Student learns to be confident under pressure through internship

Student learns to be confident under pressure through internship


Internships are a valuable part of the NDSU experience. They provide real world, hands-on job skills that make employers take notice and help students grow personally and professionally.

For Calla Harper, the NDSU Athletics internship program gave a glimpse of what it takes to run gameday marketing and promotions for a successful NCAA Division I athletics program. She sat in on meetings, helped run promotions and networked with some of the top professionals in the business. The experience intensified her passion for sales, and provided leadership and job skills to help her succeed after graduation.

“The internship taught me how to be confident under pressure. We are under the eye of thousands of people, especially at football games, and if you mess up,people will notice,” said Harper, who will graduate this spring with a marketing and sales degree. “If things don’t go the way you want, if you leave with your head held high and a smile on your face,people aren’t going to notice. It’s a valuable lesson to focus on being prepared for everything, but also to not let it affect you if things don’t go as planned.” 

Building her resume

Harper was involved in many important aspects of NDSU Athletics marketing and promotions. She helped with gameday fan promotions for football, basketball, volleyball, softball and baseball. Harper was behind the scenes and at center stage at events as she prepped fans and high-profile guests for on-field ceremonies, set up games and promotions and picked fans to compete in promotional games.

She also played a major role in helping to launch student fan club The Herd, which helps enhance NDSU home court advantage and provides several perks for being part of the group. Harper honed her leadership and communication skills in leadership roles for The Herd and as a mentor for other NDSU Athletics interns.

“It was important for me to learn different communication styles and make sure everyone understands everything before we get to the actual promotion,” said Harper, who also held a leadership role as a member of NDSU student government. “Preparation was really key. This internship really built on my previous leadership experience and allowed me to take it to another level.”

Ready to start her career

Harper said the opportunity to work with professionals in NDSU Athletics has given her a network of mentors she can rely on for guidance and advice as she heads into a career in sales. She is currently seeking a job.

“I was given opportunities at NDSU that I wouldn’t have been given at any other institution,” she said. “I had professors that invested personal time into making sure I’m growing, and the college of business did a fantastic job making sure I am set up for success after graduation and set apart from many other job seekers because of my experience and because I earned a sales certificate. A lot of times, the real-world application of what you’ve learned can be just as important as your work in the classroom. And that’s what I got at NDSU.”

Learn more about the NDSU internship program.