SEM students share stories from summer internships
The Sport & Event Management Department hosted its Fall Internship Forum, highlighting its students’ summer achievements and memorable internship experiences.
If the Sport & Event Management Department’s Fall Internship Forum proved anything, it’s that SEM students aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, work beyond a normal workweek or extend themselves to impress potential future employers.
During the two-hour Q&A session, discussion and networking event on Sept. 17 in the Moseley Center’s McKinnon Hall, 19 SEM students – in groups of four and five – regaled fellow students, faculty and staff with tales highlighting the many tasks and responsibilities they completed while working in the professional world.
The SEM students landed a variety of internships in summer 2015, ranging from minor league baseball organizations (Greensboro Grasshoppers, Carolina Mudcats and Tacoma Raniers) to sports marketing companies (Generation Z Marketing) and golf associations (Carolinas Golf Association and Illinois Junior Golf Association).
Elon students also helped coordinate several prominent events and campaigns, such as the New Balance Falmouth Road Race, one of the premier non-marathon races in the country, and Boston 2024, a partnership to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics to the city of Boston.
In total, 46 students in the Sport & Event Management Department completed internships last summer, working more than 18,400 hours. To see photos of the internship forum, visit the School of Communications’ Flickr page.
“This is an exciting day for us,” said Craig Schmitt, assistant professor of sport and event management, who organized the forum with Assistant Professor Cara McFadden. “We have sent our students – for the most part, seniors – to do fantastic things, and this is their chance to share what they did during the summer with us.”
The Q&A session kicked off with Anthony Alejo ’16, who interned for FC Dallas, setting the stage for an informal conversation on the trails and triumphs of being an intern.
As an operations intern for the Major League Soccer club in Frisco, Texas, Alejo handled logistics at the club’s Toyota Stadium, setting up and tearing down equipment for events, games and concerts.
While the work was hard, the perks were plenty for the SEM student. These benefits included meeting Clint Dempsey of the United States men's national soccer team and staging a Jimmy Buffett concert.
Alejo said he bonded with his fellow staff members and enjoyed his responsibilities, picturing himself looking for similar work post-graduation. “I would love to work with them for a real job. Probably the best summer of my life,” he said.
Two thousand miles away Taylor Barclay ’16 punched the clock as a sports marketing and sponsorship intern for KPMG in New Jersey. She worked directly with the company’s sports marketing team on preparation and onsite execution of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Westchester Country Club.
While most of her efforts were focused on supporting the 2015 championship, Barclay mentioned she also conducted research and organized findings for the company’s internal use, specifically in regards to the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in Washington.
The senior acknowledged that what she learned in her “Research Methods in Sport” class was particularly helpful when she compiled her internship’s research.
Megan McLane ’16 explained that she “did a little bit of everything” during her internship with the Greensboro Grasshoppers’ group sales department. Her specific duties included making sales call, coordinating groups attending games, selling individual game tickets, and managing season ticket holder accounts. She also helped plan and organize promotional nights and assisted in performing nightly promotions, which on one occasion meant wearing a banana costume on national television.
Although she wasn’t in a classroom setting, McLane said she definitely received an education, particularly in conflict resolution.
“I think I handle conflict better now,” she said. “As sport and event management majors know, people are very passionate about their sports. And there were times when things would go wrong and a customer would go to the first person they saw in a Grasshoppers polo and start yelling. I think I learned how to handle conflict a lot better and how to calm people down.”
Casey Gaynor ’16 wasn’t on television like McLane, but that’s because he wasn’t in one place very long. The senior interned for Dugout Media, a full-service event marketing company, widely known for its Baseball Youth Experience that tours the country.
While the company is based in Morehead, Kentucky, Gaynor was hardly ever in the Bluegrass State, racking up more than 20,000 miles on the road and crisscrossing 17 different states. He oversaw one of four mobile units and was responsible for the complete set up and implementation of the company's youth experience on the East Coast.
“You know that old adage, they gave you the keys to the kingdom,” Gaynor said. “Well, this company gave me the keys to a Ford F-350 and a 35-foot, two-ton trailer.”
When he wasn’t behind the wheel, Gaynor was charged with creating brand awareness for Majestic, the official apparel of the MLB, to the youth baseball market. His responsibilities didn’t end there, serving as a tour leader with six college-aged interns reporting to directly to him.
Student Internship Presenters
Anthony Alejo – FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas
Elizabeth Benjamin – Los Angeles Sparks; Los Angeles
Megan McLane – Greensboro Grasshoppers; Greensboro
Jack Kelly – Tacoma Raniers; Tacoma, Washington
Sarah Legget – Old Dominion University; Norfolk, Virginia
Morgan O'Brien – New Balance Falmouth; Falmouth, Massachusetts
Jeremy Recoon – Generation Z Marketing; New York City
Will Kelley – Connect Lacrosse; New York City
Casey Gaynor – Dugout Media; Morehead, Kentucky
Matt King – Boston 2024; Boston
Dakota Chayes – Virginia Beach Field House; Virginia Beach, Virginia
Jessica Jones – Illinois Junior Golf Association; Lemont, Illinois
Ryan Bennett – Carolinas Golf Association; Southern Pines
Margo Bugniazet – American Yacht Club; Rye, New York
Sean McCoy – Loudon County PRCS; Ashburn, Virginia
Jane Domeck – Carolina Mudcats; Zebulon
Rachel Garrity – Club Getaway; Kent, New York
Taylor Barclay – KPMG; New York City
Emily Bourke – American Institute of CPA's (AICPA); Chapel Hill, North Carolina