Students Get Unrivaled Internship Opportunity at Super Bowl

Ellen McNair is one of four Penn State seniors working for the NFL this week as an intern at the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. (Provided photo)

Four Penn State seniors are spending this week in Indianapolis, working for the National Football League as interns at the Super Bowl.

This marks the second year in a row Penn State students have had the opportunity to work in that role. This year’s students — Adam Brown, a marketing major from Franklin Lakes, N.J.; Ellen McNair, a broadcast journalism major from Niceville, Fla.; Jenn Studer, a broadcast journalism major from Hershey, Pa.; and John Tecce, a marketing major from Eagle, Pa. — started their on-site work Sunday.

In this piece, McNair offers a first-person perspective about the experience.

By Ellen McNair
INDIANAPOLIS — As I sit here writing this in the hallway of the JW Marriott hotel in downtown Indianapolis, I look to my right and see longtime NFL quarterback Kurt Warner. Just moments before, College Football Hall of Fame running back Eddie George was standing in nearly the same spot.

It seems like every time I look up I am just feet away from former players I grew up idolizing.

For someone who is a big football fan like me, sometimes I have to pinch myself just so I know I’m not dreaming and I’m actually at Super Bowl XLVI. For me, the Super Bowl was always something I watched on television — a fun time with good friends, good food and, of course, good football. I always looked forward to watching The Big Game, but the high price of tickets and travel made actually being at the game just a far-fetched dream.

That was until a few months ago, when I was offered the opportunity of a lifetime to work for the National Football League the week of the Super Bowl on location in Indianapolis. The opportunity came from an invitation extended by the NFL’s Vice President of Communications, Michael Signora, a 1996 Penn State journalism graduate.

Mike not only offered me this opportunity, but did the same for three other Penn State seniors.

Our job at the Super Bowl involved everything from handing out press credentials to holding a tape recorder as a group of reporters interviews Tom Brady. I have also been assigned to work at the “Day Press Credentials Office.” The people I assist are former and current athletes, athletes’ agents and families, and members of the media who only need access to the NFL’s very restricted area for just a day.

This already has been a great personal and professional experience, but like everyone else here in Indianapolis I am looking forward to the No. 1 reason we are all here — the actual game. Bring on the Giants and the Patriots. I can’t wait to see Bill O’Brien, Penn State’s new football coach and New England’s offensive coordinator for one more game, in action. And in person!

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