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Hospitality students and alumni supersized their resumes at Super Bowl LVIII
20 FIU students and alumni at work at SBLVIII

Hospitality students and alumni supersized their resumes at Super Bowl LVIII

February 13, 2024 at 2:18pm

Twenty FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and FIU Online students studying Mega Event Management, along with FIU alumni worked several NFL events in Las Vegas over Super Bowl weekend.

But before they got to work, they participated in an alumni reunion and received three exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of The Sphere, Caesar's Forum and the new Fontainebleau Las Vegas resort, all perks of attending a top-rated hospitality school.


FIU hospitality students pose for a picture outside Allegiant Stadium, site of Super Bowl LVIII.

Samantha Wagner, who is getting her master's degree in mega event management, has worked at a variety of large events, including Art Basel and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival®. Wagner and her fellow students and alumni signed up to join the NFL's "Teammate Program." Teammates support activities related to the Super Bowl guest experience at a number of NFL and Super Bowl events.


FIU students, including Samantha Wagner (second from left), take a minute for a selfie at the NFL Experience.

Wagner says despite her past work experience at massive venues, being a part of the Super Bowl activities was still eye-opening as nothing compares to America's favorite pastime. We caught up with her to find out why.

How many Super Bowl events did you work?

I worked three events throughout the week. On Wednesday, we worked the Shannon Sharpe Super Bowl Kick Off Party, where we helped with the Red Carpet and directing the guests into the event. On Saturday, we worked the Super Bowl Experience and Sunday we were at Allegiant Stadium assisting with Exterior Fan Services.

What was the atmosphere like in Vegas?

The atmosphere was incredible to be around! There were so many fans representing their teams and you could feel the excitement everywhere we went.

What was your favorite part of the trip?

My favorite part of the trip was the bonds I made with the other students who went. Being able to work an event that I had always dreamed about while working with friends was an amazing experience.


A group of FIU alumni, who founded events management club Back of House, traveled with students to Super Bowl LVIII.

Miiranda Ghirimoldi, who graduated in 2023 and founded the Chaplin School's events management club called Back of House, says Super Bowl weekend is one of the highlights on her resume.

The alumni reunion that preceded it reiterated how FIU has prepared her for a career in the field. "We had insightful discussions about the Las Vegas and Miami markets and shared contacts for future collaborations," she said. "I love the idea of Panthers working together in the industry and look forward to collaborating with them in the future." 


FIU students and alumni posing alongside the NFL's Vince Lombardy Trophy given to the winning team.

Ghirimoldi has worked three Super Bowls to date and says she can't get enough of the experience. We had a short Q&A with her to find out why. 

What did you do at the Super Bowl?

I worked as part of the ENGIE team, which focuses on sustainability initiatives at the Super Bowl. My role involved encouraging recycling at pre-game parties and during the game. The ENGIE team is a new addition to the event and is implementing numerous sustainable measures. These efforts include not only waste recycling, but also finding new homes for banners, carpets, and materials used for the pre-game events and the game.

How is working at the Super Bowl different from other mega events you've worked on? Is it harder or easier?

Working at the Super Bowl is a unique experience. The logistics involved in executing such a large-scale event are incredibly complex, and the intensity of the week is unmatched. Despite the long hours and little sleep, I find it to be a rewarding experience. This was my third Super Bowl, and each time, I learn so much about events and marketing initiatives. While it's challenging, I love being a part of such a prestigious event and am grateful for the opportunity.

Do you think having the experience of working at the Super Bowl as a student helped you as an alumna, giving you connections for working the game?

Absolutely! Each year I work the Super Bowl, I gain more connections and opportunities in the industry. It's been a great way to meet new professionals and reconnect with those I've met in the past. Working the game has opened doors for me and helped me build a strong network in the industry.

Both students and alumni who participated in Super Bowl LVIII agree that being part of one of the world's most watched sporting events is "an experience of a lifetime."


Left to right: FIU Hospitality alumni Dulvanese Innecco, Dominika Rocco, Marijose Umana Noriega and Miranda Ghirimoldi worked on the sustainability team at Super Bowl VIII.