Five students get opportunity to work Super Bowl for NFL

On Feb. 4, former Penn Staters Stefen Wisniewski (Philadelphia Eagles) and Chris Hogan (New England Patriots) will take the field in Minneapolis, Minnesota, looking to help their respective teams to a Super Bowl title.

But they won’t be the only Nittany Lions at work. For the eighth consecutive year, Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications students will be part of the NFL's Super Bowl staff.

The five students making the trip to U.S. Bank Stadium for the matchup between the Eagles and Patriots are: senior journalism major Jill Beckman (Voorhees, New Jersey), senior advertising/public relations major Marty Kassalen (Pittsburgh), senior advertising/public relations major Kaitlin Kemmerer (Mohrsville, Pennsylvania), junior journalism major Brandon Pelter (Pocono Pines, Pennsylvania) and senior advertising/public relations major Alex Sheinman (Demarest, New Jersey). 

The students will be getting hands-on experience working for the league’s communications department during Super Bowl week, which is led by alumnus Michael Signora, the NFL’s vice president of football communications.

For the students, that means interacting in a variety of ways with the nearly 6,000 credentialed media, athletes 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 throughout Super Bowl 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.

It also means opportunity. Journalism alumna Ellen McNair worked the Super Bowl as a student in 2012. That experience led to a full-time internship with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She worked two more Super Bowls after that through the Buccaneers.

“That opportunity, for me, was what introduced me to what I ultimately decided I wanted to do and the career that I wanted to chase,” said McNair.

“Even if you have a great resume, if you’re applying for these internships, there are 32 NFL teams. You’re just a name on a resume for them. To actually be able to know these people and to get in front of them and have that experience, it was invaluable.”

McNair is now digital, public and media relations coordinator for the Minnesota Wild and Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, about eight miles from U.S. Bank Stadium. While she may not be working the Super Bowl this year, it did come full circle. As part of Super Bowl activities, Xcel Energy Center is playing host to Super Bowl Opening Night Jan. 29 and The Night Before show featuring the Dave Mathews Feb. 3.

McNair has plans to meet the five Penn State students and Signora for dinner while they are in Minnesota. Her advice to the group?

“This is a working job opportunity. This is a one-of-a-kind experience that most people are never going to get, so treat it as that,” said McNair.

“You have to always be on. You just really don’t know who’s watching.”

Last Updated January 25, 2018