October 08, 2010 | Andrew Knot

Calvin Junior Sarah Orndorff always dreamed of working in marketing for a professional sports organization. So when the Cleveland Browns offered her a summer internship position, she jumped at the opportunity.

Orndorff, a member of the Calvin women’s track and field and cross country teams worked as a “fan avidity” intern for the Browns.  Her internship dealt specifically in the field of retail marketing.

Perfect alignment

"The internship aligned perfectly with my goals. I’ve always wanted to go into sports marketing. It’s just what I want to do,” said Orndorff who hails from Huron, Ohio.

According to Orndorff, her primary jobs included, “answering e-mails, planning events, doing inventory and fulfilling requests. I basically worked to recruit, retain, and satisfy fans, especially members of the fan club (Browns Backers Worldwide) and Kid’s Club.”

The Cleveland Browns, though they don’t enjoy much success on the field, are an organization known for their strong fan following, boasting clubs like the “Dawg Pound.”

Orndorff was stationed in the Cleveland Browns Stadium and also worked at the Browns’ training camp in Berea, Ohio. While in Berea, she, signed fans up for the clubs, gave away merchandise and hosted raffles. She worked two special events, a scrimmage, and a preseason game.

Orndorff applied for the internship during her sophomore year, through the sports job provider teamworkonline.com. and, eventually, received a call-back while studying abroad through Calvin’s program in Denia, Spain. She completed the job interview via Skype.

"[It] just put more pressure on the interview. I also think it verified their decision” Orndorff said of the online meeting.  The Browns organization soon notified her that she had gotten the job.

The internship affirmed Orndorff’s desire to work in the sports marketing industry: “I got to meet a lot of contacts who have jobs I’d like in the future,” she said.

Families and legends

Her work experience at Browns training camp was a highlight of the experience: 

"I met a lot of players’ family while at training camp.  My job came full circle while I was out on the field, seeing the fans enjoy it,” she commented.

Orndorff also recalls a day when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and legendary coach and commentator John Madden visited the Browns training camp.  She even came across Goodell walking up the stairs. “Everyone walked a little straighter in the hallway that day,” she remarked.

Orndorff said her summer internship experience gave her a great launching point to build a rocketing career. A business communications major and Spanish minor, she recognizes Calvin’s role in the process of preparing her for such an opportunity and remains very grateful for it.

"Calvin emphasizes preparation, organization and thinking ahead.  Career Services was a great help with my cover letter,” she said.

Overall, the experience gifted Orndorff with a tremendous opportunity to prepare herself for a potential career. If she returns to the Browns organization next summer, it will have to be on a different capacity, but Orndorff says there are plenty of special events and outreach opportunities to go into. 

She also plans to return to Ohio three times in the fall to continue her work. “This internship will help me to accomplish my career goals.  I’m really thankful for it,” Orndorff said.

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