Student Focus

Aaron Smith Interns with the Travelers Championship in Connecticut

Written by: Aaron Smith

My name is Aaron Smith and I am from Suffield, Conn. This past summer I took part in an internship with the Travelers Championship, located in Cromwell, Conn. I learned of the internship opportunity a few years ago during a Sport Business Association meeting, and decided to apply for the position last fall. I took part in an extensive hiring process that included submitting a recommendation, cover letter and resume, being brought in for an interview and having been told to create a presentation that was due 24 hours after the interview. A month later, I received an email congratulating me on having been accepted into the Travelers Championship internship pTravelers Championship Internship group photo, summer 2017rogram!

My internship was different than other summer internships in that it started in late January. I began working in the championship’s Hartford office as a member of the sales team. Working directly under both Directors of Business Development, I was charged with a wide variety of tasks throughout the semester. These responsibilities ranged from simply sending emails and making calls to hundreds upon hundreds of prospective partners, to researching new clients, drafting presentations and offering my valued opinions and suggestions on ways to make the tournament more successful. Once we moved out of the Hartford office and down to the tournament site in Cromwell, my responsibilities were widened to include setting up the tournament, traveling with my supervisors to attend meetings with partners and serving as the tournament contact for several events during tournament week.

This internship was an invaluable hands-on learning experience and one that taught me a great deal about the sport industry that I did not and could not have already known. An event the magnitude of the Travelers Championship demands unbelievable amounts of preparation. All of the staff and interns must be willing to put in extreme amounts of time and effort for it to be a success. When all was said and done, my personal reward was an incredible feeling of accomplishment, and the assurance that I was on the right career path. I feel very strongly that I want to be a part of a professional sport organization in a sales or marketing role, and I could not be more ready to further my education this year toward that goal.

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.

Sport Management Undergraduate Feature: A Day in the Life of Paul Wettemann

Paul Wettemann is a junior at the University of Connecticut, currently pursuing a degree in Sport Management and a minor in Business Fundamentals. During his time at UConn, he has become heavily involved with the men’s basketball team, Sport Business Association (SBA) and the planning of UConn’s first Sport Business Conference.

Wettemann serves as the Chief Marketing Officer for the SBA, an organization that helps students further their career paths in the sport industry. The association meets weekly and invites professionals to speak and discuss their employment experiences, providing advice on how to succeed in the sport world.

Paul Wettemann speaking at the UConn Sport Business Conference in January.

“Everything that I am involved in at this point in my collegiate career has been because of the people I have met and the things I have learned from this group,” Wettemann said. “I really do mean it when I say that too, because there are so many different opportunities for people to learn from in the sport industry and SBA gives any student that puts the effort in a great chance to succeed.”

In addition to all that he has done with the SBA, Wettemann also served as the co-director and founder of the Inaugural Sport Business Conference, an event that hosted students from seven universities throughout New England to network with fellow students and sport professionals. Held on Jan. 28 of this year, the conference featured employees from organizations including ESPN, Fox Sports, the New York Mets, Connecticut Tigers and Manhattan Sport Business Academy. Through participating in workshops, speaking events and forums, students were given the opportunity to gain valuable experience that spans far beyond what they are able to learn in the classroom.

Since his sophomore year, Wettemann has also worked as a student manager for the UConn men’s basketball team. While doing so, he is responsible for assisting the coaches, staff and players at practices and games with whatever they may need. He has even been able to travel with the organization throughout the season, and was granted the opportunity to attend the Maui Invitational this past Thanksgiving break.

The UConn Sport Business Association executive board traveled to ESPN in Bristol, Conn. last fall.Wettemann’s sport involvement at UConn does not end there though, as he also works with UConn Athletic Operations as a game day assistant and student leader. As a game day assistant, he completes setup, breakdown and in-game duties at all athletic events, and as a student leader, he is responsible for coordinating with other student employees to ensure that all mandatory tasks are being met.

Wettemann emphasized how much he values hard work, and said that he believes it is truly the key to success.

“One of the most important things that I have ever been told is that you never know who is watching you, so you always want to make a good first impression,” he said. “Following this mindset has been a great help to me in my very early career, and it is something that I will continue to try to improve on as I move forward.”

In his little free time, you may find Wettemann on the field or the court playing intramural flag football or basketball.

“Each day for me is pretty different, and I think that’s one of my favorite parts about what I do, to be honest,” he said. “Working in sports can be unpredictable and present new challenges each day, and while some of those challenges may be more fun to tackle than others, I always enjoy making the best of it.”

This past summer, Wettemann made his first steps in the sport industry outside of UConn, serving as a front office intern for the Connecticut Tigers. While working with the A-short season affiliate of the Detroit Tigers in Norwich, Conn., he was able to gain experience with the ticket sales, concessions, promotions and operations departments.

Wettemann will continue making strides in the industry, and recently announced that he will be spending this upcoming summer working as a facility operations intern for the Brooklyn Nets. He said that he is excited for the opportunity to begin working with a professional sport organization.

His excessive experience has allowed Wettemann to recognize that in the future, he hopes to work in operations or event management for a professional sports team, specifically for the MLB or NBA, or for a Division I school. He said that sports have always played a large part in his life, acting as an escape from everyday responsibilities and stress, and it has always been a goal of his to turn that passion into a career.

“I have always been a fan of the saying, ‘If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,’” Wettemann said. “Now, being a second semester junior and having accumulated all of the different experiences that I have, I can say without a doubt that I will be able to succeed and enjoy every minute of working in sport, because it is something that means more to me than simply watching games or being a fan.”