Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

Ruth Gelber ’05 (Hinesburg, Vt.) and Victoria Picone ’05 (Bethlehem, Pa.) were given the opportunity to see how their aspirations to work in the field of marketing might look through an externship experience.

Gelber, a double major in anthropology & sociology and English, and Picone, an economics and business major with a minor in art, spent two days at ESPN in New York City shadowing John Gassner ’88, director of event marketing and sales.

Gelber and Picone were among more than 200 Lafayette students who gained first-hand knowledge of the professional world in January. They served externships with alumni and other experienced professionals in business, the arts, education, healthcare, law, engineering, science, government, non-profits, and other fields. The students observed work practices, learned about careers they may consider entering after college, and developed professional networking contacts.

During their two days with Gassner, the students toured ESPN studios, met company executives, including the head of marketing, and familiarized themselves with ESPN offices.

“When I was an undergraduate, there was not a lot of career guidance; we didn’t have the Internet or e-mail. I did go to the career guidance service and while they were helpful, I had no idea of what I wanted to do,” Gassner says. “Having the opportunity to give back to students who are making a concerted effort to seek career guidance, well, I was happy to reciprocate that.”

Gelber, who is not quite sure what area of marketing she would like to work in, participated in the externship program to gain an understanding of the different types of marketing jobs available.

“I’ve always had my own notions about what I thought marketing and advertising was, but this gave me a real idea about what it is,” she says. “It was great to speak to a number of people who do it for a living and get their take on what they do from day to day. It made me solidify the idea that this is what I want to do — and made me extra interested in ESPN!”

Picone, who has worked in marketing for small, non-profit organizations, says her goal for the experience was to learn what marketing looked like at a big corporation.

“I learned so much — it was like an information overload when I came back,” she says. “Meeting with people in different departments and getting a feel for what they do as individuals gave me a bigger picture of how the business works.”

The women say the people they met with gave them a tremendous amount of information about the steps they would need to take to have a successful career in marketing.

“I thought it was great to be able to really see what John does on a daily basis and the externship experience makes thinking about being in his position less scary and intimidating.” Gelber says. “We learned that people often do internships at ESPN and work their way up and it made me feel better about getting that dream job — it reduced the pressure to get that high-power job right out of college.”

“This was a wonderful networking opportunity because we met so many people who told us to contact them any time,” Picone adds. “We will be able to use them to our advantage in the future. Talking to these people we were able to get really good advice. They asked us what interested us in this career path and told us the best way to get into it.”

Gelber and Picone credit Glassner for making their experience fulfilling.

“He really made an effort to introduce us to people in high-power positions,” Gelber says. “And it was great to know he was in my spot once. I feel like we had a more special connection than any old person off the street. I think he really wants to help us in terms of recommending us for a job.”

Gassner says his goal was to expose the students to as many people and job positions as possible to give them a complete picture of how the ESPN marketing department runs.

He says he gained almost as much from the experience as the students did.

“It is not only the pleasure of giving back to Lafayette, but if I can give someone else exposure to ESPN, the place that I work, which I don’t take for granted, I get a lot of fulfillment out of that,” Gassner says. “It’s always nice to have someone come in and validate what you’re doing. I think we can all lose sight of the opportunities we have been given — especially here, because I really love what I do at ESPN. This has given me a lot of perspective that I have a really good job.”

Gassner adds that he is grateful to be able to re-connect with Lafayette.

“Within the last five years, the outgoing president has really helped change the experience of what people have on campus. Not that I didn’t have a good experience, but these people are enjoying a different, enhanced, and robust experience. It’s these kinds of things that are reconnecting me and that’s great.”

Gelber, a Trustee Scholar, is co-chair of the Cultural and Issues Committee of Lafayette Activities Forum. She is a writing associate, plays intramural bowling and soccer, belongs to Alphi Phi sorority, and works in the admissions office. She graduated from Champlain Valley Union High School.

Picone is on the executive board of Lafayette Activities Forum, a member of College Democrats, and plays on the golf team. She belongs to the Delta Delta Delta sorority and volunteers in various capacities. She graduated from Liberty High School.

Selected from among Lafayette’s top applicants, Trustee Scholars have distinguished themselves through exceptional academic achievement in high school. They receive from Lafayette an annual minimum scholarship of $7,500 (totaling $30,000 over four years) or a grant in the full amount of their demonstrated need if the need is more than $7,500.

Categorized in: Academic News