Graduate student Diana Sepulveda is currently living her dream as an intern at the NFL Players Association, with the Trust Division. The opportunity came as no burst of good luck, but one of hard work and dedication.
As a former writer for The Gramblinite Diana spent most of her days as the first person there and the last person to leave. Her many hours in the campus newspaper gave her the confidence to apply for the internship with the NFLPA Trust.
She attributes her opportunity to a story she wrote about Grambling alumnus and former football player James “Shack” Harris, who is good friends with the director of the Trust. She received two first place awards for the article, and accolades from Harris himself.
“I am honestly not surprised if a phone call was made because I did mention his name on my cover letter and he was my reference,” said Sepulveda.
Hundreds of students applied for the NFLPA internship, but only 17 were chosen; of the 17, only two were HBCU students.
After talking to a few interns, Sepulveda learned that she was offered the position weeks ahead of other interns.
As an intern Sepulveda says that Grambling has prepared her fully for her position as an engagement intern, where she assists the Digital Engagement manager with providing different website and digital duties.
She has been given the opportunity to test products that haven’t even seen the market yet and attend an important meeting held by the NFLPA.
Sepulveda, who designed the current cover for the 2015 Grambling yearbook, says she was motivated by her doubters.
“People told me I would never be a good writer. I just used that as motivation,” Sepulveda said. She started writing for The Gramblinite after her then teacher, Wanda L. Peters, encouraged her to start writing for the school newspaper.
She said she doesn’t even feel like an intern. The staff treats her like the average team member and even recognizes her suggestions. At a Trust meeting she suggested the company use Snapchat to promote the program. The idea was heard by the director, and he loved it. Sepulveda said she has already been asked to apply for a permanent position at the company.
With her many accomplishments it’s hard to believe that she was once a college dropout, homeless, sleeping on friend’s couch.
“I never gave up and did all the things that people told me that I could never accomplish”.
Sepulveda received a degree in mass communication in Sepulveda has some advice for current students; she encourage students to take advantages all opportunities given to them. She also says to be reliable and dependable to your organization. To not be someone who is all talk, but will actually do the work. She also says to not wait till your senior year to join an organization. Sepulveda will be speaking to students later this semester about the opportunities that are available at the NFL Associations.
The NFL trust division, headquartered in Washington, D.C., helps NFL players with their life after they retire from playing football.
Sepulveda is known around campus for working with the Athletic Department, The Gramblinite newspaper and KGRM-FM 91.5 radio station. Before transferring to GSU, Sepulveda played water polo at California State University in Bakersfield, but she didn’t want to work in sports until 2013. That was the year she was tapped for a signal honor.
“The radio station on campus selected me and another student to travel with the football team to help broadcast the games during the season,” said Sepulveda.
“I wanted to let student-athletes know that they mattered,” said Sepulveda. “That’s why I didn’t hesitate when the Athletic Department asked me to stay so I could assist the sports programs as a graduate assistant.”
Although this is a wonderful opportunity for Sepulveda, she also believes that this is a great opportunity for Grambling State University. At one point she was a college dropout who couldn’t get accepted in other universities because she had a low GPA. GSU accepted as a provisional transfer student.
“I saw Diana’s talent immediately in class,” said Wanda L. Peters, publication director of The Gramblinite. “She took me up on my invitation to work for the paper. I knew she had the skills and the drive needed, but she was lacking in confidence in her abilities because of her past experiences at other schools.
“She has shown that she can handle any assignment thrown at her, so I know her internship will be rewarding for her and The Trust, as well as for GSU,” Peters said.
“If Grambling didn’t give me a second chance at my education, I wouldn’t be where I am at now,” said Sepulveda. “And for that I am thankful because I chose the right place where everybody is in fact somebody.”
In May 2014, Sepulveda graduated magna cum laude and earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communication. She is scheduled to earn her master’s degree in sports administration in May 2016.