By Gina Beach
Stories in this student-led and -written Outlook series highlight the distinctive summer internships and work experiences of students from across the academic spectrum.
Tomorrow, when Bobcat pride comes out in full force for Homecoming, you will find senior Jaclyn Meyerl in the center of the action in Pepsi TailGreat Park or the students' pregame area outside Peden Stadium.
It's a 2 p.m. kickoff, but the workday begins at 7 a.m. for Meyerl, one of 15 marketing interns in Ohio Athletics. Her game-day duties include organizing the largest tent setup of the season at TailGreat Park and helping to keep the crowd enthused and stocked with promotional freebies during the game.
But it was a summer internship with the Pittsburgh Steelers that helped prepare her to tackle her current marketing gig with the Bobcats.
"She has been interested in sports since day one," said Char Rae, Meyerl's academic adviser in University College. "The Pittsburgh Steelers have been part of her family and upbringing, so this has been a real dream internship for her."
Meyerl, a native of Mars, Pa., who is working toward a bachelor of specialized studies degree in sports industry marketing and communications through University College, was selected as the Steelers' sole ticket office intern, beating out 50 interviewees for the opportunity to work for the five-time Super Bowl champs.
She hit the ground running, working the Kenny Chesney concert her second day on the job at Heinz Field, where she brushed shoulders with country music singer Keith Urban and his wife, actress Nicole Kidman. She also met several of the athletes and their families while coordinating and distributing tickets at will call.
Meyerl's daily duties in the office included shipping student tickets, answering customers' phone calls and managing an online database. She said the best part of the job was telling people at the top of the 40,000-name wait list that they would have Steelers tickets this year.
"People who got tickets this year have been on the list since 1995," she said. "(Calling fans) was exciting. You can't get a grumpy customer there."
Meyerl's confidence and passion for her chosen field are evident. As a former high school athlete in softball, volleyball, basketball and track, she has long known that she wants to work in the sports industry. She originally aspired to the role of sportscaster, but after taking one class in marketing, she knew she had found her niche. Meyerl now eventually hopes to become the director of marketing for an NFL team or another professional franchise.
Greg Polgar, director of marketing for Ohio Athletics, believes she is well on her way, thanks in part to her unique internship.
"She's seen some of the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on that some of the other interns may not have experienced before," he said.
And as the football season gains momentum, Meyerl is still catching her breath from a summer training experience she won't soon forget.
"I've been a sports fan my whole life, and the Steelers are my dream team to work for," she said.
Updated Oct. 27, 2008, to include Meyerl's home town.