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Student-athlete uses academic and athletic skills during Philadelphia Eagles internship

Hayley McCormick stands with the Super Bowl trophy in the Eagles locker room.

Growing up, fall weekends were for football in Hayley McCormick’s house. Even before she was a teenager, her family spent Friday nights at the high school football game. On Saturdays, they were at UConn or Yale. Come Sunday, they were glued to the TV for NFL games.

Now that Hayley’s in her senior year at York College of Pennsylvania, things are different. She’s busy—an accomplished student-athlete interning in Philadelphia this semester—and doesn’t spend too much time anymore at high school or college games.

That doesn’t mean she’s lost interest in football. Just about every day of the week, she’s at Lincoln Financial Field—home of the Philadelphia Eagles—as a ticketing and fan services intern.

The problem solver

You name it, Hayley’s dealt with it. She’s on the front line of customer service, working the phones, handling emails from fans, and working the box office window. She and her fellow interns solve problems, route issues to the right people, and do their best to keep everyone happy. “As you can imagine, with 69,000 fans, it pretty much runs the gambit of different problems we see on a day-to-day basis,” she says. “I’ve really kind of experienced everything at this point.”

As a huge football fan, working for the Eagles is like a dream come true for Hayley. “I’m beyond grateful to have had this experience,” she says. “It’s unreal almost.”

An athlete in her own right

Hayley, a skilled lacrosse attacker, wanted to go to a Division III school. “I knew I wanted the balance between work and play that D3 offers,” she says. She loves lacrosse, but she also wanted to have time to pursue her career goals, all the while just being a regular student.

She found that balance at York College. Her coach has worked with her, being flexible with scheduling while Hayley is away with her internship. The skills she’s learned in lacrosse have come through for her professionally. “I think being a student-athlete has really taught me first and foremost just the value of leadership,” she says.

She’s had staffers with the Eagles compliment her on her leadership skills. They could tell she’d been an athlete by how she carried herself, they told her.

Showing up prepared

If there’s one thing Hayley’s professors in Sport Management at York College have stressed over the years, it’s the value of professionalism. Hayley took this advice seriously, and it has paid off. She says it has “definitely proved beneficial with what I’m experiencing now.”

She also feels her classes prepared her well for her internship. Everything she’s done with the Eagles is something in which she at least had a base-level knowledge. “My professors have been tremendous,” she says. “I think the program at York College is small enough that I’ve been able to form strong relationships with each of my professors.”

Even with that level of preparation, Hayley has learned a lot through her internship. Beyond the aspects that actually pertain to her work, she’s learned some basic skills she’d never dealt with before like how to handle commuting to a city, what it’s like to work in an office, and the importance of creating professional relationships. It’s an experience that’s prepared her for what comes next.

Finding a career path

Before she began her internship, Hayley had no idea what went into ticketing. Now, she wants to pursue ticket operations after college. “There’s just a lot that goes on behind just getting one person into an arena,” she says.

It’s a detail-oriented job, perfect for someone like Hayley, a detail-oriented person. When she graduates in the spring, she’ll take with her the lessons and skills she learned at York College—strong leadership skills from athletics, and the importance of professionalism from academics—and the new real-world experiences she’s had with the Eagles. For a student who came to school seeking a balance between academics and athletics, it’s a pretty perfect way to end the season.