Centers for Excellence

Recruitment Days a Major Success for Sports Communication Students

Bryan Terry, Assistant Director of Content Marketing & Communications
Patrick Taylor '23, who was recently hired at ESPN following the recruitment visit to Marist (Photo courtesy of Taylor).

September 18, 2023 – One challenge for students looking ahead for career opportunities after college is finding time to leave campus and network with potential employers. For Marist’s sports communication students, potential employers came to them.

Now, eight Marist graduates are beginning their careers working for the industry’s top companies. They represent 20 percent of sports communication graduates from the Class of 2023.

This job placement success is the result of the collaborative efforts of Marist’s Center for Sports Communication, ESPN, and the MLB Network. The two broadcast networks sent representatives to the Poughkeepsie campus in February and March to answer student questions and, in many cases, conduct job interviews right there and then. This is a unique opportunity that Marist provides students in this field, said Center for Sports Communication Interim Director Chris Riviezzo, who organized the visits.

“Other colleges have communications schools and they have a sports communication major, but they don’t have the Center for Sports Communication like we do,” Riviezzo said. “In this industry, the classroom work is important but it’s just one part of the knowledge. The outside hands-on training is vital to what these potential employers see as such a valuable experience.”

Image of sports communication recruitment event.
Students and representatives from MLB Network at recruitment event led by Marist’s Center for Sports Communication.

One student who took advantage of the recruitment visit was Matt Spirio '23, who majored in sports communication with minors in math and data analytics. Spirio will begin working as a production assistant at ESPN in October. While at Marist, he served as executive producer and director of the student-led sports broadcast the Red Fox Report, which appears on ESPN streaming services as part of Marist athletics broadcasts.

“Producing and directing the Red Fox Report, I learned that I am a compassionate leader who can balance both product quality and the morale of the team around me,” Spirio said. “I owned that in my ESPN interview, which is important for a company that is looking for quality people to go alongside quality resumes.”

Image of students in the Red Fox Report studio.
Students in the Red Fox Report studio.

An important part of the recruitment visits is that some of the representatives are Marist alumni themselves. This relationship between Marist, the industry representatives, and the students is symbiotic, as the benefits make for a positive experience for everyone involved, Riviezzo said.

“Networks want to keep restocking their shelves with Marist graduates, and we want that pipeline built,” he said. “This gives the students firsthand experience of what these networks are looking for, and ultimately creates entry points into successful careers.”

Taylor Monti '20 recruits for ESPN and knows the value of these networking opportunities, as they helped launch her career.

“The Marist community is really special and there’s a strong alumni network,” she said. “It really helped me build professional relationships by talking to people in positions that I saw myself in. I’m so appreciative of those connections and am glad I can now pay it forward for current and recent graduates.” 

Image of students in control room producing live athletics events.
Students in the control room producing live Marist athletics events.

Matt Rzodkiewicz '19 helped launch the Center for Sports Communication’s online publication Center Field. The segment producer at MLB Network spent years freelancing and building his career. Now in a position to recruit new employees, he knows what students need to make themselves ideal candidates. 

“Be the person to follow up, pitch ideas, and show engagement and interest in the growth of both your career and your company,” Rzodkiewicz said. “In a crowded field where many students want to work, the intangibles go a very long way.” The Marist program was essential in helping him develop these career skills, he said, adding that recent graduates continue to show how the College sets students up for success.

“The group we’ve hired from Marist has been very impressive, and we’re excited to work together more in the future,” he said.

Andrew Hard '23, a double concentration in journalism and sports communication with a minor in business, said that knowing his interviewer was a Marist alumnus helped to make the experience much more enriching and ease his nerves.

“I was nervous the day of the interview, but when I found out the person interviewing me was Matt Rzodkiewicz, I instantly became excited,” Hard said. “The interview ended up going incredibly well and I think it’s because it didn’t necessarily feel like he was interviewing me. It was just a conversation and that felt normal to me as someone who was used to conducting interviews for Center Field.” Hard now works at MLB Network as a logger, compiling information and data about games for the network’s editors and producers.

Patrick Taylor '23 interviewed with MLB Network during the on-campus visit, before going on to also interview with ESPN later, ultimately landing a job as a recurring production assistant on ESPN’s Daily Wager program. Taylor says students should take advantage of all that Marist has to offer in order to help propel their career forward.

“The most valuable thing I learned at Marist is to use your resources,” he said. “Whether it is your professors, department leaders, the career center, or other resources, Marist and the sports communication program want to see you succeed in every way you can, both as a student and as a graduate.”

James Haug ’23 landed a freelance job as a broadcast associate at MLB Network as a result of the recruitment day. He echoes Taylor’s thoughts on all Marist has to offer students beyond the classroom. 

“It pays to be involved in extracurricular activities while at Marist,” Haug said. “The sports communication classes were extremely helpful in building my foundation, and then it was my internship that I found through Marist Career Services, and my experience with the Red Fox Report that I believe set me apart from other candidates.”

Given the success of these recruitment visits, the Center for Sports Communication plans to bring them back again next spring.




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