Most people spend years working their way towards obtaining their dream jobs, but avid golf fan Erica Naumann already received a taste of hers when she interned with the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship in her home state of Connecticut this past summer.
While helping the volunteer coordinator oversee the tournament’s roughly 4,000 volunteers, Naumann — a student in the M.A. in Public Relations program within the College of Communication and the Arts — regularly worked and managed around 200 people each day. Before the Travelers Championship began, she spent hours organizing the volunteers to assist them in deciding which tasks best suited their interests. In addition to overseeing volunteers, she conducted outreach to hundreds of businesses to fundraise for a volunteer appreciation event she helped plan. With this experience came long hours, but this hard work was worth it.
“It was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had in my life,” Naumann said. “Every night I would come home with the biggest smile on my face. My parents would be so confused, because they would ask, ‘Aren’t you exhausted?’ And I’d reply ‘Yes, but this is the most incredible experience I’ve ever been part of.’”
Naumann’s passion for her role partly stemmed from her love of golf. The PR student heads to the links whenever she is home, and grew up watching her brother and father excel in the sport. In fact her dad, while not a professional, actually played in the tournament 22 years ago. Since Naumann is a huge golf fan, interning with the Travelers Championship did not even feel like work to her.
Of course, another reason Naumann did not mind the tournament’s high demands was that the work played to the skills she has developed at Seton Hall. While earning a B.A. in Communication from the University and now pursuing a M.A. in Public Relations, she learned about the importance of discussing problems in order to fully understand how to address them. When minor issues inevitably arose during the Travelers Championship, Naumann knew exactly what to do.
“It was really interesting for me to leverage my communication knowledge and be thinking, ‘You know what? We can figure this out. Why don’t we talk it through and figure out what needs to be done?’” Naumann said. “I feel as though I was really able to take charge and help people figure out what needed to be done just by communicating properly.”
Her efforts did not go unnoticed. In fact, during the volunteer appreciation event she helped organize, many of the people Naumann assisted each day made sure to express their gratitude.
“They said, ‘Erica, it was a pleasure to see your smiling face every morning. Thank you for making this tournament fun,’” Naumann said. “That, to me, was worth more than anything. It didn’t even matter that I was there for 12 hours a day. That moment of appreciation for what I had done was the icing on the cake.”
Of course, their appreciation was not the only way Naumann benefited from her experience. The graduate student became proficient with the software tournament officials use and honed her people skills by interacting with so many. She also learned about time management, a skill she thinks will serve her well when finishing her thesis.
That is a good thing, because Naumann’s master’s project — which deals with crisis communication in professional golf — is now her priority. The public relations student has been invited back to intern with the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship this summer. And beyond that, she is eager to explore future PR job opportunities in the golf world.
As for her peers looking to land their own dream jobs, Naumann advises never to give up until they find the position they want. “Maybe it’s not a dream job or the internship you want, but you’ve got to just dive in and go for it,” Naumann said. “You never know what those opportunities could lead to.”
The College currently offers three Master's-level programs, including Museum Professions, Communication, and Public Relations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated B.A./M.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered.
Categories: Arts and Culture