having been granted the opportunity to understand the NCAA from a national, internal perspective so soon after actually being a student athlete was a once in a lifetime experience that I will always treasure.