College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

When an internship is as rewarding as this, you know you've landed on the right career.

Postcards from the field

Chris Carr

Graduating senior

Sport Management major

Internship title

Program Assistant, Intramural Sports

Recreational Athletic Center

Fairfax, Virginia

Chris Carr (fifth from left) looks back on a rewarding internship, part of earning a B.S. in Sport Management.

The experiences I gained working with Intramural Sports were incredible. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of the department since my sophomore year. The department features a promote-from-within organizational system where I was able to climb through the ranks from a referee, to a supervisor, to a part-time intern, and finally to my senior internship experience as the Intramural Sports program assistant.

The opportunities I gained to advance myself professionally during my role as the program assistant could not have been matched anywhere else. I acted as an instructor through my self-designed training, a facilitator through leading SWOT analysis for staff and participants, and as a manager through generating a weekly schedule for over 70 employees. All of the professional staff made me feel appreciated and enhanced my ability to excel in these roles. Their supportive nature helped me flourish in the recreation sports field.

I continued to advance professionally by attending the annual National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The department continued to show its support for me by completely funding the expenses of the conference. The opportunity to learn from other professionals in the field across the nation is extremely beneficial. I was able to learn and network myself with others in the field so that I can continue to develop a mutual beneficial network of relationships with my colleagues from other universities.

It is my career objective to become an intramural coordinator at a reputable recreation program at an institute of higher learning. I aim to increase student involvement within their university through intramural sports. I believe that this involvement leads to a sense of community with the participants, and I believe that it is this sense of community that increases retention. I judge that the means to obtain this goal lie in progressing both academically through higher education and professionally through progressive experiences.

During my internship, I took the next step toward this goal by accepting an intramural sports graduate assistant position at Indiana University. The position will allow me to continue to grow professionally and academically through the fully paid master’s degree in athletic administration. I would have never been able to take this next step forward without the continued support of my mentors and supervisors, Paul Bazzano and Colby Grant. Their trust in me to complete these advanced responsibilities gave me the confidence to push myself further to break into the field professionally.

While the experience was professionally rewarding, the personal value of seeing the referees grow and mature through the year is difficult to measure. I’ve seen a number of the first-year officials who came into the department in the fall as timid and shy referees who have gained confidence at such a heightened level that they will undoubtedly be promoted next year. Knowing that I aided in this transformation is a feeling that can never be matched.

 

POSTCARDS from the field

About

Postcards from the Field is an occasional series featuring dispatches from Mason students taking part in internships. These field experiences are a key component of many areas of study in the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism, a part of George Mason University's College of Education and Human Development. Mason's location and connections in the Greater Washington area means students are able to take advantage of internships at some of the country's most sought after organizations, where students gain an insider's view, professional contacts, and invaluable career experience.

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