A visit to the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, for a Bruins home game serves as one of the most exhilarating experiences for New Englanders during the winter season; for Julia Pano, Class of 2020, majoring in communication and minoring in sports management, the thrill of the rink doubles as just another aspect of the daily work routine. In her internship position as a Boston Bruins Broadcast Associate, Pano finds herself fulfilling her career aspirations amongst the studio production team at NESN, who trust and encourage her to take on real-world tasks faced by industry professionals every day. While Pano thrives in her current internship experience with NESN, the climb to her current career success began just before the summer of 2019, just before her senior year at Merrimack.
As Pano’s academic career progressed and her senior year grew ever nearer, she made a vital decision to further advance the development of her career in communication by securing an internship for the summer leading into her final fall semester as an undergraduate student. As a junior, Pano scanned Handshake and the websites of organizations she took particular interest in, including NESN’s career.NESN.com, and began the application process for experiential learning opportunities. After submitting her applications with much hope and determination, Pano soon received an offer from WCVB-TV Channel 5 as a Newsroom Intern, where she’d have the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience directly from the production team. Without hesitation, Pano accepted the offer and began her first internship experience in the communication field.
Throughout her experience with WCVB-TV, Pano gained essential insight of the responsibilities of an in-house production team member, and even produced stories for weekly broadcasts. By the time with WCVB-TV reached its end, Pano felt more prepared and driven than ever to once again pursue internship openings with NESN for the fall semester of her senior year. “[My] work experience [with WCVB-TV] really helped me with my confidence in applying for [my current internship] position [with NESN]”, Pano maintains when reflecting on her first internship. “[My time with WCVB-TV] showed and proved to myself that I was a well-adjusted employee, especially since I was trusted with so many responsibilities while I was there. So, I decided to reapply for NESN, because I felt like I had even more to offer now that I’d had more hands-on experience and took more classes in my spring semester.” Pano’s diligence served her well, as NESN responded to her reapplication with a request for an interview.Pano reveals the importance her on-campus involvement played in securing her position with NESN, particularly her leadership position as the captain and president of the Women’s Club Hockey team. “In the interview [with NESN], I was actually asked specifically about it,” Pano notes. “There are many different roles I have to play between the two [positions], so it’s awesome to talk about [in interviews] because it shows that I have a wide variety of experience with leadership.” Between the interpersonal skills she demonstrated throughout her interviews and the various other skills she possessed from her previous on- and off-campus opportunities, Pano naturally landed the position.
Pano has since enjoyed every minute as a Boston Bruins Broadcast Associate with NESN, particularly due to the extensive experience she’s gained in the sports media world both on-site and in-house. “I get to work in the NESN truck, in TD Garden, I do zone-time for them, sometimes I’ll control the scoreboard and some of the graphics, and I’ll help out the marketing and social media team in the studio as well at times,” Pano reveals in her day-to-day experience. Pano further expresses her enamoration for sports media, an aspect of communication that she’s always been drawn to and appreciation for the opportunities her position with NESN presents. “With NESN, I’m getting so much experience on-site and out in the field, which I really love as someone who’s more of a hands-on learner,” Pano maintains. “[The production team at NESN is] making it so I’m getting to really experience all of the different aspects of how the sports media world works, and I’m able to truly experience and contribute to all of the parts that [constitute] the field.”
Aside from the plethora of varied experiences that Pano gains with NESN, having the NESN studio and the TD Garden as her nine-to-five office space certainly enhances the thrill of her daily routine. “The most exciting part is working at TD Garden, I just love going to work now,” Pano explains regarding her favorite aspect of her internship. “The atmosphere as a whole is so fun and intriguing, especially as an athlete and getting to see players come in for their games and meeting the coach of the Bruins, it’s just awesome.” Pano additionally enjoys the opportunities to expand her network with professionals she’s inspired by throughout her work day. “I also just love networking with the people at TD Garden. Usually at the press media dining room, I get to meet and network with people every day from companies like the Boston Globe, the Boston Bruins Foundation, and even people from WCVB-TV who focus on sports.”
As Pano progresses throughout her internship with NESN, she realizes the value that each of her classroom and experiential learning opportunities present towards the advancement of her career goals. Reflecting on her own undergraduate career, Pano reveals, “I was one of those people who probably didn’t get an internship as early as they should have. I think some of the best advice I can give would be to really do your research on the companies you love and are interested in, and start as early as you can when looking for internship opportunities on Handshake and other [job searching platforms], especially in your sophomore and junior year.” Pano encourages her fellow communication students to consider the importance of their education and their choice of classes in the career development process. While hands-on experience through an internship opportunity serves as one of the best methods of advancing career success, projects within the classroom serve a vital role in providing experience as well. “Getting experiences to help you narrow down your interests is of course important,” Pano begins, “but I think that current students should definitely take some electives that they’re interested in that they think can help their career, rather than just classes that they think will be easy. Good experiences in the classroom are just as helpful for your career.”
Pano’s career journey offers an incredible demonstration of perseverance in the professional development process in order to transform mere aspiration into reality. Take advantage of the resources around you and turn your career goals into a plan to realize the next step in your eventual career success. Book an appointment with your career advisor on Handshake and see the full list of upcoming events to begin the progression of your career today!
Written By: Kerry Reynolds, Class of 2021