In competitive internship, 3 Rider students are NJ Devils advocates

Students support the three-time Stanley Cup champs in several capacities

The New Jersey Devils receive more 1,000 internship applications every fall, spring and summer. Students from top schools across the country vie for spots that support the three-time Stanley Cup champions. Recently, three Rider University students were accepted into the Devils’ internship program, the most of any school represented. 

Michelle Wood '17, a recent Rider graduate who studied public relations, began her internship with the Devils in January. In June, she was joined by Aziz Smith-Hamilton, a senior studying business administration and sports management, and Ethan Riepe, a senior studying sports management and marketing. All three have continued their internships over the summer. 

Wood interns in the communications department, working on projects for both the Devils and the Prudential Center, the multi-purpose indoor arena that is home to the Devils in Newark, N.J. For each, she writes news releases and coordinates press coverage with local media, news outlets and photographers. She also has staffed several hockey games, as well as events and concerts that come through the building.

"Interning with the Devils has been a goal of mine since I started school, and I think it’s incredible that I got to intern with two other Rider students,” Wood says. “I have always had an interest in working in sports and entertainment, and now thanks to this internship I know this is the industry I want to pursue a career in.” 

Wood credits Rider with helping her land her dream internship. She transferred to Rider in the fall of 2015, and the University immediately started helping her build her resume. She started with an internship on in University Marketing and Communications and then held an internship in the entertainment industry in New York City. 

“I am so thankful for my experience at Rider University,” Wood says. “The classes are so modernized and they keep up with the latest industry trends, which is important for this type of work. Rider’s communications department offered me a lot of guidance throughout this process while letting me take the reins and create my own path. I’m glad I found my passion for sports and entertainment through my internship with the Devils, and I plan on continuing to work in this industry once my internship ends.” 

Wood, Smith-Hamilton and Riepe were all able to receive credit for their internship through Rider’s internship program. 

“The program is designed to provide our experiential learning, which allows them to apply what they have learned in the classroom and gain professional development,” said AJ Moore, associate professor of journalism and director of internship program for the Department of Communications and Journalism. “Part of our goal for the internship program is to take advantage of our location. Rider University is located between New York City and Philadelphia, so we utilize their job markets and have many students intern there.” 

Students who enroll in Rider’s internship program find their own internship or work with Moore to obtain one. Over the semester, the students experience two levels of education— their internship experience and a class with Moore.

Every year, Rider students complete more than 1,000 internships, co-ops and field placements. The practical experience they earn puts their learning to use and helps prepare them to be ready to join the workforce. Those kinds of engaged learning experiences are one reason Rider students historically have strong outcomes following graduation. Within one year of graduation, for example, 93 percent of Rider’s undergraduate Class of 2016 was employed, pursuing graduate study or volunteering, according to a recent alumni survey conducted by Rider’s Career Development and Success.