Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles about summer internships for students in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — She may be a Seattle Seahawks fan, but Kaitlin Kemmerer is spending the summer at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. And, despite having to walk past the Steelers’ 2005 Super Bowl XL trophy from a win against the Seahawks on a regular basis, Kemmerer is enjoying the experience.
Kemmerer, an advertising/public relations major at Penn State who is heading into her senior year, is serving as a club events intern at Heinz Field. Kemmerer assists with events held in Heinz Field, including weddings, corporate events, concerts, proms and more. Kemmerer’s responsibilities include event planning tasks like responding to email inquiries, compiling materials for events, going over work orders, making sure events are set up and cleaned up, and attending events to be the person of contact.
“It’s the behind-the-scenes working stuff like working with all of the vendors, working with people, and getting the events together,” said Kemmerer. “I’m primarily doing the little stuff that you don’t even think about when you’re planning an event.”
Since high school, Kemmerer had a hunch that she wanted to someday work in football. The Reading, Pennsylvania, native served as a manager for her high school football team during her senior year, and that was where it all started.
“I was hooked after that. I liked being there. I didn’t care about working kind of weird hours,” said Kemmerer.
When she came to Penn State, her love for the sport continued. She completed an internship with Penn State football and is an intern with the athletics strategic communications office, where she will serve as the primary contact for men’s tennis in the fall. The internship at Heinz Field is the next step in completing a variety of experiences to help boost her resume.
“I don’t know specifically what I want to do, so I’m kind of feeling out all the different sides of it,” said Kemmerer. “When I was with football, I did video. I’ve been doing more of the PR and statistics side with sports info. I’ve always been interested in event planning, but more for sports-related organizations. It’s helping me get connections with another football stadium and another football team.”
Not only did her experiences at Penn State pay off, but so did her connections. Being a member of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) played an integral role in Kemmerer securing the summer opportunity in Pittsburgh. When she was looking for internships, Kemmerer texted former Penn State AWSM president Caitlyn Cossu asking if she knew of any openings in the Pittsburgh area. Kemmerer’s connection with Cossu, who also interned at Heinz Field, helped her secure the position.
Kemmerer usually works anywhere from 30-40 hours per week, including some nights and weekends depending on the event. One of the things she’s most looking forward to? Working the U2 concert coming to Heinz Field on June 7. She anticipates that to be a long day, but for Kemmerer, the job and the people around her make it enjoyable.
“I love being in another football stadium,” she said. “Also, just how tight-knit everyone is. It already kind of feels like a family. Obviously, learning a whole other side of football and sports that I didn’t really know about. It’s fun. I’ve definitely learned a lot already.”