Natalie Dutton, a senior sport management student and member of the Shocker bowling team, got the chance of a lifetime last summer as an intern with the Kansas City Chiefs.
As a freshman, Natalie worked as a ticket-taker at Koch Arena. She knew she eventually wanted to work in the marketing department, a goal she achieved as a sophomore. She has been there ever since, helping with promotions and scripting during games, among other duties. She enjoys the fast-paced nature of the work needed during athletics events to keep everything running smoothly.
Looking for work to do this past summer, she applied for an internship with the Kansas City Chiefs for fun, not thinking she would get hired. She then learned she was one of 30 students accepted out of the 5,000 applicants. She credits the work she has done for Wichita State Athletics with giving her application the boost it needed.
The internship wasn’t easy, as the students spent long hours out in the sun and were expected to work quickly without making mistakes. Natalie put in the work while some of the others complained. Her drive paid off, and she now works at all of the Chief’s Sunday home games.
“We had to get up at 6 in the morning and start blowing up inflatables, but it was worth it because now I have a job with them,” she said.
Even with the often-tiring work, the experience was invaluable to Natalie, providing her with connections in the industry she wants to work in.
“If I didn’t do this internship, I wouldn’t know anything about the NFL,” she said. “I would be going into it blindly where no one would know me, but now I can walk into Arrowhead and know at least 50 people.”
She also learned about the kind of attitude and thick skin you need to have to work in the NFL. There are a lot of moving parts during games, and if something goes wrong, tempers can flare.
“You have to be hard-headed because people will yell at you, your boss will yell at you,” she said. “You can’t dwell on anything or let anyone hurt your feelings.”
Looking forward, Natalie wants to work in production for the NFL or NBA. She knows it will be tough, but she isn’t concerned about her ability to succeed.
“Being a female in a male-dominated industry is hard,” she said. “That is something extra that you have to overcome, but you just have to be confident in yourself.”