The Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) offers an unpaid internship program for current undergraduate and graduate students to gain experience in the sports industry. Although intern positions are unpaid, many students can get class credit for work in their respective positions while gaining true, on-the-job experience. The internship program focuses on four areas: communications, marketing, finance and interdepartmental.
Interns hail from a variety of backgrounds and professional experiences, and all contribute to the great work of the LHSAA in governing approximately 390 member-schools with more than 85,000 student-athletes.
The LHSAA’s marketing intern this fall is Joshua Criswell from Houston, Texas. Joshua graduated from Jersey Village High School in 2009 and currently studies Sports Administration with a focus in Sports Commerce and a minor in Business Administration at LSU. Before joining the LHSAA, he volunteered with the New Orleans Zurich Classic, the Super Bowl Host Committee and the Women’s Final Four in New Orleans. After graduating this spring, Josh plans to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Journalism.
“From there, I would like to break into the sports media industry, with the ultimate goal of becoming a sports talk radio host,” Joshua said.
Joshua assists the LHSAA marketing staff in attending meetings with corporate partners and business associates, assisting with the production of LHSAA’s Game of the Week and conducting research on current and potential sponsors. He values this internship for the opportunity to gain hands-on experience.
The finance intern at the LHSAA is Lauren Exnicios from New Orleans, La. She graduated from St. Mary’s Dominican High School in 2009 and from LSU this past May with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. She is now studying Sports Management at the graduate level at LSU. Before this semester, Lauren shadowed the Corporate Relations Department of the New Orleans Hornets and currently tutors LSU student-athletes in accounting and economics. She plans to begin the CPA exam in January and begin law school in August 2014.
Lauren manages accounts receivable and accounts payable, makes deposits and assists the LHSAA’s director of finance in all areas needed. She also values the hands-on experience the organization provides and ultimately desires to become an executive for the NBA.
Aaron Caffarel of Baton Rouge, La. serves as this fall’s communications intern for the semester. Aaron graduated from Catholic High School in 2008 and LSU in 2012 with two Bachelor of Arts degrees in History and International Studies. He is now pursuing a Master of Mass Communication degree at LSU. Before joining the LHSAA in June, he worked for a lobbying firm and now works as a graduate assistant in communications for the LSU Office of Enrollment Management. After graduating in December 2014, he plans to pursue a career as a political operative in Washington, D.C.
Aaron assists the LHSAA’s Director of Communications in writing blog posts, general news items, social media and various communications sent to member-school principals, coaches and athletic directors. While his ultimate career goals will not involve the sports industry, he enjoys the experience of crafting a message for an organization and honing his writing skills.
“Public relations skills are universal and can be applied to almost all industries. Learning how to effectively research and target your audience leads to great communication,” says Aaron.
These fall interns bring a dynamic skill set to the LHSAA and look forward to a great year of high school athletics.