Melissa Kniceley on Taking Leaps of Faith
This past summer, senior Melissa Kniceley took a leap of faith—and landed hundreds of miles from home in Boston, Mass.
At a sports conference last April in Charlotte, N. C., Melissa met JMU alumnus Justin Kittredge, the only other Duke at the conference. Thanks to this chance meeting, Justin eventually offered Melissa a summer internship at his two companies—Shooting Touch and ISlideUSA.
As a Marketing and Sports and Recreation Management double major, Melissa felt this internship was the opportunity of a lifetime, so she threw her anxieties to the wind, packed up, and moved to Boston for the summer.
One of the companies, Shooting Touch, is a nonprofit that aims to elevate young adults through the power of basketball. Each year, Shooting Touch hosts a sport conference that helps raise money to fund international trips to third world countries so that representatives from Shooting Touch can use basketball as a catalyst for enhancing the lives of young people from all over the world. For this company, Melissa was responsible for inviting representatives from universities across the country to attend the sports conference in order to garner support and awareness of Shooting Touch.
The other company, a startup footwear company called ISlideUSA, markets and sells customizable athletic sandals. For ISlideUSA, Melissa was responsible for marketing the footwear and cultivating the brand identity.
Experiences in the College of Business prepared Melissa for balancing the responsibilities of working for two companies at once. She says, “Taking COB 300 gave me a basic knowledge of the subjects inherent to running a company successfully. It was extremely relevant to my internship with ISlideUSA specifically because I was able to come into the internship with a basic knowledge of operations, marketing, management, and finance. Having that knowledge really helped me make smarter decisions in both of my internship positions—regardless of the struggle and stress that results from COB 300, I felt prepared because of it.”
Thanks to these internships, Melissa is confident that she knows the field she wants to enter when she graduates in May. “My internships helped me determine my future career path,” she says. “Had I not worked for Shooting Touch or ISlideUSA, I might not have gained this experience or realized that I want to work with merchandising for the athletic apparel industry.”
The internship proved valuable in other less expected ways as well. Melissa explains, “I definitely grew professionally, but I also grew as a person. At first, I was uneasy about leaving my comfort zone and moving so far away from home—looking back, I would never change my decision. I am so glad that I did it. “
To learn more about the companies Melissa interned at, view the following links: