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My Impactful Internship with The Raleigh Firebirds

“Some things cannot be taught; they must be experienced. You never learn the most valuable lessons in life until you go through your own journey.” I believe this quote by Roy T. Bennett highlights the value this internship has provided for me.

Thanks to the help of the CNR Enrichment Fund, instead of learning about sport marketing and game-day operations in a classroom, I got the opportunity to learn it in action, through experiences. CNR provided me with resources to make the most out of my experience and truly enrich myself educationally. My experience was an informal internship with a new professional basketball team to Raleigh, the Raleigh Firebirds. I mainly directed activities related to marketing, promotions and game-day operations, where I worked closely with Wade Harris, the managing partner and director of player development. The overarching goals of the organization are to bring professional basketball back to Raleigh, give back to the local community, provide talented players a platform to grow professionally in order to move up, and to promote STEM education for the community’s youth. The objectives of my internship were to gain experience in the field, grow my professional skills and promote the Firebirds throughout the community and on-campus to increase their fan base.

At each home game throughout the season, I coordinated the many activities that occur during the course of the game. The most significant activity I was responsible for carrying out, was competitions with fans for promotional prizes. A challenge I faced related to the in-game competitions, occurred when I ran them at half-time because I had to coordinate with all of the other groups who were also performing at half-time. It was difficult to communicate due to the loud environment and sometimes we had to change activities around at the very last minute. This led to me having to run around and re-arrange everything. It was often very demanding and stressful in the moment, but it was an important learning experience. I learned just how valuable and necessary it is to be adaptable in this industry, especially for game-day operations, which will serve me 
well in my future jobs. I also learned that I am completely capable of handling any hiccups during the games.

Overall, my internship with the Raleigh Firebirds was life-changing and I gained so much more experience and improved myself professionally even more so than I had expected. I now truly understand the phrase, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Often times, my work with the Firebirds did not feel like real “work” to me. This is because I was doing something that I love and am passionate about. This internship definitely made me more confident about what I want to do in my future career. I have no doubt that this experience affected my career for the better. I am now extremely comfortable with reaching out to people I do not know, communicating with other professionals and doing activities on the court where everybody is watching me. Not only will these things be useful in my career, but also in my personal and academic life because I am more comfortable with putting myself out there and showing everybody just how much I have to offer.