Alex Canfield, an Indiana Wesleyan University media communication major is spending her summer as the first IWU intern ever placed at ESPN world headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.
Canfield, a senior from Lucas, Ohio, was one of 89 interns chosen from an initial pool of about 10,000 applicants. The internship program includes regular pay, subsidized housing and extensive training in jobs across the company.
“We’re trying to recruit the future of ESPN, we’re looking to convert our interns into full-time, entry-level employees,” said Joe Franco, ESPN Manager of College Relations.
Canfield is assigned to the network control division and is the first intern ever trained in that area. Network control is the final link before ESPN programming goes on the air. Its staff is responsible for getting live programs on and off at the proper time, seeing that commercials are aired, and making adjustments when live events run overtime.
Canfield is drawing positive feedback. “She’s doing great, training well, asking good questions,” said Sharon Loh, Operations Analyst and Canfield’s direct supervisor.
Vinny Thibeau, Associate Manager of Network Control, was part of the team that screened intern applicants through phone conferences.
“What I looked for was someone who had a diverse set of experiences, and that’s what jumped out with Alexandra,” Thibeau said. “There was a lot of stuff she did within the local community and at school. What won us over was her personality, her excitement to talk about what she did, and she had a great set of questions to ask us.”
Canfield said ESPN could not be more supportive. “Being new and coming into such a company I just expected my role would be insignificant. What I found was that they were excited for me to be here and are eager to share knowledge with me. It's like they're on my team,” she said.
Canfield’s success at ESPN is no surprise to her peers and mentors at IWU. “She’s one of those students who caught the TV bug as a freshman at WIWU-TV and then just kept showing up, wanting to learn and do more,” said Dr. Randall E. King, Professor of Media Communication and Director of Broadcast Media.
Canfield was the first sophomore appointed to a student leadership position at WIWU-TV, and has served as a director, sports producer and multi-faceted production associate.
Canfield said Indiana Wesleyan’s academic program clearly prepared her for the ESPN internship, but the IWU experience goes much further.
“While some of that knowledge is useful and all of the experience at the TV station is invaluable, it all comes down to relationships,” she said. “It was the moments sitting in the professor's office or taking a little extra time in the studio or control room that has prepared me the best for this internship.”
ESPN partners with some 130 colleges and universities for specific recruitment efforts, but accepts intern applications nationwide.