Melanie Bergen is a Yankees fan, but she spent much of the fall semester at the New York Mets ballpark.
And unlike Mets fans, the junior and sports communications major often had to show up five hours before game time to make sure the anthem singers and color guard knew their routes, or help plan a 9/11 observance, or even cater to fans who brought their dogs to the park.
It started when Bergen, from Parker, Colo, was looking for an internship for the fall semester of 2011.
After building her resume and cover letters at the Office of Internships and Career Programs, she applied for multiple internships in the New York City area, including The New York Times, New York Yankees and New York Mets.
The Times was the first organization to call her back, but Bergen decided to wait for other offers. Then a representative from the New York Mets offered her a sports promotion and sales internship opportunity. So the Yankees fan went undercover to intern with the Mets for a semester.
Her internship involved game day promotions, ticketing, answering phones, entertainment and survey fan research. Her game day promotions included “Star Wars Day,” where fans could dress up as their favorite character from the movie, and “Bark in the Park,” where fans were encouraged to bring along their dogs for the game.
Bergen was also responsible for entertainment before and during games. She would direct the anthem singers and color guard where to go on the field for the seventh inning stretch.
She also was involved in the 10th anniversary observances for Sept. 11, 2001. The Mets were the only professional New York sports team that had a home game that day, Bergen says. All the department interns were in charge of half the remembrance ceremony. “It was surreal,” said Bergen.
Being an intern isn’t always fun and games when working at a professional sports team. “Being a fan is completely different than working in a stadium,” said Bergen. She recalls having to get to the games five hours early to set up and organize the promotions and entertainment.
Bergen also created a non-linear Powerpoint for the Mets marketing and sales staff, a skill she learned in her Queens Digital Media Production class, a core requirement for all communication students. A non-linear Powerpoint is a presentation that the user can click through the slide show in any order they want, rather than following the standard format of going through the slides in numerical order.
She took two online courses at Marist College while interning with the Mets. Bergen’s schedule was always busy with courses and interning. Just for one game she would work 12-13 hour days. “I worked over 500 hours just for one semester,” she said. The experience helped her realize that there is no game without fans.
She also learned “working in sports promotion and marketing is a very small market.” When you know one person, it helps connect to another contact.
With the Mets now on her resume, she hopes to get involved with the sports radio industry.