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Sport Management students gain experience through internships

By The Springfield Student staff

As a part of the Springfield College sport management program, students in the major are required to fulfill a semester-long, 12-credit internship. The purpose of this internship is to provide students with the opportunity to develop an expertise in business management with an orientation toward the world of sport in a real-world setting. While many decide to take on their internship over the spring semester, members of The Springfield Student staff wanted to highlight some of the students who are wrapping up their internships as the fall semester winds down.

Aymen Tayoubi-Idrissi

During the course of last summer, Tayoubi-Idrissi knew that he needed to get an internship for the final fall semester of his collegiate career. The only problem was, he had no idea where he wanted to apply. As a life-long basketball enthusiast, Tayoubi-Idrissi knew that the best place for him would be the Basketball Hall of Fame, located just ten minutes from campus. Unfortunately, the organization’s website had no contact information, leaving Tayoubi-Idrissi without any way to reach them.

After more searching, and still nothing else grabbing his attention, Tayoubi-Idrissi became more determined than ever to land a position at the Hall of Fame. In a last-ditch effort, he reached out to his advisor for help.

“I kind of said screw it,” Tayoubi-Idrissi. He asked his advisor: “‘I need help, do you have any idea how to get in there?’”

Luckily, Tayoubi-Idrissi’s advisor was able to get him a contact, eventually leading to two interviews. During the second one, conducted in person, Tayoubi-Idrissi felt that he was correct in thinking this was the place for him.

“When I walked into my visit, the culture was great – it was a great atmosphere, and I knew right away that this is where I’m going to spend my semester,” Tayoubi-Idrissi said.

His official title is Development Intern, where he, along with a team of others, put together fundraising opportunities. He is responsible for maintaining relationships with potential donors and campaigning for the Hall since it’s a nonprofit organization. Along with these responsibilities, for part of his special project, Tayoubi-Idrissi has put together a wheelchair basketball event fundraiser.

Kevin Velazquez-Rivera

As a college student planning to get into a career within administration of collegiate athletics, there may not be a better place to intern than with your own school’s athletic department. That is exactly what senior Kevin Velazquez-Rivera did this fall, interning with the Springfield College Athletic Department.

Velazquez-Rivera holds the title as an intern for the Student-Athlete leadership and development, recruitment and retention, and diversity and inclusion office. “I want to pursue a career in college athletics as an administrator,” he said.

This position allows Velazquez-Rivera to get closer to the field he eventually wants to make his profession, which will be valuable experience for him.

“This position will help me see different sides of the athletic department,” he said.

This experience will provide an in-depth understanding of how an athletic department functions, something not many are given the opportunity to learn as an undergraduate student.

Velazquez-Rivera has worked closely as a manager of the men’s basketball team this semester, helping glue things together from the team and athletics sides.

Katie Kingsley

Katie Kingsley, who is a junior at Springfield College, just recently finished her practicum with the Hartford Yard Goats and will soon begin her internship with the Travelers Championship. Her role while at the Yard Goats wasn’t limited to one specific role, but rather she helped out in several different departments.

Some of these departments included events, operations, sales, sponsorship and community engagement. The tasks were anything from updating forms, helping setting up for various events and much more. She chose to join the Yard Goats because of the idea that she could dabble in multiple different areas and departments instead of being locked down to a specific one.

Kingsley will also soon start an internship in February with the Travelers Championship, where she will go down to Hartford, Conn. once a week to help plan golf events. In July, she will start working full time at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., to help set up for the Travelers Championship. Kingsley volunteered at this event last year, and she loved the atmosphere so much that she decided to return for a full time position. She hopes to gain more experience in the industry, and also try to improve her golf skills in the meantime.

Jeff Madeia

Springfield College junior Jeff Madeia has gained a lot of experience in the sport management field, not only having an internship but participating in other opportunities he was able to be a part of. One of these is Hoophall, and Madeia will be taking the role of head supervisor of the event.

He was also one of a few sophomores from the 2021-22 crew to work at Hoophall.

“As a supervisor, being in situations last year at Hoophall where I had to make decisions under pressure and on my feet is significant,” he said. “My knowledge about Hoophall and other events and experiences on my resumé contributed.”

This year, he is coming in with a more significant role, but he feels he is a “veteran,”’ in a sense.

“Being head supervisor consists of much responsibility, but having worked at Hoophall before as a supervisor, I feel that I have pretty good knowledge of my role and everything I am in charge of,” Madeia said.

Not only this, but Madeia has been preparing for the event for over two months now.

“From meeting with all student volunteers, I complete the basic logistics like scheduling, constant communication, and more,” he said. “There is no shortage of prep and readiness that we have exerted our effort into. There is some stress and nerves that I have felt, but I am much more confident and excited.”

Medeia also applied everything he learned from the classroom and built a connection with Hartford Athletic, a professional soccer team based in Hartford, Conn.

“For over half a year, I had been helping out as a volunteer,” he said. “Eventually, when it came time to find an organization for my junior year practicum, it was an easy decision. Since I had created relationships with employees at Hartford Athletic, the process was fairly easy. I didn’t even need an interview or anything like that.”

Madeia works in event operations and arrives a few hours before games start. He helps set up signs, banners and equipment around the stadium. If he has extra time, Madeia helps people with parking. If not, he will be seen helping with other tasks around the stadium.

His post-game events consist of: “Putting away field boards of sponsors, hospitality suites for partnered companies, and more. This goes pretty late, but putting everything away is important, and having the stadium look like there was not even a game,” Madeia said.

Madeia’s favorite part about his experience at Hartford Athletic has been the range of events he’s worked on. Hartford Athletic games have been what he’s worked at the most, but Madeia has also helped out with the Small State Great Beer Festival and CIAC State Championships for Connecticut high school soccer.

“I have enjoyed the diverse set of events because some jobs and tasks must be completed depending on the event. Also, no matter the event, the environments are always exciting despite being vastly different,” Madeia said.

Colby Wilson

Colby Wilson is a senior in the Sport Management program. For his required internship, Wilson has landed at the Husky Advantage Center at the University of Connecticut. Through the strength of Springfield College’s network, Wilson has gotten the opportunity to gain real-world experience and valuable knowledge in a professional setting.

Wilson helps to plan and execute programming and events while assisting in the growth of student-athletes. He was able to spearhead a program called the Goal Line project, where student-athletes visit local middle schools and take part in games and activities with the kids – teaching them leadership skills through teamwork. Wilson regularly gets to work with star athletes like Azzi Fudd, a standout on the acclaimed UConn women’s basketball team.

“My favorite part of the internship would have to be getting the chance to work first hand with high-level athletes and watch them grow as leaders outside their sports,” Wilson said.

Wilson gives credit to his supervisor Rachel Howard, a graduate of the Athletic Leadership Master’s program at UConn, as she connected him with several contacts at the university. For Wilson, it’s encouraging to see alumni care so much for current student-athletes.

Photo Courtesy Aymen Tayoubi-Idrissi

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