UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Pittsburgh Steelers fan George Peters scored the internship of a lifetime -- in enemy territory. The turfgrass science major in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences interned at Lincoln Financial Field with the Philadelphia Eagles grounds crew.
Peters, from Pennsylvania Furnace, Pa., has been interested in sports-turf management since high school and relished the opportunity to get hands-on experience. "My goal for some time has been to become the head groundskeeper at a professional-sports venue," he said. "I wanted to get experience not only for my resume, but to get a feel for whether it was the type of work I wanted to do after graduating."
Peters, who is earning a minor in environmental soil science, worked with the Eagles grounds crew from spring 2010 through the last regular-season game on Jan. 2 of this year.
As part of the crew, Peters, now a senior, helped apply pesticides, mow grass and even paint turf. "We cared for the playing field at Lincoln Financial Field and maintained the three practice fields at the NovaCare Complex," he said.
"This included fertilizing, applying herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, and handling other cultural practice on the fields. We also painted the lines, numbers and logos on the fields and tended to the landscaping around the stadium."
Peters and the rest of the grounds crew found time to relax in the city. "Living in the city was a big adjustment for me, and I didn't have much free time. When we did, we usually spent it tailgating for baseball or hockey games, and a few of us got together for Monday Night Football," he said.
Peters often encountered the football players. "We ate in the same cafeteria as the players, so we got to see them regularly," he said. "Several sat and talked to us a time or two."
Peters described the internship as invaluable to his career. "It was a wonderful experience," he said. "It was so relevant to my degree and career, and I made business contacts while doing it."