While the Iowa Women’s Basketball team enjoys a sold-out season and national accolades, Event Management Certificate students are there helping make it happen.
Caleb Striege, assistant director for event management for Hawkeye Athletics, says certificate students have a “huge impact” on gamedays, working as interns, student workers, volunteers, and even on the spirit squad.
“These students are able to continually get hands-on experience managing some of the largest sporting events in the state of Iowa,” Striege says.
Certificate freshman Charlie Shedd is a member of the spirit squad and can be seen on the court cheering on the team, performing stunts, and running the I-O-W-A flags.
Eliza Waage, a certificate student who graduated in December, can now reveal that she was Herky!
She says traveling the country as a mascot has taught her a lot about how events happen in different venues.
“Herky is always at the whim of the event planners, promotional teams, and gameday operations,” she says. “Learning to work on the fly and adjust in the moment as Herky has served me well in gaining job opportunities and working in sports.”
Other students are behind the scenes at Carver.
Senior Jake Andersen works on a team responsible for everything that happens on the court during timeouts or halftime, including the dance cam, shooting competitions, the T-shirt cannon, ads read by announcers, and giveaways.
He says he loves being able to enhance the experience for fans.
“There is a very good chance that any game we work is someone’s first game,” he says. “I remember a lot about my first Hawkeye game experiences as a child, and I love that I can play a part in creating memories for someone else.”
Junior Ainsley Shird is in the middle of a year-long internship with the Contemporary Services Corporation, which means she’s at Hawkeye home games scanning tickets, checking bags, and supervising a team of 5-10 staff members doing the same.
She says the certificate has prepared her for her role, especially through course work in crisis management.
“I have learned from the certificate program that it’s important to go with the flow at times and realize plans change. Sometimes split-second decisions need to be made based on prior knowledge and what feels right in the moment,” she says.
One of Striege’s Hawkeye athletics interns, certificate senior Tricia Even, is gaining experience by preparing timing and personnel sheets for staff members and the team, aiding in crowd management, supervising customer service student workers, preparing the scorers’ table for staff, and more.
Even says it’s been a special year to be involved in Hawkeye athletics.
“I love being a small part of something so much bigger, especially this year with women’s sports being spotlighted,” she says.
She also says her certificate studies have been an asset in her position.
“The classes I have taken in the certificate program have helped me so much in my role, especially the Workshop class where we actually planned our own event,” she says. “The confidence I gained from that project helped me be confident and continue to grow as an event professional in my current role.”
Striegel echoes Evens’ thoughts and says he’s thankful for the partnership between the certificate and his department.
“I believe the opportunities we offer our students go hand in hand with the curriculum and skills the Event Management Certificate teaches,” he says. “We look forward to welcoming more students in the future.”