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Hitting it big with sports internships

June  25, 2013

Paul Kleinhans-Schulz on Superman Night in Cedar Rapids, where he is an intern for the Cedar Rapids Kernels minor league baseball team.

"Sports have been my passion since I was a kid," said Paul Kleinhans-Schulz, an Augustana College senior from Waverly, Iowa. That passion is helping fuel his impressive path and ability to collect internships the way other sports enthusiasts collect pennants.

This summer, Kleinhans-Schulz, a business administration-marketing major, is an intern for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, a Class A minor league baseball team.

His list of résumé-building internships starts with a summer 2011 experience with the Waterloo (Iowa) Bucks baseball team. During the summer of 2012 he interned with the Quad Cities River Bandits in Davenport. Then during the 2012-2013 academic year he interned in Australia for the Bowls New South Wales in Sydney.

"Once I realized that playing sports wasn't going to be my profession, I decided that working in sports was going to be my next best option," he said.

Kleinhans-Schulz has a strong work ethic, and he’s out to earn a position after graduation: "I am getting the workload and putting in the hours that professionals in this industry are expected to perform... These internships have helped me be ready to handle the same work I will be expected to handle when I am working a full-time job."

Does a liberal arts education prepare a person for the wide world of sports? "There are a lot of things that I am doing that do not require schooling, like pulling the tarp over the field or picking up firework casings off of the field," Kleinhans-Schulz said. "Still, there are many things that my Augustana experience has helped me with."

He credits classroom experiences for helping him conduct market research, create documents, provide excellent customer service and more.

"Paul loves the business of sports and will continue in this field when he graduates," said Karen M. Petersen, director of business internships at Augustana.

Petersen and professional staff in Augustana’s Internships and Careers Office work one-on-one with students to make connections and match them with employers. Augustana places more than 400 students in internships in one academic year.

Internships provide students the opportunity to work in diverse environments, manage time and priorities, acquire knowledge, think critically, improve communication skills, solve problems and more. For many, like Kleinhans-Schulz, internships can confirm a career path and help build a network of professional contacts.

When Kleinhans-Schulz returns to campus in the fall, he’ll use his experience as the Kernel's liaison with the Eastern Iowa Freedom from Hunger program to finalize a capstone project. For his project, he’ll focus on helping the Kernels expand their efforts to organize food drives and help the local community.

Kleinhans-Schulz is on track to graduate in May 2014. The only question that remains: What’s the next pennant he will add to his collection?