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University of Florida's University Athletic Association

University of Florida journalism senior Michele Dye has served as a student assistant with the University Athletic Association Sports Information Department in the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for three years. Seeking a full-time position as a sports information director after graduate school, she says the position has been a fantastic preview into her future career.

And, as far as getting the job goes, the process apparently wasn't too painful. Michele filled out an application, had a phone interview and an in-person interview, and she had to bring in her portfolio.

"I was hired on the spot," she recalls. "I have learned so much there — more than I learned in a classroom. I've learned about all the different aspects of the job — PR, design, game operations, recruiting, etc. It's a great experience, and it's also a good networking environment, which will help me when it comes time to find a job."

Who says you have to go to a big city to get great experience? Michele says she could not have had a better experience with any other company; everything she needed from an internship was right there in Gainesville, Fla.

"Florida's athletic department is so strong and well-respected," she says. "My bosses have so much experience and are very talented. I've learned so much from them. Plus, it helps that everyone is very nice. It's almost like family."

With innumerable chances to get her feet wet, Michele has gained valuable knowledge and a feel for the industry through the department, which has entrusted her with many projects.

"I've been involved in all phases of a media guide — from design and typesetting to editing and dealing with the printing company," she says. "I also have worked on football and basketball game day programs. I have written stories and taken pictures for the programs, as well as editing and troubleshooting with the printing company.

"Only a few guides are designed in-house. If I get the opportunity to produce one, then I do it myself. The cross country guides and softball are designed in-house."

Michele says she still plans on getting some more internship experience after graduation, as well as a master's in sports management to further her marketability.

"In this business, you have to have an internship after you graduate before you can get a job ... Eventually, I want to be a sports information director of men's basketball at a top 10 program."

Michele says she definitely feels prepared to take on the sports information world after the opportunities she has had during her tenure with the UAA.

"I feel this experience has prepared me for what I want to do," she says. "I've been fortunate to get a lot of hands-on experience. As for contacts, I've made a lot. I have several contacts at different schools, as well as contacts at NFL, NBA and WNBA teams. It's been a great experience."

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