Senior Capstone Experiences
Alex Guo, SPM ’23
I completed my senior Capstone in Spring 2023 with On Location’s event production department as an event production and hospitality intern in Los Angeles, California. My responsibilities were to assist the company’s premium hospitality events in the pre-production, onsite, post-production, and closeout stages. My tasks included contracting with vendors, paying invoices, budget assistance, coding payments, expensing credit card charges, retrieving quotes, building decks and diagrams, researching assets, managing onsite events, and working with clients and vendors.
I worked on parties for the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles at Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona, as well as events for NCAA March Madness and Final Four across 18 cities. I also worked with two hospitality houses at the 2023 Masters in Augusta, Georgia. Throughout this time, I learned new personal skills and processes to improve my career, such as communication methods, leadership styles, and time management. I also gained industry knowledge in areas such as accounting, event planning, hospitality, sales, and design. While I thoroughly enjoyed this experience, my favorite aspect of the Capstone was the people I got to work with in the office and at the events. The most important takeaway from this experience is that “people make the job.” I intend to prioritize office culture and team environment in my future career plans.
After graduation, I joined ESPN at The Walt Disney Company as a Sports Brand Solutions Coordinator, working on the SEC Network properties in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Alexa Schlitt, SPM ’23
For my 2023 senior Capstone, I had the privilege of interning remotely for both Burst, the leading user-generated content engagement platform, and The Carnegie Initiative for inclusion and acceptance in hockey, a non-profit named after the legendary hockey player and social justice pioneer, Herb Carnegie.
I worked for both organizations as a business development and research intern, primarily focusing on content creation and engaging storytelling while rotating between a variety of departments and acquiring skills in public relations, communications, marketing, program development and production.
I helped to develop the Herb Carnegie Trailblazer Award Program, honoring the unsung heroes of the hockey world and those who use the sport as a vehicle for change.
Also, I was honored to work on a documentary titled “Beyond Their Years: The Incredible Legacies of Herb Carnegie and Buck O’Neil,” which tells the story of two men’s parallel lives, and how they were denied from playing in the NHL and Major League Baseball due to the color of their skin. The film also focuses on their induction into their respective halls of fame. I started as the production coordinator and by the end became an associate producer. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was something I never imagined as part of my senior year of college. I traveled to Toronto and Kansas City, writing and directing interviews. I was lucky enough to also attend the 2023 Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
I will cherish my senior Capstone experience for the rest of my life. I am forever grateful for those who helped me get there and supported me along the way as I begin my post-graduate career in the sport industry.
Faith Porter, SPM ’23
During the Spring 2023 semester, I was fortunate to work remotely at Bowl Season as a digital media intern for my senior Capstone experience. Bowl Season represents the postseason college football bowl games, highlighting the uniqueness of each of the 43 games.
Throughout my internship, I worked closely with Bowl Season Director of Operations Thomas Carracilo on creating and executing new social campaigns that integrated existing partnerships. I was responsible for posting, engaging and interacting on all of Bowl Season’s social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tik Tok). I spent time creating templates on Canva, conducting research for each campaign, looking at current trends on social media and gathering information for each campaign. Additionally, I was tasked with collecting metrics from previous social campaigns, and analyze the data for a sales deck.
I worked on-site at the Bowl Season Annual Meeting in Nashville, where more than 400 executives, representatives, sponsors and vendors gathered to discuss the upcoming college football postseason. At the annual meeting, I posted live content, reposted user-generated content and captured images for the duration of the meeting.
At Bowl Season, I learned the value of communication and adaptability. I learned the importance of organizing my work before posting and contacting upper-level executives for social campaigns. I sat in on meetings with sponsors as well as planning sessions for our annual meeting, where I learned what goes on behind the scenes to execute an event of that magnitude.
I am grateful to have interned at Bowl Season as I was pushed to think outside the box creatively, trusted with projects and allowed to demonstrate the skills I learned in the Syracuse University classroom before taking on the role.
Kevin Donoghue, SPM ’23
During the Fall 2022 semester, I had the privilege of completing my senior Capstone with the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Dublin, Ireland.
The GAA is an Irish international amateur sporting and cultural organization focused primarily on promoting indigenous Gaelic games and pastimes, which include the traditional Irish sports of hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, Gaelic handball, and rounders.
I worked under the supervision of Strategy, Insights, and Innovation Manager Peter Horgan within the Coaching and Games Development department. As a research support intern, my duties largely pertained to the development of various research studies relating to Gaelic games.
I helped manage the Gaelic Games Youth Participation Study, which drew upon the experiences of young participants in Gaelic games; and the Inactive Gaelic Games Coaches Study, investigating reasons for why coaches choose to step away from their roles. Through these reports, I provided the GAA with potential solutions and implementation recommendations for problems raised through study results.
Apart from research, I gained experience in social media management via the GAA Learning Twitter account. I also gained sports public communications insight by attending and assisting in the operations of Croke Park gamedays.
I will be forever grateful for this tremendous opportunity that allowed me to gain hands-on experience in the European sports landscape. I am excited to take what I have learned with me into the future as I continue to make my mark in the sports industry.
Ryan Charles, SPM ’22
I was privileged to work remotely as a sponsorship and marketing intern for Bowl Season during the Spring 2022 semester. Bowl Season is the overarching brand of college football’s postseason, including 44 bowl games and the College Football Playoff.
I worked closely with the Director of Sponsorships, John Egan, with a goal of prospecting, selling and activating Bowl Season’s sponsorships. A lot of my time was spent in client-facing work, where I researched and contacted prospective companies in an effort to bring in sponsorship revenue. I also created sales decks, attended sales calls, wrote contracts, and brought client activations to life.
The highlight of my Capstone was planning and attending Bowl Season’s Annual Meeting, which drew more than 200 people and featured a 54-booth tradeshow. I played a vital role in the coordination of the tradeshow with sponsors, and the execution of various on-site activations.
I learned a lot during my Capstone, such as the value of time management and the importance of being organized. My biggest lesson was in professionalism. Within my first two months at Bowl Season, I was meeting with and emailing upper-level management executives. I had to learn how to conduct myself in that environment as I strive to be on that level one day in my career.
I’m proud to say that my hard work at Bowl Season and Syracuse University helped me land a full-time position as a Partnership Marketing Coordinator at WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).
Caroline Dorfman, SPM ’22
During my Fall 2021 semester, I completed my senior Capstone experience virtually with Thuzio as an events intern. As a premium influencer events and experiences company, Thuzio provides access to the greatest stories in sports, entertainment, culinary, and business with exclusive interviews with the legends who lived them.
As an events intern, I completed a plethora of tasks to strengthen Thuzio’s events, including virtual and live event production, talent sourcing and contracting, media database management and so much more. A highlight of my Capstone experience was receiving an event scope from a client, and building proposal decks based on their request. These proposal decks contained various venue options, including price, capacity, location, availability, and a description of the experience. I loved being able to see the client’s vision and bringing it to life for them.
I also was fortunate to learn the production side of Thuzio’s Member Events. I had a goal to attend as many Thuzio events as possible, wanting to contribute to and experience as much of the Thuzio product as I could. These events included Thomas Jones, Kirk Herbstreit Book Event, Chef Eduardo Garcia, Guy Fieri, ByHeart Feed Fest, Leland Melvin, Keren Elazari, and Amanda Freitag.
I will be forever grateful for my time at Thuzio as it helped me grow personally and professionally, while gaining real-world industry experience to build my network within the sports industry, and showcase my passion for events.
Connor Howard, SPM ’22
During the Spring 2022 semester, I was privileged to complete my senior Capstone with NASCAR in Daytona Beach, Florida.
My work was within NASCAR’s Southeast Region, which oversees all events at Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Events included the Daytona 500; Geico 500; “BEEF. It’s What’s For Dinner. 300;” Rolex 24; Bike Week; and AMA Supercross Championship.
Working as a client services intern, I managed my own book of business, servicing partnerships and corporate hospitality. Activating some of the races’ largest partnerships, I fulfilled orders for all assets, managed signage, and provided solutions to problems that arose. I also assisted with prospecting, grassroots marketing, and executing fan experiences.
I learned how partnerships are executed from start to finish, how to manage partners and how to create an enjoyable guest experience for fans. I am proud of my work, which saw success in the forms of retaining partners and executing memorable fan experiences for sold-out races.
I am extremely thankful to have completed my Capstone with NASCAR, as it allowed me to gain real-world experience and learn more about the industry. This experience allowed me to transition into a full-time role with NASCAR’s Partnership Strategy Department.
Megan Monzo, SPM ’22
I completed my Senior Capstone with the PGA Tour at TPC Sawgrass during the Spring 2022 semester.
TPC Sawgrass is home to the PLAYERS Championship and is located in beautiful Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. I served as an intern with numerous departments throughout the duration of my Capstone and worked in multiple areas, including merchandise, membership, marketing, social media and PGA Junior League.
During the PLAYERS Championship, I worked in the main fan shop and ran the TPC Sawgrass Instagram. It was quite the experience and one I will never forget. I also worked at the Tim Tebow Charity Golf Classic and marketed the PGA Tour through national campaigns. I am fortunate to work in an environment where I am constantly on the go and meeting notable people from around the world.
Every day working for TPC Sawgrass feels like Disney World! It’s exciting, fast-paced and challenging all at the same time. I am proud that my Capstone experience led to a full-time role with the PGA Tour at TPC Sawgrass as a Membership Services Specialist. My main responsibilities are to run the social media, create advertisements and campaigns for TPC Sawgrass for regional and national audiences, work with members and coach the PGA Junior League. I can’t believe I am working my dream job right after graduation.
I am thankful that Syracuse University’s Department of Sport Management prepared me for this role and I look forward to interacting with Sport Management students who will be searching for a Capstone in the future.
Karis Felton, SPM ’21
In the Spring 2021 semester, I completed my senior Capstone with Grit Player Services as a Social Media Marketing intern.
Grit Player Services was founded in 2020 by Jake Miller and Syracuse University Sport Management graduate David Jaffin ’18, as a social media agency for athletes. Grit acts as an advocate, providing athletes support in personal brand-building via digital media and business development.
A benefit of completing my Capstone with a start-up company was that I got to experience all aspects of the company. Every day, my tasks were different. I researched influencers, pulled highlights from our clients’ podcasts, and even got to work on the recruiting of future athletes.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Grit Player Services employees work virtually, which allowed me to complete my Capstone from SU’s campus. Having a remote Capstone taught me about time management and completing tasks without being monitored. It also introduced me to new ways to connect with team members, including one-on-one calls that took the place of talking with people in person at the office. These calls helped me feel more comfortable during the internship and connecting with my colleagues as more than just a name on a screen.
My senior Capstone with Grit Player Services taught me so much about working in the sport industry. I am honored to have been offered a part-time position with Grit as a Growth Specialist in their sales department focusing on the recruitment of athletes.
Simone Saputo, SPM ’21
During the Spring 2021 semester, I had the opportunity to complete my senior Capstone with the Relevent Sports Group, an organization based out of New York City. Relevent Sports boasts a large array of organizations within its portfolio, including the International Champions Cup (ICC) soccer tournament and LaLiga North America, Spain’s first division of soccer. I worked with the ICC and LaLiga throughout my remote internship.
Throughout this experience, I learned a variety of skills in the Sales and Partnership Department for the ICC and LaLiga North America. I was fortunate to work for two separate organizations, thus gaining insight in two distinct areas within the sports industry.
Over the course of the four months, I assisted with a variety of tasks, including prospecting for potential partners that would align with the organization. I helped to run activations with our existing partners, which included meet-and-greet events with LaLiga players. I oversaw how the event was built and executed. I also worked to maintain Relevent’s relationships with current partners by creating activation ideas that would meet the goals of both organizations. It was fulfilling to see my ideas implemented across a variety of platforms.
Since graduating from Syracuse University in May 2021, I am looking to use the knowledge and experience that I have gained from my courses and internships to work in the sports industry, specifically in the domain of partnerships and marketing.
Matt Diemand, SPM ’21
During the Spring 2021 semester, I completed my senior Capstone on location at the Nashville Sports Council and TransPerfect Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tennessee.
As an events intern, I helped plan and execute major sporting events in Nashville, highlighted by working in person at the 2021 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena.
COVID-19 had a major impact on my Capstone experience, however, I was lucky enough to move to Nashville in January 2021, and stay through May, working in the office a few days a week.
Many of the Sports Council’s events were canceled or postponed, or had reduced capacity, such as the SEC Basketball Tournament being limited to a 20 percent capacity.
Despite COVID-19 limitations, I learned so much about the inner workings of planning a major sporting event, from volunteer recruitment to creating production schedules to setting up on-site fan engagement and sponsorship activation zones. I gained valuable experience organizing and facilitating a new virtual speaker series and events, including a Zoom speaker series with Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, and ESPN’s Holly Rowe.
I assisted the Nashville Sports Council with various assignments, including membership sales and social media postings to engage the Nashville community. My Capstone was truly amazing and allowed me to gain on-site live event experience in a year when so much shifted virtual. This Capstone built upon my event planning and game-day activation skills that I will take with me as I begin my post-graduation career.
Sarah Incerpi, SPM ’20
During the Fall 2019 semester, I completed my Senior Capstone in Pasadena, CA, with Legends at Rose Bowl Stadium. More specifically, I interned in the Rose Bowl Premium Seating Department as a marketing and sales intern.
I had the privilege of working many events, including a United States Women’s National soccer team’s victory tour match, a Rolling Stones concert, the entire 2019-2020 UCLA football season, and the 2020 Rose Bowl Game. With each event, I was exposed to event preparation and experienced what it took to successfully execute events of this magnitude. I coordinated with many departments, communicated event details with clients, and aimed to make each event an unforgettable experience for all that attended.
As the internship progressed, I took on more of a marketing role and was responsible for building the communications and marketing calendar while coordinating with the marketing manager. I completed numerous marketing pieces, social media content, and splash pages as well as email newsletters and event invitations.
My Capstone with Rose Bowl Premium Seating was an incredible journey filled with valuable experiences, life lessons, and unforgettable memories. I can confidently say I learned many skills that I will take with me as I begin my career in the sport industry. I am excited to apply my real-world experiences along with my passion for the world of sports to my career.
Andrew Derda, SPM ’20
During the Fall 2019 semester, I completed my Senior Capstone with CSM Sport & Entertainment, a global integrated marketing agency headquartered in London and with offices around the world, including New York City, where I was based.
The experience provided an amazing opportunity to delve into different aspects of sports and entertainment industries, including sponsorships, event management and gaming.
I was one of two interns in Brand Partnerships responsible for fostering relationships between clients and potential brand partners. A majority of my work focused on managing personal outreach for brands on behalf of CSM clients, such as US Club Soccer, a division of the US Soccer Federation, Harley Davidson and Bit Fry Game Studios. I was responsible for bi-weekly outreach to specific contacts for each of the brands, as well as following up and tracking brand conversations utilizing Salesforce.
I volunteered to work on a project for Chelsea FC, as the soccer club planned its tour of the United States. I used my study abroad experience in London to contribute a unique perspective on how to grow the club’s brand in the United States.
I managed a weekly newsletter sent to CSM employees worldwide, and was responsible for ensuring that a team of interns submitted weekly articles and news briefs.
Since graduating from Syracuse University in May 2020, I have been interviewing with sports marketing agencies and often find myself referencing my CSM Capstone experiences.
Kai Ruskin, SPM ’20
During the Fall 2019 semester, I completed my senior Capstone with Sporting Kansas City, a Major League Soccer franchise in Kansas City, Missouri. As an intern in the Corporate Partnerships Department, I worked on sales and activations to prospect new partners for the club, as well as manage and execute existing partnership agreements.
I learned and experienced so much during my time with Sporting KC, such as leading projects in partnership recaps, partner briefs, and managing asset inventory. I took detailed notes on our conference calls with AT&T, as well as in-person meetings with John Deere. Outside of the office, I attended and worked multiple activation events with AT&T, including meet and greets with players, and a watch party for the final game of the season.
Gamedays were the most exciting aspect of my Capstone experience. Sporting KC has established a passionate and loyal fanbase that makes every game a memorable experience for the team as well as the fans. Interacting with fans in an authentic and unfiltered sports environment is something I will never forget.
Since graduating from Syracuse University in December 2019, I have maintained my Kansas City connections and hope to use this experience to land a corporate partnerships role with a professional sports team or organization.
Shanthi Sepe-Chepuru, SPM ’20
During the Spring 2020 semester, while I was completing my Senior Capstone as a media relations intern with minor league baseball’s Pensacola (FL) Blue Wahoos, COVID-19 hit, shutting down the sport industry and putting the Wahoos’ season on hold.
The transition was abrupt. Less than two weeks before, we hosted a college baseball tournament, where I acted as a cameraperson, scoreboard operator and game photographer.
When COVID-19 hit, we had just entered the final stages of our Opening Day preparations. My primary projects were all intended to be finalized by our April 9 opening, including rebuilding and managing the team’s new website and finalizing the production of the team’s 2020 Media Guide. I wrote articles and press releases, attended media events, and assisted in game-day production. We spent months working in earnest toward a finish line that, very suddenly, no longer existed.
After COVID-19 suspended the Wahoos’ season and the organization transitioned to working remotely, my role changed significantly for the Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. I focused primarily on the website, which had to be entirely rebuilt in a new software. Shortly thereafter, I was offered the opportunity to work remotely on media relations for the Beloit (Wisc.) Snappers, the Class-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. For the remainder of my Spring 2020 Capstone, I rebuilt the Snappers’ website and assisted with graphic design, marketing and social media.
After graduating from Syracuse University in May 2020, I transitioned to a remote media relations role with the Snappers, while remaining in Pensacola, Florida. I now manage the Snappers’ social media accounts and website, as well as assist with the marketing for a new stadium and team rebranding.
This was obviously not the way I envisioned my senior Capstone playing out. I anticipated working closely with the media and players, publishing my first game stories and hopefully seeing the Twins’ top prospects in action. Instead, I spent Opening Day social distancing at home, doing my best to keep the team prepared for the season to start at any moment.
While COVID-19 has brought disappointment and heartbreak for so many, the transition taught me the importance of workplace community. I saw first-hand the value of creativity and willingness to think outside the box. I never anticipated working remotely for half of my Capstone and running a media department for a team 1,000 miles away a month after graduation. I will not say it has been easy, but I am grateful for these challenges. I know this entire experience — the planned and the unprecedented — has prepared me for anything the sport industry can throw at me in the future.
Montana Tyrus, SPM ’20
During the Fall 2019 semester, I completed my Senior Capstone with Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment (BSE) Global as a team marketing intern for the Long Island Nets, the G-League affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets based in Uniondale, New York.
I experienced the innerworkings of a sports organization and now understand how marketing works with various departments. I helped manage and update the team’s social media accounts, worked the set-up and implementation of community events, and assisted with grassroots marketing efforts, among other tasks.
I worked several events, including media day, local player tryouts, youth basketball clinics, and community events. My favorite part of this Capstone experience was working game days and seeing how all the moving parts, from sales to marketing to sponsorship, came together to create a memorable experience for fans. Even though game days were long, working with incredible staff on Long Island made it memorable!
This internship with the Nets allowed me to go beyond classroom learning and teach me valuable hands-on experience in the sports industry. It helped me connect and network with industry professionals that I’ve stayed in contact with following my capstone.
Since graduating from Syracuse University in May 2020, I’m proud to say I have returned to BSE Global as an account executive for the Long Island Nets.
Drina Domic, SPM ’19
During the Spring 2019 semester, I completed my Senior Capstone in New York City at the National Basketball Association (NBA) League Office in the Team Marketing & Business Operations Department (TMBO).
TMBO works as an in-house consulting group for the NBA, G-League, WNBA, and NBA2K. Within TMBO, I worked with the Strategy and Analytics group as a Business Intelligence Analyst. My group was focused on assisting all facets of the industry, from marketing to ticket sales through data-driven decision making.
My specific role was to bring league reporting into the 21st Century, to transition away from static PDF reports to more dynamic, real-time dashboards. Having data in real-time with filtering capabilities will enable teams and other groups within TMBO to more easily identify trends and best practices in a more convenient manner. Through this process, I learned how to streamline data and create automated processes. The beauty of TMBO is touching different aspects of the business in a variety of settings.
It was a great learning opportunity to see how markets operate, whether big or small, winning or losing, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the teams. I consulted with each organization’s Strategy and Analytics team about their needs.
The most rewarding part of working with the NBA’s TMBO was learning from experts in all areas of sport who come from diverse backgrounds. I am proud to say I have been offered a full-time job with TMBO’s Strategy and Analytics group, effective Summer 2019.
Brianna Cooper, SPM ’19
During the Spring 2019 semester, I completed my senior Capstone at Turner Sports with the Advertising Sales and Marketing Department in New York City. This team is responsible for selling and executing all digital, on-air, and on-site sponsorships for all its sports properties.
As an ad sales intern, I was fortunate to start my Capstone during the peak of March Madness planning. I assisted the NCAA team to complete competitive tracking reports, prospect new clients, and create sales materials. I attended weekly meetings with CBS teams and the annual NCAA, Turner, and CBS meeting, where we developed sponsorship ideas and introduced new clients.
The title March Madness stood true to its name because during the tournament, I spent long nights at the CBS Broadcast Center tracking in-game sponsorships, capturing digital ad content, and drafting social content for the NCAA’s Final Four Music Series and Fan Fest. By April, I achieved a bucket-list goal by joining Turner’s Final Four team in Minneapolis for six days, running the NCAA social media accounts, and witnessing Virginia’s first-ever championship.
My internship at Turner gave me a greater appreciation for the business of sports and provided an amazing experience that helped me identify Corporate Partnerships as my career path. It taught me that the importance of sports is in the experiences you provide because even if fans forget the outcome of a game, they’ll never forget how you made them feel.
Since graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019, I have been interviewing for positions with teams and media companies with the hope to join a corporate partnerships team.
Josh Katz, SPM ’19
In the Fall 2018 semester, I completed my senior Capstone with the Dallas Cowboys as a Business Analytics and Insights intern at the team’s headquarters, The Star, in Frisco, Texas.
The primary responsibility of the Cowboys’ Business Analytics team is to provide analytical business insights for the sales, marketing, sponsorship, merchandise, and media departments. I focused on building dashboards for the sales team to monitor campaigns, collecting market research for the sponsorship team in preparation for pitch meetings, and monitoring the team’s CRM data warehouse.
Learning from such a prolific franchise was an incredible experience. I honed and improved my technical skills in Tableau, R, SQL, and CRM practices, and took the lead on key projects throughout the semester. I was lucky to have three great supervisors who taught me best practices in the sport analytics industry and showed me the importance of creative problem-solving.
It was such an honor to learn from industry professionals at an NFL franchise during the season. I loved being in the fast-paced and highly competitive environment of the NFL. Also, getting to work from AT&T Stadium on gamedays was an added perk.
Overall, my senior Capstone was an incredible experience. I met so many top-notch people throughout the organization, and the skills and lessons I learned with the Cowboys helped me land a full-time position as a Business Analyst with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.
Sean Onwualu, SPM ’19
During the 2018 Spring semester, I was honored to intern at Athletes First, a full-service sport agency in Laguna Hills, CA.
Athletes First primarily focuses on football, representing more than 150 NFL players and coaches. Interns help the organization throughout the NFL season and off-season, including assisting with the rookie program, Super Bowl, NFL Combine, NFL Free Agency and NFL Draft. I helped secure items and work for Athletes First’s yearly Charity Auction to raise money for the Orangewood Foundation, which aims to provide foster children with a better life.
Highlights from my senior Capstone include working on the Charity Auction, Free Agency and the NFL Draft. I felt I truly made an impact on these events. For the auction, each intern was tasked with finding a high-profile item worth auctioning. My contribution was four tickets to a Monster Jam rally. During NFL Free Agency, I compiled statistics and information for New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard’s agent, who helped land Shepard a four-year $41 million extension this past off-season. The NFL Draft was exciting as I got to see athletes I helped and worked for during the semester have their lifelong dreams fulfilled.
I learned a lot about the agency side of football and how important agents are to players. They work hard behind the scenes in order to be successful. I will take all of the real-world lessons I learned at Athletes First and apply them as I begin my career in the sport industry, preferably in sponsorships or marketing.
Destiny Castro, SPM ’18
Completing my senior Capstone in the community relations department with the Brooklyn Nets during the spring 2018 semester allowed me to combine my passion for sports, children, and education, as well as give back to my hometown of Brooklyn. This community has played a vital role in shaping me into the woman I am today. The internship has been a blessing, and working in the community was one of the most fulfilling aspects of the experience.
During the Capstone, I participated in countless events, including Brooklyn Nets games, community events, and basketball academy clinics. These events included current players such as D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie, and Nets’ legend Albert King. My favorite events were the basketball clinics we hosted at local community centers and schools.
My experience with the Brooklyn Nets taught me that I must take on a career path that will allow me to positively make an impact on other’s lives. It showed me there are countless ways to do this, and no impact is too small. I was fortunate to sit in on planning sessions, take the lead on projects, and was even asked to assist post-Capstone with summer events/initiatives.
I am proud to say that I have accepted a full-time position with the New York Mets’ Inside Sales Department. I will still assist the Brooklyn Nets when time allows, and have submitted a proposal of an event the Nets’ organization is working toward activating next season.
Bryan Kilmeade, SPM ’18
During the Spring 2018 semester, I completed my senior Capstone at the National Football League with the Management Council in New York City. The Management Council directly deals with the Collective Bargaining Agreement on the league’s behalf. It handles everything from managing the league’s salary cap to regulating the amount of time players are allowed at the team facility in the offseason. I was lucky to complete my Capstone in the Spring, where I was able to see the department operate in different phases: the playoffs and Super Bowl, the start of free agency, and the draft.
My area of focus was in Labor Operations and Salary Cap Management, where I learned a tremendous amount about the salary cap and the CBA. My main responsibilities were to edit the daily waiver wire and create contract grids from the previous day and send it to the player’s union, approve contracts submitted by teams, assist with the daily reconciliation of the salary cap, and be available to complete tasks and projects as needed.
Working in the Management Council gave me an incredible opportunity to learn about the salary cap and Collective Bargaining Agreement from some of the most knowledgeable people on the subject and have access to information I could not have gotten anywhere else. I was lucky to see the department function and evolve from in-season to off-season.
Upon graduating from Syracuse University, I have been interviewing for positions with two teams with the potential to rejoin the NFL in a similar capacity. I look forward to pursuing a career in football on the team or league side.
Reid McGrory, SPM ’18
In Fall 2017, I completed my senior Capstone as a sponsorship intern for Intersport, a sport marketing and production agency headquartered in Chicago. Since Intersport’s birth 32 years ago, they have grown from a production company to an agency with seven practices: production, sponsorship, experiential, properties, content marketing, hospitality, and customer engagement.
As a sponsorship intern, I worked on accounts for Heineken USA and Quicken Loans. Heineken USA, which includes Dos Equis, sponsors MLS, the Champions League, College Football Playoff and more. Quicken Loans has the naming rights for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ arena, sponsors PGA pro Rickie Fowler and activates in the college space with Rocket Mortgage Madness.
Throughout my Capstone, I was responsible for managing Heineken’s MLS ticket allocation, creating an unforgettable hospitality experience for Dos Equis’ guests at the College Football Playoff, and assisting in an on-site activation tour during college football season for Rocket Mortgage Madness. I also worked on accounts for Enterprise, creating a Point of View on a soccer opportunity; Nathans, where I helped coordinate their nationwide tour; and the Marines, where I worked on-site at the Semper Fidelis Battles Won Academy. I am shown above with Gunnery Sargent Verice Bennett (left) at the event.
SU’s Sport Management program provided me with knowledge and my Capstone provided me with experience on sponsorship fulfilment, client relationships, and agency life, which both allowed me to secure a job as an account coordinator for The Marketing Arm working on AT&T’s sport sponsorship portfolio.
Paulina Rubin, SPM ’18
I interned at LeadDog Marketing Group in New York City for my senior Capstone in Spring 2018. I worked within the Account Management Department, where I gained valuable hands-on experience in the world of sport marketing.
LeadDog Marketing Group is a sports and entertainment agency that specializes in experiential marketing. They are among the top sport marketing agencies in the country and pride themselves in using their CEO’s 6 P’s (partners, people, potential, perspective, principles, and passion) to produce a memorable event that exceeds client expectations.
I worked on two main accounts: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). I helped with the planning and ideation of the NBPA’s player/fan event that took place in early February during NBA All-Star weekend. For WWE, I assisted with the planning, ideation, organization and execution of a fan event that took place during WrestleMania in New Orleans. I joined the team in New Orleans for eight days to help in the production office as well as run talent stages with WWE superstars such as the Bella twins and Randy Orton.
The fun, yet professional, environment at LeadDog allowed me to thrive. I formed strong professional and personal relationships with coordinators and senior vice presidents. I ventured out of my department to help other departments and accounts, allowing me to experience all facets of the sport industry.
Upon graduating from Syracuse University in May 2018, I returned to LeadDog as a full-time Account Coordinator. LeadDog’s fast-paced environment will allow me to pursue my passion in sports and provide me with knowledge and experience to take with me throughout my professional career.
Marcos Luna, SPM ’17
During the Spring of 2017, I had the privilege of completing my Senior Capstone with the Tiger Woods Foundation as a special event and volunteer intern. I worked mostly on the foundation’s PGA tournament, the Genesis Open, in Los Angeles, Calif. I was the main contact for more than 900 volunteers and helped coordinate special events we hosted during the tournament, including a collegiate tournament, a professional-amateur tournament, and an event for underserved youth within the Los Angeles area called Tee Off for Youth.
My favorite event was the professional-amateur tournament. Many of the amateurs were celebrities, including Johnny Manziel, Don Cheadle, and Niall Horan. I also met Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, and Bubba Watson. I acted as the liaison between golfers and scorekeepers, and was in constant communication with the celebrities and professionals throughout the events.
I also enjoyed coordinating the Tee Off for Youth initiative. We worked with youth groups within the Los Angeles area to bring more than 1,000 kids to the Genesis Open, where they were each given a private golf lesson, a private viewing area, as well as souvenirs from the foundation.
My experience with the Tiger Woods Foundation has taught me how intricate and complex the world of events can be. There are many moving parts and nothing truly goes as planned, so you have to adjust and work under pressure to succeed. The internship has prepared me for a career in the sport industry and I am grateful to the Tiger Woods Foundation for the experience.
Zach McDonald, SPM ’17
During the Spring 2017 semester, I had the privilege of completing my Capstone with the Boston Celtics as their community engagement intern. Aside from their success on the basketball court, the Celtics are active in the community and I was lucky to be a part of their work.
My responsibilities revolved around community programs, donations and fundraising for the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation. The lifeblood of the department was community programming, which benefitted several causes, including veterans, health and wellness, youth, and education. Working with 10 to 15 different programs, we ran more than 50 community events in my four months with the organization. I was fortunate to work alongside Celtics’ players Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Smart.
The biggest takeaway from working at these events is the impact it had on the underprivileged and disadvantaged groups. Working closely with the programs gave me a sense of purpose as I knew my work provided tremendous value to the community.
My experience with the Boston Celtics changed my whole perspective on the sports industry. It showed me that community work is my true passion. As I step into the real world, I hope to use sports as a platform to help others and make a difference in the community.
Rebecca Pongetti, SPM ’17
During the Spring 2017 semester, I had the privilege of completing my Senior Capstone at Under Armour Canada in Toronto. Under Armour is the originator of performance apparel, footwear and equipment. With an underdog mentality, Under Armour has risen to one of the most prestigious sporting brands across the globe.
My area of focus was in brand marketing while also working on retail marketing, sports marketing and events. I assisted with events, execution of the 2017 marketing category plans and calendars, execution of paid media buys, activation for in-flight campaigns, assisting the Global Football category toward increasing its footprint and athlete roster in Canada, and developing the Canadian Influencer Program.
The organizational culture within Under Armour is passionate, community oriented, and empowering. The positive and cohesive environment within the company gave me the tools and confidence to take the lead in multiple tasks and projects.
Being involved in the fast-paced environment of the sports industry makes each day unpredictable and exciting. I experienced all facets of the sport industry within Under Armour, which has allowed me to grow as a professional and individual. I am extremely lucky to have completed my Capstone at such a fantastic organization.
Upon graduating from Syracuse University, I returned to Under Armour Canada to continue my role in the Marketing Department with a focus in brand marketing and events. I believe this is the perfect organization to begin my professional career in the sports industry as it has allowed me to take my passion for sport off the field.
Jordan Rice, SPM ’17
I completed my Senior Capstone with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in Indianapolis, Ind., as the championships extern for women’s basketball.
While working out of the NCAA’s national offices, I completed marketing roles and had the honor of leading two new initiatives that were facilitated onsite at the 2017 Division I Women’s Final Four in Dallas.
One initiative, The Rewards Program, gave fans the opportunity to earn points for VIP experiences at the Women’s Final Four. I acted as the point person for the creation of the program as well as the facilitation onside. I also had the privilege of working on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund series of mini-basketball games that took place during Women’s Final Four weekend, to help raise money and awareness for the fund.
While my whole experience was more rewarding than imaginable, the best feeling was taking what I created in the office onsite to the Final Four. I learned from some of the top executives in college athletics and truly saw what it takes to put on an event of that caliber.
I have always dreamed about having a career in sports, and thanks to the Sport Management program’s opportunities and having faculty and staff dedicated to students’ success, I am on the right path to obtaining that dream. The NCAA allowed me to find my place in sports and build connections to help me achieve the next goal in my career. I am proud to say I have accepted a position as a championships assistant at the Big East Conference.
If someone ever asks you to go across the country to work with leaders in sports – I say go for it!
Anthony Mejia, SPM ’16
During the Spring 2016 semester, I completed my Senior Capstone at Under Armour on the Collegiate Sports Marketing team at the company’s headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland.
I assisted the 10-person team, including the director, Syracuse University graduate Nick Carparelli Jr. I assisted managers and directors with daily tasks associated with servicing Under Armour’s 16 Tier-1 college programs.
My Capstone allowed me to make connections and gain knowledge about a wide variety of roles in departments such as marketing, product development, data entry, and creative design. The networking opportunities at Under Armour ultimately led to me being offered a full-time position as the Associate Product Line Manager of Licensed League Product. In this position, I help create the products and assortments for Under Armour’s collegiate and professional licensees, including Major League Baseball, National Football League and National Basketball Association.
I could not imagine a better Capstone opportunity. Not only was I able to network and gain invaluable experience, but also begin my career in a position I love and am passionate about.”
Hannah Howe-Lubowich, SPM ’16
I had the honor and privilege of interning at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF during the Spring 2016 semester. This non-profit organization supports the global UNICEF mission of protecting the world’s most vulnerable children.
At the New York City headquarters, I immersed myself in the work of two departments: Sports Partnerships and Kid Power. Having the opportunity to see the inner workings of these departments allowed me to learn about multiple sides of the non-profit, sport for development world. UNICEF Kid Power is an initiative that gives kids the power to save lives.
This program encourages kids to become physically active, which unlocks points that convert to funding for therapeutic food packets for malnourished children throughout the world. I visited schools in New York City, Boston and Syracuse, participated in Kid Power donor school events, and volunteered at the 2016 Annual Meeting. My greatest accomplishment at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF was finding my sense of purpose in the field of sport for development.
My years as a Sport Management major, culminating with my incredible Capstone experience, unlocked doors that I never knew existed. As I embark on the next chapter of my life, I hope to find ways to inspire and help others through the power of sports.
Kathryn Petkevich, SPM ’16
I had the privilege of working for the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee as a Hospitality Associate in the Hospitality and Events department from June 2015 to February 2016.
My main focus was celebrity and talent engagement and VIP gifting. I booked and managed over 65 current and former NFL players for game week lead-up events, game-week and game-day events, as well as managed gifting orders for our VIP clients.
I was fortunate to have so much responsibility. I did not know what to expect when I secured a Capstone opportunity 3,000 miles from the Syracuse University campus. I never expected to be leading a call with our biggest partner or working with budgets. One of the best parts was that big-name players like Steve Young, Matt Hasselbeck and Lynn Swann listened to me, a 22-year-old associate, and trusted what I was doing.
This opportunity was truly once in a lifetime. It is incredible how much work goes into one event. We had sleepless nights and stressful days, but it was all incredibly worth it. I had the chance to learn from the best in the industry and the friendships I made will last a lifetime.
Dean Hirschberg, SPM ’16
During the 2015 fall semester, I was fortunate to complete my Senior Capstone with the Kansas City Chiefs as a community outreach intern in Kansas City, Missouri.
My responsibilities included managing initiatives to raise funds and awareness for multiple charities throughout the Kansas City area and coordinating with current and former players on weekly events and player appearances. A memorable event was the Super Bowl I and IV Reunion/Alumni Weekend, where I met Jan Stenerud, Len Dawson, Bobby Bell and Will Shields.
I also worked as the lead person on the Chiefs’ Punt, Pass and Kick Initiative, which is part of the NFL Play60 campaign. Following the success of this initiative, I was awarded November’s Intern of the Month.
My Capstone experience taught me the impact that community outreach has on a city, regardless the size. I watched how the involvement of players in local events brought people together throughout the entire season.
The Kansas City Chiefs organization embodies its mission by demonstrating strong character throughout, uniting the community through events and sponsors, inspiring fans and honoring practices and traditions.
Alyssa Wood, SPM ’15
As a member of the Sport Sponsorship team, I worked primarily on Allstate’s NCAA Men’s Final Four sponsorship property. I traveled to the 2015 Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis to see all of the projects I worked on come to life, including the on-site activations at Final Four Fan Fest, a hospitality program that hosted over 100 Allstate agents; as well as the television and online advertising efforts around the NCAA Tournament. I also worked with basketball personalities and celebrities Dick Vitale, Grant Hill, and Bill Raftery, who participated in Allstate hospitality efforts throughout the weekend.
My experience with Allstate helped me to realize my passion for sponsorships and brand activations at large-scale events. The real-world experience I gained at Allstate led to a full-time job in sponsorship marketing at Team Epic. I could not be happier with my experience at Allstate and I am looking forward to continuing down this career path.
Dan Gorman, SPM ’15
My primary responsibilities focused on the business development of corporate partnerships for the Kansas City Chiefs, though I gained experience in brainstorming sessions to develop a keen understanding of the entire process.
My direct responsibilities included assisting in the creation of new business leads; supporting sales managers and coordinators throughout the sales cycle, including meeting prep; researching the sports industry for sales and promotional trends and new partnership opportunities; and stadium and facility meeting set-ups.
My four months with the Kansas City Chiefs enabled me to see myself working in partnership strategy and business development as a career. Learning about different industries is truly exciting, and makes every partnership unique.
Meghan Baumer, SPM ’15
I served as the assistant media coordinator for the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball East Regional, and the assistant editor for the 2015 Syracuse football media guide, Additionally, I worked on projects involving statistics, photos, and archival information.
With Syracuse hosting the 2015 NCAA Men’s East Regional, I received invaluable first-hand knowledge from my supervisor and media coordinator for the tournament, Sue Edson. I gained exceptional experience in dealing with the media, and had numerous opportunities to showcase my written communications and design skills.
I was fortunate to work with a staff that mentored me and led to many opportunities to grow and learn in the field of sports information and public relations. I am proud to say that my Senior Capstone ultimately led to a full-time job as an athletic communications assistant with the Syracuse Athletic Communications Department.
Austin Stevenson, SPM ’15
I was exposed to the variety of business ventures with which the Gwynn family is involved, including a beer partnership (.394 Pale Ale), Camp 19 Baseball, a series of Gwynn BBQ sauces and seasonings, and the Gwynn Gourmet Food Truck.
These ventures had never been combined to cross promote each other. Identifying this opportunity led to me developing a new, central brand and an integrated marketing system. From this, I created Gwynndustries, Inc., as the parent company and brand through which all Gwynn-related business activities will operate. I am now working as the CEO of Gwynndustries.
I would not trade my experience with the Tony & Alicia Gwynn Foundation and Gwynndustries, Inc., for any other. I am proud to have had my vision of this company come to fruition, and have the opportunity to continue working for Gwynndustries, Inc., to grow its brand and market outreach.
Mari Lee, SPM ’14
While it was difficult to be away from campus and all of my friends back in Syracuse, I learned more than I ever could have imagined during my Capstone at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). I learned about the sport industry as well as myself.
I was able to take on the same responsibilities as full-time employees, which made this experience so different from any other internship I’ve had. Because of this amazing opportunity I had with the UFC, I realized that my dream career would be with the UFC.
I put in the hard work and dedication and was ultimately offered a full-time position as the Event Development Coordinator for the UFC.
Jack Wentzell, SPM ’14
I completed my Capstone with the Boston Red Sox in the team’s Florida Business Operations department as an operations intern at JetBlue Park, the spring training home and year-round training facility for the team. As someone who grew up within 35 miles of Boston, working for this organization was a dream come true.
I played a significant role in ensuring the facility’s cleanliness and overall presentation were top-notch for all events. I also learned to live on my own in an unfamiliar location.
I’ll never forget introducing myself to Hall of Famer Jim Rice or exchanging head nods with 2013 World Series MVP David Ortiz. Special moments such as these were commonplace during the seven weeks of spring training, and it was an opportunity I’ll always cherish.