Shenandoah University students recently took a trip to Los Angeles for Super Bowl LVI, during which they had the chance to perform volunteer work in the days leading up to and during the big game as part of an experiential learning opportunity offered by the university’s Sport Business Association.
The seven School of Business students – Mykiah Bonhom ’23, Jordan Haack ’23, Skyler Hill ’24, Zackary Mathis ’22, Matt McIntosh ’23, Vincent Moore, Jr. ’23, and Isabelle Schultz ’25 – worked some Super Bowl Experience events leading up to the game between the L.A. Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals on Feb. 13 and performed pregame and postgame duties on game day. Students were accompanied by Shenandoah faculty/staff members Fritz Polite, Ph.D., associate vice president for student leadership and development; Jacob Shaffer ’17, ’18, student leadership and development office manager; Stan Hodgin, offensive coordinator for Shenandoah’s football team; and Brian Lee ’21, career education and events coordinator.
Upon their return, students penned the following reflections about the trip:
Mykiah Bonhom ’23, esports management
“Overall, I had a lot of fun on the SBA Super Bowl trip. It was a great experience seeing SoFi Stadium and working the Fan Experience event. I met so many people and helped put on a once-in-a-lifetime event. This trip will truly sit within my memory until the end of my days. Despite all that, it also helped me see the flaws within the event. I see that many things need to be improved on for future Super Bowls and events at SoFi stadium.
“The thing I enjoyed the most was working at the Rams’ family and friends pregame party. I felt amazing when I was interacting with friends and family of the Rams players. I was tasked with wayfinding but eventually was tasked with taking pictures. Whomever created a camera operator role for volunteers had a great idea. The number of people who thanked me and said things like, ‘It’s always so hard to find someone to take your picture,’ was surprising. I truly did feel like I improved their days and created a physical memory on their phones that they will look back upon and reminisce about. Working the Fan Experience was a great time as well. I’m happy that the NFL puts this event on because Super Bowl tickets are ridiculously expensive. It gives average fans a reason to travel to the Super Bowl location and still receive a worthwhile experience. Being at this event meant more to me than working the game-day activities. The fans at the Super Bowl Fan Experience are the ones who make the NFL what it is. So, in the end, I am grateful to have represented my school at the Super Bowl and put smiles on NFL fans’ faces.”
Jordan Haack ’23, sport management
“Looking back on my experience at Super Bowl LVI, I was able to learn so much from the people I interacted with. I met a lot of new people at all the different events we worked and they provided me insight on how to work large events. Furthermore, it was exciting to explore the Los Angeles area and experience the culture there. Overall, going to Super Bowl LVI provided me with new insight and helped me develop my customer-relations skills.”
Skyler Hill ’24, business administration
“I was so excited to be asked to go on the trip to Super Bowl LVI! We worked with hundreds of fans every day and got to be a part of a memory they will hold onto forever. It’s crazy to think that a small private school in Virginia could have such an impact on major sporting events in other states. The opportunities I have taken advantage of throughout my time with the Sport Business Association really helped prepare me for what was in store at the Super Bowl. Hospitality and communication skills are things that can be applied to any type of work or experience you will encounter in your life, and Super Bowl LVI was no exception! I had such an amazing time and I am so excited to send off future groups to such a cool event!”
Zackary Mathis ’22, sport management
“Working at Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles was an amazing and unique experience. I can’t think of a better way for students to gain experience in event management and problem-solving than by working at one of the biggest sports events in the world.”
Matt McIntosh ’23, sport management
“I feel incredibly special to have experienced this trip. Trips like the one to the Super Bowl are one of the main reasons I applied to Shenandoah. I enjoyed seeing how much it takes to put on one of the biggest sporting events in the world.”
Vincent Moore ’23, sport management
“The Super Bowl LVI trip was an overall good experience for me. I enjoyed some of the sightseeing throughout downtown L.A. and the Santa Monica Pier. Some things I believe the event did well with was security and entertainment. Some things I think that could’ve gone better was stadium information for wayfinders and fans, and the organization for employees throughout the whole day. I would frame this experience in a job interview as an experience that helped me keep my composure and my head high when things got rocky and shaky in a hectic work environment. Also, as I’m doing all of this, it’s all about being a team player and having leadership skills – things we value highly in the SBA.”
Isabelle Schultz ’25, sport management
“Overall, my Super Bowl experience was life-changing. As a first-year student, it was a privilege to get to go and see firsthand the jobs that are required at the Super Bowl. I learned so much about efficiency and the leadership involved with running one of the biggest sporting events in the world. It was definitely an event that will forever hold a place in my heart because of the amount of learning and fun that was had by all.”