The Department of Sport Management’s third annual Students and Professionals Meet (S.P.M.) Week was held virtually January 11-15, 2021.

Unlike in years past where students job shadowed alumni in their geographical location for a day, the 2021 event turned virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 the workshop, and then came prepared with their case study findings to the workshops.

“I really enjoyed the virtual job-shadowing event because I got to be creative and see what I could find out about the company with the data that was provided,” said SPM major Jenna Tivnan ’22.

The five workshop topics were:

  • Events and Operations: co-hosted by Anna Zorn (SVEM ’18 at Soldier Field) and Drew Altavilla (SPM ’13 at Louisiana State Athletics).
  • Marketing and Agency: co-hosted by Meghan Grassadonia (SPM ’17 at Excel Sports), Leah Riccolo (SPM ’20 at Rubicon Talent) and Brett Polinsky (Whitman ’17 at Rubicon Talent).
  • Sales and New Business: co-hosted by Ben Norowski (SPM ’12 at New York Red Bulls) and Ian McFate (SPM ’08 at Aramark).
  • Sports Betting and Marketing Partnerships: co-hosted by Brett Woltz (SPM ’11 at BetMGM) and Ayal Pessar (SPM ’19 at BetMGM).
  • Analytics and Player Operations: hosted by Drina Domic (SPM ’19 at NBA).

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

Thirty-four 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 Coordinator Lisa Liparulo, who coordinated the event.

Domic was impressed by the students’ energy and focus during the workshops. “The students were eager to present and participate,” she said. “Some students even took the initiative to follow up after the workshop on my constructive feedback.”

“I was shocked with how attentive the students were, especially for a voluntary workshop,” Norowski said. “The engagement was a huge part of why our workshop was successful and I loved being able to answer questions and pass my experiences on to the students.”

The Department of Sport Management would like to thank the alumni who participated in S.P.M. Week 2021. If you are interested in participating in S.P.M. Week 2022, please email Liparulo at