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When the New Orleans Saints go marching into the Superdome this season, so do a few talented Southeastern students who work in front of the cameras and behind the scenes to make games more enjoyable for fans
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Each time the New Orleans Saints play at home this season, a group of Southeastern students arrives early to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and gets to work. Students from a variety of majors – including communications, psychology, kinesiology, sport management and more – represent Southeastern and the Saints as they use their skills to make games more enjoyable for fans.
Students Chelsey Hymel, Kolbie Lawrence and Lacie Tramonte, along with alumna Ashley Lewis, are members of the Saintsations, the official cheerleaders for the Saints. Their responsibilities include interacting with fans, cheering for the Saints and promoting charities and events. According to Hymel, the experience of being a part of each Saints home game and sharing the passion for the team with the city of New Orleans is incomparable.
Nicholas Smith, a senior in sport management, works as a manager assistant for SMG New Orleans, the event management company for the Superdome. At home Saints games, he is stationed in the command post responding to patron text messages and sending appropriate personnel in response. Smith began working at the Superdome as an usher when it reopened in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina and was promoted to his current position soon after.
Robert Scarpati, a sports reporter for the Southeastern Channel, films a post-game report following a recent Saints game.
Five more students serve as sports reporters and videographers for the Southeastern Channel's "The Big Game," an Emmy award-winning sports program similar to ESPN's "SportsCenter." Stephen Smith, Robert Scarpati, Erika Ferrando, Lindsey Cramer and Matt Flores receive media credentials to sit in the press box at the Superdome, and they personally interview Saints players and coaches – as well as the occasional opponent, including former Southeastern Lions standout Robert Alford of the Atlanta Falcons – following the games. The students are allowed to access the locker room and the field to film game reports, highlight reads, game analyses and interviews after each game.
The students' experiences this season will likely shape their future career paths, such as Smith's goal to work in operations for a professional team or event venue. Some – like Lewis, who now serves as a dance instructor at Southeastern – will make a career of their talent, while others will simply draw from their experiences when they explore new career opportunities after graduation.