By Michael Taplin and Theodore Helmhout
University of Mississippi Communications
When the University of Mississippi is between academic terms, some students return home to unwind, travel the country and abroad, or stay on campus for summer intersessions. Others find unique, once-in-a-lifetime summer internships that help them on the road to future careers.
This summer, three rising Ole Miss seniors found hands-on internships. They said they’re excited to apply their newfound skills to their distinctive curriculums and career paths.
Delaney McCarthy, a senior hospitality management major from Loves Park, Illinois, just finished an internship with MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas, where she was assigned to work at the iconic Mirage, one of MGM’s 13 properties. There, McCarthy’s job was to research guest experience and learn to implement her findings in the hospitality industry.
“I was able to meet and gather an understanding of the clientele of the Mirage,” she said. “One of my duties was to inquire about guests’ experience at MGM Resorts pools, spas and wellness centers. I did this by interacting with the guests and gathering information relating to their experiences.”
Part of the internship involved working different positions related to the MGM pools, which are a major attraction of each property.
“I worked as a receptionist at the reserved seating desk, a pool attendant that checks peoples’ bags as they walk in, hands out towels, help guests find chairs and help pick up towels around the pool deck, assisted the cabana team serving their guests, and worked with various management,” she said.
Near the end of her internship, McCarthy assisted human resources with lifeguard recruitment for all 13 MGM properties.
“Most pools require a minimum of 50 lifeguards for the smaller resorts and up to 110 for the larger pools to stay open,” she said. “In Las Vegas, there has been a lifeguard shortage this pool season due to the employment shortage.
“I have been in charge of reaching out to applicants, scheduling and conducting interviews, and extending job offers. I conducted an average of 10 interviews per day.”
McCarthy said that through her work at MGM, she’s improved her ability to communicate with others, which she said will help her with problem-solving skills. Those are major keys to being successful in her undergraduate career and also while pursuing a master’s degree in hospitality management, she said.
Georgiann McCullough, a senior integrated marketing communications major from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has enjoyed her time as a public safety intern for the Nashville Predators, of the National Hockey League.
“This internship has been an absolute dream,” McCullough said. “I come into the office at Bridgestone Arena and assist the Department of Public Safety with administrative tasks such as the creation and distribution of credentials, inventory organization, event staff scheduling and loading dock management.”
Besides the normal tasks, McCullough has had a front row seat, in a way, while working there.
“I have been able to work every live event, including the NHL playoff games against the Carolina Hurricanes, the red carpet of the CMT Awards, Luke Bryan concert and more!” she said.
Once McCullough graduates in May, she hopes to work for a professional sports team and leave a positive impact.
“IMC is not just about fun graphics and hashtags; it’s about telling a story,” she said. “I want to use these stories to create actionable change wherever I am.”
McCullough is not the only Ole Miss senior who had a rewarding, sports-filled summer internship.
Lauren Taplin, senior sports and recreation administration major from Edwardsville, Illinois, has been working with the Wareham Gatemen in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, as player development and scout analyst intern. The Gatemen are part of the Cape Cod Baseball League, known to be one of the most competitive summer collegiate leagues in the country.
Taplin has always had a passion for baseball.
“I grew up going to games all the time and when I was little, I used to tell people I was going to be the first girl to play major league baseball, but it evolved into wanting to be as close to baseball as possible,” she said.
Taplin said the work has given her a wide range of sports experience.
“On the player development side, we set up a lot of technology during batting practice and bullpens, and we are constantly collecting data on swings and performance, then we put that data into models and visualizations that we give to the coaching staff who can then use it to help the players,” she said. “On the scout analyst side of the internship, I am attending other games in the league to write up the best players.”
With this internship, Taplin has seen the ins and outs of professional baseball by working with Jerry Weinstein, head coach of the Wareham Gatemen and part of the coaching staff for the USA Olympic team. Along with other interns, she was assigned to provide Weinstein with scouting reports on the Korean and Japanese national teams.
Besides Weinstein, Taplin worked with Ron Polk, an assistant coach for the Gatemen and former longtime Mississippi State University head coach.
Taplin plans to graduate in December and begin her job search. She also is challenging herself to learn as much as she can about scouting and analytics to advance her future endeavors.
In the meantime, McCarthy, McCullough and Taplin are excited to share a variety of unique skill sets with their classmates and peers before their time at Ole Miss runs out, and continue to build their legacies.