Ricardo Louis and Chris Davis didn’t make the only timely plays at Jordan-Hare Stadium in November. Grace Cusson, a senior in Marketing at the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, made a highlight catch of her own at the Iron Bowl on Nov. 30.
With the Auburn-Alabama game hanging in the balance, Cusson, who has worked as an intern in the Auburn University Athletics Department, escorted Linda, wife of football legend Bo Jackson toward her husband who cheered for the Tigers from the sidelines. But the turf and Linda Jackson’s shoe didn’t cooperate.
“While walking over to him, his wife’s heal got stuck in the ground and she fell right into my arms,” said Cusson, who plans to graduate in the spring. “I was able to catch her before she face-planted!”
Cusson’s duties as a head intern within the athletic department included far more than preventing embarrassing accidents. The Vero Beach, Fla., native also:* Generated marketing plans for the athletic department;
* Served as a key player in the Kids Club program, updating the database, generating newsletters and assisting Aubie in sending birthday cards;
* Executed and delegated promotional activities for the women’s soccer team, and also served as the liaison between the press box and field activities during matches;
* Assisted with football game day operations, including ticket sales, the halftime show featuring 1,200 cheerleaders during the Oct. 26 Florida Atlantic game, escorting those receiving game-day recognition, working with the AUHD team, and creating the smoke that greets the team as they burst on to the field
* Coordinated Family Fun Softball Day events by producing a number of promotional advertisements, including an announcement over the PA during the Oct. 5 Ole Miss football game, and orchestrating the event’s activities such as inflatables. The event was Oct. 13.
* Was “in charge” of Jackson’s Heisman Trophy display.
Cusson said being on the field at the Iron Bowl was a “highlight” and even had the opportunity to chat with Tigers’ coach Gus Malzahn before the game.
“Over the past semesters I have been able to learn so much more than I ever imagined,” she said. “This internship has definitely helped me grow as an individual. I have had to learn how to handle different circumstance under extreme pressure. I have had the opportunity to work with all different levels of management within the athletic department as a whole as well as through other organizations. I have been able to see and experience the process of taking many different working parts and putting them all together for one end result. It is so important to all be working on the same page to make an event happen. Communication is key. I have grown with my people skills as well — being able to clearly communicate and constantly updating my peers about what I am working on. I have learned how important it is to stay on a schedule.”
Cusson said she wasn’t sure what the future holds but wants to make a “big impact” wherever she goes.
“While in the office, the athletic department is really small, everyone knows everyone and everyone works as a team,” she said. “However, all these working parts make a huge impact and thousands of people are always watching.
“The Harbert College of Business has helped me learn about what to expect when entering the real world,” she said. “Everything from a basic foundation of every department and how they all are interconnected, to specific tools and tasks needed for more specialized job. The college has done a great job of pointing out typical potential flaws newly-graduated individuals typically make so that you don’t make them in the real world. I am very excited to see where the world takes me and I feel I am completely prepared, that’s not to say I won’t make mistakes along the way though.”