Path to the Pats: How Julia Palin Landed her dream Internship
September 13, 2023
This summer, Flores MBA student Julia Palin had the opportunity to work as a communications summer associate for her hometown’s NFL team, the New England Patriots. In this article, Palin recounts how she landed this internship, the duties she performed for the Patriots, and her result at the end of the summer.
Working as a communications associate this summer with the New England Patriots was a dream come true for me because I was born and raised in Massachusetts, where we live and die by Patriots football. Everyone in my family is a massive sports fan and we spend most of our “family time” watching Patriots, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, or LSU games. In addition to my passion for this team, I sought out this internship to solidify my decision to pursue a career in NFL communications, and the insight I gained was invaluable.
I first applied for this internship in 2020, but the opportunity was canceled due to COVID-19. I applied again in the spring of 2022 after volunteering in the LSU Athletics’ Sports Information office for two years. Being involved with LSU Sports Information gave me the opportunity to write a feature story on Kevin Faulk, an accomplished former LSU and New England Patriots running back. When applying, I leveraged that experience in my cover letter, as well as my family’s loyalty to the team. After reading my letter, the vice president of communications called me in April 2022 to let me know he had already hired someone for that summer. However, to my surprise, he spent over an hour on the phone giving me invaluable career advice. Before the call ended, he told me that I would be a strong candidate for a position in summer 2023 as long as I stayed in touch with him. I met him in person in August 2022 and shadowed his staff at a training camp practice. After that, I continuously made a significant effort to build our relationship, and, as a result, I was offered a summer internship in February 2023.
My position was housed in the team’s media relations department, where most of our work centered around public relations. Our team included the vice president of communications, director of football communications, football communications strategist, and a corporate communications strategist. I was the only summer intern, while the other two interns will stay on for the entire 2023-2024 season.
Most of our days began with compiling clips into a comprehensive document containing the online news coverage of the team and ownership. We would also respond to email inquiries and fan mail daily as our primary way of connecting with and serving the Patriots community.
In addition, the other interns and I transcribed our head coach and quarterback’s press conferences to send out to the media, which helped them write accurate stories with direct quotes. We also participated in various research projects, ranging from locating statistics and records to studying other teams’ statements in crisis situations.
For game-related documents, the interns were responsible for researching college and NFL connections between the Patriots and the opponent. For example, we would find any players and coaches on our team who may have previously played or coached with one of the opponents’ players or coaches. We would also assist in editing and proofreading the flip card for our preseason games, which is a one-sheeter that lists each team’s roster, depth chart, pronunciation guide, and other necessary game information.
During optional team activities (OTAs) and training camp, our team was responsible for preparing players for their media availability. This included informing them on the types of questions they might get asked and how they can respond to them. The coaches and players could also come to us with any questions regarding the media, interviews, or appearances. We were present at each press conference to moderate and support our players.
The same process was done for the assistant coaches on a bi-weekly basis, except their press conferences were typically held virtually. Initially, the interns would review our head coach’s transcripts and highlight any questions or answers pertaining to each assistant coach’s position group. Following that, we would write bullet points addressing potential questions for all assistant coaches and for each individual coach based on the position groups. Then, the football communications strategist worked with the interns on writing interview talking points for the assistant coaches. Before each press conference, we would update the coaches on the media’s current interests involving the team or certain individuals on the team.
All in all, I feel tremendously blessed because this experience helped me discover that working in NFL communications is truly what I want to do for my career. I am also very grateful to the Flores MBA Program for giving me such diverse knowledge, as it has allowed me to view communications and the NFL from a unique business perspective. My coursework, along with my graduate assistantship in the E. J. Ourso College’s External Relations Department, have exposed me to a wider array of communication styles and deliverables, as well as provided me with countless opportunities to put new skills into practice.
Upon graduating from the Flores MBA Program in May 2024, I will return to the New England Patriots as the 2024-25 Communications Seasonal Associate. I am beyond thrilled to be going back to the team that means so much to me. This summer was a taste of the NFL communications life, and I cannot wait to dive in deeper.