Sport Management Testimonials
Ryan Bemis '11
Entering Fisher as a sport management major, I quickly realized that I had made the right decision in deciding on a school with the connections and educational program to help me succeed in the sport and entertainment industry.
The professors in the sport management department focus their attention on real world experience and projects which pertain to issues and challenges facing the industry. As a sport management major, it is important for students to understand that class projects and assignments are relevant and will be particularly useful upon graduation.
As the major has grown, so have the number of alumni who are willing to help current students in the major. During the time I spent at Fisher, I have learned that networking is just as important as doing well in all your classes. The more alumni you speak to or intern with, the better your chances of landing that "dream job."
The professors at St. John Fisher College really pride themselves on helping the students do well in the classroom and will also help find an internship in whatever part of the sport industry fits your dream. All the professors have an open door policy and are willing to listen and talk with you. I have lost count as to the number of times I have met with Professor Bryson, Dr. Harrison, and Professor Pogroszewski as I developed a plan for where I wanted be after graduation. If it weren’t for the faculty at Fisher, I would have never landed experiences with the Buffalo Bills, Monroe County Sports Commission, Channel 13 Sports and FOX Sports.
Nearly all the classes offered within the sport management department will help you decide where you want to work within the industry in addition to providing real world experience. For certain, the professors and networking opportunities are two major assets which help to set St. John Fisher College apart from the other sport management programs across the country.
Ryan Bemis is a account executive at Jack Morton Worldwide.
Kristi Bradley '09
I came into Fisher as a sport management minor and quickly discovered the benefits of making it my second major. The faculty all have a great deal of real-world experience that shines through in the classroom and the networking opportunities are endless. Classes are hands-on and projects make you stretch beyond what you thought you were capable of. With real-world situations and assignments, resume-building is easy and your attributes as an employee are fostered right in the classroom.
As the major matures, the number of alumni contacts the department has grows exponentially, making for easier access to some of the best internships in the country. I wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for the endless opportunities presented to me by the department. Through classroom projects, alumni meet & greets, roundtable discussions, and luncheons, I was able to make contacts outside of Fisher that helped propel me into my position at the American Junior Golf Association.
I also took advantage of resources right on campus. One-on-one time with professors helped me realize where I wanted to take my career, connections with fellow majors provided me with contacts all over the country, and time at the Career Center strengthened my resume to show off my skills in the best possible way.
I credit many of my strengths to the time I spent at Fisher. From the first day learning about the proper handshake to the final capstone presentation, my time as a sport management major helped me grow as both an individual and as a professional.
Kristi Bradley is a manager of field marketing at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
John Cochol '08
"Work hard, play hard" has always been a motto of mine. Nothing could be truer working in sports. Many of my greatest life lessons came as a result of the sport management program at St. John Fisher College.
I believe the first class I took was Introduction to Sport Management with Professor Bryson. That class set the tone for the rest of my four-year career. It was where I learned the five things that have helped me stay "head and shoulders" above the competition in a very tough industry:
1) Professionalism: Dress code, proper speech, preparation, looking someone in the eye when you shake their hand, and of course "NAME TAG ON THE RIGHT SIDE!" Living around the United States and talking in many classrooms, Fisher has, by far, the most professional students I have seen in a sport management major.
2) Networking: The most important and underrated attribute you will ever be given. I have received multiple job offers based on references or someone I know. Fisher has so many people throughout the nation working in sports or people who know someone from Fisher. It makes it easier to get an interview or job.
3) Experience: The classroom experience is very important but nothing is as important as getting real world experience. With Fisher, the fact that the curriculum requires a 120 hour practicum and 400 hour internship turns out to have been a major influence on my career in sports sales.
4) Time Management: Budgeting your time is one of the hardest things to do in college. Between classes, extracurricular activities, volunteering, internships, and finding time to have fun with your friends, it’s not easy. Fisher’s extensive program provided me with the tools to use my time efficiently.
5) Hard Work: I always knew I was a hard worker, but going through the sport management program, I really realized how important it was going to be to my success. There are lots of people who are intelligent. Many, in fact, are perhaps more intelligent and they all want to work in sports. I quickly realized that my work ethic was going to be the one thing that not all those “intelligent” people could compete with. I saw it firsthand and today I appreciate all those long nights I spent in class as well as the many evenings and weekends I spent volunteering downtown with the Rochester Americans, Knighthawks and Rattlers.
The last thing I would say is that the support system in the sport management program is second to none. I have never had as many dedicated professors than the ones I worked with when I was at Fisher. Whether in the classroom, looking for advice about an internship or job, or even going through a life crisis, each of the professors was available to help in any way possible. It’s not often you find that type of dedication with professors and I was lucky enough to take advantage of the situation. Thank you Professor Gibbons, Dr. Harrison, Professor Bryson, Professor Pogroszewski, and Dr. Dane-Staples!
John Cochol is the director of club services at United Soccer League (USL).
John Concordia '08
I came to the sport management program differently than most students. I was a transfer from Finger Lakes Community College but even in the short time I was part of the program, I picked up many valuable tools essential to my early career success.
The department has professors with actual industry experience that offer the necessary insights into the sports world, preparing you to compete for jobs after graduation. Class sizes are also small which allows for individual attention from the faculty. With all that said, the single biggest strength of the program has to be the networking opportunities it provides students.
Majors are involved in every sports organization in the Rochester area and graduates are employed in each of them as well. Every year that passes, graduates are spreading nationally, creating more networking opportunities for current students. In addition, alumni like myself continue to maintain strong ties to the program. When in a position to hire, I first look to the sport management majors at Fisher because I am confident that they possess the necessary skills and are prepared to help the company I work for.
I credit the networking opportunities and the strong personal relationships I have with the professors as one of the major reasons I landed a job two months prior to graduation. Looking back, I am thankful I made the decision to transfer to Fisher's sport management program.
John Concordia is a finance and operations manager at Blue Cross Arena.
Geoff Cook '05
When I first began my college search, I was undecided on what career path I would take and what school could take me there. Following an informative presentation by the department chair, I was convinced that sport management was the major for me. The impressive array of challenging courses, talented professors, and strong relationships with such organizations as the Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins), the Rochester Americans (AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers) and the Buffalo Bills, moved St. John Fisher College to the top of my list. This even before considering other nationally recognized and respected institutions of the Catholic tradition that host the major.
Throughout my years at Fisher, I was regularly pushed to achieve my very best with the main objective of finding not just a job in the sport industry, but a job I would love after graduation. The gifted professors were never shy about sharing their experiences, good or bad, to better shape students' expectations and goals for post graduation. Professors such as Scott Bryson devoted himself to making sure every student gained the necessary field experience and contacts they needed to not just make an educated decision about their future in sports, but to secure a position based on that experience. Their never-ending list of contacts and alumni made finding a practicum and internships easy and exciting. The possibilities were endless.
Unlike some colleges, the professors at Fisher continue to stay in touch post graduation, whether to recommend a position or to just say hello. That constant contact and the on-going relationship with the College prompts me to return every year. At my most recent visit, I brought NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Greg Biffle to Buffalo Bills Training Camp as part of a media tour to promote a race in August. Standing on the field in Growney Stadium, I couldn't help but think of where I'd be today had I not chosen to become a sport management major at St. John Fisher College.
Geoff Cook is marketing director at Taylor the Builders.
Rob Crean '06
The sport management program provides students with a unique combination of classroom learning, group projects and real-world experience. In addition to the traditional classroom setting, students also get exposed to the sports industry through a healthy dose of guest speakers and internship opportunities. Because the field of sport management is constantly evolving, the faculty at Fisher understands that the curriculum cannot be taught strictly through tests and textbooks.
Years after graduating with a degree in sport management, I continue to draw on the lessons and experiences I had at Fisher on a daily basis. During my time in the program, I grew as both a student and a person, developing confidence in myself and critical thinking skills as a result of numerous presentations, group meetings and internships. In addition, the faculty's constant emphasis on professionalism stays with students well after they leave Fisher. The most beneficial aspect of the program for me was the continuous encouragement and support from the staff when it came to pursuing internships. They truly want each student in the program to be in position to find a job in the student's area of interest immediately following graduation, and in many cases, they have been successful in doing so.
My professional career path has been a direct result of an internship I completed during my senior year, volunteer work I did in the Fisher athletic department, and skills I developed in the sport management curriculum. Wherever my career takes me in the future, I'll know that Fisher is where the foundation was built.
Rob Crean is the director of public relations for the Rochester Americans, the AHL affiliate for the Buffalo Sabres.
Sarah Femec '09
All it took was one class for me to realize there is something special about the sport management program at St. John Fisher College. Not being a major at the time, I had no idea what to expect walking into class but I knew that a career in sports sounded like a good fit for my interests and skills. I spent the semester learning about the seemingly endless paths you can take with a sport management degree and the basic tools and strategies to be successful on these paths. Conversations with several of the professors in the major helped to solidify my desire to pursue a career in sport management.
From the very beginning, the importance of gaining experience is stressed again and again. Anyone can say experience is important. What sets Fisher’s program apart is the guidance, support, and connections that are provided to you in order to actually obtain this vital experience. I was able to spend two and a half years interning and working for organizations in the Rochester sport industry. Being out in the field while still working on my studies allowed me to experience first-hand what I was reading about and discussing in class. This added a whole new dimension to the way I was able to analyze, and even develop, theories and methods.
The reason I was able to gain this valuable experience and learn so much from it was the professors and close-knit community they have created within the major. All along my journey, my professors were there to provide support, offer suggestions, answer questions, and just listen. Projects and events within the major allowed me to create a strong network with my classmates and learn from them as well. These relationships did not end when I graduated; they were the first stepping stones to a position and success in the industry and I still find advice and support from them today. Ultimately, the sport management program at Fisher provided me with the knowledge and support I needed to turn my passion for sports into a successful career.
Sarah Femec is store manager at Soccer Post Annapolis.
Sara Beth Fisher '07
As an alumnus of the sport management program, I can truly say the experience I gained there molded my career within the field of sport. Every class that I took allowed me to take something away from it. Many of the classes were challenging, but looking back, those were the classes I gained the most from because they allowed me to grow as a person. The constant reminders of being professional and having an upbeat attitude still resonate in my life daily, even years after graduating.
I acquired professional, as well as personal relationships with my peers, professors and other sports professionals that have outlasted my four years of college and still remain strong to this day. I was offered countless internship opportunities as soon as I stepped foot on campus which gave me the tools to succeed, and start a job with the Buffalo Bills the day after graduation. Now, as I return back to Fisher every summer for Buffalo Bills Training Camp, I am proud to tell my co-workers that I went there. The campus is becoming more beautiful with each passing year and the educational programs are only getting better with time. I look forward to seeing what the future will bring.
Sara Beth Fisher is a ticket sales manager for the Buffalo Bills.
Joelle Hamm '05
When I first started looking into colleges, I had no idea a sport management major even existed. I remember getting my first brochure from Fisher, reading the majors they offered, and feeling a whole new excitement for this next step in my life. I couldn’t believe they would let me study the industry of sport for a degree!
The actual program ended up being better than I imagined. The classes were a true look into what we, as majors, would encounter in the real world of sport. The internships and real work opportunities were numerous and definitely the most valuable aspect of the curriculum. Networking is the key to finding a job outside the classroom and that was the number one aspect stressed throughout my four years at Fisher.
My internship opportunities landed me a full-time position right out of school where I had the necessary training and education to succeed. From there, networking with fellow graduates landed me a grad assistantship with the Buffalo Bills while I was completing my master’s degree.
I would certainly attribute my career success to my beginnings at St. John Fisher College. The emphasis on networking and real world experience really made a difference once I was out of the classroom!
Joelle Hamm is a buyer/planner for Smartwool.
Brandon Harrison '13
When I started in the sport management program, people constantly asked me what I could do with this degree. They assumed the only job I could get would be as a general manager at a professional sports franchise. Nothing could be further from the truth. The sport management major is great because it can open countless doors, not only in the sports industry, but in other sectors of the business world.
The sport management program is special at Fisher because our professors constantly demand nothing but the best, while also working with us to ensure our growth as business professionals. It is also unique in that we have the resource of a full-time director of practicum and internship. This was great for me since I came from a small town and needed a little more encouragement to take chances within the sport industry.
With encouragement, I found various opportunities in the Rochester area, which is highly-saturated with sport industry careers and internships. During my freshman year I worked on campus as the intramural football supervisor and an athletic game day assistant. These positions helped me build my skills and allowed me to test out several areas of the sport industry to see what I enjoyed.
I eventually found my niche in college athletics, especially sport information. I completed my 120-hour practicum at the University of Rochester as the Assistant to the Director of Athletic Communications. It is remarkable how often I look back on this opportunity and use the tools I learned there on a day-to-day basis.
I completed my 400-hour internship as the athletic intern at Alfred University near my hometown. Once again, I found my internship to be an extremely valuable and educational experience. That is what is great about the sport management program at Fisher. You are guaranteed to walk out with at least two great résumé-building experiences and fantastic references.
My words of advice for anyone who wishes to enter the sport industry are: get your education, get experience, and get to know people. You never know when you’ll need help from your experiences or from a colleague you previously worked with.
Brandon Harrison is a sports information graduate assistant at Alfred University.
Lisa Havas-Carlock '03
I can say with confidence the sport management program at St. John Fisher and the coursework I completed in pursuit of my degree prepared me well for successful employment within the sport industry. Between the challenging and diverse classes, hands-on experience afforded by practicums and internships, and support and guidance provided by the faculty, the opportunity to not only succeed but to excel is at the fingertips of every student.
While I entered the sport management program initially uncertain of the particular career path I wanted to pursue, the professors were instrumental in helping me find clarity. They challenged me to determine and exercise my strengths as an individual and a future professional, presented me with opportunities to assess and improve upon my weaknesses, and guided me down avenues that expanded my awareness of potential career opportunities.
The extensive industry network created by the faculty and alumni proved to be one of the most beneficial assets of the sport management program. Coupled with my degree and the quality resume the sport management program helped me to build, the network was a critical factor that helped launch me into a career in the arena of Olympic sport, beginning with employment by the United States Olympic Committee and now the United States Bobsled & Skeleton Federation.
A part of the inaugural graduating class of the sport management program, I am excited to see its recent growth and to know it continues to challenge its students to develop both personally and professionally. I encourage all students to engage wholeheartedly in their studies and to feel confident that, given the effort, the sport management program will prepare them well for their desired employment within the sport industry.
Lisa Havas-Carlock is the director of finance and operations for the US Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.
Tina Kurzepa '08
“Network, network, network” was the first and most important lesson I learned in Sport 100 as a freshman. At the time, I didn’t understand the magnitude of the lesson. However, during my four years at Fisher, and now as a graduate, the lesson still reigns true today.
With its connections in the Rochester area, the Sport Studies Department does its best to set up students with internships and other sport industry experiences immediately upon arriving on campus. I was lucky enough to have attended one of the department’s “alumni roundtable” functions where I first met Jim Garvey, tournament manager for the Wegmans LPGA golf tournament. After speaking with him, I decided to volunteer the following spring and summer with the event’s marketing manager.
Through that experience, I met dozens of company CEOs and other influential people. While at the LPGA, I co-hosted a function with the event manager for an organization called Hillside Family of Agencies. When the manager received a promotion, she was the one who recommended me for her old position as special events coordinator at Hillside. Although not directly in the sports field, I got to use all the skills I learned at Fisher when planning Hillside’s annual golf tournament and other fundraising events.
You never know who you will run into, and who might be able to help you take the next step in your journey. The sport management faculty and alumni at Fisher have been there every step of the way and even today, years later, they continue to be of assistance to me. I owe where I am to the connections I made through Fisher and the sport management program.
Tina Kurzepa is the assistant director of the Fisher Fund at St. John Fisher College.
Justin Lutes '08
In searching for a college, I wanted to attend a school where I would receive a quality education, participate on a collegiate baseball team and have an overall great experience. St. John Fisher College was the only place I visited that could provide me with what I wanted. Although the sport management program was fairly new then, the success of previous students and the knowledge and guidance the faculty offered made it a no-brainer for me. The only question I had was what I wanted to do with the degree.
Throughout my years at Fisher, the classes I took and the freedom afforded me when considering careers, helped tremendously. The curriculum prepares you for any type of profession in the sports industry and gradually helps determine a career path that is right for you.
By my junior year, I knew I wanted to pursue a position in sports information. A good friend of mine, who already worked in the athletic department at Fisher, told me that the SID (Norm Kieffer) needed extra help. After speaking with Mr. Kieffer, I began volunteering with him. I then decided I wanted to complete my practicum with him my senior year. After finishing my practicum, I completed my internship as an assistant coach for the Watertown Wizards of the New York Collegiate Baseball League. Being a college athlete definitely helped me obtain this position since two of the coaches for the Wizards previously coached at Fisher and one was an alumnus.
Although my college career was officially over, the impact Fisher had on my life was not. It was sometime after graduation when Mr. Kieffer informed me of another internship opportunity; this time with the Eastern College Athletic Conference in Massachusetts. At first, I was not selected but a few months after receiving the news, I got a call with an offer. Was I thrilled and grateful to receive the internship! Who would have guessed that my experience with the ECAC would eventually lead to a position as the assistant director of athletics communications for Susquehanna University.
There is no doubt that Fisher opened doors to the sports world for me. To this day, I continue to stay in touch with members of the faculty as well a number of fellow graduates.
Justin Lutes is the assistant director of athletic communications at Ithaca College.
Michael Markinson '07
When I came to Fisher, I had no idea what I wanted to pursue as a career. I knew I loved sports and I wanted to study business. When I discovered that Fisher had a sport management degree, I knew the major would allow me to blend my two passions and that I had found the perfect fit.
At Fisher I was able to take a variety of classes that pertained to the world of sport business. Classes that addressed subjects such as marketing, public relations, finance and human resources provided me with a greater understanding of the industry as well as the impact the material has on various segments such as professional sports, collegiate athletics and even recreation management.
One of the great things about the program was the actual sport business experience you receive. The major has two experiential requirements that provide an opportunity to gain considerable practical experience before leaving Fisher. It is here that I found my connection with the program most beneficial. The department has an enormous number of alumni working in the industry as well as close ties with professionals connected to the field in Rochester and across the country. Taking advantage of these contacts allowed me to pursue internships with the Rochester Americans hockey organization and Red Wings Baseball team. These opportunities, coupled with the lessons I learned in the classroom, led to another internship with the Syracuse University Athletic department where, just months after graduation, I accepted a position as their marketing and special events coordinator.
After two years with the SU athletic department, I was recruited by Sidearm Sports where I helped design websites for collegiate athletic departments and professional athletes. Who would have guessed that after earning my college degree that I would have found myself working in web design? It just goes to show you the variety of careers there are in the sport industry.
Mike Markinson is a graduate assistant at Syracuse University.
Jeff Meehan '11
One of the few things I’ve ever been certain about is that I absolutely love sports. However, it wasn’t until I entered the sport management program at Fisher that I learned how vast, dynamic, and interesting the industry is. The program is perfectly designed to give the sports enthusiast, like myself, an eye-opening experience into the industry beyond the playing field, and allows for an exploration of the ever expanding and rapidly growing sports business industry.
No matter who you ask in the sports industry, they will emphasize the importance of networking. It is a skill which is invaluable in the sports business world and is at the forefront of the Fisher sport management program. I utilized the networking skills that I developed to land a position within the Boston Red Sox Legal Department over the summer. Informational interviews helped me get my foot in the door and I met as many people as possible within the Sox organization. You are more likely to succeed in this industry if people can put a face to your resume, and I credit this fact for allowing me to be one of two out of 2,000 applicants to land the position. Simply put, it’s easier to break into the industry you want when someone is fighting for you on the inside. Networking is a process and skill that the program emphasizes, and the faculty utilizes their real world experiences to tailor their programs to the current trends of the industry, keeping students at the forefront of innovation in this field.
The sport management faculty also does a fantastic job helping students develop the skills needed to gain an edge in this ultra-competitive field. As an incoming student, your "Dream Talk" allows the faculty to develop your own personalized professional plan and tailors the program to your interests. This plan, when coupled with the cultivation of professional skills, makes a Fisher sport management graduate a force within the sports industry.
Your personal professional plan is specifically tailored to what you want to accomplish within the sport management field. I cannot really think of two members of my own class who had the same exact plan as we all went through our undergrad experience and completed our practicums and internships. Your plan is not set in stone, and can be modified should your goals change. For example, I performed my 120 hour internship with the St. John Fisher College Athletic Department because I initially wanted to be an athletic director. After that experience I changed course. The faculty knew I wanted to be a sports agent and tailored a class schedule to help me achieve that goal. Dr. Harrison encouraged me to obtain a pre-law minor and to challenge myself with coursework during my senior year instead of coasting with easy electives. Professor Bryson helped me secure my 400 hour internship with NHL Hockey Agent Steve Bartlett, an experience that has been invaluable to me thus far. Professor Pogroszewski explained the benefits of taking a negotiations class to supplement his newly initiated Sports Agent 101 course.
You can be a hard worker and still have a great time in this program. Your class is your family, and you will form a tight bond throughout your time at Fisher that will be vital once you enter the industry. It is also rewarding that you can do all of this and still be dedicated to playing a sport. I was able to play football for four years, and others have continued on with their athletic careers without sacrificing dedication to either their athletic or professional programs. Like most things in life, you will get out of this program exactly what you put into it. It will open the doors to the industry for you, but it will be your own hard work and dedication that decides how far you go.
Jeff Meehan is currently a lawyer and risk management associate at Robert M. Curry & Associates.
Steve Moscaritolo '08
“What you put in, is what you’ll get out.” That was my philosophy while attending the sport management program at Fisher. Even before the first day of classes began, I had contact with the professors of the department, who ultimately served as the starting block for a network which grew exponentially by the time my four years of college were complete. If I was willing to put the time and effort into creating success for myself, then the faculty was willing to support me in doing so. Results do not lie. In the time I was at Fisher I was lucky enough to land the following assignments outside of the classroom:
- Stadium Operations Assistantship with the Single-A Hudson Valley Renegades
- Group Sales Practicum with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings
- Staff member with the Buffalo Bills Training Camp at St. John Fisher College
- Telemarketer with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings
- Corporate Hospitality Internship - 2008 Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club
In between these things, I was able to work at the Athletic Center as a fitness center staffer, volunteer at multiple Sport Studies Club events, and even work on the “Chain Gang” during football games. The point I’m trying to make is this: if you are in this program, you have no excuse not to succeed. There are simply too many opportunities on campus and just down the road not to get valuable experience.
Since graduating, I have worked in corporate hospitality at the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla Golf Club, and was the operations assistant at the 2009 Turning Stone Resort Championship. I currently working for MACH 2 Management, in Victor, NY, where I am literally “living the dream” and doing exactly what I want to do. Again, results do not lie. Each job I have had has built on itself, and I owe my current position to a fellow sport management major who I met at Fisher, and who now works across the hall.
One thing I have learned is that the sport industry, and specifically the area of event management, is a very small world, and by nature, very competitive. It is essential to get ahead while in school. Fisher can serve as the catalyst for almost anything you want to accomplish, but take my advice, and put the effort in while you’re there.
Steve Moscaritolo is a program manager for MACH 2 Management, Inc.
Steve Pignata '11
The sport management program at St. John Fisher College not only gave me much of the knowledge I needed to succeed in the hockey world but it provided me with my first connections. Looking back to sophomore year, my first year at Fisher after transferring from SUNY Brockport, it was a simple email from Professor Bryson asking if I was interested in pursuing an internship with the Rochester Americans that began my journey. Now, after making a tremendous investment of time and energy, I am "officially" employed by the Buffalo Sabres, my "dream team" and a team that I have been obsessed with for much of my life.
When I first started the program at Fisher, the biggest thing all of the professors preached was networking. I cannot emphasize how much they were right about this aspect of the sport business. Doing my practicum and internship with the Amerks got me in front of a number of prominent names in the game of hockey and afforded me the opportunity to develop personal relationships that were critical to my success. After committing myself to the Amerks for five seasons and never losing sight of my goals and dreams, I got the call from the Buffalo Sabres that I was waiting for since first embarking on my journey at Fisher.
The sport management program and all its professors were very encouraging of my chosen career path and did everything they could to help me realize my dream. They provided all of us with the necessary tools to be successful and were available, providing support, every step of the way in what can be a very intimidating industry.
I owe much of my professional success to Professor Pogroszewski and Professor Bryson. Their knowledge of the "real" sport world was invaluable and I thank them for sharing it with me. Choosing to transfer to Fisher was the best decision I've ever made in my life. Today, I'm in a job that I love and can't imagine being without.
Steve Pignata is the manager of hockey technologies/analytics with the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans.
Jeff Ross '06
I chose the sport management program at St. John Fisher College because it allowed me to combine my interest in the business world with my passion for golf. Classroom lectures, challenging projects, and internship requirements provided me with a solid foundation to begin a career in the golf industry.
My professors at Fisher partnered with me to find internship opportunities that aligned with my career interests. The faculty at Fisher is well connected, and willing to put students in touch with individuals working in their field of interest. I found my internship experiences combined with my networking skills helped me to land my first job in the golf industry after school.
My professors also taught me the importance of taking advantage of continuous learning opportunities. My sport management degree combined with my Maltby Certification acquired while at Golf Galaxy reduced the costs and time required for me to acquire my golf teaching certification.
I continue to stay in contact with the faculty at Fisher as there are always networking opportunities available with current and past students from the program!
Jeff Ross is currently the director of corporate services at Episcopal SeniorLife Communities.
Aaron Schmitt '05
My experience with Fisher's sport management program is one that shaped my life during and after college and has allowed me to attain success at an early age along with positioning myself for continued success throughout my career. The professionalism and one-on-one nature of the program allowed me to gain insights, not only from talented professors and staff, but about what I wanted and how I could get there. The classroom experiences were practical and real-world which prepared me for internship experiences that brought the classroom to life.
As mentioned, the professors and staff of the sport management program are talented and skilled in their respective disciplines and were able to guide me through the peaks and valleys of not just the program but college as a whole. Looking back I am beyond thankful for the time and dedication these professionals showed during my tenure at St. John Fisher College. All of these reasons combined created an opportunity for me to be offered a full-time position a week after graduation in 2005. I know that without the sport management program at St. John Fisher College I would not be where I am today or headed toward great things in the future.
Aaron Schmitt is assistant director of guest services for MetLife Stadium.
Amanda Shevchuk '09
St. John Fisher College’s sport management program has helped shape who I am today. As a graduate from the program I believe that I am ready to succeed and meet all of my goals and expectations. The department faculty pushed me from day one; each professor had a vested interest in seeing each and every student succeed, and now I can truly thank them for that.
When I first arrived at Fisher, I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Surrounded by an institution that believes athletics is a positive experience for students, I was given the opportunity to earn my degree and follow my passion of working in athletics. Although I had a passion, I was unsure of what path I was going to take. Through the classes that I took, the experience I was able to obtain, and the guidance from other professors, alumni, and other students, I have been able to take away a priceless gift of knowledge and better understanding of who I am and what I want professionally.
While in the program, we were constantly told how important networking was in our career path and to take every opportunity to do so. Although at times it was not my priority, I soon realized that if I wanted to succeed, I would have to connect with other people in the field. Shortly thereafter, the doors opened up to me left and right and still continue to do so today. The lessons that I learned and skills that I was able to gain have made me a more marketable person.
Amanda Shevchuk is a business operations coordinator at the Buffalo Bills.
Travis Sick '07
When I arrived at St. John Fisher College, I was unsure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I had always had a passion for sports and wanted to combine that passion with my career choice. The sport management program allowed me to do just that. The nature of the program, one that stresses professionalism and the importance of gaining experience, gave me practical and real-world knowledge that prepared me for life after college.
At Fisher, I was able to take a variety of classes that gave me great insight into the world of sports business. Classes addressed a wide range of topics from marketing and public relations, to finance and law. They also focused on different segments of the industry and gave me a better understanding of the industry as a whole. Every class I took allowed me to take something away from it. Many of the classes were challenging took me out of my comfort zone. However, I believe those were the classes that I gain the most out of because they helped me to grow as a person.
One of the great benefits of the program is how much it stresses real world experience. This can be seen by the fact that you are required to complete both a practicum and an internship. This requirement, in my opinion, is the most beneficial of the program. In fact, it is through my internship with the Rochester Red Wings that helped me to get where I am today.
As an alumnus of the St. John Fisher College sport management program, I can say without a doubt that the experience I gained helped to mold my career in the sports industry. I continue to put the knowledge and skills I learned into my everyday life and I look forward to what the future holds.
Travis Sick is general manager for the Batavia Muckdogs, Class A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Nate Snyder '06
From the moment I stepped on the campus of St. John Fisher College and met the group of professors that comprise the sport management department, I knew this was where I wanted to take my first steps towards a career in sports. As I looked through the curriculum, I found classes that I knew I would both enjoy and at the same time be challenged by. There is such a variety of classes ranging from Sport Law to International Sports to Sport Business Finance and finally, Policy of Sport. These classes and the "real life" projects that accompany them provided great insight into the world of sport business. As a major you can expect to be challenged but know that this is also where you truly grow and mature as you prepare to enter the profession.
Each student has endless opportunities to advance themselves. Whether by joining the Sport Management Club, taking advantage of networking functions, volunteering at events or securing internships, these extracurricular activities should not be overlooked. The contacts I made during my college career are priceless and I still use many of them in my position today.
Perhaps one of the greatest resources the major offers are the professors. This group of dedicated educators was available time and time again. I can honestly say that in my four years at Fisher (and every time I've been back since) I never found an office door closed. Even to this day, I still contact them when I have a situation that I'd like to discuss because I know that learning from them extends well after you leave the classroom.
I look back proudly on my decision to attend Fisher and know it prepared me for my career in sports. I continue to put to use the knowledge I learned and skills I developed. I often catch myself teaching others some of the finer points like placing the name tag on the right side of your chest or how to offer a proper handshake. I strongly encourage those looking to enter the sport industry to attend Fisher knowing that in four years you will gain a superior education.
Nate Synder is president of Laxisgr8 and director of sales for the Rochester Knighthawks (lacrosse).
Carly Szydlowski '14
During my time at Fisher, I was extremely lucky to have many great experiences working and volunteering in the sport industry. One of my first volunteer experiences was working with the Rochester Lancers of the Major Indoor Soccer League. During my time with the Lancers, I learned to make sales calls, assisted with game day operations, and interacted with fans at home games and community events.
While volunteering with the Lancers, I came across a journalism opportunity composing pre-game, post-game, and player profile pieces for Pro Player Insiders. After the NFL season ended, they asked if I would be able to cover the Buffalo Bills off-season and I agreed. I was given media credentials to attend Bills rookie mini-camps, organized team activities, and training camp at St. John Fisher College. This experience was remarkable because I was surrounded by reporters on a daily basis, learned from them, and networked with established media personnel.
My time with Pro Player Insiders came to an end when I was looking to complete my 120-hour practicum. I landed a media relations intern position with the Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacrosse League and grew as a professional more than I could have imagined.
As a paid intern, I developed my writing skills producing content for the Knighthawks website and managed all of the team’s social media outlets including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram. I was responsible for scheduling the Knighthawks’ Anti-Bullying Program appearances and attended every community event I could. I watched as the Knighthawks won the 2013 NLL World Championship and received my first professional sport championship ring in December 2013.
I am tremendously appreciative for every opportunity I had to step into the sport industry throughout my time in the sport management program at St. John Fisher College. I truly believe this is what makes our program stand out from the rest. We are given every chance to gain experience and network in order to land our first job when we graduate.
Carly Szydlowski is currently a client experience professional at Sage Rutty & Co.
Travis Tiernan '09
When the time came to decide where to further my education, I knew exactly where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. I knew Fisher had an up and coming sport management program and had already distinguished themselves as one of the best programs in the state. The professors have an endless amount of real-life experience that makes learning enjoyable and interesting. The biggest "eye catcher" was the extensive network and the "go out of their way" mentality that the program has. Classes are challenging, yet intriguing and push you to think outside the box which makes everything very rewarding. Working on assignments that deal directly with local professionals in the industry makes résumé building easy and your network begins to grow immediately upon arriving.
As the major becomes more established, the number of contacts the department can put you in touch with increases greatly, making it easier to access some of the best opportunities in the country. I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for the tireless effort put forth by the department. Through alumni events, roundtable discussions, luncheons with local professionals, and generous financial support, I was able to make contacts outside of school. This exposure was critical and it helped me land a paid internship with the Florida Marlins. From there, I took what the Marlins organization taught me along with the lessons I learned from Fisher and turned my internship into a full-time Account Executive position with benefits and a salary.
I also took advantage of the opportunities on campus. The professors have an "open door policy." If they weren't taking care of another student or some sort of academic matter, they were always willing to sit down and talk/listen.
Fisher has molded me into the professional I am today. From the first day learning about professionalism (clean shaven, firm hand shake, etc.) to the final capstone presentation, my time as a sport management major helped me create a large network, partake in some of the best experiences of my life, and has helped position me for future success.
Travis Tiernan is an account executive, market development at FedEx Services.
Anthony Valle '09
If you were to have asked me five years ago about the importance of networking and internships in the sports industry, I would have been clueless. Ask me now, and I am well informed! The professors in the sport management department at Fisher always stressed the importance of building my network, meeting new contacts and using those contacts to find internships and employment opportunities in the sports industry. I know today that these were the tools which enabled me to land my current position at Golf Channel.
After completing a 4-month, 600-hour internship at Golf Channel in Orlando, Florida, I made sure to stay in contact with my internship supervisor along with my colleagues in the Original Productions department. By using my contacts from this internship I was able to land a freelancing production assistant position working on Golf Channel’s award-winning reality series, “Big Break.” After freelancing with Golf Channel for over a year, a staff position opened up in Original Productions and I was immediately offered the full-time position by my previous internship supervisor!
What’s my point? Aside from the class work, if you are willing to put in the effort, build and maintain your network, and take advantage of opportunities locally and abroad then you will have the ability go very far in the sports industry. With that, the sport management program at Fisher will prepare you to enter any career with the knowledge, critical thinking skills, professionalism, and leadership, required to be successful in today’s sports industry. I landed my dream job because of St. John Fisher College’s sport management program and its professors. I am confident they can give you the tools you need to land your dream job too!
Anthony Valle is an associate producer for the Golf Channel/NBC Sports Group.
Adam Vogel '11
When I transferred to St. John Fisher College, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I knew I was looking for a sport management program that would catapult me into the industry, but at the same time I wanted to be more than just another "face in the crowd." Fisher's program fits that mold perfectly.
You can't have a successful sport management program without a strong base of opportunities and Fisher provides this. With a variety of opportunities to get valuable experience in the athletics department or with Events and Conferencing, you can build up your résumé without leaving campus. The sport management department also has built a strong foundation with every professional and semi-pro organization in the greater Rochester area. In my short time at Fisher, I gained vital experience with the Rochester Red Wings and Rochester Rhinos. That said, graduates of our program are also employed by all the minor league teams in town, as well as the Wegmans LPGA of Rochester. We also have alumni working all over the country. It is exciting to think, "Where could this take me, what doors can I open?" The sky really is the limit!
The teaching methods of the department's professors are very effective. Their techniques are based on past experiences in the field; this makes classroom lessons very practical. As a student I can honestly say I never had the feeling of, "How will I use this" or, "Why is this important?" Essentially, everything taught and reviewed can be used as we pursue a career in the sport industry. The effort they exert outside of the classroom to help students acquire experience is also second to none.
In a nutshell, the sport management program here at Fisher is a family. The ability to network with your professors as well as your peers is what sets this institution apart. I couldn't have asked for a better place to jump start my career. Thanks Fisher!
Adam Vogel is director of inside sales for the New York Mets.
Adam Washbon '11
It wasn't until after graduation that I truly appreciated the merit and strength that a degree from St. John Fisher College held. The sport management program provided me with the essential framework to become a strong professional and put me in a position to compete with both recent college graduates and long standing professionals.
The diverse course load helped make me well-rounded and kept me continuously challenged. Professors within the program were extremely hands-on and offered real world experience, which opened the door to practical scenarios and further learning. Classes relied heavily on out-of-class preparation and student conversation in a guided forum rather than traditional lectures.
When choosing a school for sport management, I had it narrowed down to just a few, but ultimately I selected St. John Fisher College because of its location. Rochester, which is a source of numerous professional franchises, collegiate sports programs, and municipal recreation departments, made Fisher's program stand out above all the others.
Since freshman year there was an emphasis put on building your résumé with active experience and establishing a network. Being so close to a variety of viable resources allowed me to graduate with a résumé comparable to current industry professionals.
While diversifying my volunteer experience during my undergraduate degree, my eyes were opened to numerous possible career paths. This led me to change my focus from a career in professional sports to recreation and community relations. With great guidance from the start, I was able to spend my practicum and internship hours in positions that directly led to a career in municipal recreation.
Adam Washbon is the recreation supervisor for the town of Chili.
Libby Woodruff '10
The sport industry is a tough and competitive field that relies not only on what you know but, maybe more importantly, who you know. That reality, and the importance of getting experience, is something the sport management faculty and staff drive into every student that passes through the program. Throughout my four years at Fisher, networking and its importance was discussed in every sport class I took. The value of it was repeated constantly and I credit it, in large part, for where I am today.
Unlike other programs, sport management majors at Fisher are required to complete both a 120 hour practicum and a 400 hour internship. Those hours may seem a little lofty, but in the industry the experience is truly valuable. So much of the sport business is learned through real-life experiences and that is something Fisher really emphasizes through their classes as well as through countless opportunities to volunteer and travel to such things as conferences and sport organizations outside of Rochester.
As an undergrad, I completed my internship with the Monroe County Sports Commission under the direction of the director of operations who was also a Fisher grad. Having that field experience towards the end of my four years allowed me to tie together all the lessons I had learned in the classroom and put me in a position for a full-time job. Upon completion of my 400 hours, I kept in touch with the organization and a year later I received a call encouraging me to apply for an opportunity that had just opened up. It certainly meant a great deal to me that the MCSC would entertain the thought of hiring me a full year after completing my internship.
Someone once said to me, the sport industry is a lot about who you know but also who knows you. I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if Fisher didn’t have a solid reputation for producing highly qualified graduates that have gained tremendous experience in the field during their years in the program. I am a prime example of how truly important it is to take pride in yourself, your work, and have a résumé with plenty of experience. With patience and persistence, you too will land a career in the sport industry.
Libby Woodruff is the manager of urban redevelopment for the city of Fort Pierce..