East Longmeadow native receives rare opportunity in Cooperstown
By Courtney Llewellyn
Reminder Assistant Editor
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. The massive crowds have dispersed from the 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, but that doesn't mean the work is done for Bridget Bielefeld.
The East Longmeadow native is currently finishing her last week as one of 21 students working at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum as part of the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development.
"Induction Weekend was amazing," Bielefeld said. "To be in that environment and to see all those Hall of Famers ... it was amazing."
Bielefeld will be a senior this fall at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. She is majoring in public relations and has spent her time at baseball's shrine interning in the public relations department.
This summer, she has written for the Hall of Fame's online newsletter, "Inside Pitch," edited works for the museum's quarterly magazine, "Memories and Dreams," and helped run a press conference for this year's inductees, Red Sox legend Jim Rice and record-holding base stealer Rickey Henderson.
"I'm really into baseball," Bielefeld said in an interview with Reminder Publications
. "This internship was the perfect way to combine my love of baseball and my interest in public relations."
Bielefeld is one of two public relations interns work at the Hall of Fame this summer. More than 500 students applied for the Steele Internship Program, but only 21 were accepted.
Now in its ninth year, the Steele Internship Program offers college students an opportunity to work alongside museum and library staff to gain hands-on professional training in a field that closely matches his/her major, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame Web site. Interns craft leadership and communication skills by attending career seminars hosted by Hall of Fame staff and community leaders and also by participating in thematic public speaking, research and writing assignments that directly relate to the fulfilling the mission of the organization.
"It's not just an internship, it's life training," Bielefeld explained.
In the past, she has interned with the New Britain Rock Cats, a Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. She said she wanted to build on her experience with the Rock Cats - "soak up anything I could" - and write, and she found those opportunities at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
"It's an intense 10-week period," Brad Horn, senior director of Communications and Education for the Baseball Hall of Fame, said. "I've worked closely in proximity to Bridget all summer. She entered the program already with a strong background in the industry. She was enthusiastic, and conscientious of the role of public relations in an organization like this. She's grown to be able to provide excellent services."
"I've known I've wanted to be in communications forever," Bielefeld said. "When I was six, I wanted to be a reporter. I like the power that the media has."
She added that she would love to work full-time at the Hall of Fame, but ideally, she wants to work in public relations for a major league team.
She would also recommend the internship experience to those truly interested in it. "It's absolutely a great experience," Bielefeld said. "I'm so lucky and so thankful I got the chance to do it."
For more information on the Baseball Hall of Fame or the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program, visit www.baseballhall.org