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Inside an internship with the Deakin Melbourne Boomers

Internships are an avenue to explore a potential career in your industry of interest, no matter what kind of job you’re looking for. Many students have found that completing an internship was an important first building block, and the first foot in the door that helped them kickstart their career. 

Having a ‘massive passion’ for women’s sport, Deakin student Isabella Santilli was thrilled at the opportunity to undertake an internship with the Deakin Melbourne Boomers who compete in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) while completing her degree in Exercise and Sport Science and Business Management. 

‘I followed the WNBL growing up. I really wanted to gain experience working with professional athletes, and thought it would be an amazing organisation to be involved in following their recent success,’ she says. 

Although Isabella was aiming for a career in sport prior to her internship, the experience has opened her eyes up to what roles she could zone in on following the completion of her course. 

‘I would love to work for a professional sport team, as either a high performance or strength and conditioning coach,’ she says. 

What happens during an internship with Deakin Melbourne Boomers?  

During her internship, Isabella got to try her hand at a variety of roles, providing her with hands-on practical experience away from the sidelines.  

‘The internship provided me with the opportunity to undertake a variety of duties such as GPS Management, programming and the delivery of strength and conditioning sessions, hydration and nutrition protocols, recovery, fitness testing and rehabilitation assistance,’ she says. 

She was exposed to multiple parts of the club, allowing her to get a firsthand taste of how the organisation works together to achieve the ultimate success. 

‘Working at the Boomers allowed me to connect with other departments aside from High Performance. I was exposed to a range of sport management roles I wasn’t too familiar with including Game Day Operations Manager and Commercial Operations Coordinator.  

‘It was great to see how all the departments work together to contribute to the success of the organisation,’ she says. 

Her game day responsibilities as a high-performance intern were on par with a full-time staff member, and allowed her to experience a number of different jobs within the role. 

‘I had to arrive at the stadium early to set up the gym and on-court equipment for players warm-ups and pre-activations, prepare hydration and nutrition to be readily available for the athletes to fuel their performance, distributing and splitting data from GPS systems and programming top-up conditioning for players who need extra conditioning post-match,’ she says. 

The benefits of a practical industry internship  

Although working in sport has always been on the agenda for Isabella, she says the internship has enabled her to gain a thorough understanding of what working in the sport industry is actually like. 

‘I walked away with an amazing insight of what it’s like to work in the sport industry and the opportunity to implement your studies in a practical setting. I learnt so much and I am walking away with expanded knowledge and an improved skillset, which has enhanced my capabilities as a strength and conditioning coach,’ she says. 

‘I really enjoy the fast-paced nature of professional sports and the ability to help athletes reach their goals; it’s so rewarding,’ she says. 

Isabella admits it’s hard to find one thing that she enjoyed the most about the internship, but ‘the ability to gain an insight into the behind the scenes of a high performance environment at the professional level and to see the commitment of the athletes was amazing’.  

‘I was lucky enough to be surrounded by an awesome high performance manager, high performance assistant, team manager and inspiring athletes every day. They made my time at the Deakin Melbourne Boomers so memorable and one of the highlights of my degree!’  

If you’re a student considering an internship as part of your degree, Isabella encourages you to take every opportunity that comes your way.  

‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and apply for internships,’ she says. 

Home to the world’s number one sport science school, Deakin University is the proud naming rights sponsor of the Deakin Melbourne Boomers. The University also partners with Netball Victoria and the Melbourne Vixens, the Geelong Cats and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.  

This is in addition to over 150 industry connections that provide students access to a range of unique placements across the sport industry.  

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