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IW students get ‘X-Treme’ for summer internship

Aug 07, 2017
Submitted photo Chazz Brown looks over the scene at U.S. Bank Stadium.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News


MINNEAPOLIS — You’d be hard-pressed to find a college student who had a more high-profile internship than a group of Iowa Wesleyan sports management students this summer.

The group of six IW students were selected to intern for the 2017 X-Games, which were held in Minneapolis, Minn. IW was one of three colleges to be selected for the summer internships.

Students partnered with ESPN on the event. The games are broadcast on the ESPN family of networks each year.

For those who don’t know, the X-Games are an olympic-style series of sporting events where athletes compete in “action sports” such as motocross, skateboarding and BMX. The games started in 1995 and have seen the rise of popular athletes Tony Hawk, Dave Mirra, Shaun White and Travis Pastrana.

This year’s X-Games took place from July 13-16 at U.S. Bank stadium. The IW students helped set up the arena, worked at various sites and then helped tear down at the end of the week.

Zakary Mayo, who until recently was an instructor of Sports Management at the university led the way for the project. Mayo brought in Brad Florian, Director of Business Operations at the X-Games, to pitch the idea to students during the 2016-17 school year.

Allegra Collette, one of the sports management students chosen, says her decision to apply for the spot was based around getting early internship hours. Collette switched to Mayo’s advisery last year and says consideration for her started right away.

“I was super interested,” Collette says. “I know that’s more of what I want to go into, so I was like, ‘this is perfect.’”

Collette, who worked on the BMX ramp, a side activity for fans who want to try the sport out for themselves, recalled seeing the stadium for the first time and even meeting a few of the athletes early on.

“It’s actually a new stadium (that) they just built, and it’s amazing,” Collette said. We got to actually see a lot of the athletes practice. They were all stuper nice, so humble and just super appreciative that we were there.”

Chazz Brown worked at the “photo hunt,” a scavanger-hunt typed game that he says helped him with both his people skills and communication skills. Fans participating had to take their best selfie at nine different locations around the arena.

“People were coming in and bombarding our station,” recalled Brown. “We just had to explain over and over how to do it.” It was a lot of fun and it really helped me communicate and network with people all throughout the games.”

Brown, an athlete himself who plays on the IW baseball team, says being in the city and the X-Games enviornment were two of his favorite things about the experience. Like Collette, Brown enjoyed getting to see the athletes, who he said had a different and positive way about them.

“The X-Games are different than any type of other sport,” Brown said. “The athletes carry themselves in such a positive matter. I can honestly say those are some of the most humble athletes I’ve met, and they are really young.”

Brown recalled being in the “extreme games” enviroment, comparing it to the enviorment of a more traditional sport.

“Just being in the different enviornment was so surreal,” Brown said. “It kind of gave me a different perspective of what athletics can really mean to people.”

Travis Gile, another student to make the trek up to Minneapolis says his dream job is working for a front office for an organization. Working for a high-profile event like the X-Games is certainly a good place to start.

Gile says his favorite part was the ability to network with the other workers.

“I think just getting to meet new people and getting to make connections with people that worked for the X-Games and people from other schools,” Gile said. “It was a fun experience that didn’t really feel like a class (and) it was just fun to be a part of.”

The X-Games will be in Minneapolis again in 2018, and once again the wheels are in place for IW to partner with ESPN on the event.

All students interviewed expressed the interest in working in a similar enviornment in the future. Collete, who is going in to her junior year, spoke to the pride the project gave to her and other students involved.

“I know IW is a small school, but it’s really nice to know that our students and professors are really fighting for us,” she says. “I think it’s amazing that we get these opportunities. it was really great to represent Iowa Wesleyan.”

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