DePaul students on the set at FS1 in New York. From right, host Nick Wright, Jena Lucas, Richard Schon, Prof. Don Ingle, Lizzie Parilli, Kelsey Horvath, and hosts Jenna White and NFL Hall of Famer host Cris Carter.

By Elizabeth Parrilli

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better than being named the winning team from our Fox Sports University class in the spring…a few months later we were chosen to fly out to New York City and be on set of the TV show we made a marketing campaign for, First Things First, which airs weekday mornings on FS1.

Our trip last week was kicked off by meeting our gracious hosts for dinner at Del Frisco’s. We spent our time catching up on our latest accomplishments since our spring class and talking about any changes First Things First had made since we last worked with them. After dinner, we had the rest of the night to explore the beautiful city of New York and see if it was really as great as everyone says (it was).

Early the next morning, coffees in hand, we met our hosts Micaela, Cati and Angelina at the Fox Sports headquarters to begin our tour. We started off by getting an inside look at the production studio for the show. I can speak on behalf of my team and I by saying that getting to see how much behind the scenes work that is put into the show was incredible and very humbling. You truly do not realize how much effort is put into a network show’s success until you get an experience like my team and I were privileged enough to have.

After our sneak peek into the production room, Angelina escorted us to the on-set viewing area for the show. We entered during a commercial break and were happily greeted by the hosts of the show, NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter, Nick Wright and Jenna Wolfe. We exchanged a few words, and pictures, and then shuffled over to our seats to watch the rest of the show. Being able to be on set of a TV show we studied and created a marketing campaign for was an amazing experience. We truly felt like we were a part of the Fox Sports family as we were sitting there and taking it all in. We felt so thankful that we were given such an amazing opportunity; this trip was truly something we will never forget.

The show came to a close at 9:30 a.m. and Cris, Nick and Jenna came our way to give us some kind words of advice for us as we take our next steps into the working world. Something that really stuck out to me as they were speaking was the importance of experience. All three of them stressed just how important it is to say “yes” to any job someone gives you at work, no matter how miniscule the task may be. Nick really emphasized that since the sports industry is so competitive, you have to do whatever it takes to make yourself stand out, even if that takes working on holidays or doing the ‘small’ tasks that no one ever really wants to do.

Later that day we boarded our flight and spent time as a team reflecting on our trip. We felt a strong sense of appreciation realizing how just a few months ago we were spending countless hours in the library researching the show, and now we were walking onto a plane in New York being able to say we were on set of First Things First. It was truly an honor for our team to have been given such a special reward for all the hard work we had put into our marketing campaign. We extend a special thank you to Fox Sports University and Fox Sports staff for giving us the experience of a lifetime.

 Elizabeth Parrilli is a public relations and advertising major at DePaul University. She plans to pursue a career in the sports industry.