Ethan Polak
Sports Media and Strategic Communication double major
Wheeling, Illinois

Where are you working this summer and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
This summer, I’ve finally made it to the big leagues where I earned a role as a production assistant for the Chicago Cubs. My position involves helping in all aspects of the game-day video board operations, including graphics operator, video editor, and camera assist. On occasion, I’ve even helped create graphics and operate the video boards during non-game day events inside Wrigley Field.

How does this experience relate to your major?
My dream is to work in the sports production industry, so this experience working alongside media professionals helps expand my knowledge and develop my skillset at the Major League level. 

What do you like most about your internship?
It feels surreal to know that I now work for an organization that I idolized since I was a kid. In addition, I’ve been given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working in many different roles within the game-day production team. 

What has surprised you the most about this experience?
To simply put it: the people. Sports production is a high-pressure environment, especially in the big leagues. Everyone I’ve interacted with during the season, from the camera operators to the producers welcomed me with open arms creating a supportive environment. 

If you have a project you worked on that you are particularly proud of, please share it here.
My favorite project that I’ve worked on was the Cubs sponsored Hi-Chew promotion. This in-game feature involves using artificial intelligence to create pieces of art using a few prompts from some young Cubs fans. During the game days, I take the art made by artificial intelligence and the footage from interviews with the fans and edit them into one video that debuts later in the game. In July, this feature was even listed as a finalist for a Golden Matrix Award!

What advice would you give another student who may be looking for an internship?
My number one piece of advice would be to get your name out there as soon as possible. Whether it’s attending a career fair, signing up to volunteer at an event, or even creating your own website. It’s never too early to start growing your network. You never know where you might meet the right person who will lead to your future career.