Internship at Watkins Glen International puts Robert Stevens '22 at the starting line
"Utica College hires some great people – people who care about you and push you to do better and achieve more than you thought was possible."
Robert Stevens ‘22 has loved the sport of race car driving ever since he can remember. A senior majoring in Communication and Media, with a concentration in Sports Communication and Public Relations, Rob also carries a journalism minor.
We caught up with Robert to talk about how his internship at Watkins Glen International Raceway, known as the Mecca of North American road racing, put him close to the action of the race track, and how his time at Utica College had him ready to cross the starting line from day one.
We understand that you had an internship with Watkins Glen this past summer. Can you tell us what you did there?
While I interned at Watkins Glen International Raceway as a corporate sales representative this past summer, much of my job was to ensure that the sales team was meeting contract requirements. I also planned and executed an entire social media plan for our sponsor, Evans Bank. Being a part of the event specialist team was interesting because we would dive into ways to keep the fans engaged via social media and while at the track. It was a remarkable experience to help put on shows that entertained thousands of fans.
How did your classes and professors at UC prepare you for this experience?
My classes and professors were huge in my journey. Each one taught me something not only about the industry but also about myself and what I wanted to do. Some classes were the highlight of the semester and I knew it was something that I wanted to keep doing. Others were not, but I still needed them in order to figure out that it wasn’t for me.
Are there any extracurriculars that you took part in that helped in this endeavor? If so, how?
WPNR 90.7-FM was a huge stepping stone in this; the amount of personal growth I experienced over my four years with the station has been significant. I’m definitely not the same kid that walked through those doors to interview for a position at the radio station. My position as director of sports prepared me to be a leader. Watkins Glen had a lot of moments that were stressful, as all jobs do. Luckily, through my experience, I felt prepared to handle that and keep moving forward. Also, The Tangerine, UCTV and Alpha Phi Delta all helped me develop and fill my skills toolbox.
What do you think that UC does well that stands out from other colleges?
Utica College hires some great people – people who care about you and push you to do better and achieve more than you thought was possible. I came here looking for a family away from home, and I found that with a handful of wonderful professors. I’d like to give a special shout out to Professors Rosemary Bonacci, Christine Leogrande, Paul MacArthur and Doug Croft, who have all helped me personally and professionally. So many things that I was called upon to do at Watkins Glen I felt prepared for because I had hands-on experience doing them in class.
Any advice for upcoming students?
Take chances! I have learned that anything is possible, and doors will open for you. You just have to be brave enough to seize those possibilities. College is a time to have fun, but it’s also a time to outwork everyone else. How you choose to spend your time will impact the rest of your life. So yes, go have fun, hang out with friends, but know when to buckle down to put yourself ahead. Also, dress up for presentations. I speak from experience, because doing that one little thing got my foot in the door for Watkins Glen.
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