Interviewing with a nationally known television personality for a high-profile internship might have been a more nerve-wracking experience for Ariel Montes-Delgado ’23, but it helps when that celebrity has been in your college residence hall.
Ariel was speaking virtually with host of FOX NFL Sunday Curt Menefee ’87 about potentially joining FOX Sports in Los Angeles over the summer for an internship. Ariel, who goes by Ari, was in his room in Murray Hall with a tie on, nerves bubbling. Curt, though, immediately reduced his anxiety — looking in the background he recognized Ari was in his room. He told Ari to take his tie off and get comfortable, noting that no one wears a tie in Murray.
“In that moment, all tension was released from my body. It was a confidence booster for sure,” Ari said.
The boost worked, because Ari landed the internship, and is in Los Angeles working at FOX Sports studios.
The internship is reserved exclusively for a Coe student each summer, as Curt wanted to create an opportunity for a Kohawk interested in the sports industry. This line of thinking is common among Kohawk alumni, who are constantly open to networking with current students and have created the #20 alumni network in the nation among private schools, according to The Princeton Review.
Gaining experience at one of the world’s premiere sports studios will be tantamount to a term’s worth of classes with leading producers and sportscasters as professors for Ari, who is majoring in business administration with a concentration in sports management. He has a broad interest in a career in sports, and is looking forward to exploring different career paths. What’s equally impressive, though, is how the Coe community helped Ari gain the confidence to even consider applying for the internship.
“I came to Coe as a naive kid and just wanted to stay out of sight in the back of a classroom,” Ari said.
But how things have changed in just three years for the first-generation student from Denver, Colorado.
With parents who are immigrants from Mexico, Ari was raised in a family-first environment, and was planning to stay close to home, but heard about Coe when an admission counselor visited his high school. He was intrigued enough to come visit, and took his first flight ever from Denver to Cedar Rapids.
He was impressed with the class sizes, campus size and community feel, and coming from a high school that had nearly 4,000 students, knew he wanted a college that would help facilitate closer relationships with his teachers.
“I stayed with a great host. It was so much fun. I got to know people on campus and everyone was so kind,” Ari said.
So, he made the decision to leave home for Coe, and was a member of the soccer team his first year. He was satisfied with that, but only briefly — as he saw other people around him become more involved.
In his second year, he joined Nuestra Coemunidad (formerly LatinX). That was a spark to take his college career in a different direction. This past year, he accepted a role as communications officer and public relations chair for Nuestra Coemunidad, and helped revitalize the organization’s Instagram account. He is the off-campus mainstream chair for the Student Activities Committee and vice president of Multicultural Fusion. He also joined the historically Latino-based fraternity Sigma Lambda Beta.
“I saw all these other opportunities,” Ari explained. “It’s been one of my greatest years, being more involved. Networking has been a prominent aspect of my education. Getting opportunities to connect with alumni and other organizations is important.”
As he was focusing on connecting with others he was also paying more heed to the opportunities on campus. An email from Director of Careers at C3: Creativity, Careers, Community Nanci Young caught his eye. It was about an internship with FOX Sports and it seemed perfect.
Growing up, Ari watched soccer and Broncos games all the time, as it was an opportunity to spend time with his family. The experience of gathering to watch games is important to him, which sparked his interest in the sports industry, and why the opportunity to contribute to that experience through the television production of events is ideal.
As he told those close to him about the internship opportunity, everyone offered encouragement — his partner, Ashley Conde ’24; his parents; plus faculty and staff mentors such as Assistant Professor of Spanish Martha Torres Méndez and Director of Campus Life Vanessa Sandoval. They said his growth as a student and Coe community member had prepared him to take on a new challenge, and after some reflection, he agreed.
“I also have to give some credit to myself. Something that runs through my head is ‘why not me’ instead of ‘why me.’ I tell that to a lot of people in similar situations. You have to think about opportunity that way so you can go and take it,” Ari said.
Ari said the staff at C3 were incredibly helpful throughout the internship interview process and made it simple to succeed. When he found out that he was the Kohawk who had been selected, “excitement was an understatement.”
“I never thought I would be part of so many organizations. I remember thinking soccer was my everything, but getting to know more professors and students, it was apparent there is more out there,” Ari said. “This is such a confidence booster for my professional prospects. Getting to build a network and connect with people at FOX Sports in LA is such a big opportunity to get where I want to be.”
He is currently a studio programmer assistant, working behind the scenes of television segments and will go from there.
The conversation with Curt will always be a lasting memory for Ari because it’s a microcosm of the types of opportunities and exposure students can get with Coe.
“Also, he’s such a nice guy,” Ari exclaimed.