KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 7, 2022
When David Cassilo came to Kennesaw State University to teach in 2019, his background as a sports journalist inspired what he saw as an opportunity to connect communication students with Atlanta’s professional sports teams to gain valuable work experience.
Cassilo has written over the years for publications including Bleacher Report, USA Today, Men’s Health Magazine and others. He covered the NBA Finals and collegiate Final Four, as well as the Cleveland Cavaliers when LeBron James’ was leading them to the NBA finals.
“Kennesaw State’s location gives us an advantage over some other schools because of our proximity to Truist Park, and we are a lot more accessible for our students to get into the city,” Cassilo said. “My first couple of months here, I reached out to all the teams, media organizations — anyone that had a connection to sports — and just tried to create a pipeline.”
Students report they are seeing the fruits of Cassilo's labor.
In addition to bringing guest speakers into class to afford students networking opportunities, some students have filled part-time and paid internship roles with Atlanta professional sports teams.
Cassilo said officials from Atlanta United, Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta Dream have started asking for KSU student workers to help during their seasons.
Marili Canedo, a junior journalism and emerging media major, said in her work for Atlanta United she hands out media credentials, interacts with fans, transcribes interviews with players and translates some from Spanish to English.
Canedo has also worked for the Atlanta Falcons and said the two team experiences have readied her for a career in sports media when she graduates.
“Getting involved with the teams showed me what it was like to work inside a sports organization and gave me opportunities I didn’t know I could have,” Canedo said. “I thank professor Cassilo for introducing me to a field that complements my goals and interests.”
Katie Kleinpeter, also a junior journalism major, interned over the summer with the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, helping run the team’s social media, interacting with fans before games and providing credentials to the media. She said her role provided networking opportunities and insight into how sports organizations function. And, she said, it helped her earn an internship with KSU Athletics, doing sideline reporting during breaks at basketball and baseball games.
“They see that name of a professional team, and they know I have the qualifications to be here,” she said. “I gained a lot of confidence working for the Atlanta Dream.”
Laura Beth Daws, interim director of the School of Communication and Media in the Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences, said Cassilo has had a positive impact on students in journalism and emerging media.
“Thanks to his leadership and hard work, a number of our students have not only found jobs and internships in the Atlanta sports market but also a true passion for the field of sports journalism and sports communication,” Daws said. “Dr. Cassilo is one of our most popular professors, no doubt because of the personal attention he gives students and his willingness to connect them with these phenomenal opportunities.”
– By Thomas Hartwell
Photos by Jason Getz
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.