These students, who all work for MSU's Athletic Department, jumped at the chance when asked if they wanted to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated's 2014 NCAA Tournament preview issue along with CAS alumnus Mateen Cleaves and MSU basketball player Gary Harris.
"It's obviously a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I'm so grateful that I happened to be at the right place at the right time to be a part of it," said Melissa Poskey, a junior advertising major. "Like most people, I never would have thought I'd be on a cover of a magazine someday. It makes me happy and is something I will frame and keep forever."
When the Athletic Department got the call from Sports Illustrated to set up the photo with student basketball fans, they didn't have to look further than their own student employees, interns and volunteers.
"Our basketball SID asked if I would like to be on the cover of SI and I wasn't sure he was serious at first until he sent the email to the other students in the office," said Brock Lewandowski, a sophomore media and information major who works for Athletic Communications.
Students were told to wear their Spartan gear and to show up March 10 at the Breslin Center, where the photo was taken in the bleachers. The entire shoot took about an hour.
"The SI photographer personally placed each student around where Gary Harris would be sitting based on what we were wearing and then they brought in Gary," said Bri Harvey, a senior journalism major with a concentration in sports broadcasting. "We did a lot of different poses and they moved us around a lot. We had to actually scream and cheer as if we were apart of the Izzone at a live game."
A week later, the Sports Illustrated issue came out.
"I was in class when the cover came out. All of a sudden, my phone started blowing up with texts and notifications from Facebook and Twitter and I had no idea what was going on," Lewandowski said. "When I saw it, I was first relieved to see that I didn't get cut out of the photo. I think that probably the most exciting part wasn't seeing it, but being able to actually have that experience with all of my friends."
About 50 students showed up to have their photo taken, but only 25 made it on the cover.
"My friend sent me a picture of it and I was shocked and really excited at the same time. We did not know what version they were going to use and who would get cut out, so I was excited to see that I was dead center on the cover," Harvey said. "I had a lot of texts, tweets and people who came up to me telling me they saw me on the cover and how cool it is.
"It will be a cherished memory of my senior year, I mean how many people can say they are on the cover of Sports Illustrated much less on it next to a legend like Gary Harris."
The CAS students who are pictured on the Sports Illustrated cover include:
- Nick Barnowski, journalism sophomore
- Tyler Frattura, advertising senior
- Macaulie Fritz, journalism senior
- Laura Genouw, journalism junior
- Bri Harvey, journalism senior
- Aaron Jordan, journalism major
- Brock Lewandowski, media and information sophomore
- Melissa Poskey, advertising junior
- Natalie Puckett, advertising freshman
- Ryan Smith, communication junior
- Hanna Sprague, journalism freshman
Some of these students shared what it is like working for a Big Ten Athletic Department:
Frattura has worked for MSU's Athletic Department for the past two years as a sales and marketing intern. He helps support the department with its corporate sponsorship program. He does this by generating game-day leads for sponsors, executing game-day promotions and assisting the department with organization, marketing strategies and overall brand image.
"I love being a part of the Athletic Department. This has been a great opportunity," Frattura said. "It has required a lot of work and commitment, but it is a very rewarding experience. I love being able to work with the community and fans and have a part in making their game-day experience.
"The Athletic Department is a great culture filled with people who care about your growth and development and who will motivate you to be your best. Working with Athletics prepares you to succeed in any professional environment, regardless of the career path you have in mind."
Fritz has worked for Athletic Communications for almost two years; before that she was a manager for women's basketball for two years.
"I love Athletic Communications. Helping the team succeed from a behind-the-scenes standpoint has been thrilling. It's really helped me realize what I want to do for my career," Fritz said. "I have learned how to be a professional in a high-paced environment where something exciting is always going on. I also have learned how to maintain a professional relationship with coaches and athletes."
Genouw is a student assistant volunteer for Athletic Communications. Since last fall, she has worked at home men's and women's basketball games where she hands out press credentials, makes sure media outlets get game stats throughout the game, and attends post-game press conferences.
"I love working for Athletics. It is a great opportunity to work with the media and I really feel involved with MSU and their sports," Genouw said. "Some day I hope to get a journalism/PR job working in the sports industry because I think it is a very fast-paced and exciting environment to work in.
"Working for Athletics has given me great insight and experience with this fast-paced, changing environment and has given me the opportunity to work around and with the media, which my future career will potentially consist a lot of."
Harvey has worked for the Athletic Department for three years and currently works for four different offices inside the Breslin Center, including Athletic Communications, the Big Ten Digital Network, MSU Women's Basketball and the Breslin front desk.
Harvey's many duties include being the color analyst and sideline reporter for MSU Women's Basketball for the Big Ten Digital Network student-run broadcast, helping run women's basketball summer camps and recording individual and team statistics during women's basketball games, recording and typing up coaches quotes during press conferences.
"All of my networking has came from working for Athletics. I have been given many opportunities to freelance for the Big Ten Network and ESPN because of my work with Athletics," Harvey said. "The people I have met have given me advice about my field and have become mentors for after I graduate and pursue the next step in my life.
"I have been able to work games on the sideline that people dream of attending. Each job has put me in a new position, which has developed me into a very well-rounded employee."
Poskey works for Athletic Communications, assisting with the media and working at men's basketball games.
"I am a firm believer that MSU is the best higher-academic institution in the world, and to be on a cover of a magazine representing it is something I can't put it into words. It's so amazing," Poskey said. "I think my friends from Athletic Communications would agree that when we win the national championship this year, it will make it even more meaningful in years to come."
Puckett just started working for Athletic Communications.
"So far, I love it. I have only worked football, women's soccer and gymnastic events, but am looking forward to growing in experience in other athletic events," she said.
This is Sprague's first year working for Athletic Communications.
"I absolutely love it. If you're going into a field dealing with sports, there is no better experience than working for MSU Athletic Communications," Sprague said.
As for her experience being on the Sports Illustrated cover, she says, "It's every kid's dream to be on the cover of SI, so being able to say I was a part of this is pretty amazing."Share via these networks: