For baseball fans, it’s a rite of passage to attend a game in person for the first time. The sound of the roaring crowd, the aromas of countless vendor stations and, of course, the sight of players taking the field combine to create a lasting impression on thousands of new fans every season. That’s why the Cleveland Indians take fan experience seriously; whether it’s opening day or a mid-season afternoon game, it’s somebody’s introduction to a lifelong memory.

As one of three boys growing up rooting for the Indians, Colin Emert knows what the ballpark experience means to fans. So for someone like him, finding an internship in Cleveland can’t get much better than the one he landed with the KeyBank Fan Services Hub at Progressive Field, where he contributes to making that lasting impression while he gains valuable experience.

Emert is a sophomore at the University of Findlay, where completing an internship is required for graduation. Emert says his KeyBank internship at Progressive Field is a perfect fit as he works toward earning dual degrees in sports management and marketing.

Emert’s primary responsibilities at the KeyBank Hub involve promotions. He works home games, typically during summer weekends and on holidays, connecting fans with everything from bobbleheads, to t-shirts, to special seating behind home plate.

He says one of the most rewarding aspects of his role is coordinating the commemorative “First Game” certificates for those visiting Progressive Field for the first time.

“I love being able to help families have a great time at the game,” says Emert. “It may be small, but it makes the experience a little more special, especially for kids.”

And it’s not always kids making their inaugural visit to an Indians game, according to Emert. He’s printed certificates for fans of all ages, and from as far away as Australia.

When you think of a sports marketing internship, you may not think of banking. But Emert is a service representative of KeyBank at Indians games, and there’s no telling what he will encounter from inning to inning. One fan might be looking for directions to a specific food vendor, while the next has a question about direct deposit. Emert says his role is about being ready to provide solutions on the spot.

“I have to be resourceful in the moment and solve problems quickly,” says Emert. “It has built my confidence because I’m doing a lot of it on my own.”

After graduation, Emert hopes to use his internship experience with the Indians to continue working in sports marketing and fan engagement, and eventually earn a position in the front office of a professional sports organization. Through his internship, he has learned about how different departments of the Indians organization, such as marketing and corporate partnerships, work together.

“My KeyBank internship has helped me understand marketing in a real-world setting,” Says Emert. “Learning and studying it is easier once you see how everything works together.”

While he’s gaining valuable marketing and customer service experience, Emert has not lost sight of one critical benefit of his internship:

“This is such a fun opportunity,” says Emert. “I get to come to the ballpark and help people have a great time, and maybe even help them create memories that will last a lifetime. It just brings a smile to my face.”