Sports communication panel brings industry executives to Rowan

Ryan Schwepfinger (left) and Zach Hill answer questions from students at the PRSSA sports communication panel -Staff Photo/Matt Kass

Tuesday afternoon in the Chamberlain Student Center, members of the Rowan University chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) met to hear about potential opportunities for a career in sports communication.

A two-man panel, consisting of Zack Hill, the senior director of communications for the Philadelphia Flyers and Ryan Schwepfinger, the communications manager for the Philadelphia Union, a soccer team, took questions from students in the club about what sports teams look for in potential interns.

Junior public relations major Brenna Jones said that she was happy to have had the opportunity to hear seasoned members of sports communication teams speak about their experiences.

“I just started PR. I’ve been every major under the sun and I always say PR is my home,” Jones said. “It’s where I’m supposed to be, and I’ve been working in sports since I was 16. Just to hear their stories and where they’ve come from and where I could possibly be in the next couple of years is really exciting.”

The general consensus from both men during the meeting was that anyone working in public relations for a team as an intern or in a job has to deal with many scenarios during their time on the job. Both men agreed that the two most helpful traits for someone looking to get into the field are an abundance of common sense and the ability to be patient.

As for how to land that internship, the message was simple; you have to really sell yourself as someone who will be a credit to the workplace and you have to project confidence during your interview.

After the meeting, Hill and Schwepfinger stuck around to take questions from the students.

When asked about how he felt seeing college students coming out to the panel, Hill said he was filled with optimism.

“I think it’s very encouraging. As old as I am, I used to be the same,” Hill said. “I was in your shoes before, and I know what it’s like to have guest speakers come out and speak, because you’re not just having a lecture, you’re having someone with first-hand experience who is actually living it right now. So I think it’s awesome and it shows students like yourself that you have passion, you have drive and you’re looking to succeed.”

Schwepfinger added that bringing college students in for internships in the field is something that he enjoys doing. It allows him to see who fits into the business.

“For me, there’s no better way to learn about somebody and to see what they offer than by having them out for a game,” he said. “I can sit and I can chat with you for 20-30 minutes, but to give somebody the opportunity to try it in the form of an internship, that’s how I’m going to learn more about you and that’s how you’re going to learn more about me. That’s how you’re going to learn more about this industry and what we do.”

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