Junior Sports Journalism student Alexis Downie’s first love has always been hockey. Last summer, she had the opportunity to get directly involved in the sport as a communications intern for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (NTDP).
“Interning with USA Hockey was a really special experience for me,” Downie said. “The sport of hockey has always stood out to me as something I get excited and passionate about.”
The NTDP has players from all over the country who aspire to refine their skills and receive scholarships to play at the next level. The program is made up of two teams, one for players under the age of 17 and one for players under the age of 18.
Discovering New Career Options
Downie updated the program’s social media pages, logged old footage and photos, wrote articles on team alumni and current players and covered the Stanley Cup and the National Hockey League (NHL) Draft.
At the final stage of her internship, Downie worked the World Junior Summer Showcase, where teams from Sweden, Finland, Canada and the USA played games in a week-long tournament. The event attracted scouts and large media outlets and Downie served as the media relations contact for Team Sweden.
Her role as Team Sweden’s media relations contact ignited her interest in media relations as a possible career path.
“My favorite part of the internship was the Summer Showcase,” Downie said. “Getting to work with an international team was a very valuable experience. I believe it developed me professionally and gave me new cultural views.”
Gaining Experience On and Off Campus
On campus, Downie works for the MSU hockey team as an intern, is a broadcaster and production assistant for Big Ten Network, is the Vice President of MSU’s Chapter of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) and is a member of the Ski Club.
She also gained experience off campus the summer after her freshman year as an intern for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, a college league summer baseball team in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She wrote game recaps and the weekly newsletter, served as a photographer and helped run the play-by-play Twitter account.
Perseverance Pays Off
Downie actively pursued the opportunity to intern for USA Hockey. Last fall, she contacted her soon-to-be-boss, Kris Nolt, who was referred to her as a knowledgeable source for internship opportunities. However, Downie was unable to intern during the season due to a lack of transportation. When summer neared, she reached out to him again and interviewed for the position.
Downie said that all ComArtSci students who want to attain a high-level internship should take the chance, brave the possibility of failure and go after the opportunity.
“Do not be discouraged or scared by their name. If you work hard enough and present yourself as a professional, you can achieve this goal,” Downie said. “Also, make sure to network yourself. You never know who will know someone valuable to you in the future.”
By Rianna N. Middleton