August 27, 2014

Q&A with Penn State's Tatum Coffey on ESPN Internship

by Megan Schneider | | Twitter

Penn State midfielder Tatum Coffey spent her summer in Bristol, Conn., home of ESPN's headquarters. She spoke with Lacrosse Magazine to share her experience interning with this media company in its creative services department.

How did you first hear about this opportunity to intern for ESPN?

Many students majoring in sportscasting have the dream of working for ESPN. I spoke about the idea of applying for an ESPN summer internship to my family and decided to take a risk and apply for The Worldwide Leader in Sports: ESPN.

You were one of 40 interns selected to intern in Bristol this summer. What was the application process like?

I applied for the internship online and received a phone call months later. I went through multiple phone interviews where an ESPN recruiter asked me questions about my skills, college classes and my personal background. After going through at least four phone interviews, I received a final phone call saying that I would be working at ESPN as a creative services intern at the ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn.

As one of 40 interns at ESPN this summer, Tatum Coffey was able to add to her sportscasting portfolio by working with the creative services department. (Photo courtesy of Tatum Coffey)

How excited were you once you heard you got the internship?

At Penn State, I got involved in PSN-TV, PSU ComRadio, and broadcasting classes, so interning for ESPN has always been a goal of mine ever since freshman year of college when I knew I wanted to be involved with sportscasting. Overall, I was extremely honored to receive an internship at such a respected and well-known company. It was great to hear that I would be spending the whole summer experiencing the ESPN culture.

Your title was creative services intern. What did that entail?

Creative services was the perfect team for me to be a part of at ESPN. It is a combination of ESPN's production and business. I am majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in business so I thoroughly enjoyed seeing and experiencing both aspects of ESPN.

What prompted you to change your major that ultimately led to this internship?

I was originally majoring in public relations at Penn State, but later came to the realization that I wanted to be involved in sportscasting. I quickly changed my major to broadcast journalism, which requires a minor. Penn State has a prestigious business college called Smeal College of Business, so I decided to minor in business.

What were some key takeaways from your internship that can be applied directly to your major?

This internship showed me that ESPN is not only a team, but a family. Working was not about the individuals themselves, but is about helping others out and working as one. I met tons of great people who gave me a lot of responsibilities throughout my internships, which made me even more confident about my future.

Describe a typical day at ESPN this summer.

I would usually start working around 8 a.m. and my schedule would depend on what project my manager Pam Neff would give me for the day. She would move me around different ESPN buildings so I could take on different projects. I sat in on meetings, saw some of ESPN's talent, help produced promos and created panels. Some days, I would even be able to go to ESPN's NYC campus to join the sales and marketing team. Around 5 p.m., I would end my work day and I would go back to our apartment of 40 interns, which was supplied by the ESPN internship program. I would do my Penn State lacrosse workout packet, cook dinner and then I would hang out with my eight other roommates until we all decided to get some sleep.

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