Student Spotlight: Stephanie Phillips

Jennie Kroeger

Name: Stephanie Phillips Major: Sport Management Year: Senior  

Tell us about working with the FSU Women's Basketball team. I am an Assistant Equipment Manager for both the Men's and Women's Basketball teams at FSU. My main job is to wash the laundry for both teams, prepare and pack their uniforms and distribute Nike apparel to the players and staff. During home games, I sit by the bench and assist the players, coaches, and trainers by getting towels or anything else they may need. The best part of my job is being able to work directly with a representative from Nike to order and receive all the clothes and shoes that the players wear. It is extremely rewarding to be able to work directly with the teams and staff, and I'm very proud of the success they've both had this season, especially with the Women's Basketball team heading to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament this weekend. I can't wait to continue helping them be successful as I begin working towards my master's degree!  

Are you a member of any student/campus organizations? If so, which ones? I am a member of the Sport Management Student Association (SMSA). This is an awesome organization made up of sport management majors that provides countless networking and community service opportunities.  

What drew you to FSU COE and the FSU Department of Sport Management? I always knew I wanted to attend Florida State, but I never really knew what I wanted to study. After visiting the campus for a tour, I sat and looked through a list of majors. Nothing interested me until I saw Sport Management. I've never really been an athlete, but always loved sports, and was very excited at the thought of working in the sport industry.  

What is your favorite FSU COE memory? My favorite memory by far is when I studied abroad in London this past summer for four weeks with the Global Sport Management program. It was a life changing experience to be able to do and see everything I did with other Sport Management majors. We traveled to Scotland to attend the British Open, went kayaking and hiking along the coast of Wales, and independently traveled to Amsterdam for a weekend. We also watched Serena Williams win the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and toured facilities such as Wembley, Arsenal's Stadium, and the Olympic Park. Studying in London was the best decision I've ever made.  

What's the most valuable thing you learned or experienced at FSU COE?

The most valuable experience I've had is being a part of the Sport Management Student Association. This organization gives its members so many awesome opportunities to get involved with sports. Not only are you able to network with other members and get tons of volunteer opportunities, but through SMSA, I've had the ability to meet professionals within the industry as guest speakers here on campus and through out of town trips taken multiple times a year. In January, I went with a group of students to work at the College Football National Championship Game in Tampa. Next week, we are headed to Dallas to visit with executives of the Mavericks and Cowboys, as well as work at the NCAA Women's Final Four Basketball Tournament. Getting experience and networking is the most valuable thing within the sports world.  

Can you pick a favorite class? Why?

My favorite class was probably Intro to Sport Management during my first semester in the program. It provided me with a look at every aspect of the sport industry, such as community sport, intercollegiate sport, professional sport, and sport tourism. I really enjoyed this class because it was glimpse into all the required classes I would be taking within the department, and it only solidified the choice I made to major in Sport Management.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Five years from now, I hope to have a full time position in operations for a Division I NCAA basketball or football team. I love figuring out how a team plans out their schedule and works with someone from every department to help game days go smoothly and help the team succeed.  

What advice do you have for future FSU Sport Management students?

I have tons of advice! And future Sport Management students will hear this a lot during their time in the department, but they have an advantage if they hear it early!

  1. Get involved! Participate, volunteer, and apply for internships on and off campus. The more experiences you have working in sports, the better. Employers want to see at least four major sport experiences on your r sum . At the beginning of my junior year when I started the Sport Management program, I had zero sport-related experiences. But within the department, you get the chance to hear about so many opportunities and ways to get involved! If someone who hires interns for a professional sports team sees on your r sum that you took a few days out of your spring break to volunteer at a local youth sports tournament, they are sure to give you a second look. The best way to find these opportunities is to join SMSA, even if you're a freshman. It's never too late, or early, to get involved and gain experience.
  2. Talk to your professors! It's never a bad idea to take time to get advice from your professors. I have been lucky enough to have taken four classes with Dr. Flanagan, including one in London, and having her as a reference and a positive guide during my time in the department has done nothing but benefit me. Everyone in the department is very knowledgeable about the field of sports and are great to network with. It never hurts to go to their office hours and talk; they're there to help you out!
  3. Network! Knowing people in the sport industry is a huge part of finding your place. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to a guest speaker, the equipment manager of the basketball team, or even other students. Not only can you gain friends, but you are also able to gain connections who may be able to put in a good word for you with their bosses if you're interested in a job.

What is something interesting that not many people know about you? Most people don't know that before I got my current job working with basketball, I had never been to a basketball game before. I would watch it on TV occasionally and fill out my bracket every March, but I never attended a game. Now it is all I think about! I take the time to stream the women's basketball games, even if they're not on TV, because I want to see them win and am excited to watch them succeed. It just goes to show that you should never hesitate to get involved with something new because you never know what position you'll fall in love with!   Would you like to share anything else? I can't stress enough how thankful I am for everyone in the Department of Sport Management for all the opportunities I've had and the people I've met. From Dr. Flanagan's Intro to Sport class when I had zero experiences in the sport industry to now being able to list five or six, I've learned to step out of my comfort zone to gain experiences. I look forward to all my future endeavors at FSU as I pursue my master's degree. No matter where I am in the future, I will always remember Florida State, the College of Education, and the Department of Sport Management as where I learned who I am and who I want to be.