By MOLLY MOHR '15
This semester, five students majoring in Sport
Management at Rice University are interning with the Houston Super Bowl LI Host
Committee, getting ready for the signature game in February 2017. The students
are Mai Pham ‘19 (Special Events), Jeremy Reiskind ‘17 (Marketing), Pax
Kaplan-Sherman ‘18 (Volunteer Programs), Ben Schragger ‘19 (Marketing), and
Taylor Scott ‘20 (Logistics and Operations).
When the Host Committee began hiring interns in fall
2015, Tom Stallings, a professor in the Department of Sport Management at Rice,
knew he needed to get students involved because of the rare opportunities
associated with interning for the Super Bowl. In addition to having an
incredibly recognizable brand on their resumes, the interns would have a unique
chance to network with contacts from all over the National Football League.
“The Super Bowl Host Committee’s staff is made of
people picked off from a lot of different teams and organizations who come with
a lot of experience and contacts,” Stallings explained. “The people working
there are going to go off in a lot of different directions after the Super
Bowl’s over, so they (the interns) have access to a really unique set of
In fall 2015, four students majoring in Sport
Management interviewed with the Host Committee, and they were all hired: Pham,
Reiskind, Kaplan-Sherman, and Sam Levy ‘18 (Marketing). Since then, Pham,
Reiskind, and Kaplan-Sherman have returned for their second year of interning,
while Levy is studying abroad.
“For me, it was a no-brainer to return to the Super
Bowl,” Kaplan-Sherman said. “The work I did last year was very stimulating and
I could see the impact it was having. I knew that this would only become more
true as the game approached.”
Kaplan-Sherman described his internship with the Super
Bowl Host Committee as “everything and anything that has to do with the management of
volunteers,” from creating the volunteer application, collecting the
applications, developing a scoring system, setting up the logistics of
interviewing applicants, and now training the 10,000 selected volunteers and
determining where they are needed.
One of those 10,000 volunteers is Kerri Barber, the
administrator for the Department of Sport Management.
“I wanted to volunteer as soon as I heard the Super
Bowl was coming here (to Houston),” Barber said. “I wanted to be part of one of
the biggest sporting events in the world and meet people from all over the
country and show them what Houston has to offer.”
Like Barber, Reiskind wanted to work for the Host
Committee, in part, because of the grandeur of the event. He gladly returned
for his second year of interning because “it is a rare opportunity to work on
something as large as the Super Bowl, and [he] wanted to see [his] work through
the finish line.”
Reiskind spent his first two semesters interning in
communications for the Host Committee, and he now works in marketing. One of
his favorite projects was helping launch the Host Committee
website by writing copy, selecting photos, and beta testing the
entire site. As a senior, Reiskind is the intern furthest along in his
undergraduate career. In the past, he interned in sports information for Rice
Athletics, managed the Rice Owls Athletics page for Yahoo! Sports, and acted as
a media assistant for the 2015 NCAA Houston Regional and 2016 NCAA Final Four Men's Basketball Championship.
The third student returning for her internship, Pham,
worked in events and hospitality last year. She helped manage the itineraries
for the Host Committee’s lead executives and vice chairs, in addition to
presenting research to management and recruiting venues in Houston for a
partnership program. She is now interning in Special Events.
“As the Super Bowl is coming closer, I had to narrow
my responsibility to helping organize events and not do hospitality too,” Pham
said. “It just shows how much work is put into hosting this global event. It’s
been great having even more Rice interns there this semester to help out, too!”
Stallings directly credits the outstanding work of
Pham, Reiskind, and Kaplan-Sherman last year for impressing the Host Committee
enough to hire another Rice student last spring (Samantha Chaiken ‘18,
Marketing) and two more this semester. Scott, who is in her first semester at
Rice, is an Operations and Logistics intern. She helps write executive
summaries, prepare for NFL production meetings, and works with local
contractors for events leading up to the Super Bowl.
“I feel so fortunate to be in this position as a
freshman,” Scott said. “The work that Professor Stallings does to connect
students with internships certainly made all of this possible.”
Like Scott, this is Schragger’s first semester of
interning with the Host Committee. He is working in marketing, mainly focusing
on creating awareness around Super Bowl VIP hospitality packages and putting
together marketing materials that enhance the visibility of these packages. A
sophomore at Rice and member of the Owls baseball team, Schragger appreciated the
Host Committee’s flexibility with his busy schedule as a student-athlete. He
was even more grateful, though, for the office atmosphere.
“The culture at the Super Bowl is amazing,” Schragger
said. “We all truly feel like ‘one team.’”
In addition to the five interns with the Super Bowl LI
Host Committee, the Department of Sport Management has placed 20 students in
internships this semester. For more information about the Department, click here.
Mohr is an alumna of Rice University who double majored in sport management and
English and minored in business.
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251