Students Head to Kentucky Derby to Work Behind the Scenes

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For the second year in a row, a group of UT students are going to the Kentucky Derby to work behind the scenes.

Members of Team UT will leave May 2 and will work a pre-Derby event on Friday and the main event on Saturday. They will return May 5.

The group, in partnership with M Group Scenic Studios of Arizona, will assist with hospitality, quality control, and facility/event management of one of the largest sporting events in the world.

Team UT also has worked at seven Super Bowls, including this year’s event in New Orleans.

Team UT aims to give students a real-world learning experience as they prepare for careers in the sports and management industries. It was created by Fritz G. Polite, a UT clinical professor of sport management and director and founder of the Institute for Leadership, Ethics, and Diversity. He also is director for community outreach and global engagement in the UT College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.

The group’s co-directors are returning Team UT members Sarah Frazier, Destini Long, and Erika Morris. They will be responsible for all logistics, including travel and lodging, operations, and development.

This year, the team will include two mentors: UT graduate Alexandria Bottone, a former Team UT member who now interns for the New York Jets, and Nate Warren, a UT grad in sports management who now works at Kansas State University as an assistant athletic director for development.

For more information, follow Team UT on Twitter.

The Kentucky Derby team:

Ri’charda Anderson, of Memphis, is a senior majoring in recreation and sport management with a minor in business administration. She is an intern for the indoor professional football team Knoxville Nighthawks, a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a member of Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, Allure Dance Team, and Partners in Sports. After graduation, Anderson plans to study overseas to learn about international sport business.

Ben Biddy, of Shelbyville, Tennessee, is a first-year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in sport and recreation management. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in sport management at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tennessee. Biddy works with the UT Athletic Compliance office.

Scott Fletcher, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a senior majoring in recreation and sport management. He is a student assistant at the Tennessee Fund.

Sarah Frazier, of Cleveland, Ohio, is a senior majoring in recreation and sport management. She is a board member for Partners in Sports, the Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies Student Advisory Board, and the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Board. She was a member of Team UT for the 2012 Kentucky Derby and 2013 Super Bowl.

Destini Long, of Orlando, Florida, is a sophomore majoring in retail and consumer science. She is involved in the National Retail Federation Student Association. She was a member of Team UT for the 2013 Super Bowl.

Matthew McCarter, of Sevierville, Tennessee, is a second-year student in the FUTURE Program. He works cross-country meets with the UT Athletic Department. McCarter was a member of Team UT for the 2013 Super Bowl.

Erika Morris, of Austell, Georgia, is a first-year graduate student in the sport and recreation management program. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in physical education and health. Morris is an assistant hall director in Clement Hall. She also is a member of Partners in Sports. She was a member of Team UT for the 2013 Super Bowl.

Michaela Robbins is a junior in the Chancellor’s Honors Program majoring in recreation and sport management. She works as a student assistant in the Tennessee Fund Office, is vice president of the UT Competitive Ballroom Team, and a fitness instructor at the Knoxville YWCA. She plans to attend graduate school.

Phillip Stone is a junior majoring in recreation and sport management. He is from Maryville, Tennessee, and is a student intern at the Tennessee Fund for athletic development.

Elizabeth (Lizzy) Van Dyke, of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, is a junior majoring in sport management with a minor in business administration. She spent her last semester working with an events manager on campus. This summer she will work with the UT Athletic Department as the Gatorade manager for their summer camp programs. She also is a member of the Tennessee Dance Team and Delta Delta Delta Sorority. Van Dyke plans to attend graduate school.

CONTACTS:

Fritz Polite (407-758-0811, fpolite@utk.edu)

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993, lalapo@utk.edu)

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