After Fiesta Bowl internship, Schindler brings a lot to the party
(Editor’s note: This story is from the May 2016 issue of GCU Today Magazine. To view the digital version of the magazine, click here.)
GCU Today Magazine
Kelly Schindler didn’t waste any time taking what she learned in the Colangelo College of Business and running with it.
Schindler, who graduated from Grand Canyon University in December with a degree in business management and marketing, got a crash course in big business and major college football as a seasonal intern with the Fiesta Bowl. She worked on community relations and charities for the Fiesta Bowl from late October to the end of January.
Her responsibilities included scheduling appearances by Spirit, the Fiesta Bowl mascot, arranging for players to participate in charitable events and distributing tickets to nonprofit groups.
She also worked with Fiesta Bowl employees to provide Thanksgiving dinner to a group of foster children, and she helped serve free chicken sandwiches and meals donated by Chick-fil-A at events in downtown Phoenix and at Luke Air Force Base.
Schindler said she put in long hours over the holidays. The Fiesta Bowl hosted Notre Dame vs. Ohio State on Jan. 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium, followed the next day by the Fiesta Bowl Parade and Arizona State vs. West Virginia in the Cactus Bowl at Chase Field. She worked from 7 a.m. the day of the parade until 2:30 a.m. Jan. 3 after the Cactus Bowl game.
“I had no idea it was going to be that intense,” she said. “I was just a North Dakota girl who loves football, looking for a job.”
Schindler grew up in Bismarck, N.D., where she attended Shiloh Christian School. On her first visit to Arizona, she came out in July with her older sister, who was looking for a school to study physical therapy.
“It was the hottest time of year” with lots of dust and construction underway on the GCU campus, she recalled. “But I fell in love with GCU, and I had this feeling that this is where I’m supposed to go to school.”
So she became a snowbird and gave up North Dakota winters for Arizona sunshine, GCU and, eventually, a Fiesta Bowl internship.
One of the lessons she learned from the experience is that anyone pursuing a career in sports management must be persistent.
“You need that to be successful,” Schindler said. “I loved my time there at the Fiesta Bowl. It transformed my career and me as a person. It taught me so much.”
Schindler leveraged her internship, which included working with charities, to find a full-time job with a nonprofit group. In February, the Be Kind People Project hired Schindler as its national school and community marketing manager.
The organization schedules assemblies and works with schools to teach young students about the importance of kindness and good behavior — giving her another chance to apply what she learned in her GCU marketing classes.
“I love it,” she said. “It’s my passion now.”