The 500 Festival Intern Program is designed to allow each intern to experience the exciting Month of May in Indianapolis! This year, twelve interns representing seven different colleges from across the Midwest had the opportunity to be part of the 500 Festival team.
The 2019 intern class was made up of multi-talented individuals with bright personalities. The leadership skills developed throughout the internship has prepared each intern for the professional world!
2019 Intern Class
Some internships aren’t as hands-on as the internship experience we had over the last several months. At the 500 Festival, there‘s new adventure everyday, whether it was passing out Festival gear on Monument Circle, watching runners at the start line of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon or driving a Penske truck to an event. Throughout the season, each intern had several opportunities to utilize their unique skillset to help create a positive event experience for the thousands of people the 500 Festival impacts each season.
In addition to our work assignments, interns were also able to experience the 500 Festival Leadership Development Program, presented by BKD. The program allowed the interns to learn valuable career skills while building connections with leaders in the community. With the graduates looking for jobs after graduation, the connections the interns made could be used for the rest of their careers.
2019 Intern Graduating Seniors: Carly Piccione, Claire Collett, Lacey Gengelbach, Becca Pluckebaum, Cole Bailey, Zach Campton and Anna Polizzi
The full time staff at the 500 Festival also made the experience so much fun and they truly supported the interns throughout the entire journey. Each intern was supervised by their own staff member who guided them through their assigned projects and events.
By the end of the internship, each intern was more prepared for their future career path, received professional and social development, and formed long lasting relationships.
To learn more about the 500 Festival Intern Program, visit https://500festivalfoundation.com/college-programs/internship-program/overview/
Cole Bailey serves as the Customer Relations and Ticketing intern at the 500 Festival! He is from Avon Indiana and loves hanging out with his family and friends in his free time. Cole graduated from IUPUI in Spring 2019 and wishes to pursue a job in events or sports.
Name: Cole Bailey
Major/ Minor: Sports Management
Intern Title: Customer Relations & Ticketing Intern
What does being an intern at the 500 Festival mean to you? It means a lot to me. Growing up in Indiana and being able to help the Indianapolis community through each and every event we hold is what drives me. Each individual that is full time at the 500 Festival wants to see the best out of you. I can say that I am excited to have this internship and thrilled to be part of this internship class.
How did it positively impact you? It has impacted me in so many ways. I have learned so many different things throughout my internship experience and have made so many friends along the way.
What experience did you gain by being a 500 Festival intern? Being in customer relations/ticketing I have learned how to stay calm and collective. Also, being in events, I have experienced early mornings, late nights, and how things never go as planned.
What is your favorite memory and event? My favorite memory and event was the 3 Miler. With this being our first event as interns, we didn’t know what to expect. Watching the runners go off in the blistering cold weather was amazing. Knowing that we had all worked on this event since the start, when the sirens went off for the race to begin it was so relieving. My favorite memory was at the 3 Miler when a girl had radioed one of the full time staff looking for me. They passed along the information to me and at the end of the race she found me and told me that she appreciates all the help and everything I did for her. This was so important to me because it’s what we do as a whole with the 500 Festival.
What were some of your expectations before interning? Were those expectations fulfilled or not? Coming into this internship I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was going to be early mornings and late nights. I just hoped to gain experience in the field and grow as a whole.
What is some advice you have for the 2020 intern class? I would tell them to be prepared for a lot of work. It might sound bad, but in the end it will pay off. Seeing how much you have actually worked on and how much you’ve learned is very rewarding. Along with that, be ready for early days and long nights because each month offers some special.
What are your plans after graduation and what field would you like to work in? I haven’t decided what I want to do after graduation but I am currently looking at all different kinds of options. I would love to work in sporting events or just any events.
Zach Campton served as our Logistics Coordinator intern! Zach recently graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Sports Management. Zach likes sports and golfing.
Name: Zach Campton
School: University of Southern Indiana
Major/ Minor: Sports Management with a minor in Marketing
Intern Title: Logistics Coordinator
What does being an intern at the 500 Festival mean to you? Being here and a part of the 500 Festival means a lot because when you go out in the community, that logo means something. When we have committee meetings, hearing how hard our members works to help our events run just shows how much the 500 Festival does for the community and how much the community does for us. I haven’t been a part of anything this big till I ended up here and I feel very lucky to have this opportunity.
How did it positively impact you? I have been able to take a position that has many different outlets and responsibilities and manage it along with finishing up schooling to graduate after this semester. It has positively helped me with time management, gaining experience in the field I want to be in, and becoming better organized as a professional.
What experience did you gain by being a 500 Festival intern? It has given me the opportunity and flexibility to grow as a professional. Through the many events we have put on thus far, going through the leadership development program, or creating lasting relationships and connections. I think this will provide a lasting impact for many years to come.
What is your favorite memory and event? My favorite memories have been being able to hangout outside of work with the all the other interns. It is always a blast. My favorite event was the 6 Miler so far due to it being easier after completing the 3 Miler a few weeks prior. The event I am most looking forward to is the Mini Marathon and Off The Grid.
What were some of your expectations before interning? Were those expectations fulfilled or not? To gain experience in large scale events. To get a better grasp on pre planning for events and how much it takes. And network around the city of Indianapolis to help me better my knowledge and chances of staying in the Indy area post-graduation.
What is some advice you have for the 2020 intern class? As a whole, become close with all the other interns. You will be around each other a lot and if you embrace that like we have, it’ll make your time here, inside and outside of work, very fun and memorable. From my position specifically, work ahead. The free time you do have, try to get small projects done because during event weeks. There is no free time.
What are your plans after graduation and what field would you like to work in? I would love to stay around the Indy area and work in events or for a sport franchise.
Lindsay Stasiak was connected with all the kiddos and served as our Youth Programming Intern. Lindsay attends IUPUI majoring in Tourism, Conventions and Event Management. She loves hanging out with her niece and loves to travel!
Major/ Minor: Tourism, Conventions and Event Management
Intern Title: Youth Programming Intern
What does being an intern at the 500 Festival mean to you? Being a 500 Festival intern has meant that I have been able to work with some of the most knowledgeable event individuals in Indianapolis. And I have gained more firsthand experience in event logistics and programming.
How did it positively impact you? I have made some lifelong friendships with this intern class that I couldn’t imagine not having in my life.
What experience did you gain by being a 500 Festival intern? I have learned to become more confident in my thoughts and ideas, and to not be afraid to say that I don’t agree with something.
What is your favorite memory and event? One of my favorite memories thus far as a 500 Festival intern has been being able to witness the start of the Mini-Marathon. The energy from the runners was unbelievable- even if it was cold and rainy. And my favorite event would have to be Rookie Run. The joy on the kids, and parents, faces were priceless.
What were some of your expectations before interning? Were those expectations fulfilled or not? A few expectations I had before interning at the Festival were that I was going to be gaining a world of knowledge about programming and events at one of the most sought after internships in Indianapolis. Also getting the chance to network with individuals within the Indianapolis event community. Those two expectations have been more than met!
What is some advice you have for the 2020 intern class? Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and try new things- like driving a 24’ Penske truck. Think of every new thing as an adventure.
Mikayla Walker was the Communications intern here at the 500 Festival! Mikayla is a senior at Indiana State University studying Communications with a minor in Marketing. She loves shopping, roller skating and hanging out with family and friends in her free time!
School: Indiana State University
Major/ Minor: Communications with a minor in Marketing
Intern Title: Communications Intern
What does being an intern at the 500 Festival mean to you? Being an intern at the 500 Festival means a lot to me! Growing up in Indianapolis, I’ve always admired the events put on by the organization; my favorite has always been the parade as a child. I love being a part of projects that help the community I grew up in.
What experience did you gain by being a 500 Festival intern? The experience I’ve gained as the communications intern are skills I can take with me throughout my future professional career and the rest of my school career. My supervisors have taught me so much and always pushed me to do my best. I will always place value on the 500 Festival for giving me the opportunity to grow professionally.
How did it positively impact you? The whole experience has positively impacted my life because it has given me tools that I will continue to use and helped me network in the Indianapolis community. It also was a ton of fun so I enjoyed my time here.
What is your favorite memory and event? My favorite memory was being at the Mini-Marathon and seeing everyone in high spirits despite the bad weather that day. My favorite event was Kids’ Day. Kids’ Day was so well put together and I loved seeing the kids enjoy something we took time to plan for them. I felt like a kid again at the event.
What were some of your expectations before interning? Were those expectations fulfilled or not? Before interning, I did not expect to be so involved with other companies that did similar things as the 500 Festival. I thought I would only be involved with my co-workers day to day but I enjoyed being around others in the community that I could connect with as well.
What is some advice you have for the 2020 intern class? My advice for the next intern class would be to connect with the other interns and staff because working with people that support you makes your assignments and projects a lot more enjoyable. Rely on your team and you’ll never feel alone interning here at the 500 Festival. I would also recommend staying organized as the pace picks up, especially in May!
Becca Pluckebaum served as our Volunteer Program Intern and had the opportunity to interact with our volunteers at every event. Becca is one of our 2019 graduates from Indiana University in Bloomington! After graduation, Becca is hoping to pursue a career in the Sport and Entertainment industry.
School: Indiana University
Major: Sports Marketing Manager
Intern Title: Volunteer Intern
What does being an intern at the 500 Festival mean to you? I was born and raised just outside the city of Indianapolis so I’ve always been aware of the 500 Festival to some degree. Being an intern for the 500 Festival means so much to me just because I get to be a part of the events that I’ve always heard about or have attended myself. I love the mission and overall organizational goal of the 500 Festival. The events truly do bring the community together and I love that I get to be a part of something so much bigger than myself. I especially love being a part of the volunteer program because I’ve met so many incredible individuals who share a similar passion and desire to give back to our community.
How did it positively impact you? This internship has challenged me in ways that I will forever be grateful for moving forward in my professional career. It has pushed me outside my comfort zone and allowed me to grow not only as an individual but as a business professional in the event industry. I’ve learned so much in my short time with the 500 Festival, not only about events, and the workforce, but I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’m extremely grateful to have had this experience.
What experience did you gain by being a 500 Festival intern? This internship has given me hands on experience to events of all sizes and styles. As the volunteer program intern, I’ve enjoyed being a puzzle piece to each event at the 500 Festival. This has given me the opportunity to learn about so many different aspects of all different kinds of events. I’ve quickly identified that there’s truly an event for everyone to not only attend, but there’s truly an event and volunteer activity out there for everyone J This internship also has an emphasis on leadership and professional development, which I am extremely grateful for. The 500 Festival Staff, Board of Directors, Committee Members, Princesses and Volunteers are a community in itself. Having so many incredible people to build relationships with has been such a blessing.
What is your favorite memory and event? One memory that stands out is when my sweet supervisor Leslie took me for a ride in the pace car to get a car wash. Leslie and I both share a fear of taking our cars through car wash so it was quite the experience if you can imagine. Overall I’m just incredibly grateful to be surrounded by such a great group of people. This office is full of incredible people. There’s truly always something or someone that can put a smile on your face no matter what kind of day you are having.
What were some of your expectations before interning? Were those expectations fulfilled or not? I love this internship. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how lucky I am to have such a wholesome internship. I didn’t really have a set of expectations coming into this, but I can say this internship has far exceeded any expectations for an internship…just in a sense that I didn’t necessarily think I would be getting this much hands on experience, professional growth, and personal growth in one short semester. Not to mention I’m lucky to have such a great group on interns to share this experience with. These wonderful people are not only coworkers, and fellow interns, but real friends who genuinely care about one another.
What is some advice you have for the 2020 intern class? Ask questions! And really get to know the people around you. The 500 Festival is full of so many talented individuals; get to know the incredible people around you. And don’t forget to have fun!
What are your plans after graduation and what field would you like to work in? After graduation I plan to work in the Sport or Entertainment Industry in some capacity, ideally Event Operations. I love being behind the scenes for events, and seeing how one event, and just a few hours can have such a large impact on a community or individual. Sport and entertainment events have always been a huge part of my life. I am eager to be a part of providing event experiences that are just as special for fans as they have always been to me.
Jonah was the 500 Festivals’ graphic design intern. He attends the Herron School of Art & Design at IUPUI’s campus. Jonah loves skateboarding and coached gymnastics for three years!
Major: Visual Communication Design
Intern Title: Graphic Design intern
What does being an intern at the 500 Festival mean to you? It means an opportunity to put the skills I’ve learned to professional use and practice. A place to grow my list of professional contacts and impact the society in which I live.
What experience did you gain by being a 500 Festival intern? Interaction between different departments within a company, how they communicate and work together to make something big come together.
How did it positively impact you? It gave me priceless experience and a new perspective into a part of Indianapolis culture I had not yet experienced.
What is your favorite memory and event? I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve had with my fellow interns hanging out at and after events. It’s hard to pick out a specific memory. My favorite event so far has been the Mini. However, I have a feeling I’m really going to enjoy the Memorial Service.
What were some of your expectations before interning? Were those expectations fulfilled or not? I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, something like what I got I presume. I was happy to learn that I would be able to do some communicating with printers. That was something I found very helpful to get some practice with.
Would you do anything differently? Why or why not? No, not really. I feel like I handled my time management fairly well and my projects ended up turning out nicely. I really enjoyed my time here.
What is some advice you have for the 2020 intern class? Get your work done, don’t procrastinate, choose to find the joy in everything you are doing, even when it’s cold and/or wet and you’re miserable. As they say in the Army, “Embrace the suck.” Yeah, times can suck, it’s best to just embrace it and get through it instead of wallowing in self-pity and complaining.
Sarah was our event and program intern responsible for Post-Race Party and Breakfast at the Brickyard. Sarah is a senior at the University of Indianapolis studying Communications. Sarah loves hanging out with her cats and enjoys traveling!
School: University of Indianapolis
Major/ Minor: Communications
Intern Title: Event & Program Intern (Post Race Party & Breakfast at the Brickyard)
What does being an intern at the 500 Festival mean to you? Being a 500 Festival intern means connecting the community of Indianapolis together through various events. It means giving back to the community that has helped you or your company grow.
How did it positively impact you? Through the 500 Festival Leadership Development Program presented by BKD, I have learned more about myself as a person. I have also had numerous opportunities to improve myself as a young professional.
What experience did you gain by being a 500 Festival intern? As a 500 Festival intern, you are treated as though you are a full time employee at the company. You do day-to-day task as well as head your own even/project! The 500 Festival does a great job of connecting interns to all the leading professionals in Indianapolis as well as taking them out of the office to see different companies’ daily operations.
What is your favorite memory and event? So far, my favorite event was the 6 Miler race. All the interns had started to get into the rhythm of how the operation side of race day works so the set-up went faster than the previous race. After we were set up, we were able relax, watch the start of the race and then prepare for the end of the race. My favorite memories are hanging out with the interns outside of the workplace. It has been such an amazing intern class and being able to explore Indianapolis together in our free time has made us stronger as a whole.
What were some of your expectations before interning? Were those expectations fulfilled or not? One of the biggest expectations that I had before interning was being able to head my own event or take on my own project. Within two months, I had my own project to work on until the Mini-Marathon. It has been great to have the experience that the 500 Festival has given me.
What is some advice you have for the 2020 intern class? For the 2020 intern class, take everything in and soak it up like a sponge. You are lucky to be one of the 12 interns chosen for theseroles. Reach out to every professional you meet and don’t be afraid to ask any question that pops in your head. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, get everything that you can out of this internship.
Claire Collett served as our Event Program intern for the events Kid’s Day and Mini Marathon Expo. Claire represented the Butler bulldogs at our office and graduated this year from Butler University! She hopes to pursue a career in Marketing or Operations.
School: Butler University
Major/ Minor: Double Major is Marketing, Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Intern Title: Event & Program Intern (Kid’s Day & Expo)
What does being an intern at the 500 Festival mean to you? Being an intern at the 500 Festival means being responsible for bringing the community together to celebrate the Month of May. It is our job to work hard, stay organized and execute world-class community events. We play a crucial role in keeping the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 alive.
How did it positively impact you? I was able to create long-lasting friendships with my intern class and also make connections throughout the Indianapolis area. In addition, I was able to see venues that I would never get the chance to experience an event in. For example, I was able to see the Ohana Room in the Salesforce Tower for our Corporate Member Event.
What experience did you gain by being a 500 Festival intern? Through this internship, I was able to gain more experience in sales. I am focusing on the Mini-Marathon Expo and the Salesforce & JP Morgan Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day so I focus a lot of my time and energy on soliciting businesses to participate in these events. It is my job to increase event revenues through Virtual Goodie Bag, exhibitor and vendor sales.
What is your favorite memory and event? My favorite memory is spending time with the intern class. I enjoy getting to know such amazing and kind people. I think my favorite event will be the Salesforce & JP Morgan Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day. I have put forth a lot of time and effort soliciting exhibitors, vendors and entertainers for the event. In addition, I have been the lead on finding the best inflatables and games for kids to enjoy throughout the day. I look forward to seeing all of my hard work come together on May 11th.
What were some of your expectations before interning? Were those expectations fulfilled or not? I expected to be working long hours, but did not realize I would be working other people’s events, such as Mobile and Study Trips. Luckily, I am only taking one class this semester so I am able to put in the extra hours to help out with other peoples’ events. In addition, I wasn’t sure what to expect with the company culture before I started my internship. After the first day, I loved the company culture at the 500 Festival because it is comfortable and inclusive. The intern area has an open concept feel that encourages us to interact and work together throughout the day.
What is some advice you have for the 2020 intern class? Create goals for yourself once you fully understand your job and duties for the internship. This will help you stay on track and challenge yourself to exceed those goals.
What are your plans after graduation and what field would you like to work in? I am on the job search now, but I would like to stay in the Midwest after graduation. I am looking for a position in Marketing or Operations.
Carly Piccione serves as the Parade intern and graduated this year from IUPUI with a degree in Sports Management. Her favorite snack is Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and she loves the show Friends!
Major/ Minor: Sports Management with a minor in Business
Intern Title: Event and Program intern (Parade)
What does being an intern at the 500 Festival mean to you? To me, being an intern at the 500 Festival means being a part of the best internship around. Serving the community around us and providing entertainment to people all over the country makes the 500 Festival a great place to be.
How did it positively impact you? Being an intern here has positively impacted me by allowing me to get a behind the scenes look at some of the biggest events Indy has to offer. Being a part of the events from start to finish has really helped me understand the career path I would like to take in the future. I have also built strong relationships with the people around me that I hope will last a lifetime.
What experience did you gain by being a 500 Festival intern? By being an intern at the 500 Festival I have had the opportunity to gain a lot of large scale event experience. Learning the ropes behind the scenes and understanding everything that goes into making an event happen is the best experience I’ve gained through this internship so far.
What is your favorite memory and event? So far, my favorite event has been the 6-Miler race. Everything seemed to flow seamlessly and all the interns were a lot more comfortable and knew what they were doing, which made it a lot of fun! My favorite memories are hanging out with all the interns in and out of the office. We all have a special bond and great connection, so we have fun no matter what we do.
What were some of your expectations before interning? Were those expectations fulfilled or not? Before interning here I expected to help out in a small way and mostly do busy work and run errands. After my first day I realized this was not a run of the mill internship, it was much more. My expectations were blown out of the water because of all the trust the 500 Festival puts in us by giving us our own projects and having us assist with all events.
What is some advice you have for the 2020 intern class? Some advice I have for the 2020 intern class is to make friends with all the interns! Working with them day in and day out is so much fun when you have strong bond.
What are your plans after graduation and what field would you like to work in? I’m not sure what my plans are for after graduation, but I hope to find a job in the Sports/Events world that I love!
Chrissy Cassiere was our Operational Support intern. Chrissy is from Fishers Indiana and currently studies Marketing at the Kelly School of Business at IUPUI’s campus. Chrissy’s favorite snack is Acai’ bowls and loves taking strolls on the downtown canal!
Intern Title: Operational Support Intern
What does being an intern at the 500 Festival mean to you? It means making an impact in the community, by being part of events that celebrate the Indy 500. It also means meeting new, wonderful people and gaining new experiences.
How did it positively impact you? It has impacted me in a positive way because I am able to see how happy all of the events we put on make people, and for many of them it is a tradition that they come back and do every year.
What experience did you gain by being a 500 Festival intern? I gained a lot of experience of preparing/ putting on events.
What is your favorite memory and event? My favorite memory is getting pulled over on the golf cart with some of the other interns on our way to the hotel, and laughing with the police officers about it after we told them what we were doing. My favorite event was kid’s day, it was so cute!
What were some of your expectations before interning? Were those expectations fulfilled or not? Some of my expectations going into this internship were to gain experience in business operations. I did meet my expectations, but I also gained a lot of experience in event operations as well.
What is some advice you have for the 2020 intern class? Stay positive, there will be some long days/nights. This experience is what you make of it! Also, take advantage of the connections that the 500 Festival has to offer. Ask lots questions, maybe get coffee with a board/ committee member!
Lacey Gengelback served as the 500 Festival’s Strategic Partnership intern. Lacey graduated this year with her Master’s Degree from the University of Southern Indiana. Lacey is also a fitness enthusiast and loves working out in her free time!
School: University of Southern Indiana
Major/ Minor: Sports Management
Intern Title: Strategic Partnership Intern
What does being an intern at the 500 Festival mean to you? Being an intern at the 500 Festival means the world to me. I never thought I could be involved in an organization that cares so much about what you do, and wants you to succeed in every way possible.
How did it positively impact you? During this internship I found my calling per say. I learned that I want to stay in sponsorships and on the event side of sports.
What experience did you gain by being a 500 Festival intern? I gained more experience with sponsorships, as well as gaining more confidence in my work.
What is your favorite memory and event? My favorite memory this far has been at the 10-Miler when Carly and I congratulated and cheered on the participants while handing out water. Seeing the smiles on the runners face at the end was a cool experience to see.
What were some of your expectations before interning? Were those expectations fulfilled or not? Before interning at the 500 Festival my mind was set that I wanted to strictly work in sports. As this internship progressed I realized that I didn’t want to work just strictly in sports, and wanted more out of my job then just working for a sports team.
What is some advice you have for the 2020 intern class? Get the most out of this internship. You will make amazing friends and experiences that will last a life time. Also network like crazy; you will never be with an organization that is more willing to help you get to the next step in your future.
What are your plans after graduation and what field would you like to work in? My plans for after graduation are to find a job. Given that I will be obtaining my masters a job is really important. Not just finding a job, but gaining a job that I actually enjoy and can make a difference in.
Anna Polizzi graduated this year from Mizzou! She served as an Event and Program intern responsible for The Mini Marathon, Miler Series and Memorial Service. She is an alumni member of Kappa Delta Sorority and enjoys hanging with family and friends in her spare time!
School: University of Missouri
Major/ Minor: Parks Recreation Tourism and Sport- Sports Management with a minor in Health Sciences
Intern Title: Event Program Intern (Mini-Marathon, Miler Series and Memorial Service)
What does being an intern at the 500 Festival mean to you? I feel very blessed to have had this opportunity to intern at the 500 Festival. To me it means becoming a part of a team and community that values one another and the history of Indiana.
What experience did you gain by being a 500 Festival intern? I gained experience in event planning, logistics, and operations by leading the 10-Miler and helping out in other events. Gaining experience in large scale events taught me a lot about what happens behind the scenes, understanding the procedures, and the ropes of event planning.
How did it positively impact you? The 500 Festival internship gave me experiences I do not think I would have gained elsewhere. I was able to work with a team of intelligent and hardworking people. I received training and networking opportunities inside and outside of the office. I was even able to lead an entire event on my own. The positive impacts learned through this internship will lead to positive impacts in my future.
What is your favorite memory and event? My favorite memory is the 6-Miler. It was the first time that all of the interns felt like we were fully capable to run and operate an event. The event went so smoothly and we received tons of positive feedback.
What is some advice you have for the 2020 intern class? My advice for the 2020 intern class would be to become friends with the staff and interns. Spend time together inside and outside of the office. I would also advice to take advantage of every single possible opportunity available.
What are your plans after graduation and what field would you like to work in? After graduation I plan to work full time in the Sport Management industry. This internship has shown me my passion for operations and logistics so I hope to find a career that follows that path.