Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 30 July 2010 00:00
While many other teens and twenty-somethings are currently taking advantage of the long summer days by hitting the pool or the beach, two recent Plainview-Old Bethpage High School graduates have been spending their time in areas where the average temperature is decidedly cooler: the ice rinks, and even the board rooms, of the New York Islanders hockey team, as a part of their summer ‘Islanders University’ internship.
Alex Silverman, a member of the POBJFK HS Class of 2009 and a journalism major at the University of Missouri, is getting experience this summer in the field of sports marketing, while Kaitlin Smith, a 2006 POBJFK HS graduate and recent graduate of Adelphi University with a major in Business Administration and a concentration in human resources, is learning the ropes in the human resources department of the hockey franchise.
For Silverman, a lifelong Islanders fan, the initiation into sports marketing was only natural. “It was something that I always thought I wanted to be a part of coming in, and I just wanted to kind of make sure and get a real feel for it. It’s really lived up to all my expectations and exceeded them in a lot of ways. It’s a really exciting field, and it’s something I think I want to pursue in the future,” Silverman said. He said his current duties in the media department include interviewing players, writing for the Islanders website, and managing press releases. He went on to explain that the experience has been particularly valuable in teaching him about the interrelationship that exists between public relations and journalism.
For Smith, the connection to the Islanders was not as strong, but she still reports being thrilled with the experience. “Luckily, it worked out, and I haven’t looked back yet- it’s been so much fun,” Smith said. The recent Adelphi graduate, who is currently receiving credits for her internship with the Islanders toward a graduate degree, said that she spends her days in the human resources department helping her co-workers with bringing in new people, setting up for the next group of interns in the fall, and managing other in-house concerns.
Both interns said that they enjoyed the excursion to various venues, including a recent trip to the league offices in Manhattan. Silverman said he found a talk with league executives about the business side of the NHL particularly informative, while Smith enjoyed a trip to the Sports Center of Connecticut, which features the world’s only double-decker ice rink. The interns also spoke fondly of trips to Citi Field and Yankee Stadium.
While Silverman plans to aggressively pursue a career in sports marketing (perhaps with a stint in newspapers or other media if the opportunity presents itself), Smith is keeping her options open, saying that she might want to continue working in human resources, or perhaps run her own business one day.
In describing his experience, Silverman summarized the hopes of many who aspire to work in the exciting and fast-changing field of sports marketing: “I wanted to see what it would be like to work in the field and get a look at what goes on behind the scenes- and doing it for my favorite team is really cool. It’s kind of like a dream come true.”
Islanders University is one of the premiere sports internships in the country. Currently, 27 interns are enrolled for the summer, learning what it takes to work in professional sports. For information about the upcoming fall Islanders University program, visit http://hockeyjobs.nhl.com.