Andrew Scarlata ’19, a member of the Washington Nationals organization, provided an insightful keynote address at the Sport Management Department’s fall internship forum held virtually on Oct. 19.
During his keynote address kicking off Monday’s Sport Management Internship Forum, Elon alumnus Andrew Scarlata ’19 tossed the equivalent of a postseason shutout, peppering in professional insights and career observations during his articulate 15-minute presentation.
A year removed from his own Elon graduation, Scarlata works as the player education and cultural development coordinator for the Washington Nationals, the reigning World Champions for another week or so. In his role, a position he pitched and created, the alumnus helps international players assimilate to the United States, serving as a resource for their personal growth and development. His responsibilities include assisting young players with translation, preparing them for interactions with media outlets, fans and teammates, providing them opportunities to cultural events and, in some cases, helping them earn diplomas.
Since this spring’s quarantine, Scarlata and the Nationals staff have helped 21 players complete a Rosetta Stone language program and three players have earned their high school diplomas.
Just as he is focused on educating young ball players, Scarlata turned his attention this week to enlightening the nearly 70 sport management majors listening to his keynote on Zoom. He did so by outlining his own time at Elon and his career path, sharing his takeaways of the professional sports industry, and supplementing those points with advice from fellow Nationals staff members, including Mark Scialabba, assistant general manager of player development.
Scarlata harped on the students to develop self-awareness, responsibility and accountability. Success comes down to your mindset, the sport management major explained.
“Your mentality ultimately decides where you go,” he said.
To signify the importance of responsibility and being present, Scarlata hypothesized a situation where a current student might ask Assistant Professor Mark Cryan to put in a good word with him about a job or internship with the Nationals. But the student’s participation, attendance and involvement in classes are unremarkable.
“We are on day 38 of zero days off here at instructional league camp,” said Scarlata, who is working in Florida. “If you can’t show up for class, how am I to expect that you will to work 38 days in a row without a day off?”
Scarlata made it a point that students should consider careers that mirror their skills and their interests, and find where they meet.
“Know what you are good at and not good at,” he said. “I knew in high school that I was good at Spanish. I’m not a native Spanish speaker, but I learned the language in class. That has helped me tremendously and I’m bilingual now. I knew I was good at Spanish, and I loved baseball, so my career is a marriage of those two things.”
Following Scarlata’s keynote, the forum floor was turned over to five students who completed summer internships: Parker Follet (United Shore Baseball League), Jennifer Ceci (ESPN), Jimmy Robinson (Spali Consulting), Brooke Cohen (Greg Cohen Promotions) and Emily Epstein (New York Mets). During the 15-minute session, each of them shared snippets of their experiences and what they learned along the way.
Their summers varied considerably with Follet interning in person for the fledgling baseball league located in Michigan. As a corporate partnerships intern, he researched new leads, organized sponsor advertisements, a developed a pitch presentation for potential new sponsors.
Due to the pandemic, Ceci and Epstein’s internships went remote, but their education didn’t stop. Ceci served as a media planning and strategy intern, assisting with the strategic planning process for the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Along the way, she said she developed a “strong understanding of the ESPN brand.”
Epstein admitted it was her “dream” to intern with the Mets, and that she was disheartened when her position went fully online. But she made the best of it, networking and leveraging the virtual opportunities she had to meet others.
She focused on the “power of communication,” connecting with people she met online and following up with speakers and presenters afterward – a tip she recommended.
Following the five internship recaps, attendees dispersed into seven breakout rooms and continued conversations with all 22 students who completed summer internships. A list of the participants and their internships is below.
Cara Lucia, chair of the Sport Management Department, and Cryan served as moderators of the virtual event.
Summer 2020 Interns
New York, NY
New York Mets
Medford Recreation Department
Palm City, FL
Quaker Hill Country Club
Pro Football Network
Fall River, MA
Wisconsin Rapids Rafters Baseball Club
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
United Shore Baseball League
Singlearity Baseball Analytics
Palo Alto, CA
Greg Cohen Promotions
New York City, NY
Research Project College Athletics
Williams High School Athletics – Football
Stadium 1 Software
Boynton Beach, FL
Pannonia Golf and Country Club