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A look back at our college experiences

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Hi friends,


Thank you so much for your overwhelming support of the blog! We’ve gotten such great feedback and have loved hearing from you. As always, our goal is to provide useful information that you actually want and need…which brings us to our next post. So many of our members have reached out about what you can and should be doing while in college to help prepare for a future career in the industry.

First, we want to remind you that every journey is unique. Just because your friend is involved in a certain club or pursuing a specific internship, doesn’t mean that you need to do the same. It’s helpful to hear different perspectives and paths. With that in mind, we wanted to share a little bit about our college experiences!


Meghan

My goal while at the University of Delaware was to get as much exposure to the industry as possible. With that in mind, I actively looked for opportunities to get involved on campus, including:


Athletic Operations Team

As a freshman, I saw that the athletic department was seeking student workers to help with game-day operations. This included set up, breakdown, and in-game responsibilities. For example, I often served as the ball girl for the women’s volleyball team or ran the scoreboard for men’s soccer. I ended up gaining experience in the often chaotic and fast-paced game-day environment, was exposed to various functional areas (while it was called the operations team, we also assisted with marketing and promotional activities, stats, and equipment), and had the chance to develop relationships with full-time athletic department employees (aka future mentors/references!).


Sports Director, 91.3 WVUD

Everyone who knows me knows that I can (and will) talk about sports 24/7. After being introduced to the student-run radio station during the school’s Involvement Fair during the first week of freshman year, I knew I wanted to get involved. To start, I was added as a host to a pre-existing sports talk show featuring two other students. By my sophomore year, I had started my own show, MAD Sports, named for the three hosts – myself and my best friends Adam and Dave. Each week, we’d put together a list of talking points. While there was definitely some bias (we spent 90% of our time on our favorite teams/athletes), it was so much fun and we even took a few calls from our adoring listeners, including the sweetest elderly couple who told us they listened every week.

That same year, I also got involved with the station’s live sports broadcasts. When I wasn’t working games for the athletic department, I began doing play-by-play for the football, men’s soccer, and hockey teams and color commentary for men’s and women’s basketball teams. As a senior, I took over as the station’s sports director and continued to develop valuable skills.



Managing Sports Editor, The Review

I’ve always loved writing, so when I arrived at Delaware, I considered a career in sports journalism. As such, I joined the school paper. While I started covering UD teams, I eventually had the opportunity to write commentaries about professional sports as well (including one that aggressively criticized Chip Kelly’s draft strategy…and possibly foreshadowed my future career in draft research). By my junior year, I had been promoted to Managing Sports Editor, where I oversaw a team of male journalists, including one who was a senior. As you can imagine, that wasn’t always a great situation. One suggested I’d only gotten the job because I was a woman (he said the same thing months later when I was offered an internship at ESPN). While I ultimately had to resign during my senior year, as Sam and I had the opportunity to travel with College GameDay and I no longer had time for weekly stories, the experience allowed me to further hone my writing skills, gave me newsroom exposure, and opened my eyes to sexism in the industry.


Executive Board Member, UD Sport Management Professionals Club

As a double major, I sought out opportunities to get more involved in both the College of Arts and Sciences (where I was pursuing a BA in Mass Comm) and Lerner College of Business (which housed the Sport Management major). As a junior, one of my professors approached me about the Sport Management Professionals Club. A relatively new organization, she asked if I’d be interested in running for one of the club’s four board positions. I jumped at the chance and worked with three other students to host monthly meetings, create and execute networking events, and bring accomplished speakers and alumni to campus.


Teaching Assistant, Sport Ethics

I highly recommend serving as a TA if you get the chance! It’s a great way to develop a relationship with a professor (again, a future reference and advocate! You can’t have enough of those in the sports industry.). I was lucky enough to TA a sport ethics class, one of my favorites during my time at UD, for Dr. Brianna Newland. Though she’s now at NYU, Dr. Newland is awesome, and an amazing example of what women can accomplish in the industry. It also taught me how to navigate some difficult situations, including a student trying to cheat on the final exam…in an ethics class (yeah, it was bad).


President, Relay for Life at UD

While not sports related, this experience was a valuable addition to my resume, as it highlighted my leadership skills and ability to juggle multiple roles.

And to be honest, I kind of got involved by accident. I attended a meeting with a friend during my freshman year just so she didn’t have to walk alone at night. Two years later we were serving as co-presidents to plan the American Cancer Society’s signature event, an overnight walking fundraiser.

 

Sam

I was also involved in multiple different activities on campus, including:


Relay for Life

As a freshman, my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, so I joined the Relay for Life organization on campus. We talk a lot about career-related activities, but it's really important to find outlets that fulfill you outside of work. With Relay, I had an opportunity. to give back and make a difference, which is a critical part of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.


Internship with former ESPN writer CL Brown

Wanting to be in the sports industry, I decided to be proactive about reaching out to others in the industry. After finding CL on Twitter during my sophomore year, I direct messaged him and asked to be his intern. He said yes, and I had the opportunity to intern for him for the next three years covering UNC basketball. Not only did he help me get credentials for UNC basketball, he encouraged me to speak up during press conferences and would give me assignments in the locker room. That valuable experience helped me land my internship in Bristol before my senior year.


Internship with sports marketing professional Shana Stephenson

Between my sophomore and junior years, I completed another internship, working with Shana Stephenson, where I was exposed to the sports marketing world and helped cover the Women’s World Cup for her company’s blog, allsportseverything.com.


Sports Reporter for UNC Journalism School

During my junior year, I got involved with the journalism school’s weekly sports show, serving as a reporter, which gave me on-air experience. At the time, I was considering a career in television and was able to clip reports for my reel. Through my work with the journalism school, I was the first student ever sent to cover a Super Bowl, when I got to travel for Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco.

 

Note: We also both held summer internships at ESPN and traveled with College GameDay during our senior years, but we’ll get into that in future blog posts.


As always, we want to stress that there is no one “right” path to get you where you want to go! Everyone’s career journey is different. If you’re a student-athlete or someone working a part-time job, you may not have the time or ability to get involved with clubs on campus. You may have started your academic career majoring in another field entirely, only to discover your passion for sports and desire to work in the industry after graduation. That’s great! You’re not behind. You don’t need to catch up. You’re exactly where you need to be.


No matter where you are in this journey, we’re here to help. For those just getting started, we created Set Yourself Up for Success: How to Prepare for a Career in Sports While in College, a downloadable resource that provides steps that you can take to gain experience and exposure to the industry while in college. Remember that school is an awesome time to try new things in order to figure out what you do (and even more importantly, don’t) want to do with the rest of your life!


Last but not least, we’re here to help. If you have questions or need support, please reach out! And remember, you’re awesome and you belong here.



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