Amanda Stewart: "Incredible field experience ... set me on the right course" at AU

To say Amanda Stewart is an overachiever is an understatement. Prior to attending Ashland University, she graduated from Canton McKinley High School in Canton, Ohio, and through the Timken Early College program, she achieved dual associate degrees in Arts and Science. At Ashland, Amanda graduated with a B.S.B.A. with a double major in Sports Management and Marketing in the spring of 2021, and with just five classes left to go for her Master’s in Project Management, she already has six internships and one shadowing experience under her belt. Having built an impressive resume before and during her time at Ashland University, Amanda’s future looks incredibly bright.

 

What was it about AU that made you feel welcome? I did three different tours just to make sure Ashland was right, and it was. I really enjoyed meeting the professors, especially Lance Kaltenbaugh, chair and associate professor of the sports management program. Everyone made me feel very welcome, and helped convince me it was the place I needed to be.

 

Ashland University prides itself in teaching students how to think, not what to think. In what ways has Ashland done that for you, and how will that benefit you in the future? By looking at all situations to become a better problem solver, and putting together a solution from point A to point Z. In a professional situation, I’ll be able to problem solve throughout my career. By being able to do that, I can address risk management, even on the fly, and figure out the best way to make events and projects more interesting. Working events is something I love doing, and I’ve done them at many of my internships, including my current one.

 

What are some of the internships you’ve had? I’m at LST Marketing in Dallas now as a Brand Experience Intern. It’s really exciting work. I love it! Also, through AU, I gained field experience at my high school in Canton and at Experiential Inc. in Youngstown. With the help of Lance Kaltenbaugh, I was a Youth & Education Intern at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After that intern experience at the Hall of Fame, I was asked to come back to serve as a Gold Jacket Relations Liaison. At Mansfield Senior High School, I interned with the Athletic Director. In Ashland’s Athletic Department, I shadowed Heather Gable, Senior Woman Administrator. All internships and shadowing have helped me a lot. I’ve learned so much through field work.

 

How has AU made your experience tailored to you as an individual? I love the Sports Management program at Ashland, and one of the many reasons is it’s a small school and the student-to-professor ratio is great. You get a lot of hands-on learning. All the professors know me, and they understand my goals. It’s a customized education at AU.

 

What experience have you had that could only happen at AU? This past year was the best experience. I was able to go to the Super Bowl in Tampa, where I volunteered with the NFL. This spring, I volunteered at the NFL Draft. AU helped with all of that.

 

How has your time at AU transformed you? To be more independent. At first, with my current internship in Dallas, I was worried about being away from home, but with Ashland building my confidence and independence, I knew I’d be okay. I never thought I’d leave Ohio. I initially wanted to work with an Ohio sports team. That thinking was only three years ago, but now I’m in Dallas and loving it. I can definitely thank Ashland for helping me come so far in just a short amount of time.

 

How has AU helped you find your passion or purpose for the future? The Sports Management program gave me incredible field experience through internships and shadowing people. Through that, I realized sales is not my passion, but events, hospitality and community relations are. Through the opportunities with Ashland, it helped set me on the right course. AU also has great sports connections professionally, and that too, has helped me find a direction for my career.

 

Do you see yourself relying on the AU community for support throughout your career? I rely on it now by keeping my professors updated on what I’m doing. And, I use Ashland’s alumni network for connections. That will continue after I’m finished at Ashland. I’ve also given back by doing Zoom calls where I talk to new students at the university.

 

If a current high school senior is considering attending AU or another university, what would you tell them about AU to help them make the decision to become an Eagle? That they will find a lot of people who care about them, and will understand what they want to be successful. The professors have contacts that will get them to where they want to go.

 

Who at AU has mentored you? Without question, Lance Kaltenbaugh. He’s shown great support and guidance.

 

How has AU demonstrated that they have faith in you? To trust me in my plan for getting me where I need to be. They worked with me on my plan, of course, adding advice and direction. They saw something in me and really took the time to help. They recognized I was a good student and worked hard. The professors put faith in me.

 

What experience have you had at AU that has helped you learn to be a leader? I’ve taken leadership classes through the Sports Management program. That really helped develop me as a leader. And, I work with a lot of kids who have learned about my experiences. I want to be a role model and leader, and support them whenever I can just like Ashland has done for me.