Elisa Anne Aldrich playing volleyball for Florida Gulf Coast University

Elisa Anne Aldrich began her collegiate career as a volleyball player for Florida Gulf Coast University.
Image Credit: Florida Gulf Coast Athletics

By nearly every statistical measure, Elisa Anne Aldrich enjoyed a successful freshman year in 2015–16 as a member of the indoor and beach volleyball teams at Florida Gulf Coast University.

The 5-foot-10 middle blocker was fifth on the indoor team with 56 blocks and led all Eagles players with 1.06 blocks per set. She followed with a stellar beach season in which she was named All-Freshman and All-Tournament within the Atlantic Sun Conference.

But life as a full-time student-athlete from August to May took its toll.

“At some point, it all became too much,” Aldrich admitted. “My parents both went to the University of South Carolina, but I had a bunch of cousins and friends that came to Clemson. Everyone had the best things to say about Clemson, so in my heart I knew it was my best move.”

The move brought Aldrich close to home. A native of Charleston since the age of five, she admittedly struggled to find a new identity in a post-athletics life. But she gained comfort from the fact several friends from Wando High School were already on campus and could show her the ropes.

Aldrich quickly became involved in a number of student organizations. She joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and also the Watersports Club. Originally a biology major, Aldrich switched to marketing after helping originate social media content for Spikeball, one of Clemson’s newest student-run organizations.

“A friend asked if I wanted to help distribute promotional information about the club, so I thought it was worth a shot,” Aldrich said. “That led to a little bit of interest in sports media by accident.”

With assistance from Off-Campus Internship Coordinator Kathy Horner, she was able to land a job with NBC Universal to help insert and organize advertisements for the upcoming Winter Olympics in February 2018. Aldrich will be working in NBC’s regional office in Stamford, Connecticut.

Though the internship only lasts about a month, she is excited with the opportunity.

“I never really thought this was something I could pursue, but I’m looking forward to learning about sports media and the Winter Olympics on a deeper level,” Aldrich said. “I’ve always been in the middle of sports, but now behind the media aspect of it, seems like a special experience.

“I cannot state enough how great of a resource Kathy has been. She helped me with my résumé, cover letter and by reaching out to potential internships. She’s been one of my biggest fans.”

Elisa Anne Aldrich on Clemson's campus

Aldrich landed an internship with NBC Universal for the upcoming Winter Olympics through Clemson’s Center for Career and Professional Development.
Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

While the internship will require a semester away from an academic course load, Aldrich plans to fill the time by assisting the Michelin Career Center with special projects. She’s also headed to Spain for an exciting opportunity in April.

“I’m going to be involved in au pair, which places you with a Spanish family to help with childcare and housekeeping while teaching the English language,” said Aldrich, whose mother Marisa grew up in Argentina. “It’s a win-win situation.”

Aldrich has found herself in similar situations consistently since the move to Clemson. She gives all the credit to the faculty and staff who work for the university.

“The best thing Clemson has to offer is the people,” she said. “With every obstacle I’ve had — whether it’s my major, curriculum or landing an internship — there has been someone to help me every step of the way. The staff really cares about students and does its best to help you improve your overall experience at Clemson.”