Gagliardi enjoys experience at Sports & Entertainment Summit

WASHINGTON - Senior Victoria (Tory) Gagliardi was recently given the exciting privilege of attending the NCAA student-athlete's Sports and Entertainment Summit in Los Angeles, California. A member of CUA's field hockey team, Gagliardi was one of only a hundred student-athletes chosen out of thousands across the country to participate in the event.   She describes the summit as an amazing experience, giving her the platform to make new friends and contacts from across the country.

Gagliardi, who is originally from New Jersey, says that since high school her life has revolved around sports. She initially started playing field hockey at the age of 12, when her mom encouraged her to try out for the team despite her goal of becoming a soccer player.

Since those initial tryouts, Gagliardi has played year-round, and started to think about possibly playing collegiate field hockey towards the end of her senior season. "I went to a field hockey festival in California and Coach (Gia) Cillizza recruited me there…I instantly fell in love with CUA's program."

Gagliardi found out about the summit through the athletic trainers at CUA, whom she has worked closely with during her time at the school (she was even named Athletic Student Trainer of the year in 2009-2010).

The selection committee sent out an informational email to most NCAA colleges, which the trainers passed on to CUA student-athletes. After looking further into it, Gagliardi thought the summit sounded great, encompassing both her love of sports and her interest in pursuing a career in media and sports entertainment.

The application process, she says, involved the standard questions – age, school, sport, division; as well as the student's resume. A deans list student with an impressive resume, Gagliardi was shocked and excited when she found out she was chosen.

The summit, which was held in early March, was a three-day, all expenses paid trip to L.A., giving student-athletes the opportunity to explore the sports and entertainment industries from the perspective of professionals in the field. Students are able to directly interact with media executives and experts through panel discussions and workshops. This gives them a chance to better understand the realities of what to expect from pursuing a career in sports and entertainment.

The list of speakers at the summit this year was impressive, including Greg Champion of Champion Sports, Shelley Smith of ESPN and music producer Harvey Mason.  Gagliardi's favorite speakers included Jeff Fellenzer, a USC professor who teaches a sports, business and media class and Mason, whose day-to-day dealings with popular music artists she found exciting because of her love for music.

Much of the summit, Gagliardi says, involved talking and networking with speakers about how they got to where they are today and picking their brains for advice on becoming successful. "For someone who is a bit scared of graduating in two months, it kind of helped settle my nerves and indecisiveness on what to do with my life," she said.

For now, Gagliardi has an interest in pursuing a career in sports media, and is currently interning with the MLS team, D.C. United. However, while she has always seen herself as an athlete, she also enjoys singing and dancing and is considering a media career in entertainment broadcasting.

Looking back on her time at CUA, Gagliardi says that playing field hockey has become an integral part of her college experience. The team ended its season on a great note, with a record of 17-3, the most wins in school history, and the first ECAC championship for the program.  However, what Gagliardi loves most about playing field hockey at CUA is her team. "There is a lot of bonding and great memories that I will take away from my four years, and I wouldn't trade them for anything." 

Story written by Tara Juliano '11

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