Internships provide graduates with insight into job preferences

Internship experiences prove to be change makers for students' pre-graduation career paths. McKinney senior Anna Grace Di Leo said she’s applying for jobs she wouldn’t have considered this time last year because of her internship. Photo courtesy of Anna Grace Le Di Leo

By Vivian Roach | Desk Editor

Baylor alumna Trisha Porzycki, an activation coordinator in the corporate partnerships department for the Dallas Stars, said she always knew she wanted to work in sports. Through several internships and mentorships, she made it happen.

Her first internship started far from the sports industry, though. Porzycki said she started interning the summer after her freshman year in college with a startup baby food company, Little Gourmets. Nevertheless, the experience introduced her to the marketing and advertising world, she said.

“I didn’t really think that I was ever going to go into food, especially baby food, but it was a really good opportunity to get started, especially during internships,” Porzycki said. “That’s one of the biggest things I’ve definitely learned from this experience: as soon as you can, start applying for internships. The smallest experiences count, so that was definitely a good starting point for me to go off of.”

Porzycki said her supervisor at Little Gourmets helped her hone in on specific skills from there.

It wasn’t until the next summer she broke into the sports industry through a job at an advertising firm in Houston. Along with that job, Porzycki said she spent time with the Houston Astros learning about sports business inside the team.

Still sports-related, her next internship was from a different industry perspective. In Chicago over the summer of 2019, she campaigned during events for sports teams with NBC Sports as a social media and marketing intern.

“It was really an awesome opportunity because I’d always seen a team side of things,” Porzycki said. “To be able to go on the outside and see a broadcasting side or an outside media experience, it showed me when I was applying for jobs after I graduated, do I want to be more on the outside of sports reporting on it or do I want to be more on the inside and working for a team?”

Throughout this time, she said she also spent about two years working with the Baylor Athletics communication department. For one of those years, she served as the student contact for the Baylor acrobatics and tumbling team.

“[Sports information directors] gave me a lot of freedom to learn about college sports, as well as I got the opportunity to be a student contact for acrobatics and tumbling on my own. I got to handle everything on my own,” Porzycki said.

However, with so many diverse experiences, she said it was her mentors who helped steer her in a clear direction. Porzycki said she found her current job due to a suggestion from her senior year mentor.

“I always tell people now — I’ve kind of figured this out, especially about the sports world — is getting mentors that really helped me throughout all those internship experiences,” Porzycki said. “I made sure to always keep in touch with all of my internship supervisors, all of my bosses.”

Well on her way to graduation, McKinney senior Anna Grace Dileo said she’s applying for jobs she wouldn’t have considered this time last year because of her internship.

As a requirement for apparel merchandising majors, her hunt for an internship started last spring. To her surprise, she got a visual merchandising internship with New York City-based lifestyle brand LoveShackFancy. It was unexpected because these internships aren’t as readily available, she said.

“I was the first visual merch intern for LoveShackFancy. They’ve done internships for a bunch of different areas for a long time, but this is their first time doing visual merch, which was fun because it was a new area for me and the brand,” Dileo said.

Dileo said her internship went remote when COVID-19 hit that spring. However, it turned out to be something even better because she has been able to continue the internship remotely.

“I never even thought that I would get a visual merchandising internship. I was just looking at buying internships, but this is the one I got, and I was so excited,” Dileo said. “And I’ve learned so much, being able to learn way more than if I was in person because I’ve been able to continue it.”

During her time with LoveShackFancy, the company has opened four more stores and are continuing to grow rapidly, Dileo said. Consequently, she said she recently collaborated with the other employees and made a visual merchandising guidebook for all the stores.

“We created the first-ever merchandising guidebook for the company because their visuals are something that is really important to LoveShack and across all four stores,” she said. “We made this guidebook to show the visual merchandising standards of the company, so that’s something cohesive they have. We’ll pair different patterns, and we’ll show what pieces to put together, like some inspiration for the mannequin that the whole company gets as well.”

Aside from visual merchandising, Dileo said the whole team’s collaborative work at LoveShackFancy made her realize collaboration is a must in a job post-graduation.

“The way LoveShack runs their company is very personable and almost like a family,” she said. “In so many teams, there’s a big crossover, which is awesome because we’re all working together for the same goal, we have the same mindset and the same brand vision.”