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Sixth Cohort Starts Athletic Master’s Program

MAIAA Program Readies Students for Careers in Athletics
Sixth Cohort Starts Athletic Master’s Program
The 2019 MAIAA cohort includes, from left to right: (front row) Cam Walker, Patrick Kosena, Ryan McFarlin, Jacob Shoemaker; (middle row) Tatu Tiililä, Janelle Rothacker, Bri Cassidy, Michaela Brueggen, Emilia Frizzi; (back row) Dr. Scott M. Fuess Jr., Steinhart Foundation Distinguished Professor of Business and faculty director for the MAIAA program, Corbin Heller and Dr. Kasey Linde, assistant director of the Teaching and Learning Center and MAIAA instructor.

The sixth cohort of the Master of Arts in Business with a Specialization in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration (MAIAA) program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business started this fall. The 10 students, who began classes August 26, plan to work in collegiate athletics after earning their degree and a competitive edge in the job market.

One of the distinctive features of the Nebraska MAIAA program includes the strong partnership between the College of Business and the Nebraska Department of Athletics. Students complete 10 graduate courses founded in MBA coursework and gain real-world experiences in their guaranteed graduate assistantships.

Founded in 2014, the MAIAA program is the first of its kind to offer students a fully-funded graduate education with guaranteed assistantship opportunities in the Nebraska College of Business in the first half of the program and Nebraska Athletics in the second half. Placements in Nebraska Athletics include academic programs, communications, development, life skills, and events and hospitality.

“This year’s incoming students come from across the U.S. and represent some great undergraduate programs, exhibiting varied student experiences,” said Dr. Scott M. Fuess Jr., Steinhart Foundation Distinguished Professor of Business and faculty director for the MAIAA program. “It will be exciting to watch them progress in their studies and athletic department internships. With such a dynamic new cohort, the MAIAA program should continue to build prominence.”

Comprised of four females and six males, this year’s cohort represents four Big Ten institutions and features four former student-athletes. Members originate from the east and west coasts, and everywhere in between.

The 2021 MAIAA cohort includes:

  • Michaela Brueggen of Arcadia, Wisconsin, comes to Nebraska from Nashville. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse graduate earned her bachelor’s degree in sport management with a minor in business administration. After graduating in 2018, she moved to Tennessee to intern for the Nashville Sports Council.
  • Originally from San Bernadino, California, Bri Cassidy completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln as a first-generation college student and played softball for the Huskers. She earned her degree in communication studies and sociology and received the NACDA Minority Postgraduate Scholarship.
  • Emilia Frizzi of Verona, New Jersey, earned her bachelor’s degree in 2019 from The Ohio State University where she majored in communication and sport industry and minored in Chinese. For three years, she served as a student assistant in the Ohio State Athletics Communications office, serving as the primary contact for three varsity sports.
  • A Sidney, Nebraska, native,Corbin Heller graduated from Doane University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2018. He played for the men’s basketball team during his collegiate career. Before joining the MAIAA program, he worked for Sandhills Global as a sales representative.
  • From Missoula, Montana, Patrick Kosena received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with emphases in sports management and marketing from Carroll College in 2018. A football student-athlete, he worked in many departments of the Carroll Athletic Department, including marketing and fan experience, athletic development and served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Council.
  • Ryan McFarlin of Glenwood, Iowa, completed his bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University in religious studies and legal studies. Following graduation in 2017, he worked for two years at Purdue University as a ministry intern before becoming a part of the MAIAA program.
  • A Ballston Spa, New York, native, Janelle Rothacker graduated from Pennsylvania State University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology after successfully defending her thesis on the association between team cohesion and the prevalence of mental health concerns in NCAA athletes.
  • Jacob Shoemaker of Omaha, Nebraska, completed his undergraduate degree in management information systems with a minor data science at Iowa State University. He most recently interned for Louisville City Football Club as a ticket sales and database intern.
  • Originally from Helsinki, Finland, Tatu Tiilil earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. While completing his degree in sport management, he interned for two years with the Minnesota Athletics Marketing Department.
  • A Lincoln native,Cam Walker returns home after completing his undergraduate degree in sport management at Ohio University. While at Ohio, he interned for the Bobcat’s Athletic Department in marketing and also worked with the Huskers Development office.

In addition to a curriculum that includes classes focused in athletics administration, the MAIAA students visit other college and university athletic programs, network with professionals in the industry and compete in national case competitions. The program also pairs its students with a mentor who currently works in the sports industry.

Applications for the Fall 2020 cohort are now being accepted. The deadline for applications is February 1, 2020.

Past graduates of the program now working in college athletics include:

  • E.J. Stevens (2019), assistant director of communications at Marquette University, Milwaukee
  • James Frey (2019), director of major gifts at Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina
  • Ryan Christy (2019), associate director of development at South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota
  • Jordan Welch (2018), assistant director of athletic compliance at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
  • Taylor Sanderson (2018), director of development at University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri
  • Lorie Garnett (2018), assistant director of communications at University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida
  • John Baker (2017), director of creative at University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma
  • Cameron Wilson (2016), director of events at University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota
  • Matt Henry (2016), director of development engagement at Nebraska

To learn more about the program, visit

Published: September 26, 2019