Comparative literature senior spends summer with Kansas City Royals

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Bryce Starner, a rising senior at Penn State, spent his summer in the Dominican Republic as an intern for the Kansas City Royals. As an aspiring Major League Baseball (MLB) executive, working for the Royals is the exact type of experience Bryce hoped to gain this summer; however, the journey to this opportunity wasn’t easy.

Last fall, Starner wrote over 170 cover letters to executives from every MLB franchise in hopes of finding an internship in baseball operations or international scouting.

“I knew that the likelihood of hearing anything back was slim-to-none,” Starner said. “Although I did receive several responses, all of them were polite rejections and led me nowhere.”

Refusing to give up, Starner connected with an executive from the Kansas City Royals to discuss some questions he had about the industry. He didn’t think the conversation would lead to an internship opportunity with the franchise, but two months later the Royals invited him to interview for a position at their Dominican Republic franchise, and the rest, according to Starner, is history.

Starner spent most of his time with the team, from taking statistical measurements like pitch speed and exit bat velocity during the games, to conducting English tutoring lessons with the players to teach them baseball vocabulary and other material that will help them once they join the minor leagues in the United States.

Once a week, he traveled to Casa Amor, a local orphanage in Santo Domingo, with several Royals players to conduct baseball clinics for the children. He also spearheaded a social media campaign with friends and family back home to collect used sporting equipment, toys, books and other donations for the orphans at Casa Amor. Starner was able to surprise the orphans with over 170 lbs of gifts.

“I even made sure that all 30 plus orphans got their own Penn State shirt and we got pictures/videos of them doing the ‘WE ARE’ chant," he said.

Starner is a triple major, studying comparative literature, Spanish and corporate innovation and entrepreneurship. As a Spanish major, he has not only been able to utilize his language skills to communicate with the players and locals in Santo Domingo but also expand on his abilities. “Living at the academy with the players has pushed me towards fluency because that's the only way to communicate with them on the field, in the classroom, and during free time,” he explained. “I'm extremely close to complete fluency and can communicate wherever I go without any issues; it makes me excited to come back to Penn State and use my newly-obtained fluency in all of my Spanish classes.”

At Penn State, Starner is involved in THON and the Interfraternity Council and is a member of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. He is part of the Smeal College of Business Sapphire Leadership Academic Program, a group of students that represent the top 5 percent of Smeal students. He has extensive experience in the field of athletics as a recruitment operations intern with Penn State Football and previously interned with the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and York Revolution, a baseball team in the Atlantic League.

Working with an MLB team is something Starner has always dreamed of, and the experience he has gained this summer leads him one step closer to achieving his goal of working as an MLB executive.

“As cliché as it may sound, this exact position has been something that I’ve worked towards for the last ten years," he said. "It’s surreal to have watched this lifelong dream of mine come to fruition and compare my realities of each day to what I had always envisioned in my mind. I humbly believe that this internship will propel me into my first full-time job after graduating from Penn State next spring, and I’m a firm believer that if you do what you love, it isn’t really work after all.”

This is the first in a series on the experiences of students in the College of the Liberal Arts this summer.

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Last Updated August 16, 2018