News & Events
Oct 20, 2014
Many different groups make up the athletic department at Penn State. There are student-athletes, administrators, coaches and trainers -- and they are often the people who get the most attention. Or at least they’re the people fans know and see the most.
Another group of behind-the-scenes personnel works to promote and publicize the accomplishments and success of people and programs that comprise the athletic department. And it’s not unusual for the people who work in intercollegiate sports marketing, media relations and promotions personnel to go unnoticed. That’s the case at Penn State as well as colleges and universities across the nation.
In at least two instances, though, the people doing those jobs at Penn State are different.
Specifically, College of Communications seniors Melissa Conrad and Paul Marboe serve as full-time sports information directors while completing a full slate of classes at the University.
Fellow seniors Hannah Aboulhosn and Kelly Hackenbrack profile their classmates.
Melissa Conrad, a native of Hamburg, New Jersey, is a public relations major with a minor in business and a certificate from the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. She serves as the sports information director (SID) for men’s golf -- a position she has held since the beginning of her sophomore year in 2012.
Men's golf is a year-round sport at Penn State so Conrad is constantly involved with team activities. There are many different tasks that Conrad needs to stay on top of throughout the year.
"When there is a tournament, I will write a preview, a recap after each day (tournaments usually last two days), enter stats into our stat crew program for GoPSUsports.com and have a debrief once the tournament is finished," she said. On a day-to-day basis she also, edits media guides, works with a photographer to organize headshots and match-day pictures and handles media requests for players and the coach.
While some might see being a student and an SID as enough to fulfill their time in college, but Conrad wanted to make sure that she took advantage of all that Penn State has to offer. She’s also a member of Happy Valley Communications, the Public Relations Student Society of America, Order Up and the Association for Women in Sports Media.
Conrad obviously enjoys a busy lifestyle, and she sees balancing and time management as essential. "I tend to make it a little more difficult with the amount of other activities I am involved with, so I do think it could be a little easier if I was just a student and an SID," she said.
Conrad previously completed summer internships for Adidas (2014) and Under Armour (2013) and she hopes to parlay her experience in the sports world to a career in the industry. She said it can be tough doing a job that is normally done by full-time employees at other colleges and universities while she still has exams and schoolwork, but she appreciates the challenge.
"Sometimes you are working with people who may or may not know that you are a student so being a student SID in general can be a disadvantage from the start," she said. “I lack experience compared with other full-time SIDs and I want to sound and act professional when working with them."
While Conrad does have to a lot on her plate when it comes to passing her classes, staying up-to-date with her clubs and making sure all aspects of men's golf are in order, she finds the real-world experience she has received has made all of the stress and work worth it.
She knows she has the respect of those at Penn State, too.
"For my first home tournament, I was really worried and pacing back and forth in the clubhouse the entire time before play began," she said. "I was afraid I wouldn't know how to do anything, but I eventually figured everything out, the tournament ran smoothly and it ended up being an amazing experience."
During the debriefing session with coach Greg Nye, his comments about her approach helped boost Conrad’s confidence. “He said, ‘I saw you pacing in the clubhouse beforehand and right then and there I knew we were in good hands,’" Conrad recalled.
-- Kelly Hackenbrack
Paul Marboe is responsible for handling all media requests, writing releases, writing previews and recaps for the Penn State men’s tennis team. He manages the roster, schedule and statistics on GoPSUsports.com and produces the media guide all while being a full-time student at Penn State.
“It is tough doing this with school work. During the spring, I work over 20 hours per week on top of my normal class schedule. So I have to maximize my free time to get homework done. It can get overwhelming some weeks, but I work as hard as I can to balance everything,” said Marboe.
It’s not just the spring, though. Working with tennis is a year-round job. During the fall season, Marboe works in the communications office at least once a week. If there are tournaments, he tweets out scores and writes recaps for each night of the tournament. He typically works less during the fall, only 10 to 15 hours a week.
“The spring is a lot more intense with dual matches every week, especially when we have home matches. If we have a week where we’re hosting a dual match or two, I spend more like 20 to 25 hours per week on tennis,” Marboe said. “The spring season requires a lot more work on a day-to-day basis.”
On match days, Marboe is the man to contact.
“I get to the courts about two hours before the match starts. I set up the computer, the statistics program and outline my recap,” said Marboe. During the match, I update the live stats and live tweet the match. After the match ends, I bring any reporters at the match down to the courts to do interviews. I then upload the stats to GoPSUsports.”
Though the hours can be long and unusual, working as in SID has its perks.
“The best part of this job is the people. I love working in the athletic communications office because everyone has the same passion for sports and Penn State that I do,” said Marboe. “Working at Penn State is great because it is at the highest level of college athletics. There is a high standard for athletes, coaches, and the whole athletic department. I like that because it pushes me to always work harder. The full-time staff in athletic communications has continued to push me and give me more challenges as I get more experience in the office.”
Being an SID has set Marboe perfectly up for his future. A State College native, he hopes to continue working as an SID in college sports, and might even remain close Happy Valley after graduation.
“You have to be passionate about sports and take pride in doing your best work. You have to bring that passion every day of the job. It’s not the most well-paid job and you don’t always get many ‘thank yous,’ so that passion has to be what drives you,” said Marboe. I’ve never wanted to work in anything but sports and sports information is the perfect place for me.”
-- Hannah Aboulhosn
Oct 20, 2014
From entry level production assistants to top administrators, dozens of Penn Staters work at ESPN and shape how millions of fans consume their news and sports on a daily basis.
Oct 16, 2014
A handful of Penn State students and three alternative-fuel vehicles will represent the University’s award-winning EcoCAR effort during activities for National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day on Friday, Oct. 17, in the Pittsburgh area.
Oct 16, 2014
Three insiders will address the future of the $200 billion television industry and job opportunities in the ever-changing field during a free public roundtable session Friday, Oct. 24, in 362 Willard Building.
Oct 15, 2014
Faculty member set to compete in charity crossword competition.
Oct 13, 2014
Dozens of College of Communications students found just what they wanted Sunday night at the Nittany Lion Inn as dedicated alumni participated in a popular mentoring session that provided advice and insights.
The session, "Mocktails and Real Alumni Advice," allowed members of the Advertising/Public Relations Network to share their expertise during roundtable sessions organized by areas of interest. After spending time with one alumni expert at one table, participants then changed tables to meet another expert.
The model, facilitated and perfected by Mike Poorman, director of alumni relations for the College of Communications, enables abundant interaction and a higher number of contacts for those involved. As a result, the session regularly proves popular with alumni and students.
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Nichole Dobo (2004, Journalism),
accepted a fellowship with The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news outlet that produces in-depth journalism on inequality and innovation in education. It is based at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. A story Dobo wrote this summer as a freelancer for The Hechinger Report appeared in The Atlantic. Dobo, who worked at The Daily Collegian while at Penn State, is married to Wade Malcolm ('06 Journ, Daily Collegian). Malcolm is a business analyst at Synygy in Chester, Pennsylvania, and a student pursuing a M.S. in finance at the University of Delaware. They live in Wilmington, Delaware. Dobo's sister is Elizabeth Dobo ('13 HHD). Malcolm's sister is Brittany Malcolm ('10 Lib).
Jeanine Larson (2004, Broadcast Journalism),
was recognized as North Dakota's Communicator of Achievement at the National Federation of Press Women conference in Greenville, S.C., Sept. 4-6. Larson also received two national awards: first place for Web and Social Media - Website (edited or managed by entrant), corporate or for-profit and second place for Web and Social Media - Social Media Campaign, corporate or for-profit.
Peter Chalfin (2008, Journalism),
was recently hired as an annual giving associate in the athletics development office at the University of Michigan.