Tuesday, Dec 19, 2023
Meet game-day interns Joe Ayoub and Catie VanBogelen
by Adam Grybowski
Two aspiring sports agents are the first Rider University students to intern with the New York Giants since the school became the football team’s official higher education partner.
When the Giants kicked off their season in September at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, senior Joseph Ayoub and junior Catie VanBogelen began their stints as game-day interns. Their duties include escorting the organization’s guests and other VIPs onto the field during pre-game activities and ensuring sponsorship materials are distributed and displayed correctly throughout the stadium.
“This has been my first real step into the professional sports world,” says Ayoub, a lifelong Giants fan who had never seen an NFL game live and in person before landing this internship. “The Giants throw you into the mix as if you’re part of the organization.”
On her first day, VanBogelen was flabbergasted when she came face to face with Dak Prescott, the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, a few hours before the teams took to the field. In addition to rubbing elbows with professional players, the interns have relished the chance to connect with sports agents, Hall of Famers and star athletes from other leagues.
This has been one of the best experiences Rider could have given me.”
“That’s been my favorite part of the experience so far,” VanBogelen says. “I’ve made so many connections and have been building a network. It’s been amazing. This has been one of the best experiences Rider could have given me.”
She and Ayoub both chose to enroll in Rider’s dual-major sports management program based on a passion for the industry that began with diehard sports fandom. VanBogelen, who is also earning a bachelor’s degree in finance, grew up around sports, playing soccer, basketball and field hockey and participating in dance. “And if I wasn’t playing, I was always watching,” she says. A high school course opened her eyes to sports marketing, setting her on an early career trajectory.
Ayoub has been fanatically following the Giants since he was 5 years old, and his lifelong enthusiasm for sports originally made him want to work as a sports analyst before setting his sights on becoming an agent. “I love talking about sports so much,” he says.
Academic experiences have helped the students refine their ambition. Rider’s dual-major sports management program provides a foundational business education while also allowing students to obtain specialized knowledge for a sports-focused career. “I didn’t realize how big of a business sports really was,” says Ayoub, who is also earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Their internships with the Giants have further opened their eyes to the NFL’s vast business universe that operates beyond the gameplay on the field. Such experiences are expected to multiply and expand as part of the new partnership between Rider and the Giants, which was announced in September. The partnership has been designed to grant students access to unique opportunities that will include a chance for them to conduct a research project related to the sports industry and present their findings to members of the Giants’ front office.
For Ayoub and VanBogelen, their internships have helped them move from being mere spectators of a beloved sport to actively involved participants. Before this season, VanBogelen had never been to Metlife Stadium, and though she had seen it so many times on television, she was not prepared for how big it felt. “Walking in, it didn’t feel real,” she says.
Ayoub says, “What hit me during my first day was that there I was, on the field. It made me reflect on how far I’ve made it up to this point.”