Annual job-shadowing program goes virtual in 2022

The department of Sport Management’s fourth annual Students and Professionals Meet (S.P.M.) Week was held virtually January 10-14, 2022. During winter break in both 2019 and 2020, students job shadowed alumni in their geographical location for a day, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, S.P.M. Week was held virtually in 2021 and 2022. Instead of hosting students on site, our alumni hosted topic-based online workshops. Alumni provided the parameters for their workshops. Students were then tasked with conducting research relative to each specific workshop, and then came prepared with their case study findings to the workshops.

“Even though it was my first-time doing a sport analytics case competition, I was able to learn a lot about creating graphs and collecting different types of data. I was especially interested in looking into the business growth data in correlation with NBA team’s draft picks. Events like S.P.M. Week make me more excited to enter the industry and know what types of careers I can have,” said Sydney Topper, SPM ’24.

Snapshot of a Zoom session
NIL session with Meghan Grassadonia (SPM ’17, Excel Sports) and Brett Polinsky (Whitman ’17, Rubicon Talent).

The nine workshop topics were:

  • Social Responsibility/Justice: co-hosted by Eileen May-West (SPM ’10, Wasatch Adaptive Sports), Hanna Sanford (SPM ’16, Seattle Seahawks) and Max Levitt (SPM ’11, Leveling the Playing Field)
  • Agency: Marketing/Promotions/Advertising/NIL: co-hosted by Meghan Grassadonia (SPM ’17, Excel Sports) and Brett Polinsky (Whitman ’17, Rubicon Talent)
  • Agency: Corporate/Brand Partnerships and Sponsorship: co-hosted by Iain McWhirter (SPM ’13, CAA), Alyssa Wood (SPM ’15, MKTG) and Becky Bruce (SPM ’13, JPMorgan Chase Sports + Entertainment)
  • Sponsorship/Activation/Hospitality: co-hosted by Gordie Taylor (SPM ’10, Implus) and Ian McFate (SPM ’08, Aramark)
  • Behind the Book: Sports Gambling 101: co-hosted by Jack Van Erman (SPM ’17, Golden Nugget Online Gaming), Adam Israel (SPM ’19, BetMGM) and Will Dalton (SAL ’19, BetMGM)
  • Business Development and Operations: co-hosted by Jocelyn Nowak (SPM ’14, Perx Health) and Marc Orlin (SPM ’21, Superfan Fundraising)
  • Analytics Mock Case Competition: co-hosted by Josh Katz (SAL ’19, Baltimore Ravens), Justin Perline (SAL ’19, Pittsburgh Pirates) and C.B. Garrett (SAL ’19, New York Liberty)
  • Event Management/Facilities: co-hosted by Arek Olsen (SVEM ’18, University of Arkansas), Paige Hammond (SVEM ’18, Milwaukee Bucks) and Jessica LaRoussa (SVEM ’18, Allegiant Stadium)
  • Communications: Social Media/Content and Digital Marketing: co-hosted by Olivia Lavelle (SPM ’19, Cleveland Guardians), Carlos Ruiz II (SPM ’13, MLB) and Sam Knehans (SPM ’13, Sun Belt Conference)

“The case study discussion was definitely worthwhile,” Grassadonia said. “The best kind of brainstorming and collaboration is involving different thoughts and ideas from various people.”

Peri Lamkin ’22 said, “S.P.M. Week allows students the opportunity to network with alumni in different parts of the sport industry. The meetings are really engaging with activities for us to participate in. I enjoyed going to this virtual event for two years because it gave me the tools to network for an internship with one of the alumni panelists.”

Twenty-two sport management, sport analytics and sport venue and event management students took part in the week-long series of online workshops.

“Not only was this a great opportunity to provide students with valuable content-based workshops over their long winter break, but it opened doors for them to expand their professional networks as they look for internship opportunities in the future,” said SPM Internship Placement Coordinator Lisa Liparulo, who coordinated the event.
We are incredibly thankful for the alumni who participated in S.P.M. Week 2022.

The program took a taking a hiatus for 2023. If you are interested in learning more about this program and how you can get involved in the future, email Sport Management internship coordinator Beth Perez at or call 315-443-0450.