Bellisario College students appreciate, embrace Super Bowl opportunities

January 27, 2020

She’s four months shy of graduation and not about to stop adding to the experiences that have shaped her college career.

Carly Fried is not alone, either. Fried, a senior advertising/public relations major, is one of 10 Penn State students who will be working for the NFL or a media outlet this week at the Super Bowl.

“I’ve tried hard to make the most of everything Penn State has to offer, and this is just another amazing opportunity,” Fried said. The New York City native said she picked Penn State because of its big-school opportunities when she was making her college choice four years ago. “My goal was always a career in sports and this has been the perfect place to make that happen. Hopefully this is another step toward that goal.”

Fried is one of four students from the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications working for the NFL itself this week. She’ll be assisting with the league’s media and public relations team as part of what has become an annual opportunity for standout college students. Others in the group are: Kimani Haughton, a senior telecommunications major from Philadelphia; Jordan Kalfon, a junior journalism major from Herndon, Virginia; and Mackenzie Rizzi, a senior journalism major from Metairie, Louisiana.

Four other students will be covering the game and all that surrounds it as part of a partnership with the Centre Daily Times and McClatchy Newspapers. That group of journalism majors includes: junior Jake Aferiat, from Hillsdale, New Jersey; senior David Eckert, from Hawley, Pennsylvania; senior Ally Lutter, from Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania; and senior Hannah Mears, from Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

That quartet will be working under the direction of John Affleck, the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society and director of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. A longtime Associated Press editor before joining the Penn State faculty, Affleck has led student working groups on assignment to Cuba, England, Brazil and Ireland in the past. A separate group of students will travel to Tokyo this summer to cover the Paralympics as part of a partnership with the AP.

Two more Bellisario College students will broadcast live from Radio Row before the Super Bowl and provide postgame coverage. Senior journalism majors Will Desautelle, from Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, and Zach Kaplan, from Needham, Massachusetts, will be working for CommRadio, the internet-based student station housed in the Bellisario College.

Both students have completed a variety of internships and earned other important skills-building opportunities during their undergraduate careers. Still, the Super Bowl tops the list for both.

“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to be in Miami for the week,” Desautelle said. “It's been a lifelong dream of mine to go to the Super Bowl, so to be able to cover the event all week as an aspiring sports journalist will be an incredible experience.”

"I'm excited to be down in Miami, and I think this will be a great opportunity for our station to show what we can do with six hours of live programming from Radio Row," Kaplan said.

Along with the students, Penn State’s contingent at the Super Bowl includes many communications alumni.

At the NFL, Michael Signora serves as senior vice president of football and international communications, Jonathan Barker is the head of live event production and operations, and Kenyah Jordan-Jackson is a publicist for the league’s youth football efforts. Plus, NFL Films includes dozens of Penn State alumni. Many of those people will be on site, including senior producer Shannon Furman will be working on a feature for Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” during the week.

The director of Fox’s television broadcast of the game, which could be viewed by nearly 95 million people, will be alumnus Rich Russo. Numerous Penn State alumni will be part of the overall media contingent, and Katie Kemmerer, a former community outreach assistant who was promoted to event support coordinator, works for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Penn State has an on-field presence as well. Five players on team rosters for the game played football for the Nittany Lions — Kicker Robbie Gould and defensive linemen Kevin Givens and Anthony Zettel for the San Francisco 49ers, and offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski and defensive back Jordan Lewis for the Kansas City Chiefs.

The game is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 2 from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.


  • CommRadio Kaplan and Desautelle

    Journalism majors Zach Kaplan (left) and Will Desautelle will represent CommRadio on Radio Row at the Super Bowl this week.

    IMAGE: Photo Provided
Last Updated June 02, 2021