Name: Aleck Garcia
Hometown: Hialeah, FL
Major: Recreation and sports management
Where did you intern: Miami Super Bowl Host Committee
What did you do there? Worked as a volunteer coordinator
How did you get your internship? What projects did you work on? During my first semester as a sports management student, my professor, Nicholas Smith, would always bring up the opportunity to volunteer for the Super Bowl. He put me in contact with the manager of volunteers Christian Setian.
I interned with the Host Committee since April. Some of the projects I was in charge of included recruiting people who were interested in volunteering for this week-long event. Some of those recruiting events included setting up at Dolphins games and letting fans know about this great experience.
The most important project I worked on was overseeing our volunteer activation at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. We had 500 to 600 volunteers just at the airport. Our volunteers would greet guests arriving for Super Bowl week using creative and interactive signs. I would act as the point of contact, give briefings and make sure all the volunteers had exactly what they needed to have a great time.
What was the coolest thing that happened during your internship? I have done a lot of cool things throughout this internship but working Super Bowl Sunday tops the list. Being blessed with the opportunity to work field-level inside the tunnels was a once-in-a-life-time opportunity. As someone who looks to work in sports, seeing the behind-the-scenes work is incredible. I was stationed by the Kansas City Chiefs locker room, so I had the opportunity to see every player coming in and out of the locker room. Seeing players and celebrities such as Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Kanye West and Marc Anthony walking right in front of you really puts in perspective how big this one event is.
What did you like most about your experience? My favorite experience working with the Super Bowl had to be just meeting and getting to know our volunteers. They are some of the most genuine people you will ever meet. Working all together to showcase my home city of Miami to the rest of the world is very fulfilling.
What did you learn about yourself? From this internship, I learned hard work will get rewarded. I also learned I can be a confident leader and properly handle events that I would have never imagined myself handling.
How did you expand your professional network? My bosses Christian Setian, Kenisha Brown-Alexander and Elle Kehoe are all respected and accomplished professional working in sports. They were able to introduce me to representatives of the Orange Bowl Committee, the NFL and even associates who will be working on the Tampa Super Bowl Host Committee (2021) and New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committee (2024).
How did it help you prove yourself in the “real world”? The Super Bowl is the single most watched event in North America. Not having major sports work experience prior to starting this internship I had to hit ground running to keep up. After months of working hard, I soon was able to find my way. The amount of work that goes behind the scenes is absolutely insane.
Throughout Super Bowl week (Jan. 25 to Feb. 2) I worked more than 110 hours. One of our leaders said it best: “If you can survive Super Bowl week, you can work anywhere.” I strongly believe that. Because of this internship with the Super Bowl, I can confidently say I am able to work any event.
What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? The point of an internship is to learn! You will not know everything when you first start so do not get discouraged when you are faced with a problem. Make sure you NETWORK, especially if you are considering working in sports. The sports industry may look large from the outside, but it is a very tight circle where everyone knows everyone.
Most importantly, be as flexible as you can! Attend every event, meeting or social gathering you can because you may never know who you are going to meet.