Pittsburgh Penguins and Kent State Partnership Scores Unique Opportunities for Golden Flashes

Pittsburgh Penguins Sponsor Graphic
Kent State University has partnered with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins since 2018, allowing this nationally recognized hockey team to work closely with the university and providing professional and recreational aid to the Kent State community. The partnership includes multiple facets that focus on future Golden Flashes, current students and alumni alike. 

Prospective students in the Pittsburgh area are greeted with a message from the Penguins upon their admission to Kent State, and the partnership provides admissions and networking opportunities for those students at Penguins games. Alumni living in Pittsburgh are invited to attend special Kent State nights with discounted tickets and a chance to connect with other alumni in the area.

“Western Pennsylvania, specifically the Greater Pittsburgh area, is home to many Kent State alumni as well as a great number of current students,” said Rebecca Murphy, Kent State’s interim vice president for University Communications and Marketing. “Our partnership has allowed the university to collaborate with a championship organization that shares our commitment to community engagement to provide meaningful opportunities to our Pittsburgh-area Golden Flashes.”

Current Kent State students have a special opportunity to work with the Penguins organization through an internship program. The team also facilitates a sports administration panel of professionals who speak about their jobs, student invitations to tour PPG Paints Arena and opportunities to shadow employees on game days.

Kent State's Flash ridiing the Zamboni at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh
“The partnership that we have with Kent State began because of our shared commitments to helping young professionals develop and our goal to have a positive impact on the community,” said Amy Wesson, senior manager of partnership marketing for the Penguins.

The Penguins internship program includes a diverse group of Kent State students divided among various departments within the Penguins organization. Each opportunity aims to encourage students to become more educated on what professions the sports industry offers, in hopes that involved students will pursue careers in the industry. 

The pandemic has not stopped the Penguins from providing Kent State students with a valuable internship experience. The Penguins created a specially designed internship program during the summer months as the NHL wrapped up the 2020 season after a five-month hiatus due to COVID-19. 

Students involved in the summer internship program collaborated with the Penguins corporate partnership team. Kent State interns had the opportunity to learn more about sales and marketing by working with existing partners of the Penguins to further develop relationships or by executing effective marketing campaigns targeted toward potential partners.

Leah Eberts, a senior visual communication design major
Leah Eberts, a senior visual communication design major at Kent State, primarily worked with the Penguins’ graphic designer in the new media department during her summer 2020 internship. 

During her time as an intern, Eberts created a variety of graphics for the Penguins’ social media accounts and public relations team. She also was able to create graphics in support of a few other Pittsburgh sports teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates.

During the hockey team’s summer playoff games, Eberts would update the intermission graphics to be posted immediately after each period, an excellent opportunity that most summer interns do not get. 

After completing her internship, Eberts noticed that the Penguins were still using her design work and ideas on social media channels. 

“It was an amazing feeling to see and read a lot of positive comments from people I didn’t even know,” Eberts said. “Just having that recognition that people are seeing and enjoying the graphics and message behind them was really rewarding.”

Baylee Worth sport administration alumna
Baylee Worth graduated from Kent State in 2018 with a degree in sport administration after a successful  internship with the Penguins. In her position as a partnership sales intern, Worth worked closely with the sales and marketing teams to create and enhance various Penguins partnerships. 

“Without that internship, the transition into my career would have been a lot more difficult because it taught me how to network, how to act in a professional setting, all of those things that apply to any career,” Worth said. “I can’t say enough good things about the Penguins internship program. They took care of their interns and included us in everything the management did.”

Along with interns and current students, Kent State alumnus Paul Steigerwald works with the Penguins as a PensTV personality. He credits much of his success to the network of support that the university offered him, which he says created a perfect environment for growth and success. 

“You’re influenced by so many talented people that care, you feel the support and it inspires your drive for success,” Steigerwald said. “My Kent State education afforded me the opportunity to be a part of a winning organization that is driven to make a positive impact in the community.”

For more information about Kent State’s partnership with the Penguins, visit www.kent.edu/penguins.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - 5:13pm
UPDATED: Monday, March 15, 2021 - 4:09pm
Lauryn Oglesby & Katie Null