For many of the Sports Marketing Academy members, the chance to be in the Sports Marketing Academy (SMA) at Miami University is one that has proved to help each Intern develop in a different way! As a member of the academy myself, I felt that this was apparent from the very start of my SMA experience. The introduction meeting that kicked off this internship included naming a favorite part of being an Intern, saying your name, year and major, and a funny fact about yourself. I was amazed to find the wide range of diversity among the academy. Members range from freshman to seniors, Graphic Design Majors to Education majors, die-hard sports fans, to purely enthusiastic peers.


To explore this growth throughout the academy, my research started with interviewing each of the academy members. I decided I would ask some overview questions from the introduction meeting including: "What's your name, year, major, reasoning for joining the academy, favorite SMA experience so far, and a fun fact about yourself." After conducting interviews with many of the academy members, feedback proved that the academy could serve as not only a growing experience, but also a life changing one. Some of the academy experience has even caused academy members to change their major! Senior Greg Herbert said he joined the academy because, "I was looking for some way to get involved with the Athletic Department and give back to Miami Athletics. My major was accounting, but soon I fell in love with the culture and excitement of the Marketing department so I switched my major and have never looked back. I'm All-In!"


Carly Gerlach felt she was able to not only grow, but also, provide a life changing experience for her peers on campus, "I wanted to create an atmosphere on campus where people would get excited about athletic events and the RedHawks. The Academy allowed me to do this as well as apply what I was learning to real life situations. I wanted to expand my marketing knowledge in every way possible." For some, it was the perfect opportunity to see if this sports marketing was their cup of tea, "I always had an interest in working in sports marketing, but wanted to know more about it before I decided if I wanted to pursue it as a career. So the academy was the perfect opportunity."


Naming a favorite experience thus far as a member was not hard to do. For me, it has been working the hockey games! I love nothing more than seeing the enthusiasm of my peers. Working the promotions for the games including: throwing t-shirts to the fans, picking out Zamboni riders for the games, and just getting fellow students pumped up for upcoming events doesn't seem like work when your having so much fun. Like the members of the academy, favorite experiences ranged greatly. Mike Maude stated that he had too many favorites to choose from, "Too many to choose! One of my favorites would have to be our first meeting in the Red and White Club group. It was through this meeting that I started seeing a career in sports marketing as something I'd want to do for the rest of my life. I remember coming out of the meeting on a high I had never experienced before career-wise and although it could have been seen as an ordinary meeting to others, it's really taken my interest here in the SMA to the next level."


Katie Chokreff was able to name multiple favorites "My freshman year I got to work Rumble at the River, which was when Miami football played Kentucky at Paul Brown Stadium which was a great way to start off my experience in the Sports Marketing Academy. Other than that I was able to attend the MAC Championship for football in Detroit my sophomore year which was a great win coming down to the end. Lastly, beating Ohio University in football this year was a great experience to share with all the interns of this year."


Stephen Iannotta's favorite experience was one that connected with Miami's football team as well, "My favorite experience has to be the first football game last season (BGSU game) with SMA. In our walk-through on the Thursday before, Anthony got us all hyped up with a great speech. Walking onto the field that Saturday I was extremely nervous, but excited. I was privileged to be the lead on promotions for that game, and in just my first game, myself and the promotions team executed everything to a high level."

     Besides the work that is involved with the academy, there is definitely a great opportunity to make new connections in friends and future career connections. Through getting to know one another, some of the best facts to learn about each other, are the fun ones. Hannah Swoyer has traveled the world, "I've lived in 9 different places during my lifetime, including 4 years in Belgium and 1 year in Switzerland." Liz Wardlow has played many sports for years, "After years of playing ice hockey, field hockey, and soccer I still have never broken a bone." Hannah Martin has a weakness, "My one weakness is ice cream, especially mint chocolate chip." Nathan Brinling knows someone famous, "I know Santa Claus in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade." It's through these little, fun facts that provide a new bond between the academy members and create relationships that could potentially last a lifetime. 


 I would definitely recommend that those interested in gaining valuable experience in not only marketing, but also real-world knowledge of what it means to work in a job should consider joining the academy. Whether you're looking to see if marketing proves to be a good future opportunity for you, or if you are just looking to infuse pride and excitement into Miami's student body, I can promise that you will not regret having the chance to grow in new ways and enjoy the experience of meeting new friends. I'm sure glad that I joined!!


A special thanks to: Greg Herbert, MaryKate Schmidt, Lauren Busch, Mike Maude, Katie Chokreff, Nathan Brinling, Wally Maldonado, Hannah Martin, Nancy Blake, Carly Gerlach, Kyle Hatton, Amy Bonfiglio, Liz Wardlow, Emily Clingan, Jon Sauter, Bianca Pomponio, Vanessa Salgado, Natalie Ricci, Hannah Swoyer, Stephen Iannotta, Rachel Gillespie, Danielle Antony, Chandler Carroll, Chris Chandley, Ryan Curl, Katelyn DiNapoli, and Carson Drake for participating in interviews and working together to make this 2012-2013 year such a great one.        


Written by: Sports Marketing Academy Intern, Kiera Morgan