Being the Change

One foot in the door

by Jan Gillis ('07)

Anna Applegate scores dream internship with Finnish American Football League

Sophomore Anna Applegate scores dream internship

By Katie O'Dowd ('07)

Quarshie invited her to complete a summer internship with the Finnish American Football League (SAJL), which included staff from the Finnish Cheerleading Association, the Human Rights Foundation, the NFL and NFL-Europe.Sophomore Anna Applegate, a sports management major and avid football fan, was speechless when she received a phone call from Michael Quarshie, a defensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders.

Applegate already planned to work with the Finnish American Football League when she learned about the Michael Quarshie Youth Football Camp. Quarshie, a native of Finland, decided to start a summer youth football camp with NFL players from the Raiders, the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants.

Applegate's mother, Pia Granholm, was also born in Finland. Her childhood neighbor, Pekka Kivela, senior vice president of public affairs with the Metsaliitto Corporation in Finland, was making arrangements to rent out a stadium for the youth camp when Applegate contacted him to find out if he knew of any summer opportunities.

"It just so happened that Anna had begun her studies in sports management and was very familiar with football," Kivela says. "It was a perfect combination."

Getting a feel for every part of the industry

Applegate was involved with a variety of projects during her internship. She helped with marketing for the league and maintained contact with the NFL players who visited Finland from the United States. She also communicated with the American Embassy and set up media and public relations events to promote the camp.

"I got a feel for every part of the industry that I wanted to, and I think that experience is going to help me greatly when I graduate," Applegate says.

Stepping stones

Internships are especially important for sports management majors. Kinesiology department head Michael Goldberger calls an internship the "stepping stone" to an ideal position in the real world.

Applegate's dream job after graduation would be an advertising or media relations position with the NFL. "I would love to get any job available in the NFL simply because I grew up watching football," she explains. "My mom and I get really into sports. Being able to have some kind of sports job for the rest of my life is a dream come true!"

Originally from Damascus, Md., Applegate grew up watching the Washington Redskins. "I have been a Skins fan since before birth," she says. "My parents are Skins fans, so I started watching and fell in love."

Granholm was immediately hooked on the team after watching her first Redskins game. She says her daughter's interest sparked at a game versus the Dallas Cowboys when Anna was in middle school. "She sat up in the nosebleed seats that were about as high up in the stadium as you could get, with freezing rain and sleet blowing all around her on that sub-zero night," Granholm remembers.

Applegate even opted against a traditional senior trip, instead choosing to go to Dallas to watch the Redskins take on the Cowboys.

"She is a huge fan, and has been saying for many years that she wants to work for the Redskins," Granholm says.

Applegate hopes her internship helps her score that dream job. "I love that I got to have a test run of exactly what I want to do when I graduate," she says.

She says the best part of her internship was the experience she gained and the contacts she met.

"I believe that through this experience, Anna was able to create an impressive network of contacts that she can later call upon if, for example, she would be interested in continuing this job or possibly working as a liaison between NFL and NFL-Europe," Kivela says.

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Published: Sunday, April 1, 2012

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 27, 2018

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