The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

69° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Catch-Up: Recent University of Arizona grads working in sports

Photograph+taken+of+Colton+Cowser%2C+Ryan+Mountcastle%2C+Adley+Rutschman%2C+and+Gunnar+Henderson+strutting+down+in+different+colored%2C+yet+matching%2C+velour+tracksuits+by+Baltimore+Orioles+Photographer%2C+Sammy+Frank.+Courtesy+of+Sammy+Frank.
Photograph taken of Colton Cowser, Ryan Mountcastle, Adley Rutschman, and Gunnar Henderson strutting down in different colored, yet matching, velour tracksuits by Baltimore Orioles Photographer, Sammy Frank. Courtesy of Sammy Frank.

Professional sports is an industry dominated by men, but don’t tell these three University of Arizona graduates.

Sammy Frank, Gianna Memo and Michaela Trejo-Flores have all landed jobs in an industry where women are just starting to make headway.

As these UA alumnae celebrate their first year post-graduation, these women reminisce about their transition from university life to the professional world and share insight into their growing careers in sports.

Sammy Frank  

Samantha “Sammy” Frank’s days revolve around the world of Major League Baseball and the NBA.

Frank, 22, graduated from the UA in 2023 with a degree in information and eSociety with a minor in photography.

Frank was heavily involved in Arizona Athletics as an intern for the director of branding for Arizona Basketball and the media and production director for the ZonaZoo Crew. In the summer of 2022, she was a lead photographer for the Cape Cod Baseball League in Massachusetts.

Courtesy of Sammy Frank
Sammy Frank interned with Arizona Athletics while she was a student at the University of Arizona.

Frank believes that, despite her degree and the knowledge she gained about photography and social media, her experiences and internships throughout college set her up for success in the professional sports industry right out of college.

Frank landed her first social media and photography internship with the Baltimore Orioles within weeks of graduating in May  2023. She spent six months with the team and, on Aug. 4, 2023, took a photograph that went viral.

Frank was standing in the tunnel waiting to shoot player arrivals when players Colton Cowser, Ryan Mountcastle, Adley Rutschman, and Gunnar Henderson came strutting down in different colored, yet matching, velour tracksuits.

Frank said that while there were many ups to her experience, the biggest challenge was “being underestimated because you are so new or you are just an intern.”

“You will be working with people that have been in your shoes 15-plus years ago, so I had to remind myself that I would not have gotten this job if I was not good and if my bosses did not see the potential in me,” Frank said.

By the time the Orioles season ended, Frank landed a part-time remote photo editor position with the NBA and struck up a relationship with the New York Yankees as an intern, which led to another internship.

For Frank, her journey into the sports realm has been fast and challenging.

Frank’s advice to fellow Wildcats: “Go for it, be yourself, be open to learning, be open to hearing feedback, positive or negative, because ultimately the people that have been there before you that are giving you the feedback, have gone through it,” she said.

Check out Frank’s portfolio at this website.

 

Gianna Memo

In the heart of the Buffalo’s Highmark Stadium, where the greenest grass stretches beneath the gaze of 71,608 royal blue seats, is where you will find Gianna Memo, 23.

This field, home to the Buffalo Bills, has proven to be a symbol of Memo’s perseverance. After months of relentlessly applying to what seemed like every imaginable internship and job opportunity, Memo landed with the Buffalo Bills just two months after graduating in May 2023.

Giana Memo’s viewpoint from the media room at Highmark Stadium in Buffalo, home to the Buffalo Bills. Courtesy of Gianna Memo.

Armed with a degree in cinematography, film and video production, with a minor in journalism, Memo was hired as a studio production intern.

Throughout Memo’s time at the UA, she was an Arizona Men’s Club Hockey team media intern and was on the UA ZonaZoo Crew all four years, both as a crew member and as the media and production director.

“I think a challenging part for this job that most people don’t understand is that you have to work calmly in a fast- paced environment,” she said. “My first experience in broadcasting was like that. So it helped me, you know, be cool, calm, and collected during game days.”

The newly graduated life in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park has its perks aside from the brutal winters and constant snow storms Memo has experienced. Down time consists of exploring her new city and hanging out with fellow interns.  But she also landed a side job as a season production assistant for Buffalo’s National Hockey League team the Buffalo Sabres.

Giana Memo is on the social media team for the Buffalo Bills. Courtesy of Giana Memo.

Post graduation, balancing two positions in two fast-paced pro-sports settings is one giant task but luckily Memo’s bosses align her schedules to provide her with space to relax (even though she rarely takes it) to balance out her busy workload.

She starts some days at 5 p.m. and doesn’t finish until 2 a.m., just to restart at 10 a.m, the next day. It’s not the life for everyone but Memo has come to enjoy the randomness of this chaos because ”everyday is different and I love that,” she said. “Just throw me in and I’ll adapt.”

 

Michaela Trejo-Flores

In the dynamic world of collegiate athletics, Michaela Trejo-Flores, 22, started her career in sports at her alma mater.

A 2023 UA graduate, Trejo-Flores has seamlessly transitioned from student to professional as the director of operations for gymnastics and the women’s soccer team at the UA.

Michaela Trejo-Flores landed a job with the University of Arizona’s women’s soccer team and gymnastics team after graduating last spring. Courtesy of Michaela Trejo-Flores.

Raised in Tucson, Trejo-Flores’ journey into athletics began as an undergrad, where she discovered her passion for sports management through internships within the university’s athletic department and the Sports Management Association. From there, her trajectory was set, propelled by a combination of academics – she majored in psychological sciences –  and hands-on experience within the UA athletics department.

Now, as director of operations, Trejo-Flores plays a central role in the day-to-day functioning of multiple sports programs, coordinating practice schedules and managing travel logistics.

“Working a 40-plus hour week comes with its own challenges of adjusting to a different lifestyle from working 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or  9 a.m. to 5 p.m., especially being that I am so young,” Trejo-Flores said. “Some of my student-athletes are my age.”

Trejo-Flores did not expect to be in the position she now holds.

“It definitely felt surreal because like there are not a lot of women in sports,” she said, adding that there aren’t many young women of color doing her job.

Trejo-Flores said her aspirations to work in sports don’t stop inside the walls of McKale Memorial Center because maybe someday she would be interested in working at another universities athletics department, league, or pro-team but as of right now she isn’t planning on leaving UA.


Arizona Sonoran News is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.


Follow the Daily Wildcat on Instagram and Twitter/X


 

More to Discover