Alumni Profiles

Diaz

Kenny Diaz, ('18)
Assistant, Major League Video/Technology, Advance Scouting, Baseball Operations, Washington Nationals

Hometown: Carolina, Puerto Rico

Degree and Class: MS, Sport Administration, 2018

How did you learn about/end up attending MSU?

I ended up at MSU after searching for open graduate assistantship opportunities available around the country. My situation was a bit different and I actually took the Student Affairs route in obtaining my assistantship. Thankfully, they were fully supportive of my desire to obtain my MS in Sport Administration and allowed me to take part in the amazing Sport Administration program at State. 

What are the responsibilities of your current position?

In my current position, I oversee our Major League Video tasks as well as assist in Advance Scouting. In the video aspect, our video coaching is used by our players daily and our on-field staff to make in game adjustments and improvements throughout the entire season. This can vary from charting live games in the clubhouse, to uploading tons of video and data to our Dugout iPads for our players to use in game, to creating a playlist of our upcoming opponents on iPads so we can get a head start on scouting our next series. On the Advance Scouting side, I am tasked with creating reports (Game planning) on our opponents’ runners and defense (OF, INF, C), so that the team can determine how to gain a competitive edge on our opponents’ by identifying their strengths and weaknesses, so as to help us win more games. 

What is your favorite part of the position?

My favorite part of the position has to be the fact that we’re able to be part of a team and have the ability to make an impact on the game from behind the scenes. We may be behind the scenes, but some decision that are made on field are because of what we’ve written in our reports beforehand and have gone over with the coaches and players pregame. 

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?

My Master’s degree at State helped me prepare in my field because of how real and hands-on the lessons are. Whether it was learning the proper ethics in life, or researching (which actually coincides with my advance scouting, we have to research a lot of what other teams do and don’t do well), or Funding of Sport, to name a few, they’ve all played small roles in helping me better understand and execute different aspects of the job. Even though it may not look like I’m doing “Administration of Sport” I am actually using it way more than you might think. We still have budgets, we still are involved in sports, we are still tasked with creating projects that cost money, etc… Being in the MSU Soort Administration Master’s program allowed me to prosper and blossom in the role with the Washington Nationals that I currently have. Without the support, motivation, guidance, and push from the professors at Mississippi State, I wouldn’t be in the role I am in now. 

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?

Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way and do it with the best of your ability. Sometimes you’re going to question why you’re doing what you’re doing, but down the road you will be thanking yourself for doing what you’re asked to do, taking that risk and giving it your all. I went from doing tons of manual labor in the Minor League for free as unpaid Intern working 60-65 hrs/wk, to driving vans to/from airports all across South Florida when I was a Player Development Intern, to winning a World Series in my current role now. It was a tough road, but believing in yourself and always being open to helping others and not complaining, will allow you to get to where you want to be in the end. Never take any opportunity for granted and give it your best in and out of the classroom. Never limit yourself to just one thing. I knew I wanted to be in sports and took an unconventional assistantship route to get to where I am. Many asked why I was in housing as a Residence Director (RD) if I wanted to be in sports? My answer was simple: The assistantship paid for my schooling and working as a Residence Director still developed vital skills necessary for work in sports. As an RD I had the opportunity to impact lots of students, lead a team, and gain valuable interpersonal skills that I use today in my current role. 

What advice would give to incoming graduate students at MSU?

Never give up when things get tough. You will feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and ready to throw in the towel sometimes, but you’ll feel such pride when it’s all done and you’re walking across that stage knowing you worked so hard for the degree. Between juggling what seems like a full-time job in your assistantship, to night classes, to having to do lots of school work on top of it all, means you can get overwhelmed. Yet, as long as you establish a good support system, remain organized, and take care of your responsibilities, you will prosper. Always have an open mind and interact with your professors. MSU is blessed with some of the best professors I’ve ever had and they will become one of your best resources down the road.  So make sure you give them your best and they will give you theirs. 
 


yj

Yonjoong (YJ) Ryuh, Ph.D. ('20)
Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, Sonoma State University

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Degree and Class: Ph.D., Exercise Science, 2020

How did you learn about/end up attending MSU?

While not many universities in United States have Ph.D. programs in adapted physical activity, MSU has multiple faculty members focusing on the area of the adapted physical activity. Especially, Dr. Agiovlasitis, who is one of the leading scholars in this area of study, as well as Dr. Chen whose interdisciplinary research agenda is quite impressive. All of these factors were appealing to me.

What are the responsibilities of your current position?

I am a tenure-track faculty member (assistant professor) at Sonoma State University (SSU). I teach three courses of upper-level Kinesiology courses including two 3-credit motor development courses and a 3-unit elementary school PE course. I also have to actively maintain a research agenda and provide service to the department and the university.

What is your favorite part of the position?

For the tenure track faculty job, my favorite part is that I can conduct my research projects with my students, and in so doing do both teaching and research, at the same time. My favorite part of this position at SSU is that this institution is very supportive and flexible for me to work on my job-related tasks including course development, research funding, and developing community connections.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?

First, I worked with many professors other than my mentor, in diverse areas of study. This allowed me to navigate many areas of kinesiology, which deepened my understanding of exercise science in general, and it eventually helped me refine my research interests. Secondly, I had many opportunities to interact with community organizations, which developed my capability to cultivate the kind of relationships necessary with community stakeholders which will allow for fruitful research collaborations

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?

I would like to tell the students that they need to identify their professional goal first. Then they will be able to know what they really want to do. Without this identification process, they would be prone to lose direction and their motivation would be fragile.

What advice would give to incoming graduate students at MSU? 

Everything you experience in the grad school experience is learning. However, some learn more than others from the experiences. In order to maximize learning, I found that looking at situations positively was very helpful, so that I was always discovering something I can learn from every situation. If you see things negatively, then you will find yourself always blaming other factors rather than taking ownership and seeking to learn from every situation. As a result, your grad school life will be miserable.


ewing

Jake Ewing, ('16)
Account Executive, Group Sales, Memphis Grizzlies

Hometown: Jackson, MS

Degree and Class: Bachelor of Science, Sport Administration, 2016

How did you learn about/end up attending MSU?

Growing up in MS, it was hard not to know about MSU. My older sister went to MSU and I decided to attend after visiting her for football games while I was still in high school and feeling like that was where I wanted to be as well.

What are the responsibilities of your current position?

I am an Account Executive in Group Sales for the Memphis Grizzlies. My responsibilities include full-menu ticket sales (season tickets, packages, premium seating, and group tickets), Account management/client services. I also have game-day duties (pre-COVID) including the execution of Fan Experiences such as Prime-Time Performances, National Anthem/Color Guard groups, Group Fan Tunnels, etc.

What is your favorite part of the position?

My favorite part of my position is seeing the excitement on our fans' faces when they get a once in a lifetime experience at a Grizzlies game. It is a lot of fun knowing that I was able to help make it happen. From our youngest fans to our oldest, seeing someone’s face light up with excitement makes all of the hard work and long hours worthwhile. Of course, having the opportunity to stand courtside during an NBA game and get paid for it isn’t bad either!

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?

My education prepared me by giving me a comprehensive understanding of the sports industry, from the business side to the personal side. MSU taught me how to communicate and work with others, and helped build the foundation I use to communicate with my clients every day.

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?

My advice would be to make as many connections as possible while in college (with professors, recent grads, and professionals in the field you’re interested in). I’d also say to work as many internships as possible, preferably in a few different fields (different professional leagues, college sports, local youth sports, etc.). I did an internship in both pro sports (MLS) and college sports (MSU Athletics Department), which really helped me decide which path I wanted to follow post-college.


waldman

Hunter Waldman, Ph.D. ('18)
Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, University of North Alabama

Hometown: Dothan, Alabama

Degree and Class: Ph.D., CSCS*D, 2018

How did you learn about/end up attending MSU?

Dr. Jeff Simpson, a doctoral student at MSU and 1-year ahead of me at the time, contacted me about Dr. Matthew McAllister. He notified me that he thought we would work well together as mentor and student and so I followed up with Dr. McAllister via phone. The rest is history.

What are the responsibilities of your current position?

As an assistant professor at the University of North Alabama, my current load breakdown is 60% teaching, 30% research, and 10% service. In addition, I advise approximately 75 students and serve as either Chair or committee member on several theses and dissertations each year. 

What is your favorite part of the position?

I absolutely love the mentor aspect with my students in a research setting. I was hired on as a professor with my main workload directed towards teaching, but my passion lies in research. It is in the laboratory that I get to see my students critically think, apply their classroom skills, and discover the beauty of the research process. 

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?

My time at MSU was very challenging from a workload capacity. I used to often talk with Dr. Smith about how the workload of a doctoral student was simply not practical beyond a few years. I would say that my training was so rigorous in several aspects at MSU, that everything after as a professor has been easy. I was told by several professors how hard my first year of being a professor would be, but the last two years have been rather easy compared to my doctoral years. 

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?

When interning, you are building your resume for a potential job in the future. When applying for jobs, you are competing against many other potential employees for that same position. You should be waking up every morning and asking yourself, “How can I separate myself from everyone else today?” Every night that you go to bed, you should have an answer for that question. You’ll be successful in finding a job if you can do that.

What advice would give to incoming graduate students at MSU?

You must be humble, coachable, and have intellectual curiosity. If you are not waking up every morning, excited to learn something new, you should not attend graduate school. If you think you have it all figured out, you do not. You should review the Dunning Kruger chart and understand you are likely at the ‘peak’ of the figure. Finally, be open-minded and remain coachable. Choosing a good mentor is your most important decision in graduate school. Listening to that mentor is the very next most important decision.  


hill

Chris Hill, Ph.D. ('16)
Assistant Professor of Biomechanics, Northern Illinois University

Hometown: Oxford, MS

Degree and Class: MS,Exercise Physiology, 2016

How did you learn about/end up attending MSU?

As undergraduate student, I worked with Dr. Harish Chander at the University of Mississippi. Once he transitioned into a faculty position at Mississippi State, I chose to continue my work with him as a graduate student.

What are the responsibilities of your current position?

Teaching undergraduate and graduate courses. Perform research and seek external funding. Mentor students and serve the university as a whole.

What is your favorite part of the position?

One thing I love about my position is if I have research question I want to answer or a technique I want to learn, I’m encouraged and free to do so. Such flexibility can’t be beat.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?

MSU inspired scientific rigor in my research and how to think critically about my field as a whole.

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?

Two things: 1. Ask if opportunities are available. No matter who it is. The worst a person can tell you is no. 2. Always be kind and humble. We are all still learning and doing our best. Extend kindness and patience to those around you as much as you can.

What advice would give to incoming graduate students at MSU?

Form relationships with your professors. Make sure they know who you are. They will be the people who will write recommendation letters for you and connect you with others in the field. The more they get to know you the better it will be for your future.


ty 
Ty Singletary ('17)
Director of Compliance at Big Sky Conference

Hometown: Mobile, AL

Degree and Class: MS, Sport Administration, Fall 2017

How did you learn about/end up attending MSU?

I started researching Sport Administration graduate programs the summer before my senior year in undergrad at Alabama State University. I determined that I wanted to stay in the southeast, and I wanted to attend an institution that had a prominent athletics department. This narrowed my search down to a handful of schools. When evaluating the programs, one of my most important factors was the concluding option. I wanted to have the opportunity to make a decision during my enrollment to either pursue a career in research through the thesis option or to engage in practicing what I had learned in the classroom with an internship. (Fortunately, I was able to combine elements of both of those options while at MSU by doing a Directed Individualized Study). I narrowed my search to two institutions and eventually chose to attend Mississippi State because I loved Starkville. 

What are the responsibilities of your current position?

Primarily, I manage the Big Sky Conference’s NCAA compliance efforts. Most of my time is spent interpreting NCAA and Big Sky bylaws for our member institutions. I also manage the NLI program and draft national and conference legislation. Additionally, I’m involved with the conference’s governance structure which includes managing various groups such as the Faculty Athletics Representatives and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and I assist with committees comprised of Athletics Directors and Senior Woman Administrators. Beyond my usual compliance and governance responsibilities, I create conference competition schedules for several sports and develop professional development programs for our various membership groups. 

What is your favorite part of the position?

My favorite part of my job is the access I have to gain knowledge about the bigger picture elements of intercollegiate athletics. I regularly participate in national discussions regarding policy that affects institutions throughout all of Division I. These conversations provide me the opportunity to instruct our membership on how we should vote for various proposals and how to optimize the student-athlete experience at our institutions. In working with our Division I Council representative, I’ve learned how different sized conferences (e.g., Autonomous Five, Mid-Major) approach various topics which has helped me learn how to predict potential legislative and policy outcomes. 

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?

The diversified curriculum in Mississippi State’s Sport Administration program gave me insight into areas that I previously had no knowledge. For example, I did not understand what market segmentation was or the difference between a normative and a descriptive ethical claim. I understood a small amount about the law as it related to sport, but my knowledge was rudimentary there too. I walked into my first job after attending Mississippi State with a greater understanding of the entire industry. I was able to have conversation with people who worked in departments other than mine and contribute meaningfully to discussions. 

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?

The two most importance pieces of advice for job seekers in this industry is that you cannot be afraid of rejection, and you have to make the most of your interactions with those in the field. Entry-level jobs frequently receive triple digit number of applications. You are going to apply for jobs that never call you. You may have to slightly pivot from what you originally wanted to do or move across the country to find a job, but your job is out there. Getting discouraged is natural, but you cannot shy away from applying to potential jobs because you’re scared of “no.” Second, networking is perhaps the most important element of getting a job and climbing in your career. Invest in yourself and attend a professional conference like CoSIDA or the NACDA offerings. You can start by chatting with those of us who have graduated from Mississippi State and grow your network from there. You have a head start on your competition if a hiring manager recognizes your name when they see your resume. Make sure to utilize your professors who can place you in touch with alumni of the program. 

What advice would give to incoming graduate students at MSU?

The first advice I have is to treat every class like you will need to have that information for your job. Even if you have no desire to work in external departments like marketing, that knowledge will help you make a greater impact when you become employed. The second is to become close with your professors. They want to see you succeed both during and after your time in the program. You’d be remiss if you didn’t invest time into getting to know them. Finally, create connections with your cohort. You’re going to spend a lot of time both in and out of the classroom with them over two years. The program becomes easier knowing you have friends who can fill in a gap in your notes or you can spend time with on the weekends. These people are also going to be your peers when you get into your career. You never know when you’ll need to pick up the phone and have someone call a hiring manager on your behalf. 
 


Erin Ambrose ('08)

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2008

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I support the sales staff and decrease attrition through sponsorship activation and contract fulfillment.

  • Act as liaison between TCU, corporate partners, local, regional and national staff
  • Provide flawless contract execution and deliver on all sales commitments
  • Manage merchandise, tickets, autographed items, and other related hospitality items
  • Organize and manage partner events
  • Serve as main property contact for IMG Sponsor Services team and client contact
  • Develop ongoing, meaningful client relationships to decrease client attrition
  • Provide impeccable customer service

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
As a former student-athlete at Belmont University, I never realized all the planning, passion and dedication my sport administration team contributed to the betterment of both my educational and professional development. As a GA in Athletic Academics at MSU, I quickly realized how important it was to have that same passion and determination to help students succeed. During my studies, my professors gave practical examples and provided many opportunities for internships which shaped the way I work in sport today. Because of my education at MSU, I was equipped with successful interview/networking skills, sports knowledge and marketing techniques to add value to the work environment. My favorite experience at MSU was game day operations during football, basketball and baseball seasons. There, I was able to learn the “ins-and-outs” of successful operations and key marketing strategies to increase fan affinity. Or, as my professors would say, “put butts in seats.” I am very grateful for my experience at MSU and remember fondly the great memories with my awesome team.

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
Figure out what you would do for free, what makes you excited to get up in the morning, then make a career out of it. Do your research. Don’t e-mail, don’t text, don’t Facebook. Pound the pavement. Pick up the phone. Setup a real, in-person meeting. Research the company. Wear a suit. Bring your resume. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Shake his/her hand and look him/her straight in the eyes. Send a handwritten “thank you” note. Keep in touch with the company. Clean up your social media, that is your brand and companies will look at your profiles.


Mark Anderson ('05)

Hometown: Little Rock, AR
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2005

What are the responsibilities of your current position?

  • Oversee day-to-day operations of the ballpark (AutoZone Park)
  • Gameday/Event staffing
  • Maintenance, grounds crew, housekeeping, security
  • Team travel/Baseball Operations

What is your favorite part of the position?
I consider myself to be very lucky. In 2009, Baseball America magazine voted AutoZone Park to be the best in Minor League baseball. It's a privilege to know it's my responsibility to make sure we keep that status for years to come. Also, at the end of the day I get to work in a beautiful ballpark…how many people get to say that in life?

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
Actually, it was an MSU Sport Administration trip that led to my internship with the Redbirds. We came to Memphis in September of 2005, which allowed me to meet the people who eventually would give me an opportunity to do an internship with them the following January. I have been with the Redbirds ever since, moving around from department to department gaining as much experience as I can.

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
Find some way to separate yourself from the rest of the group when applying for internships. For example, I volunteered to work in the sports marketing department while at State. There was no pay, but it gave me great experience and was something that I could put down on my resume to show I was serious about working in sports. I get resumes all the time that don't have any experience on them whatsoever, and they do not stand out to me like someone that went out and found a way to gain experience while in college.


Tyson Baldwin

Hometown: Monroe, LA
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2011

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I oversee and manage all activities of LTAC, including the annual fund membership campaign, special events, and cultivating relationships with alumni, donors, and the Ruston community. I also manage the Louisiana Tech Lettermen’s Club. Another responsibility is overseeing all premium seating options for football at Louisiana Tech, as well as parking and tailgating.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
The education I received at Mississippi State played a vital role in preparing me for my future in athletic development. It provided me with a broad understanding of what skills and expertise I would need to move forward in my career and the best practices that are currently being used in our field.

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
My advice to current students looking for internships or jobs is to do whatever it takes to make yourself aware of the roles and responsibilities for each position inside an athletic department. Try to get a position that you believe is right for you. Once you have that position, take time getting to know the people in the department and find out what they do and offer to help out in any way you can. This will give you a better understanding, after your internship or first job, of what you want to do moving forward in your career.


Tim Bisantz

Hometown: Saint Charles, IL
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2012

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I currently oversee and manage the campus recreation department at Southern New Hampshire University. Within this position, I manage all aquatics, club sports, group exercise, fitness, and intramurals programs along with three full-time and ~75 student staff.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
My education provided me insight into the programs I manage. For example: Budgeting, Law, Administration, Management, Marketing, and Policy Development courses, along with a lot of other topics helped give a depth and understanding to what I current complete on a daily basis.

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
1. Networking: It’s not just about what you know, it’s about who you know. Stay composed, ask questions, genuinely listen and develop friendships while maintaining a strong work presence. Some of my best colleagues/friends I’ve met because of this.

2. Relocate: Don’t be afraid to leave the place you know and you’re comfortable with for the best position that suits your strengths. I’ve lived in five states within the last seven years (e.g. Illinois, South Dakota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire) and wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve learned so much from it and have had an amazing time exploring different cultures/lifestyles/mentalities.

3. Positivity: Stay positive and know that everything won’t be ideal. As long as you’re able to evolve, while believing in your skills/personality, you’ll be able to make a difference.


Jan Blaine

Hometown: Starkville, MS
Current Position: Assistant Director of Development, Bagley College of Engineering – Mississippi State University
Degree: B.S. Sport Communication, 2009

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I work with donors/alumni to help support the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University through private funding/gifts.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
My time in the Sport Communication program showed me the importance of being able to raise money or sell for any organization. Without funding through gifts from our generous alumni and friends, the Bagley College of Engineering would not be held in such high regard, and my time spent in the Sport Communication program helped me recognize the importance of this. It also helped me step out of my comfort zone and get to know a variety of people from all different backgrounds which made me more confident in relationship building, which is key in my field. I am thankful for my experience and proud of my degree.

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
Work hard, Volunteer, Set Goals, Treat Others with Respect and Be Grateful.

Yes, “Work Hard” is a cliché, but if you aren’t willing to work hard, how can you expect things to happen, no matter the task? A paraphrase of Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do so whole heartedly” and regardless of your religious beliefs, I think this is something that can apply to everyone.

Volunteer meaning two things: First, if you aren’t willing to work without money, you might pass up good opportunities. My first year as a Sport Comm student I volunteered at MSU Athletic Media Relations during the day and nights and worked the early shift at the Sanderson Center to make money. It wasn’t easy, but eventually I was paid by the Athletic Department and even was afforded the opportunity to go to graduate school through that work. Second, volunteer in your community in an area you are passionate about. Whether it is Boys & Girls Club, Special Olympics, Food Pantries, etc. volunteering is so important for your community involvement and if you start early it will carry on for a lifetime. Just think if every person donated a little bit of their time and money each month how much better off this world would be? The smallest effort makes an impact.

Set Goals for yourself in school, work and professional career. Goals give you something to strive for and keep complacency away. You can never outgrow goal setting.

Treat Others with Rrespect: Never ask someone to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself. That’s not to say you shouldn’t ask for help or delegate when it is needed, but the manner in which you make these requests can be the difference from success and failure.

Be Grateful: Show appreciation to all those that have helped you along the way and not just those that can help your future. Write thank you notes. It really does mean something.


Taylor Blakely

Hometown: Winona, MS
Current Position:Coordinator of Athletic Marketing & Promotions, Oakland University
Degree: B.S. in Sport Administration, 2009

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I oversee all marketing and promotions for Oakland University athletics, including the creation, implementation and execution of all marketing initiatives. I also supervise the band, dance and cheer programs at Oakland.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
The Mississippi State Sport Communication program has helped tremendously in my career in collegiate athletics. My professors gave me a great foundation to build upon and provided a wealth of knowledge about the industry that I am able to use every day. They helped me make and grow connections that benefited my career in sports by encouraging me to intern and network as much as possible.

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
I would like to tell anyone looking for a career in sports to intern or volunteer as often as possible. The MSU athletic department provides students great opportunities to gain valuable work experience. I would also encourage any current MSU students looking to find a job in sports to use the great network that is available through the MSU Sport Studies program.


Bo Bounds ('01)

Hometown: Jackson, MS
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2001

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
Host the morning drive time show, 7-10am, Monday-Friday. Book guests, develop topics, drive creative. Sell and manage all the corporate sponsorships on the show.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
My degree has been invaluable to my success in sports marketing and the business world. Understanding relationships, and how “everybody” is in sales regardless of your position. Sales and cultivating business relationships are so important. The ability to network daily and cultivate business relationships was a big part of the program. Upward mobility is crucial to success.

What is your favorite part of the position?
The challenge to create a 3-hour live show everyday, where we entertain thousands of people. Managing our clients and the relationships that we’ve built with some of the top businesses in Mississippi. Traveling all over the Southeast on remotes is a wonderful way to experience the SEC and South.

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
Work and network all the time. Have a purpose and intent in everything you do. Don’t sit on the couch or around the apartment. Build your resume constantly. You need to be hungry, the competition is fierce.


Jason Cleveland ('09)

Hometown: Hickory, MS
Degree: B.S. in Sport Communication, 2009

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I co-produce a television show titled The Gamekeepers of Mossy Oak,which airs on the Pursuit Channel.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for work in the field?
My education at MSU greatly helped me in my field. Not only from an academic skills standpoint but from a "life skills" standpoint as well. I learned how to be better organized and how to prepare for deadlines. The editing skills that I learned in TV Production helped make my transition into a TV production position seamless.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
To students: The rigors of college life can be daunting at times, but make time to research your field on the internet and seek out internship possibilities. Don’t be afraid to break away from the latest technologies and write hand written letters. The key is to stand out from the potential hundreds of students pursuing the same position that you are. Think outside the box!


Michael Draper ('08)

Current Position: Senior Program Director, YMCA of Snohomish County(Everett, WA)
Hometown: Tupelo, MS
Degree: B.S. in Sport Communication, 2008

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I oversee the membership, wellness, youth sports, active older adults and aquatics departments for the Everett Family YMCA in Everett, WA. As a part of this position, I am required to budget and forecast budgets for each department, train staff, hire/fire staff, process payroll and am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the branch.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for work in the field?
My education at Mississippi State allowed me to get a lot of hands on exposure to areas that I now focus on in my current role, specifically health and wellness.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
When working for a non-profit, like the YMCA, you have to be very receptive to the idea that you will be wearing a lot of different hats no matter what your position is and you will be working all different kinds of hours. However, there is something special about serving the community and providing people a place of encouragement while helping them grow in spirit, mind and body.


Aaron Epstein ('08)

Hometown: Gulf Breeze, FL
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2008

What are the responsibilities of your current position.

  • Assist the day-to-day operations of the Duke Club and Athletics Annual Giving Operations
  • Serve as Faculty Advisor for the Student Duke Club
  • Recruit and screen student staff (Graduate Assistants, Interns, and Practicum) for the Duke Club
  • Coordinate operations for the Duke Club Reward System – “Rootin’ Rewards” and DukeClubRewards.com
  • Provide administrative oversight of all Duke Club Social Media initiatives
  • Supply web-based marketing/promotional content for JMUSports.com
  • Assist with Campaign/Major Gift Planning
  • Work with the JMU Alumni Association in coordinating activities to promote regional involvement

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
Mississippi State helped prepare me by giving me the education foundation I needed to be confident in my ability to perform at a high level as an administrator. My classes also exposed me to a wide array of business opportunities and avenues that allowed me to find my niche and passion. I still find myself calling on my educational foundation, daily, as I grow professionally and personally.

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
I would encourage students to really find their passion. It is easy to spot people in this field who do it for the wrong reasons and even easier to see those who are really passionate about their roles. I would also encourage students to develop, as early as possible, your “brand”.


Stephen Foshee ('11)

Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration & MBA (dual degree), 2011

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
Manage a portfolio of major gift donors, solicit major gift donations for athletic facility projects, coordinate all major gift activity to the Today.Tomorrow.Forever Athletic Facilities Initiative, serve as a staff contact for premium seating at Davis Wade Stadium, direct and coordinate donor signage within current and future athletic facilities, create printed materials for major gift donations as well as the expansion and renovation of Davis Wade Stadium.

How did your education at Mississippi State help prepare you for working in your field?
There is rarely a topic during the course of a work day that we did not cover in the Sports Administration program at Mississippi State. Sometimes, these topics were examined during a case study, class discussion or assignment and those exercises are the knowledge base from which I draw from when thinking critically in the office. Having that base of knowledge that is specific to the athletics industry is really an asset when first beginning a career in collegiate athletics and gives you a professional perspective of the industry as opposed to that of a fan.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
Avoid being discouraged when first applying for jobs and internships as this is a tough industry to find entry level positions. Please know that if you are persistent and get an opportunity to work in this industry, you will get to meet and work with amazing people and travel to different cities and sporting venues throughout the country. The passion of this industry is incredible and is the number one reason why people choose to enter this profession.


Kirk Gatlin ('09)

Hometown: Tupelo, MS
Degree: B.S. in Sport Communication, 2009

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I work as a Development Assistant with the Army A Club at the United States Military Academy. I help oversee the operations portion of the A Club, everything from game day parking to planning events. My main responsibility is donor relations. Here at West Point, we had over 4,800 donors last year whom we strived to provide the top customer service to. My day-to-day duties consist of in-bound and out-bound phone calls with donors, helping them with donations and ticket requests, along with running daily revenue reports and conducting research for potential prospects.

How did your education at Mississippi State help prepare you for working in your field?
The first thing that comes to mind is after graduating from State, I worked for Royal Caribbean International as a sports staff member. I managed and hosted sporting activities in over 25 countries for people from all over the world. While at State, I took a Globalization and Sport course which helped my understand how each culture reacts to different sports in their local environment. Growing up in SEC country, all you know is football, but once I got the opportunity to work in other countries, I witnessed first-hand the difference between globalization and glocalization, and took what I learned in the classroom into real life experiences.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
My advice to current students would be to do whatever it takes to get your foot in the door. Build relationships, don't be afraid to call or email someone for advice on what they do and how they got to where they are now. Volunteer as much as possible. When looking for internships or jobs, don't just look at the location or title, make sure that you can actually get something valuable out of the opportunity.


Adam Germek ('01)

Current Position: Chief Development Officer, Special Olympics Tennessee
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2001

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
Oversee all areas of fundraising, including partnerships, sponsorships, special events, cause marketing, direct marketing, and special projects.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
The experience and contacts through the MSU Sport Administration program were invaluable in my success in the sports industry. Connections with the MSU program led to positions working in professional sports, collegiate sports, and in the sports participatory event management industry.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
Use your networks and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to ask people for a chance. Everyone starts their career in a similar way, and most people are hired in the sports industry through a connection or friend. Stay connected with your classmates, professors, internship coordinators, guest speakers, etc. Most people are willing to help if you ask.


Jen Gray ('05)

Hometown: Waynesboro, MS
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2005

Tell us about the responsibilities involved in your current positions.
I oversee all facets of match official training courses delivered in the U.S., develop course content and policy, and create officiating programs to deliver across the U.S. I am also responsible for budget creation and monitoring as well as revenue generation.

What is your favorite aspect of your current position?
I enjoy both the domestic and international travel and working with a great group of people.

How did your education at Mississippi State help prepare you for working in your field?
The practical training I received in my graduate program and through my internships at State gave me an invaluable leg up on the competition when applying for jobs. I came in to my position with event management experience and a working knowledge of compliance audits. Both are critical skills needed for the competition management aspect of my job.

Would you make any recommendations to recent graduates currently looking for internships or other positions in the field?
Don't be afraid to work hard and you have to be a go-getter. The sport industry requires long hours and hard work. There is always someone who is willing to work harder and cheaper than you, so make sure you give 110%.


Richard Groves ('04)

Hometown: Starkville, MS
Degree: B.S. in Sport Communication, 2004

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I help oversee the production of various publications, both print and digital, for our college athletics department clients. Some of the schools I work with include Arkansas, Baylor, Cincinnati, Florida, Rice, Tennessee and Texas. I work on the project from the beginning, from initial design to the actual running of the presses. A majority of my work is asset organization, followed by page layout and copy editing.

What is your favorite part of the position?
The people, without a doubt. I love my co-workers and clients that I deal with on a daily basis. I really get a chance to work with some fantastic people every single day.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
The key was the breadth of knowledge that I received from the variety of classes and experiences that I had while at MSU. While no one class is ever able to get someone ready for a job, the combined effect of the discipline learned from my professors along with the knowledge they shared gave me the critical thinking and problem solving skills needed to adjust to any curveball thrown my way in my career.

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
The key to this, and pretty much any job, is networking and maintaining friendships all over the place. Go work in the athletics department at Mississippi State and get involved all over the place on campus. Never pass up an opportunity to meet someone new in the field, because you never know if that is the person that will remember how hard you worked writing back-up stats at a basketball game when they are making a hiring decision. The friend you make working together setting up a press-box might be the person who tells you about a great opportunity at his school five years down the line.


John Gwin ('06)

Hometown: Memphis, TN
Degree: B.A. in Sport Communication, 2006

Tell us about the responsibilities involved in your current positions.
With CBS Sports, I am responsible for coming up with interesting and relevant statistics during each game and passing that information along to the graphics person so it can be presented on screen. For WREG, I direct and technical direct up to nine shows a day, consisting of both news and info-tainment programming.

What is your favorite aspect of your current position?
The work is challenging and fast. Never the same thing every day. No desk, no tie.

Given your current career path, where do you see yourself in ten years?
I would like to be directing live sporting events.

Have you observed any changing or developing trends currently occurring in your field-what do you see as the future of the field in which you work?
I see television becoming much more web-based and on-demand. The days of watching the news at 5, 6, and 10 are limited. Soon, you will watch newscasts on your computer whenever you want.

How did your education at Mississippi State help prepare you for working in your field?
The classes I took gave me the basic knowledge needed for the business of sports television. Additionally, many of the skills I have were obtained were on-the-job.

Would you make any recommendations to recent graduates currently looking for internships or other positions in the field?
Don't be surprised when you make $7 an hour to do medial tasks for a while when you start. TV is not a get-rich-quick business.


Nat Harden ('97)

Hometown: Starkville, Mississippi
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 1997

Tell us about the responsibilities involved in your current position.
Manage a staff of two Directors and one Manager as well as a 25 person sales, service, and ticket operations staff.

  • Responsible for the development and production of all ticket sales
  • Responsible for the development of all sales and service staff
  • Responsible for development an implementation of marketing campaigns related to ticket sales for the Nashville Predators
  • Develop procedures for outbound ticket sales efforts that addresses the following:
    1. Sales and service practices
    2. Prospecting
    3. Lead generation
    4. Data capture and database management
  • Develop strategies, procedures, and goals to increase new season ticket sales, group ticket sales and single game ticket sales

What is your favorite part of the position?
Working with young sales people and being creative in selling NHL hockey in the South.

Given your current career path, where do you see yourself in ten years?
Head of Business Operations for a Major League franchise.

Have you observed any changing or developing trends currently occurring in your field-what do you see as the future of the field in which you work?
The secondary ticketing market is becoming more relevant and social media outlets are the new avenue for marketing your product.

How did your education at Mississippi State help prepare you for working in your field?
It helped me become more disciplined while still being creative in the work force.

Would you make any recommendations to recent graduates currently looking for internships or other positions in the field?
No job is too small, and if you want to be successful you have to be willing to make sacrifices along the way.


Hunter Harrington ('10)

Current Position: Account Executive, Bulldog Sports Properties
Hometown: Tupelo, Mississippi
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2010

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
Bulldog Sports Properties is owned by a national company, Learfield Sports. Learfield is the exclusive marketing and rights holder for Mississippi State Athletics. I am responsible for helping clients grow their business by integrating their brand with Mississippi State’s brand. This is done by listening to clients' wants and needs, and then developing a marketing package that is a good fit for the client. We own the rights to everything on the videoboards, radio, signage, on-field promotions, print, and online just to name a few. I have over 50 clients that I manage, and each year I am responsible for renewing these clients as well as finding new clients that are a fit to do business with us.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
I think the habits I formed in school helped shape and mold me into the way I am in my professional career. Getting up and going to school every week day is very similar to a work week. I read and write a lot every day and use problem solving and creative skills that I acquired in school. I also think undergrad and graduate school requiring an internship to graduate helped position me to have the background that potential top level employers are looking for.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
Get out there and meet people! It is all about the relationships you build and leaving a lasting impression on those decision makers.


Bethany Hawkins ('07)

Hometown: Gulf Shores, Alabama
Degree: B.A. in Sport Communication, 2007

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I manage the premium seating for the University of Georgia Athletic Department, which includes 78 football skyboxes and two club areas, men's & women's basketball courtside club, and the Gym Dawgs hospitality room. The responsibilities of this position include such duties as organizing the catering, security, cleaning, all communication with the premium seat holders, student ambassadors, and event operations/gameday management.

What is your favorite aspect of your current position?
Working in the college athletic setting, while not having to do the same things everyday.

Given your current career path, where do you see yourself in ten years?
Hopefully, I will still be with the Colonnade Group overseeing the management of several university premium seat management programs.

Have you observed any changing or developing trends currently occurring in your field? What do you see as the future of the field in which you work?
The biggest trend that I have seen in the college athletic industry is the increase of outsourcing both weekday and gameday responsibilities and duties. What used to be done all "in house" is now being contracted out to smaller organizations that are more efficient and often less costly.

How did your education at Mississippi State help prepare you for working in your field?
MSU gave me the opportunity not only to learn in the traditional classroom setting, but also in a practical, hands-on manner within the athletic department. I was encouraged to do multiple internships to help me find out which areas of the college athletic industry I am truly passionate about.

Would you make any recommendations to recent graduates currently looking for internships or other positions in the field?
Use your resources! Use your professors, professional contacts, classmates, etc. to help you get to where you want to be. These people want to see you succeed.


Matthew Hay ('11)

Hometown: McComb, Mississippi
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2011

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
In my current position I am responsible for ticket sales for the seven ticketed sports here at Texas State. I am responsible for group sales, renewals, phone sales, customer service, order processing and fulfillment of season tickets, mini plans, and individual theme night promotions.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
My time at Mississippi State helped me to prepare for my current role by giving me the skills I need to manage the high stress, fast paced, college sports environment. While I was a MSU, I had the fortune of not only being a student, but I was a graduate assistant in the marketing and promotions department. Working in a college athletic department, along with the great education I received, has put me in a position to succeed for years to come.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
I would advise all current students that have a desire to work in sports to intern as much as they possibly can. Find an area that you would like to work in (compliance, facilities, marketing, etc.) and gain experience. This will be what will separate you from the pack when it comes to finding a career in the sports industry.


Matthew Hicks ('05)

Hometown: Petal, Mississippi
Degree: B.S. in Sport Communication, 2005

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I do everything for our 13 teams, including managing the athletics web site, running social media, overseeing our online broadcasts of home events, game day management and staffing, writing releases and recaps, marketing, media relations, photography, statistics, media guides, etc.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
Many in my position worked as student workers in college, but I did not take advantage of that opportunity. Instead, I relied largely on my education, which gave me instruction in a lot of areas. That worked out perfectly for my current job, even though at the time I did not think I needed to learn about photography, marketing, layout and design, etc. The professors did a great job of pushing me and implementing hands-on assignments to prepare me for the future.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
Put yourself out there, be persistent and be prepared to do a lot of work for little or no pay. Writing experience and experience with Statcrew or Dakstats are valuable, as well as knowledge of various sports. Previous experience with your high school or college athletic departments will help out a lot. Also, before you talk to someone about an internship with them, make sure you study up on their program and some of the things they do that you might be asked to help with.


Wonyoung Kim ('09)

Hometown: Daejeon, South Korea
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2009

What are the responsibilities of your current position?

  • Teaching a variety of undergraduate and graduate classes (e.g., Sport Finance, Sport Law, Tournament and Event Management) in the Department of Sport Management.
  • Monitoring and developing undergraduate and graduate internships and advising students.
  • Conducting and maintaining research leading to or resulting in scholarly and referred publications.
  • Engaging in departmental, college, university, and professional service activities.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for working in the field?
During my time at MSU, I had ample opportunities not only to learn fundamental information about sport administration, but also to gain various real world experiences (i.e., internships, volunteering). In particular, highly dedicated faculty in the sport administration program at MSU were the most beneficial to me. They helped me to develop well-rounded communication skills and the ability to critically think so that I could utilize foundational knowledge for developing further research in sport administration.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
As a faculty member in sport management at another institution, I have always recommend all students to develop their own professional networks by utilizing their resources (i.e., faculty, alumni connections, attending professional conferences, etc.) and working in real world situations (i.e., internships, volunteering, etc.). You also have to be highly committed to learning fundamental knowledge about sport administration from your classes so that you can become a well-rounded expert on sport administration/management after your graduation. Lastly and more importantly, you have to enjoy what you are doing and work very hard so that you can achieve your dreams in the future!


Borden LeSieur ('14)

Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Degree: B.S. in Sport Studies (Business), 2014

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I currently handle the game contracts for all 17 of our Division-I varsity teams. I am the human resources liaison for athletics and organize all new hires and resignations on staff. I work closely with our development team by processing all donations given to SU. I monitor and send out monthly invoices to all of our corporate sponsors as well as handle our Verizon cell phone plan for the department.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for working in the field?
My education at MSU taught me how to prioritize and manage my time efficiently. Being in a smaller athletics department now, I get the opportunity to hold many responsibilities. Because of the courses and professors at State, I was confident that I would have the education and experience to handle this position.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
Put your name out there as much as you can, and don't be afraid to ask for help. The connections I made during my first internship led me to Samford and into my current position.


Kyle Lewis ('04)

Hometown: Hatley/Amory, MS
Degree: B.S. in Sport Communication, 2004

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
Publicity for the 17 intercollegiate sports, coaches and student-athletes at Centenary College through traditional and social media.

What is your favorite part of the position?
My favorite part is working with student-athletes and coaches every day. Being able to promote them and get their stories out to fans and the media. Because of my education and experience at State, I’ve been able to travel to various parts of the world with and since college.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for working in the field?
Mississippi State gave me the opportunity to learn, grow and experience many different aspects of the sports information/media relations profession. I gained valuable experience in the athletic media relations office at MSU which led to volunteering at various Southeastern Conference and NCAA Championship events along with working with great student-athletes and coaches that have worn the Maroon and White. I also value the faculty, staff and professors at Mississippi State. I learned a lot at the feet of Dr. Hank Flick, David Rosinski, Joe Dier, Mike Nemeth, John R. Cade, Glen Young, Dr. Holly Wiley, Dr. John Forde, Kelli Anthony, Karyn Brown and countless others. I thank them all for their countless dedication and hard work.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
My advice would be to learn from your mentors, make connections, do not get discouraged and don’t be afraid to work hard.


Kristin Long ('12)

Current Position Title: Account Executive, Mocs Sports Properties (UT Chattanooga)/Learfield Sports
Hometown: Germantown, TN
Degree: B.S. in Sport Studies, 2012

What are the responsibilities of your current position?

  • Prospecting and closing new partners
  • Maintaining sponsor relationships for the university athletic program
  • Creating and presenting sponsorship packages designed to meet clients’ objectives
  • Collaborating with vendors, sponsors, property staff, and appropriate university athletic personnel to ensure implementation of sponsorships and contract fulfillment
  • Developing creative, sellable inventory to introduce to the school, staff and marketplace

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
My education at MSU prepared me for my field with respect to teaching me all the skills that I needed to know to go out into the “real world.” I also learned that staying involved within your field by doing internships and volunteering goes a long way. By doing so, I connected with the right network to get me to where I am today.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internshipsor jobs in your field?
I would tell them to not give up. The process of finding the right internship is long and you will get turned down. I would advise them to also use the assets and relationships they have already developed to help with the process.


Kevin Maloney ('05)

Current Position: Sports Information Director, Northwest Mississippi Community College
Hometown: Flowood, MS
Degree: B.S. in Sport Communication, 2005

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
Promote a 12-sport athletic department that competes in the NJCAA. I also manage our social media accounts, which are the most followed in the Mississippi Community College system.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
Apply everywhere. Don’t be afraid to get turned down for a job. I have been turned down on 5-6 different occasions, and it just adds fuel to the fire and makes me work that much harder. Also, know that you’re not going to get your dream job right away, you have to work your way up.


Neil McGuire ('03)

Hometown: Danville, California (originally from Edinburgh, Scotland)
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2003

Tell us about the responsibilities involved in your current position.
As the head coach I oversee a staff of six full time employees, with 2 full time assistant coaches and 4 other support staff in the areas of academics, strength and conditioning, athletic training, and equipment. Our yearly cycle deals with on field training either as a team or individually, recruiting, scouting of opponents, involvement in the Regional Olympic Development programs as well as an entire summer of youth camps. It is my responsibility to maintain the budget as it pertains to scholarships, general administration, and recruiting as well as operations. I am also asked to do a great deal of public speaking either regarding our University or about the recruiting process in general.

What is your favorite part of being a head coach?
The 20 regular season games and NCAA postseason as well as seeing our student-athletes be successful in any area of their collegiate experience, either athletically or academically.

Given your current career path, where do you see yourself in ten years?
I hope to either remain at the University of California as the Head Coach or work in the world of athletic administration as an athletic director of a major Division-I school.

Have you observed any changing or developing trends currently occurring in your field-what do you see as the future of the field in which you work?
The recruiting process is happening earlier than it did 5 years ago, which is placing undue stress on prospective student-athletes and their families. These young ladies are being asked to determine their path in life as early juniors as opposed to late seniors, and it is not what is best for the sport, nor these young ladies. Due to the early nature of the commitments there has been an increase in transfers from institutions, which is a trend we need to end as soon as possible. The future of women's soccer is very bright with attendances up at the NCAA level, significantly increased youth participation by the millions, and strong interest in the professional women's league.

How did your education at Mississippi State help prepare you for working in your field?
My time at Mississippi State as both coach and student was very beneficial. I first learned the value of hard work in that it is not easy to compete with schools like Tennessee, Georgia and Florida in the recruiting and coaching world. I also learned the value of good people as I found the people of Mississippi to be some of the kindest and most family oriented people I have ever been around. The education itself prepared me to deal with life as a coach due to the indepth understanding it gave me in administration as it relates to sports.

Would you make any recommendations to recent graduates currently looking for internships or other positions in the field?
In choosing a profession it is important you love what you do and make a hobby out of your work. There will always be tough days, but if you love what you do, you will resolve any and all issues and get back to what brings you joy.


Bob Miller ('98)

Hometown: Berea, OH
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 1998

Tell us about the responsibilities involved in your current position.
I work with budgets, business processes, and contracts for departments in the Division of Student Affairs. At UTSA, both Athletics and Campus Recreation are under the Division of Student Affairs, so I work with those (and other Student Affairs departments) with their business-related processes.

What is your favorite part of the position?
I love being a part of UTSA. The university has only been around since 1969, so it is wonderful to be a part of a newer, growing institution. In Fall 2010, our enrollment surpassed 30,000 students. Every day brings new opportunities, and I am proud to be a part of the UTSA family. I am very fortunate to work in a positive environment and being in the VPSA Office has allowed me to spread my wings even more.

Given your current career path, where do you see yourself in ten years?
Ten years ago, I never thought I would leave the Campus Recreation field. My current position found me in December 2007, and while I wasn’t looking for a change at that time, it was a perfect fit and it seemed right. In ten years, I hope to be at UTSA, but in a higher-level position where I can continue to affect positive change and continue to contribute to student success.

How did your education at Mississippi State help prepare you for working in your field?
The various leadership opportunities really prepared me for success. While I’m no longer in a recreation or sport-related field, I’m still able to use leadership, creativity, problem-solving, and the in- and out-of-classroom experiences that I enjoyed while at State. I would not be in my current role had I not had such a robust grad school experience at State…both in the Sport Administration program and in my role as a Graduate Assistant for Recreational Sports.

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
Keep your options open. There are many different opportunities out there and you never know when an opportunity will find you. While it may not be what you ‘think’ you want to do, a new opportunity may bring a myriad of new possibilities for success and happiness…and an opportunity for you to really make your mark!


Jennifer Morton ('11)

Hometown: Collierville, TN
Degree: B.S. in Kinesiology

Tell us about the responsibilities of a physical therapy student:

The financial responsibilities can be a major stressor to a PT student, so having a plan before starting school is good idea. Integrating a social life into the role of a PT student is a balancing act. My study habits have greatly increased compared to undergrad. Also, because physical therapy is a doctoral program, students are expected to behave more professionally compared to undergrad.

What is your favorite aspect about physical therapy school?

I love that all my classes are interesting. They all are relevant to what I will be doing daily as a physical therapist one day. I also love the smaller class size. The instructors and students get to know each other on a personal level and it is the instructors’ goal to make sure you excel in the classroom.

How did your education at Mississippi State help prepare you for physical therapy school?

The instructors at MSU tried very hard to provide students with unique academic opportunities other universities could not provide. Personally, my experience with research projects and hippotherapy made me stand out as PT applicant.

Would you make any recommendations to current or prospective students that would like to pursue a career in physical therapy or a related field?

I think it is important to develop good study habits and time management skills in undergrad before coming to PT school. Also, as soon as you know you want to go to PT school, start looking at specific pre-requisite courses for specific schools so you can incorporate them into your curriculum. The GRE is an extremely important part of your application, but it is not everything. I recommend doing several mock interviews before your interview. The Mississippi State Career center had almost the exact questions I was asked in my interview for PT school. I think the most beneficial thing to a potential PT student is getting as many observation and volunteer hours as possible, in a variety of settings. This not only makes you more attractive to PT schools, but you have a better understanding of what the profession is about.


Tyler Newton

Hometown: Madison, MS
Degree: B.S. in Sport Communication, 2010

What are the responsibilities of your current position?

  • Oversee day to day operations of a PGA Tour event
  • Design and manage the construction and install layout of all hospitality venues, electronic scoreboards, and on-course signage
  • Develop and implement operational schedules and timeline plans with vendors/contractors per tournament set-up and breakdown
  • Electrical/HVAC, operational support staff, tent project managers, security, medical response, landscape, restroom facilities, modular trailers, etc.
  • Assist in implementing a course evacuation plan for Tour players, volunteers, caddies and spectators.
  • Monitor the development of traffic flow patterns and parking plans.
  • Coordinate and meet with advance Tour officials on specifications for course layout & pre event checklist.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for work in the field?
The Mississippi State Sport Communication program helped provide me with the opportunity that I have today. For two years, I was a student volunteer with a number of fellow classmates at this event when it was the Viking Classic. In 2010, I completed an operations internship with the Viking Classic, and I became a part of the full-time staff in May 2012. My professors provided me with the knowledge and resources in the sport industry that I am able to utilize on a daily basis. They encouraged me as a student to seek experience as a volunteer, networking and applying for internships.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
The sport industry isn’t a 9 to 5 job. The hours are long, and a lot of the time your job is going to consist of working over weekends and holidays. I would tell any students interested in working in the sport industry to volunteer, network, and intern as much as possible. Learn to be an effective team player and be willing to do things outside of your position. Gain insight into different aspects of the sport industry before settling on one position. Those who have experience in different facets of a company can be a very valuable staff member and set themselves apart from others. The professors can give you the resources and encourage you to seek opportunities, but ultimately it is up to you to get your foot in the door.


Ben Price

Current Position Title: Assistant Director of Media Relations, Limestone College
Hometown: Tupelo, MS
Degree: B.S. in Sport Studies, 2012

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I am the primary media contact for several of the sports at Limestone and am involved with all 25 of our sports in some form or fashion. At a small school like Limestone, I have a lot more responsibilities that vary more than at a place like MSU. Some days all I have to do is staff an event and make sure my workers show up and do their jobs, like public address announcing and scoreboard operating. Other times we'll have five or six different games in one day, so our small staff will have to multitask, and I might do PA, keep stats, and write the game's press release. Or I might design a game program, host our hospitality room, and run a postgame press conference. It all just depends on what's going on that day and how many staff members we have available to work.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for work in the field?
Beyond the actual knowledge aspect, Dr. Alan Morse was able to help me find a job in the athletic media relations office before I even got to campus, which was a tremendous help. The sport studies program at MSU surrounded me with people who share my passion for working in sports and who I enjoyed working with, which gave me lifelong contacts and a tremendous leg up in knowing exactly what specific area of sports I wanted to go into.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
Don't get frustrated when your first hundred job applications get no response, and don't get frustrated when your hard work goes unnoticed. That happens to nearly everyone I meet in this industry, myself included, but once you get going it all gets easier in a hurry. Also, don't be shy about taking an opportunity in a new area where you have less experience or where you think you have no interest. One of the best things I ever did was to take an internship in an area of sports I thought I'd never enjoy. It changed my perspective on daily operations, gave me a new outlook, provided some great connections, and opened up an entirely new field of job opportunities.


Brett Pund

Current Position Title:Director of Athletic Communications/Media Relations, Western Kentucky University
Hometown: Tupelo, MS
Degree: B.S. in Sport Studies (Communication), 2014

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I serve as the Sports Information Director for the WKU Baseball and Cross Country teams, while also serving as the secondary media contact for football. With that, I do tasks such as: stat keeping at sporting events, writing press releases to be posted on our website and sent to local and national media members, maintaining the social media pages for said sports, updating record books and weekly game notes for the website and for media members, and other tasks.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for work in the field?
My education at MSU has been very beneficial to my field. Classes such as Sports Ethics not only grew my knowledge on the different aspects of the field, but it also pointed me in multiple directs and allowed me to see all of the different ways to work in sports. Not only did the Sports Studies curriculum have a great impact on me, but choosing the Communication emphasis allowed me to obtain a Journalism minor and grow my expertise in that field as well.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
For current students that are looking for internships/jobs in my field or any sports field, I would strongly, STRONGLY encourage them to get involved on campus for volunteer work or any sort of internship while taking classes. I know Gregg Ellis from MSU Media Relations does an incredible job at giving students a chance to gain valuable experience while still in school. The same can be said about the marketing department and also office work for different teams. Not only are these things incredibly important to stand out on a resume, but they also give you a chance to try different departments to find out what each student truly has a passion for. Although most of this work is volunteering and without pay, these are things you HAVE to do to gain experience.

The other piece of advice I would give would be to use your internship class on something away from MSU. I feel it is more valuable if the student goes to an internship away from MSU for more experience, but to also grow your professional network. Who knows, those internships can either lead you to a job there, make you stand out more on a resume, or help you meet a future employer.


John Raigins

Hometown: Prairie, MS
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2002

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I am responsible for event operations and logistics for most of our 14 Sports Backers owned and operated events including the Ukrop’s Monument Ave 10k, one of the 25 largest road running races in the world, the Anthem Richmond Marathon and accompanying 1/2 marathon and 8k, and Dominion Riverrock, the nation’s largest outdoor sports and music festival. Currently I serve as our bike/pedestrian advocate on staff. I manage our Sports Tourism Grant Program and Strategic Partnerships that award approximately $50,000 to local non-profit sports organizations that host tournaments and events that have a significant economic impact in the Richmond Region. I also manage our Indoor Sport Tournament Center which consists of 100,000 sq. ft. of SportCourt flooring and equipment for various sports.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for work in the field?
It continued my ever expanding grasp on the sports industry as a whole. There are so many segments of sport and recreation that make up the entire industry. My work at MSU helped me recognize all the opportunities that are out there. Also, the different projects I worked on with my fellow students helped prepare me for the collaborative event planning that is a critical part of my current position.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
I think students need to take advantage of any opportunities that may make you attractive to any potential organization who might hire you. Even if these opportunities are not in a certain field or industry you are looking to enter, you never know what connections you may make or what skills you will take away from each opportunity. My degrees and internships were important in getting an interview with the Sports Backers. But it was my experience with heavy machinery that made me the ideal candidate in my future employer’s eyes. You never know, so approach any opportunity and see how it can be beneficial to you in your job search or how it may help you down the road in your career path.


Ross Rastede

Hometown: Allen, Nebraska
Current Position: Assistant Director of Athletic Marketing, Baylor University
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2015

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I am the primary marketing contact for volleyball, equestrian, men's and women's golf, and baseball. I oversee all advertising for these sports as well as the in-game experience. It is my responsibility to find unique ways to get people in the gate and then ensure they have a positive experience so they come back for games in the future. I also act in an assisting role with football, where I oversee our football fan fest area and help with the in-game video board show and atmosphere. Further, I assist with men's and women's basketball.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for work in the field?
The education I received at Mississippi State prepared me well for the position I am in today. The MSU Sport Administration program's comprehensive and all-encompassing education has laid a solid foundation for me to make decisions with a clear outlook on the positive and negative consequences. I have an outstanding outlook on how to approach different things that come across my plate throughout my job. Although the work load was challenging and demanding, at this stage of my career, I am extremely thankful and appreciative of it, as it is now paying dividends. Outside of the traditional education, such as the opportunities outside of class with various internships, speakers, and other activities, I was able to develop relationships with people that can help me throughout my career.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
My advice to current students is to do well in your school work while also engaging in additional opportunities. There are many different types of people who do hiring, and a good GPA and reference will always help. Do anything you can to get relevant work experience. Volunteering your time is a great way to separate yourself and gain work experience. Start developing your network and key mentors that can guide you to where you want to go. These are all ways that you can start building a great foundation for your career.


Melanie Hamilton Sobczak

Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee
Degree: B.S. in Clinical Exercise Physiology, 2004

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I evaluate, diagnose, and treat various skin conditions for up to 30 patients a day. I perform various surgical procedures including skin biopsies, wart treatment, and excisions of superficial skin cancers and cysts.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for working in the field?
One of the greatest aspects of my education was that Mississippi State allowed my learning to extend beyond the classroom. During my time at State, I was able to experience several job opportunities in my field of study. This not only helped my studies in school, but also gave me a look at what choices to make in the future.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
Don't be closed-minded about your internship or specific job. If you can't find your "dream internship", don't worry. Any experience that you can gain is valuable and may actually change your career choice.


Jim Stennett ('99)

Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 1999

Tell us about the responsibilities involved in your current position.
I am responsible for media relations, statistics, Web site management/editing, game day operations, and producing media guides for all 13 SHC teams.

What is your favorite part of the position?
I enjoy being around college athletics and being part of the department. Unlike larger schools, I really get to know the student-athletes at Spring Hill, and feel I make a contribution to their overall college experience.

Have you observed any changing or developing trends currently occurring in your field?
Social media is becoming a larger and larger part of my job. It didn't even exist when I started as an SID five years ago, and now I spend just about as much time managing those forms of media as all my other tasks. Also, live video and audio streaming of events, even at the NAIA level, is becoming expected by fans of college athletics.

How did your education at Mississippi State help prepare you for working in your field?
State taught me that being prepared for problems is the key to managing them. Unexpected problems pop up at just about every event. Not panicking and using your head is the way to survive the crisis.

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
Be willing to take low-paying or un-paid positions at small schools or in the Minor Leagues. You'll live a year of Hell, but you'll learn more about life and know how to do just about everything in Sport Administration. I've seen lots of people have tremendous experience and make lots of money, but then have no ability to step into a crucial position when an emergency happens at game time. Be willing to do anything. Being "too good" to mop a floor, clean a restroom, stack chairs or pick up litter is the fastest way to fail in this business that there is.


Nate Thomas('12)

Hometown: Earlville, IA
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2012

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
Monitor the academic success for the Iowa State University Men’s and Women’s Track and Field, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, Men’s and Women’s Golf, and Women’s Tennis programs.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
My education at Mississippi State University allowed me to learn the many different aspects of colligate sport. The program allowed me to gain experience in other areas outside of my intended career path as well. Overall, the education I received at Mississippi State University has helped me understand what is needed to have a successful athletics program.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
Go outside of your comfort level.


Lindsey Triplett ('11)

Hometown: Carthage, MS
Degree: B.S. in Kinesiology

Tell us about the responsibilities of a physical therapy student:

There are so many. Obviously, the most important is keeping up with your school work and studying. It’s so important that you stay on top of everything no matter what else is going on in life because it is easy to get behind and even harder to catch up when you do. Though this is just our second semester together, we became a family very quickly so we have all taken on the responsibility of helping each other when needed. No matter how smart you are or how hard you study, you will eventually encounter something that you don't get, and it’s so important to have someone that you can go to for help. Community service is also a major part of the role we play while in school. As soon as you are able to call yourself a PT student, the community expects you to be involved and it’s so important that you are because it immediately is your responsibility to educate the public on all that PT is involved in.

What is your favorite aspect about physical therapy school:

There is so much I am enjoying about school. Right now, 95% of our time is spent in the classroom, but this semester we have/are having the opportunity to go to the hospital and observe with the doctors in all the different intensive care units as well as sit in on different surgeries that are being performed. Just in the first week, members of my class were able to observe an amputation as well as total hip and knee replacements. That has been such a learning experience and I am sure there is so much more to come in the next weeks.

How did your education at Mississippi State help prepare you for physical therapy school?

I don't think a short written answer will do this question justice. Within the first week of PT school, we were presented with more information than I think I had ever gotten in a month in undergrad. Had I not had a strong base from having had anatomy and all my kinesiology classes at State, I would have been completely lost. Though Anatomy and cadaver lab required us to look so much more in depth than I had ever had to before, I almost always had heard of the different muscle or some condition that we were covering. That foundation gave me something to build on and thus, allowed me to leave the summer semester with a 4.0. I can't count the number of times that we would leave a test and someone would say, "I don't remember studying that, but I remember it from Dr. Lamberth's class and I got it right!" That’s a good feeling to have! Of course I’m biased, but I feel that those of us that graduated from State are as well if not better prepared than anyone else in our class. Our professors are wonderful and there is no one better qualified to prepare you for this level.

Would you make any recommendations to current or prospective students that would like to pursue a career in physical therapy or a related field?

Yes! My biggest piece of advice is learn the material you are presented with when you are in undergrad. Don't just memorize it. I remember a lot of what we learned, but had I truly learned it and committed it to memory the first time around, these first semesters would have been all that much less difficult. Also, get involved. And by that, I mean in things that will help you learn in the physical therapy world. I worked as a PT tech for a year and a half and also participated in research that involved Hippo Therapy. The things I learned from those opportunities will stay with me for a lifetime and have put me ahead in this part of my education.


Marquita Turner ('06)

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2006

Tell us about the responsibilities involved in your current position.
I am currently responsible for all aspects of NCAA compliance, which include student-athlete eligibility, financial aid, playing and practice seasons, waivers, and rules interpretation.

What is your favorite part of the position?
My favorite part of the position is helping the coaches and student-athletes. Many times, compliance officers are looked at as enforcers, which is just one aspect of the job. When I am able to help the coaches or student-athletes solve an issue, it allows them to see that I am not just here to enforce rules, but that I can help them as well.

Given your current career path, where do you see yourself in ten years?
Although I love athletic compliance, I would like to branch out in the next ten years. I have always wanted to work in professional sports, and I am making plans for that transition.

Have you observed any changing or developing trends currently occurring in your field-what do you see as the future of the field in which you work?
NCAA compliance is an ever-evolving field. As legislation grows, so do the responsibilities of the compliance office. I think the rapid growth in technology, such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, have increased the types of legislation and monitoring for which compliance officers are now responsible.

How did your education at Mississippi State help prepare you for working in your field?
Everything that my professors told me about athletics administration has come true in some aspect. They definitely provided us with the tools and information that we would need in order to be prepared to work in this field.

Would you make any recommendations to recent graduates currently looking for internships or other positions in the field?
I would definitely recommend that everyone work an internship in their desired field at some time during their graduate work. Having this type of experience is almost a requirement if you want to secure employment in any athletics field. Aside from my education, my internship experience was the most important aspect of preparing me for what I face on a day-to-day basis.


Zack Vosen

Current Title: Instructor, Mississippi College Department of Kinesiology
Hometown: Starkville, MS
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2013

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
As an instructor at MC, my responsibilities are consistent with those of most other faculty in academia. Since joining Mississippi College Kinesiology in August 2013, I have taught 8-9 sections per semester of various courses. These include Fitness for Life, Nutrition for Well-Being, Team Sports, Lifetime Activities, and Weight Training, as well as senior-level Sport Management. I also serve as an advisor for students in the General Kinesiology and Sport Management curriculums in the department. In Fall 2014, I became co-director of the Coach Hap Hudson Homecoming 5K, an annual fundraiser for the department held in October.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for your field?
I am very proud of my educational experiences in the Department of Kinesiology at Mississippi State. The professors went to great lengths to ensure that each class prepared us for our futures in the field. The course load was challenging, and the projects and other assignments provided me with an insight into what each of the different avenues of sport management has to offer. Upon graduation, I felt that I had built a solid foundation of knowledge and experience that would yield dividends in the years to come.

What advice would you give current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
My advice to current students in the program that are seeking internships or employment in the field is simply to be exhaustive. Search out any and all positions that you would find fulfilling. Let potential employers know what your strengths are and how you could be an asset to their respective organization. Do not be afraid to seek positions that may be outside of your geographical comfort zone. As one might expect, the most rewarding positions often require you to take greater efforts to attain them.


Katie Walden('06)

Hometown: Jackson, Mississippi
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2006

Tell us about the responsibilities involved in your current position.
I am the primary contact for volleyball, softball, cross country, and track and field. My responsibilities include coordinating statistics on each game day for volleyball and softball, writing press releases and game recaps for all four sports, updating information on the Samford Athletics website, as well as writing all content and helping to design media guides for each of my sports. I also assist in the media relations aspects of football and basketball game days (making sure all media members have the appropriate information to do their jobs to the best of their abilities). I also serve as part of the stat crew for basketball, as I call out each play to someone who inputs it into a computer stats program.

What is your favorite aspect of your current position?
Game days. Although most game days can be extremely high pressure situations, I love that I get to see every play that happens. In other words, I rarely miss an exciting moment. I also love interacting with the student-athletes, building relationships with them, and being someone that they can come to in the highs and lows of life.

Have you observed any changing or developing trends currently occurring in your field? What do you see as the future of the field in which you work?
We all joke about how much of our job could be done from home. And I'm sure this is a trend that is occurring in many industries. The internet is the livelihood of our business and when someone is just a phone call or an email away, you could eventually see the convenience of working from home and just showing up for game days. I don't know that I see that as the future for the sports information industry, but I do see trends popping up of "cyber-izing" a lot of things, especially in dire economic times. Many institutions are starting to put media guides online and on CDs instead of spending the money to publish them as hard copies.

How did your education at Mississippi State help prepare you for working in your field?
Being a broadcasting major as an undergrad, I am now more able to see what the media are looking for in the realm of interesting stories and information. With my graduate degree, I learned more of the "big picture" of the athletic department and how each branch works together to be more effective. I now can (most of the time) anticipate what my administrators want from me and be more prepared when asked to do things.

Would you make any recommendations to recent graduates currently looking for internships or other positions in the field?
Start looking early and often. I would consider working/interning in several different aspects of the sports industry before you decide on one thing. For example, I was a student worker at MSU for two years and was able to volunteer at various SEC events. Then, I got an internship at a much smaller Division I school and now see the differences between the ways in which bigger and smaller schools work with the resources they have. Go for things that will bring out your natural abilities whether they be writing, speaking, videography and photography, or just smooth talking. And never, EVER, settle. You have to enjoy what you do or you will not be successful. My motto is, "the day you start to dread going to work is the day you need to find something else to do."


Daniel Webber ('08)

Hometown: Memphis, TN
Degree: Sports Communication, 2008

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
As a member of the news production department for WPTY(ABC 24), my duty is to mix the audio for the evening newscasts. As a sports assistant for the station, my duties include videography, editing, writing web updates and stories for the station's website, and helping the sports department brainstorm story ideas. As a staff writer for Rivals.com, I cover prep sports such as football and basketball. I also cover football, women’s basketball, and men’s basketball for the University of Memphis.

How did your education at MSU prepare you for working in the field?
While at Mississippi State, I had the opportunity to get an in depth look at the sports business world through sports administration and television broadcasting. The opportunities to see experienced professionals in their elements were endless. I remember attending numerous career fairs, symposiums, and outings to cities where professional organizations resided. One year, I was fortunate to visit Memphis with the S.P.O.R.T.S. Honor Society (Students Professional Organization for Research and Training in Sports). We got a chance to visit all the professional organizations in Memphis: The Memphis Grizzlies, Memphis Redbirds, The Liberty Bowl, and the Memphis Racquet Club. I will not forget that experience, getting a chance to see all the decision makers in their element and seeing the operations in full effect.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
The advice I would give to students looking for internships in their field is to start early and do as many as you can. The more experience you gain will benefit you in the long run. Even if you can’t receive credit for it in your freshman or sophomore year, it doesn’t mean that you can’t record it on your resume as experience you have gained. Also, if you start early, you can narrow down your interests in that field and know exactly if that is the direction you would like to stay in and pinpoint down to the exact mark of what it is you want to do specifically. Create as many opportunities for yourself and take advantage of every opportunity.


Marshall Welch ('11)

Hometown: Murray, KY
Degree: M.S. in Sports Administration, 2011

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I manage all of the marketing and PR initiatives for the Junior Sports Corporation, which is the owner and operator of the International Junior Golf Academy, the International Junior Golf Tour, the Ivan Lendl International Junior Tennis Academy, and the Heritage Academy.

What is your favorite part of the position?
I never have the same type of day two days in a row. There are many challenges that come to a position like this, but it also gives me a chance to work on something different each day. Having five different entities under my direction make for a very fast-paced environment, but it's worth it at the end of the day!

How did your education at MSU prepare you for working in the field?
The biggest advantage that MSU affords is the continuous push for experience in "the field." Each of the faculty encouraged getting involved in as many experiences as possible in the sports industry, and the department's many relationships with sporting entities allowed for easy access to those experiences.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
I have two key points for students:

The first is experience, experience, experience. I hire 10 to 15 interns every year, and the one thing that I look for is what they've done outside of the classroom. Internships are important, but they must have some kind of quality to them. An internship with a law firm may be good for your time management skills, but what did it teach you about marketing segmentation or ticket sales? At the same time, quantity may not be as heavily regarded as quality. One internship with the premium sales staff at MSU or with a sports team is better experience than four internships as a ticket usher.

The second is to work on your writing skills in all formats. With the prevalence of social media and SEO, there is an increasing demand for workers who can write. I will often take a journalism major over a marketing major when the other qualifications even out because I know that the journalism degree means writing experience. In fact, I always have a writing stage in my hiring process. The ability to write clearly and intelligently is so important in every aspect of the job, especially in marketing. Customers can be turned off from your brand very quickly if you cannot communicate with them effectively and/or if your communication points are written poorly. You may be thinking of press releases, website, or ad copy, but that also extends to social media, emails, and long and short form communication.


Marlee West

Current Position: Physical Therapist, Jones Therapy Services (Nashville, TN)
Hometown: Hollandale, MS
Degree: B.S. in Clinical Exercise Physiology, 2010

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
To examine and provide physical therapy treatment for children ages birth to 18 who have problems with gross motor activities. I am also responsible for educating the patient and/or the families on the best ways to promote the development of gross motor skills while in their home environment.

How did your education at MSU help prepare you for you field?
My education at MSU was a fantastic foundation to prepare me for physical therapy school as well as my career as a physical therapist. I was well prepared for my first year of classes in physical therapy school through my educational classes with Dr. John Lamberth and other wonderful teachers in the Kinesiology department. I was also well prepared for my first clinical experience in physical therapy school due to the previous internship I completed at a physical therapy clinic, which was required by my major at MSU. My undergraduate degree at MSU was a solid stepping stone to launch my career as a physical therapist, and I could not have asked for a better educational experience.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in your field?
I would definitely say to continue to work hard and set goals. Physical therapy is very competitive, but you should never give up on your passion and continue to stay focused. Even if you are turned away from a physical therapy internship, school, or a job, you should continue to work hard and one day you will be successful.


Kellie Wicktora ('15)

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Current Position: Sport Club Coordinator, Virginia Tech University
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2015

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
I oversee 31 competitive sport clubs at Virginia Tech, which includes travel, lodging, budgeting, administration, and risk management. I help maintain all financial accounts and control each club's fundraising and spending.

How did your education at MSU prepare you for working in the field?
My education at MSU helped me prepare for risk management decisions, ethical situations, and financial developments. MSU helped make me a better professional by showing me what the standards of the field are and what is appropriate.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
The best advice I could give is to put yourself out there. Try to find any opportunity to add experiences to your resume! Introduce yourself to new colleagues and ask questions.


Gary Wilbert

Hometown:Schererville, IN
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2012
Current Position:Manager of Ticket Sales and Service, Towson University

What are the responsibilities of your current position?

  • Generate revenue through outbound calls, setting appointments, and prospecting new business.
  • Implement new strategies to generate new ticket revenue which also builds a better customer relationship between Towson University and their fans.
  • Develop, present, and communicate ticket sales strategies.
  • Recruit, hire, train, and supervise the sales team at the Towson Fan Relationship Management Center.
  • Run deposits on a daily basis.
  • Run and track revenue reports on a daily and weekly basis.
  • Prepare monthly invoices that outline sales, expenses, and payroll.
  • Manage the Partnership between The Aspire Group Inc. and the Towson Athletic Department.
  • Use Archtics Ticketing Software.
  • Use Zoo Access, which is Towson's development software program, to secure and process seat gift donations made to the Tiger Athletic Fund.

How did your education at MSU prepare you for working in the field?
My education at Mississippi State University offered me opportunities to establish connections through networking events with the academic side of things tied in with special events within the athletic department. There are numerous opportunities Mississippi State offers in the athletic department, and with the assistance and support our sport administration program offers, I was able to gain valuable experience working in the Bulldog Club. Beside the valuable knowledge gained through the graduate coursework, Mississippi State required me to gain work experience at the same time.

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?
I would advise and encourage students to network and take advantage of any opportunity to meet individuals in the sport industry. I would advise them to take advantage of on campus or off campus internships. I was a graduate teaching assistant, not a graduate assistant in athletics, so I had to make sure I completed an internship, because I knew that working experience was crucial to my opportunity in getting my first job once I graduated.


Chris Wilkins ('08)

Hometown: Columbus, MS
Degree: M.S. in Sport Administration, 2008; B.S. in Communication, 2005

What are the responsibilities of your current position?
My current position allows me the responsibility to oversee and develop several programs within the ASF Foundation, with a huge focus the annual Alabama State Games. I work across the state of Alabama to develop relationships and oversee committees on fundraising, marketing and communications efforts.

What is your favorite part of the position?
My favorite part of my job is traveling across the state and meeting new individuals. Building relationships is the focus of any job that requires fundraising and marketing. I enjoy when the ASF Foundation and its partners benefit from working together to build something, whatever it may be. I also get a sense of accomplishment when I see citizens of Alabama marching into a full arena on live television and enjoying an event I've worked year-round to develop.

How did your education at MSU prepare you for working in the field?
Athletics is the front porch of a university. My time at MSU gave me the opportunity to work directly with the MSU Athletic Department. The experience I gained working with professionals in the field of athletics was invaluable education that helped me learn first hand how to manage working as a team to accomplish goals that not only benefit athletes and spectators in attendance, but also draws national attention for MSU./p>

What advice would you give to current students looking for internships or jobs in the field?

  1. Never believe a job is beneath you. A vast majority of professionals working in any field started at the very bottom.
  2. Network whenever the opportunity presents itself because it's not always about who you know but who knows you.
  3. Volunteer as much as possible to help build your resume and experience.