TSU Students Gain Access to Hockey through Partnership with Nashville Predators

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 13, 2022) – Nearly three years after forming a historic partnership between an HBCU and NHL team, Tennessee State University and the Nashville Predators have worked to ensure the alliance continues to thrive. The short-term goal was to help TSU raise $1 million in one month in February 2020. The long-term goal was to create opportunities for students in the league, starting with the hometown team. Two TSU professors are helping students with the latter.

College of Business Associate Professors of Marketing Dr. Vaidas Lukosius and Dr. Ramaprasad Unni say they are committed to providing TSU students with firsthand knowledge about internship opportunities with the Predators. The two recently hosted an event for their classes featuring Tyree White, Director of Business Strategy & Analytics and Michael LaPlaca, Director of Digital & Social Strategy with the Predators. The executives shared information about sports marketing and internship opportunities. According to the professors, about 30 students attended the event.

“Internships are an ongoing process, and we always get requests from companies,” says Dr. Lukosius. “It’s one thing to have a flyer [about internship opportunities], but it’s something else to have the company come out, meet, explain, and engage with students.”

One of those students is Sarah Johnson, Senior Business Administration major with a concentration in Marketing who is currently seeking internship opportunities.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the event. Mr. LaPlaca and Mr. White shared meaningful knowledge and experience with us,” says Johnson. 

“It was nice to hear about their usual days at the office as well as their experience during more demanding periods. Their presentation certainly provided real-world insight to key concepts we learn in our marketing and business courses.”

Johnson hopes to become a marketing manager or director with a luxury fashion company and says she’s interested in an internship with the social media marketing team. 

“An internship with the Nashville Predators would be extremely valuable, and I would hope to learn the ins and outs of marketing, especially on such a large scale.”

President Glenda Glover, TSU officials and student leaders join Nashville Predators CEO Sean Henry, second from left, at a press conference in 2020 to announce a partnership to raise $1 million in one month. (TSU Photo)

While students in the College of Business attended the event, any TSU student can apply for an internship with the Predators for academic credit. It’s recommended that they speak with their respective department chair and the Career Development Center ahead of time regarding the requirements to receive credit for an internship.

“It would be a tremendous honor to help students get their career started in sports, but also help bring a more diverse approach to our day-to-day challenges,” says White. 

“While my department focuses on technical skills, we can train anyone that is interested.”

He adds that internships with his department for the spring should be posted at the beginning of November with the deadline to apply being early December. Their goal is to have spring interns selected before Christmas break with a potential start date around the second week of January.

Victoria Clark, Senior Business Administration major with a concentration in Hospitality Management, says she plans to apply.

“An internship with the Predators will be pivotal and provide me with essential knowledge and experience,” says Clark. 

“My career goal after college is to become a powerful and successful hotelier. I expect to receive hands-on experience in the sports and entertainment industry to learn trends and fundamental business skills that I can apply to my cumulative knowledge of the hospitality and tourism industry.”

Dr. Lukosius and Dr. Unni hope to have future events where White and LaPlaca can speak to students on more topics. Their goal is to have a consistent group of students earn an internship with the Predators each year.

“Internships make education more relevant and increase ties to the community,” says Dr. Unni. “My students who attended enjoyed the event, and if any participate, they can come back and share the experience with their peers.”

TSU Students interested in an internship with the Predators should visit https://www.teamworkonline.com/hockey-jobs/hockeyjobs/nashville-predators and apply. Those interested in opportunities with White or LaPlaca’s department can email them directly at [email protected] and [email protected][respectively] with an updated resume after completing the online application.