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ESPN encounter: Cecilia Pivarunas, Class of 2014

Posted: May 07, 2014


Creative and competent, Cecilia Pivarunas is ready to take on the new assignments that God has waiting for her.


Cecila on the set of ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" with Thomas K. Howard, director

She worked at ESPN last summer, but she doesn’t like sports.

And that is what made Cecilia Pivarunas the perfect intern.

“I was up front about wanting to know the ins and outs of the broadcasting industry,” she says. “I wasn’t distracted by the glamour.”

In a few days, Cecilia (Oak Lawn, Illinois) will graduate in Olivet’s Class of 2014 with a degree in business administration and a minor in communications. Interning in summer 2013 for “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” prepared her well to join the corporate world.

On set

A family friend from Virginia who once worked for ESPN suggested that Cecilia apply for the internship position. She was accepted to work in a program which educated her on six different sections of the sports media industry: breaking news, makeup, green screens, business, scripting and assistant directing.

While at ESPN, Cecilia worked closely on the set of “Pardon the Interruption,” a sports television show that she says is similar to a halftime show. “PTI” is produced by Erik Rydholm and hosted by commentators Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. In 2009, it won a Sports Emmy Award for being the Best Outstanding Studio Show.

Her lack of interest in sports kept her from getting distracted by the fame of the show’s hosts, as well as the athletes interviewed on “PTI.”

Cecilia says that Mike and Tony always recognized her and would even compliment the outfits she wore. “They’re not what most people think celebrities are,” she said of the two sports-renowned hosts. “Sometimes I would hear them say, ‘I don’t want to go to this meeting. I just want to wear my PJs today.’ They’re really down to earth, and they’re just real people.”

Unexpected blessings

Her ESPN internship confirmed to Cecilia that she is ready to join the corporate world. “One of my bosses wanted me to feel confident. So he gave me a gift card to get Michael Kors shoes,” she says.

But she attributes much of her confidence to her alma mater. “At Olivet, I’ve learned how to truly be successful. I’ve learned about the importance of soft skills and developing personal relationships.” After graduation, she will be joining a Bourbonnais recruiting company as an executive recruiter.

Cecilia values her internship experience according to the relationships she formed there. She counts going out to lunch with her directors and getting to know them as some of the best perks.

One of her greatest blessings was forming a friendship with Erik Rydholm, the show’s producer. “I felt really blessed because it’s not something I sought out,” she says. “God put him in my path. Having someone so well-known invest in my life was humbling and really cool.”

“I have a creative mind and I like to think outside of the box,” she adds. “I have a lot of respect for ESPN. This internship helped confirm that I want to work with people and that I want to do something different every day.”



The School that would later be known as "Olivet Nazarene University" was founded with 36 students in a one-room schoolhouse near Georgetown, Ill.