E.J. Stevens, a student in the master of arts in business with a specialization in intercollegiate athletics administration (MAIAA) program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, was a teammate up for anything in his first year in the program. Whether wearing a frog costume for team-building on Halloween or a formal suit for the building grand opening, he combined his love for sports and communications both in the classroom and his graduate assistantship.
Stevens grew up playing baseball and basketball in Apple Valley, Minnesota. At the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, he earned a degree in sports management with a minor in communications studies. He gained further experience working for the Big Ten Network, Gopher Sports Marketing and a nonprofit organization that provides sports clinics for underprivileged children. While considering the next step in his future, Stevens attended a Minnesota-Nebraska football game in Lincoln, an experience he said influenced his decision to apply for the MAIAA program, a unique partnership between the Nebraska College of Business and Nebraska Athletics.
“The game was my first time in Lincoln. I could feel the energy and passion the fans had for the Huskers, but they were so nice, too. Afterward, I read about the MAIAA program at Nebraska, which matched what I want to accomplish: becoming a sports information director,” Stevens said.
The two-year MAIAA program provides a fully-funded education through graduate assistantships. Students work their first year in the College of Business and the second in Nebraska Athletics. Stevens worked in the Communications, Marketing and External Relations (CMER) office at the College of Business, where he wrote articles for the website and helped with social media, promotions and prominent events in the new Howard L. Hawks Hall. This past year, he also worked at the NCAA basketball tournament in Omaha, Nebraska, and competed with a team of Nebraska graduate students in the Case Cup Competition at the National Sports Forum in Texas.
“In just one year, the MAIAA program has already expanded my network, giving me connections with university and sports leaders in the classroom, at events or at their own facilities. All of these experiences have helped make me more marketable after I graduate,” he said.
Stevens is taking an extra step to set himself apart by going abroad to study business and supply chains in the CIMBA Italy global immersion program this summer in Paderno del Grappa, Italy. “I wanted to take the opportunity during that gap between classes and jobs to go abroad and experience a different culture and see how business operates differently in Italy.”
Stevens credits his year working in the CMER office for preparing him for and helping him reach his next challenge, his second-year graduate assistantship in the Nebraska Athletics Communications Office. His role may include preparing lineups, calling statistics for athletic events, writing game previews and recaps, feature articles or setting up media interviews. All are challenges he looks forward to taking on.
“The first year of the MAIAA program and working in the College of Business, I worked on developing myself, and my business, writing and leadership skills. I met successful and interesting sports leaders when we visited their colleges and universities. This second year in Nebraska Athletics, I will be able to use what I learned my first year, and I’ll be directly working in the field I want to build a career in,” he said. “The MAIAA program is giving me the opportunity to take the next step in my career.”
To find out more about the MAIAA program or apply for the fall 2019 cohort, visit: https://business.unl.edu/maiaa
Read Stevens’ blog about his global immersion experience in Italy: