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Landing Competitive Sports Internship Yields Valuable Experience

Three years ago, Jenni Stumpff (senior, Iowa City, Iowa) thought nothing of jotting down an e-mail address displayed on a power point in one of her journalism classes. The slide suggested a contact for students interested in sports media.

She didn’t expect that three years later she would be graduating with a resume packed with experience gained from her internship as a sports information student assistant for Hawkeye Sports.

Though Stumpff originally came to The University of Iowa with her eyes on public relations, her interest in sports, particularly baseball, prompted her to apply for the internship. Stumpff’s father is a baseball coach, and she has a background in softball.

Stumpff said that student interns generally aren’t used for baseball due to the complicated and time-consuming work, but she got lucky when they were looking for extra help in the department at the time she was being hired.

After she sent her resume, Stumpff went through what she called an “intimidating” interview in which she responded to difficult questions posed by three of her bosses.

One of her supervisors, Matt Weitzel calls Stumpff a “self-starter” and “quick-learner”, and said she caught their eye due to her excellent writing samples, communication skills, motivation and interest in baseball.

After landing the extremely competitive internship, Stumpff was thrown into the world of sports information.

“It’s definitely learn-as-you-go,” she said. “The first couple of press releases I turned in looked like they were bleeding with red corrections.”

Stumpff is now the student assistant intern to the baseball team as well as men’s gymnastics and women’s golf. In addition, she helps to keep stats for football and the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

In the box Stumpff works in the press box at a baseball game

Stumpff’s duties include updating with information on the sports she covers, sending out press releases, being the go-between for media and athletes, keeping official stats and attending all home events related to her sports.

Outside of her regular duties, she has also helped design and layout the entire Baseball Media Guide for Hawkeye Sports, which includes over 100 pages of stats, information and photos written and selected by Stumpff herself.

“It’s amazing to be able to bring a published book that I’ve worked on [into interviews],” Stumpff said.

Though she often exceeds the 20 hour work week that student employees are typically limited to, Stumpff is enthusiastic about her work and believes it will give her a leg up on competition in the job market after graduation.

“For me to be a student and have three years of experience in baseball is crazy,” Stumpff said. “The stat program is almost impossible to learn, so it’s been very beneficial to have that experience.”

Weitzel, who also started his career as an intern in the sports information department at Iowa, is confident that the work will pay off and said that Stumpff has learned a great deal from her three years that has prepared her for a path in media relations.

“Our office provides a great stepping stone for those who wish to pursue this as a career,” Weitzel said. “Many of our students have gone on to have successful careers in a sports-related field.”

Stumpff recommends the internship to any students interested in sports and writing and said that the opportunities the position offers are priceless.

After gaining experience with ESPN and The Big Ten Network and making contacts through her travel with the baseball team, Stumpff refers to her intern work as an “invaluable experience”.

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