Super Bowl

Quinnipiac Students Preparing for ‘Super' Assignment

Ability Media students will become working media covering the events leading up to this year's big game.

NBC Universal, Inc.

How about this for a college assignment? Take a week off in the middle of freezing cold February and go to Arizona for the Super Bowl. That is what some students from Quinnipiac University are doing and it’s all part of the learning experience.

When the Super Bowl was held in Los Angeles last year, Quinnipiac’s Ability Media students were there. Once again, this year, they’ll be attending and working.

“I mean, this is the ultimate student experience,” said Chris Roush, dean of the School of Communications.

Santino Maione is one of the five students attending. He is returning, hoping to build on last year's experience.

“It was a difficult balance at first to kind of keep the inner fan-boy inside and not let everybody see that,” Maione said.

The excitement is real, but so is the work. These students, some with disabilities and others without, will be conducting interviews and creating TV stories just like the professionals.

They will be working many of the media activities leading up to game day. Exactly the aim of Dave Steven, who oversees the program.

“What I’m trying to do is to set up the students at Quinnipiac with the ability to go out into the world and get a job,” Stevens said.

The experience could help lead them to an eventual job as they learn from doing and observing.

“They are going to see what professional journalist do, in terms of how they cover a huge event like this,” Roush said.

Dave Stevens, who was born without legs, explains that the focus of Ability Media is to give people with disabilities a voice. He says many of the stories they cover at the Super Bowl will be about people with disabilities.

Carly Mac Manus is among the students attending and admits her excitement goes beyond learning.

“I am a big Philly fan. I love the Eagles,” she said with a big smile.

Mac Manus said she will need to balance her personal feelings with professionalism as she interviews some of her favorite players this week. That battle is nothing though, compared to the one she has already fought, overcoming a learning disability.

She sees this trip as an experience she once thought impossible.

“I didn’t really think that I would ever get this far in life and be in college. I mean that was never a reality for me,” she said.

While in Arizona, students will conduct interviews with some of the NFL’s biggest stars, gain real life experience and a memory of a lifetime.

“We get to do stuff that a lot of students don’t get to do,” Stevens said. “I’m pretty proud that we can say that Connecticut is sending their own team to the Super Bowl.”

Stevens said the school has provided a stipend for the students on this assignment. They leave for Arizona on Friday afternoon but like most of us, they don’t have tickets for the actual game.

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