In early March, sport administration master’s students Shayla Berrian, Martin Branick, Taylor Buis, Laura Hicks and James Profet traveled to Pensacola, Fla., to work the 2021 Sun Belt Conference Basketball Championship.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the sport industry, championship staff worked to maintain a “bubble” experience with masks, social distancing and constant cleaning precautions to ensure safety.
During their time, the students were able to cheer on Georgia State University’s basketball teams while gaining hands-on experience in various positions, including promotions, hospitality, media room and floor duties. Additionally, they were able to network with several leaders in the sport industry.
“The Sun Belt Conference was a great experience, with opportunities to learn about the intricacies of managing a conference championship and a unique opportunity to network with collegiate athletics professionals,” Branick said.
In the sport administration program, many students have the chance to work as graduate interns with the Georgia State Athletics. With his experience in the department as a facilities and operations assistant, master’s student Camron Phillips was able to work the Sun Belt Championship as an event manager for Arkansas State University. Additionally, master’s students Ronnie Wilcox and Ada Yalcin interned with the Georgia State women’s basketball team, further supporting the team’s success in the tournament.
Overall, the tournament proved to be a valuable experience for students.
“This year provided a unique perspective, as both the men’s and women’s tournaments were held in one location at the same time,” Hicks said. “Getting hands-on experience working with media personnel, team management, marketing and operations will help prepare me for any post-graduation role.