Students get valuable experience working at Super Bowl

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For professional football players, the Super Bowl often represents the pinnacle of a playing career.

For a handful of Penn State students, though, the game and all that surrounds it provide a potentially strong starting point to their careers.

Three Penn State students earned the opportunity to work with the NFL’s public relations staff this year. The three students — Justin Charschan, Alisa Petercuskie and Danielle Renner — arrived on-site on Jan. 28 in Houston. All three are seniors who will return to the University Park campus the day after the game.

This is the seventh consecutive year Penn State students have worked for the league’s public relations department, led by alumnus Michael Signora, the NFL’s vice president of football communications.

“It’s been the experience of a lifetime,” said Renner, a broadcast journalism major from Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. “It’s been busy days with a variety of duties and that makes it challenging and enjoyable.”

Renner, a community relations assistant for the Penn State football program, hopes to build a career in community relations with a sports league or team, or with a non-profit organization.

Petercuskie, a broadcast journalism major from Centerville, Massachusetts, envisions a career on-air covering sports. She has completed a mix of experiences to prepare for that, with this week’s work providing additional perspective.

“To see how the whole operation works is impressive,” she said. “I didn’t know there were 10 days of preparation. So much work goes into it, and so many people contribute.”

For the students that means interacting in a variety of ways with the 6,000 or so credentialed media, celebrities and guests who converge on the Super Bowl. Some attend or cover a singular event or spend just a day on-site while others encamp for the entire week. The students work alongside other NFL officials and public relations professionals — including several Penn State alumni — as they distribute passes or help as needed for events.

“We’re mostly a liaison with the media, and we’re here to help with anything that comes up. Maybe that’s helping transcribe quotes or serving as a microphone runner at a news conference,” Charschan said. “It’s all great experience.”

A recreation, park and tourism management major from Long Beach, New York, Charschan wants to work in sports marketing. He has completed many internships and experiences in preparation for that goal, including work with MLB Advanced Media, Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics.

Last Updated February 01, 2017