UISRM Feature - Zach Henkel & Logan Samuelson
Anna Jensen (AJ): In the spring of 2016, Zach Henkel (BS 2016, pictured left), then soon-to-be graduating UISRM Senior, came to my office to talk about earning credit for a summer internship with the Fort Myers Miracle, the Advanced A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Since that time, he has successfully completed his internship, graduated, and joined the Miracle’s full-time staff. In addition, he now serves as a mentor to a current UISRM student and Miracle intern, Logan Samuelson (ex. BS 2018, pictured right). Here are a few of their thoughts on interning, a look into a typical day with the Miracle, and advice for current students.
AJ: How did you first hear about the opportunity with the Miracle?
Zach Henkel (ZH): I actually didn’t hear about the internship opportunity through anyone, I went out and found it on my own. I knew that I wanted to try working somewhere that I had never lived before and see what it was like somewhere else. So when I began searching for internships, I looked pretty much anywhere but the Midwest.
Logan Samuelson (LS): I heard about the opportunity with the Miracle from Anna (Jensen). I figured it would be an option simply because it’s in my hometown, but when she told me an Iowa alum interned there and things went well, I was all in.
AJ: What do you think is unique about working with someone who is also a part of the UISRM program?
ZH: Working with someone who is also in the UISRM program is awesome. I like having someone to talk to about Iowa City, as well as all of the professors and classes in the program. Having Logan still going through the program, I have been talking to him about what classes he has taken, and which ones I really enjoyed throughout school.
LS: Working with Zach is really cool because he’s an example of how the program sets students up for success after they graduate. At Iowa we prepare for many jobs in the sports world from the ticket office to promotions, so it’s cool watching Zach who was just an intern last summer and now he works with the team full time. A jump like that is really a testament to the program because the UISRM program clearly prepared him very well.
AJ: What was the hardest part about doing your Field Experience so far from Iowa City?
ZH: I didn’t really have an issue transitioning from Iowa City to Fort Myers. I like having the opportunity to move somewhere new, where no one knows who I am. I like being able to go and sightsee and enjoy the beach and the weather down here. The one thing that I truly miss about Iowa City is how accessible and close everything was to you. I loved being able to just walk to downtown in a couple of minutes and see people I knew everywhere I went.
LS: The hardest thing about doing my internship so far from Iowa City is the weather. Despite growing up down here, I wasn’t prepared for the heat and humidity again.
AJ: Zach, tell us about how you went from being an intern to a full-time employee.
ZH: Part of how I went from intern to full-time employee was luck and timing. The person who was in charge of the interns was leaving for a different position with a month left of the season and had recommended me to take his place. I had also put in my time and effort throughout the entire summer. I was in the office just about every day doing a variety of different tasks, so I was showing the Miracle personnel that I was invested and wanted something after my internship had ended. From the time my internship ended, I have had three separate titles with the Miracle.
AJ: Zach, what piece of advice can you give a current student going through the program? What should they do while still being focused on classes?
ZH: All students should take in as much as possible throughout their classes. I’m not just talking about taking in the book knowledge, obviously that is important. But, talking with your professors outside of class, creating a relationship with them, and learning even more from them is extremely important. I know that when I was there, I would have blocks of time between classes and I would talk with Dan and Packy almost every single day, just kind of picking their brains. Another important thing is to try to secure an internship or become part of a practicum experience while you’re still in school. That is one thing that I really regret not doing. I didn’t have my first experience in this field until after graduation. Students should also create as many relationships with other students as possible. I’ve really learned how important networking is in this industry. Knowing people is always going to help throughout your career.
AJ: Logan, what preparation has helped you be successful in your internship this summer?
LS: One class that helped prepare me for this Field Experience was without a doubt the Fans First practicum. It’s very similar to the Miracle internship in many ways. Fans First taught us to be flexible and proactive, which are skills you have to have when working for a baseball team in South Florida. There is always the chance for rainouts, double headers, tarp duty, etc. We get thrown into different areas a lot. This is easier because Fans First taught us to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and is a great class for anyone preparing for more Field Experience.
AJ: Logan, what is your typical day like with the Fort Myers Miracle?
LS: Most days the interns arrive at the stadium two and a half hours prior to first pitch and begin setting things up, such as promotions. Then we begin getting people signed up for promos, unless you’re working a different station like the ticket office or press box. During the games we make sure all the promotions and participants are getting ready to go. There’s always the chance a volunteer participant doesn’t show up, which makes for a mad dash to get someone signed up as quick as we can. Then, after the game, we put equipment back, hand out promotional cards and schedules, and thank fans for coming while also reminding them of the next home game. Even though games can be similar, I’ve learned something new every day! It’s been a great experience so far and has taught me so much about the industry. This experience has helped out a ton, I felt like I’ve gotten a lot more experience with promotions that I really needed. Also, I feel like you can never have too much experience, so all around it’s been great.
AJ: Logan, you have a year left of school so you’ll be back in Iowa City this Fall. Then what?
LS: Next I plan to go to grad school and study for my Masters in Sports Administration.