Isabella Seman ‘21 selected for ESPN Next program

The journalism major, who played volleyball at Elon, joined the Worldwide Leader in Sports and its leadership development initiative in late July.

Recent Elon University graduate and volleyball team alumna Isabella Seman ‘21 is making her childhood dream a reality.

Isabella Seman ‘21

“I got a special feeling inside of me that ‘this is what you’re going to do – this is what you’re supposed to do,’” said the journalism major, explaining her post-Elon plans.

That feeling – that sense of direction – came after Seman saw a job posting for a production assistant in ESPN’s Next program, an 18-month leadership development initiative for young professionals. Growing up an athlete and in the sports world, Seman realized her post-graduate passion was in sports and sports journalism, and she said she wasn’t ready to give up that pursuit.

Seman said the recruiting process for the ESPN Next program was lengthy. She was one of 800 applicants that made the cut to 80 candidates, and was one of 40 who advanced to the final round of consideration. She participated in multiple virtual and phone interviews where she was tested on her knowledge of current events in the sports world and of sports themselves.

Beginning this week, Seman and the rest of her cohort have started settling into ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. The leadership development program is rotational so Seman will spend nine months within one program and nine with another. While she doesn’t yet know which program she will be placed in, she said it could be anything from the morning talk show “Get Up!” to “College GameDay,” a Saturday morning staple for every college football fan. Seman said that when she concludes the program in 18 months, she will be promoted, transferred or seek work elsewhere – but she pointed out that ESPN wants members of the program to be the future of the Worldwide Leader in Sports.

“I get to learn from the best of the best and be hands-on and I get that hands-on experience with people who have been doing this their whole life,” Seman said.

According to Seman, her job will be focused on working in production and other behind-the-scenes responsibilities. The initiative begins with workshops through ESPN Next University where the Elon graduate will learn skills like pitching a story and how to cut highlight packages.

Seman said there’s many opportunities available to her in the Next program and that she feels prepared because of her experience reporting with Elon News Network and as an emcee for Elon’s men’s basketball program.

“Elon prepared me the best they ever could for this and I’m feeling really confident going into it,” she said.