Three Sport Management Students were hired to work the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in Austin

Three Sport Management Students were hired to work the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in Austin

Catalina Santamaria ‘21, Kristian Stengel ‘21, and Jen Spell ‘22 worked the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. The sold out race took place at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX, from November 1-3.

Rice’s Department of Sport Management has developed a relationship with FieldXperience, a company that works to “prepare the next generation of professionals to be work-ready while improving organizations’ live event workforce.” FieldXperience recruited Santamaria, Stengel, and Spell after being impressed with their past performances at other major events.

2019 Formula 1

Santamaria gained this opportunity after making a significant impression at the 2018 NCAA Final Four in San Antonio, TX.

“My favorite memory was building connections with the guests and having them remember me the next day,” said Santamaria who was responsible for guest hospitality at the Military Outpost. “By the last day they would greet me by my name and have a fun conversation with me.”

Stengel obtained this prestigious invitation after showcasing his hospitality skills at the 2019 College World Series and the 2018 Final Four.

“This was my first time ever being around a Formula 1 event,” said Stengel who managed Haas Hill, a VIP hospitality area. “I knew very little about the sport going into the race. The learning curve was definitely steep but I worked hard to learn as much as I could about the drivers and the F1 races so that I could better interact with the fans.”

Spell earned this opportunity to work the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix after proving her capabilities at Super Bowl LIII.

Jen Spell '22 at Formula 1

“You have to really spend the beginning of the event analyzing your guests so that you can tailor the experiences to match their personalities,” said Spell who was a guest services and event coordinator working in the VIP suite area. “It’s important to know your guests as personally as possible so you can make them feel at home at your event.”

Spell even had the opportunity to escort P!NK, as she was performing at the event and also had a VIP suite to watch the race.

“Rice’s Department of Sport Management does a great job of preparing us to work at these events,” said Stengel. “The COTA and FieldX staff were incredible to work with as well.”

Lindsey Douglas, a junior from Burleson, Texas, is double-majoring in Sport Management and Visual & Dramatic Arts.