Another year has come and gone, and I am finally a senior at New York University. Although I just completed my third year in college, there were a multitude of “firsts” along the way. It was the first year I took Sports Management classes. I acquired a minor in Business Entertainment in Media and Technology. To top it all off, I managed two jobs and an internship. As stressful as it may seem, I know it will only get busier as time continues, and I could not be happier with my experience thus far.
Declaring a Sports Law concentration in the Sports Management Program was one of the best decisions I made in college. It allows me to combine my passion for sports with my interest in law. I wake up everyday and discuss sports with classmates and professors. For the first time, I finally feel like I paved my own path towards a future career that I feel I’ll be good at and enjoy. Learning from guest speakers and leaders in the industry like Sonny Vaccaro (the mastermind behind Michael Jordan and Air Jordan), Christie Rampone (US Women’s National Soccer Team Captain), Willis Reed (former New York Knicks player), and Kate Fagan (ESPN writer) instilled words of wisdom for a career in sports. At the same time, these icons also opened my eyes to all the different possibilities that sports provide.
I tested these possibilities through my work experience throughout the year. I picked the brains of parents (working for Sports Illustrated and ESPN) whose son I took to and from basketball and soccer practices. I observed the NYU athletic trainers as a student assistant, and understood the amount of pressure and commitment it takes to collaborate with players and coaches alike. Finally, I learned the media and production side of sports while conducting research and transcribing footage at my internship with Mandalay Sports Media.
With the minor I’m pursuing, I’m able to triangulate experiences gained from my internship with topics in technology and sports media. For instance, I conducted research on virtual reality for a Mandalay Sports Media Project. The research was then used to discuss Mark Zuckerberg’s acquisition of the Oculus VR in both my technology and sports media classes.
During these moments, I look back and reflect on those who have influenced and supported my dreams. Dr. Gib Palmer gave me my first job as a soccer referee in sixth grade. Mr. Dameon Jones taught me how to teach others. Mr. Alfredo DiPinto showed me how he manages multiple businesses. My closest friends continue to stick by my side, and my parents provide genuine guidance. The Simple Gifts Scholarship embodies the family-oriented spirit of these people, among the many deserving others of Sampson County. Combining the mental support from the community with the financial support from the Simple Gifts Scholarship, I am humbled and excited for the next “first” to present itself.