On July 28, 14,000 athletes from across the country will arrive in Lincoln to participate in the 2015 State Games of America. For the next five days, Katie Bruns and Shawn Welch will spend hours traveling to area sports venues to ensure everything runs according to plan.
Bruns, who graduated in May with degrees in communication studies, and Welch, a senior business administration and sports management major, have spent their summer interning for the Nebraska Sports Council, the host for this year’s State Games of America.
"Interns are critical to the success of events conducted by the Nebraska Sports Council," said Dave Mlnarik, the executive director of the Nebraska Sports Council. "It is our hope that the interns gain practical experience, especially in their area of emphasis, a deep understanding of all aspects of our business, and confidence that can only come from achieving big goals on a big stage."
Bruns and Welch have had their eyes on the big stage for months and together they’ve learned valuable lessons in event management. Welch handles event operations, contacting and recruiting volunteers and sponsors. He’s also gained additional experience in nonprofit fundraising by working with sponsors who offered donations in place of volunteers. Bruns’ daily tasks include marketing and media relations. Her work began with writing feature stories about participating athletes to help showcase the games. Her passion for writing led to additional responsibilities in marketing the event.
"Nebraska Wesleyan does a really good job giving students hands-on experience,” said Bruns. “Most majors require internships and an internship is sure to give you more hands-on experience than sitting in class." said Bruns.
Both students learned about their internships through networking. Bruns learned about it through a contact at her job with the Weary Center; Welch learned through a contact at his fraternity.
Both students started their internships at the Nebraska Sports Council unsure of what to expect, but found enjoyment in working with an organization that caters to its employees' well-being, and developed valuable experiences.
"The biggest thing I learned was how to communicate in an office setting," said Welch. "Learning about it in a classroom is different than actually experiencing it."
"There are so many skills you can build and learn from later on,” he added.
Nebraska Wesleyan University is a proud partner of the 2015 State Games of America.