Virginia Dutton '14
Minor: Sports Studies
Hometown: New Bern, N.C.
Event: Nicholas Sparks Celebrity Family Weekend in New Bern, N.C.
Title: Personal Assistant to ESPN Anchor, Hannah Storm
When: April 20-22, 2012
What events did the Nicholas Sparks Celebrity Family weekend consist of?
On Friday, I attended a lunch at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center where Mr. Sparks spoke about all of his novel inspirations. Later that evening, I went to the red carpet arrival of celebrities for special screening of “The Lucky One” at the New Bern Civic Theater and watched the film as well.
Saturday was the Celebrity Golf Tournament at New Bern Golf and Country Club, and Sunday was a 5K and brunch at Mr. Spark’s private residence that was closed to media, which was probably my favorite part of the whole weekend!
What were the charities that Celebrity Family Weekend benefitted?
All of the weekend’s events supported Paws with a Cause, Hope for the Warrior, as well as The Epiphany School, which supports global education initiatives for youth.
What were your specific responsibilities during the weekend?
The weekend consisted of three days, where I mainly worked as Hannah Storm’s personal assistant. I answered e-mails, worked on Storm’s PR, and prepared her documents for an interview with Kobe Bryant. It was great to have such a hands-on experience!
R-L: Virginia, Hannah Storm & her family
What did you enjoy most about this experience?
I met so many amazing people. I went to the premiere screening of Nicholas Sparks’ newest film, The Lucky One. Before to the premiere, I spoke with sportscaster Jay Harris for about an hour about my life plans. He advised me to intern as many places as possible to attain experience and achieve my dreams of ultimately being a PR assistant for a professional sports team or a broadcaster on ESPN.
Who was your favorite celebrity that you met?
Meeting Drew Brees was pretty cool! (laughs)
Oh, and Kellie Pickler was so sweet too!
How did your internship prepare you for a career?
I learned a lot while interning with Hannah Storm in just one weekend. Next summer, I have tentative plans to work in Bristol, Connecticut with Hannah Storm, as she is planning to open her own production company there. I would be interning directly with her, learning the ins-and-outs of media production and PR, while also getting a taste of ESPN flair from Hannah’s experience as an anchor.
What recommendations do you have for other students considering doing an internship?
I think it is an amazing experience to have personally and professionally. Aside from the Celebrity Weekend, I also interned this summer for WCTI Channel 12 in New Bern. I shadowed anchors and field reporters, which was also a wonderful experience. I definitely recommend targeting the connections that you have, as my role with Celebrity Family Weekend came about because I grew up with Mr. Sparks’ oldest son, Miles. Mr. Sparks always knew my passion and helped me attain this experience to benefit furthering my career. I would definitely recommend an internship to anyone, as you learn so much you wouldn’t learn otherwise.