2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Alannah Scardino, University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Isenberg)

Alannah Scardino

University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Isenberg School of Management

Colorful, confident, and passionate, my goal is to make a positive impact and spread joy.”

Fun fact about yourself: I was the first girl in my city to play Varsity Boys’ Football. I was the kicker!

Hometown: Rochester, NY

High School: School of the Arts

Major: Double Major in Sport Management and Social Thought and Political Economy

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: Diversity and Inclusion in Sport

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Dean’s List (All semesters)
  • Commonwealth Honors College student (All semesters)
  • Chancellor’s Award (All semesters)
  • Esther Wallace Sport Management Scholarship (All semesters)
  • UMass Community Salute Award (Spring 2021)
  • EY’s 2020 Inclusive Leadership Virtual Series Case Competition Winner (Fall 2020)
  • McEacharn Summer Internship Award (Summer 2020)
  • Amherst Fire Department Student Force (Deputy Chief); 2017-Present
  • Laboratory for Inclusion and Diversity and Sport (Research Assistant); 2020-Present
  • UMass Polo Club (Athlete); 2018-Present
  • Teaching Assistant (Diversity and Inclusion in Sport; Sociology of Sport); 2020
  • UMass Symphony Orchestra (Violist); 2017-2018

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Wasserman – Events Intern (Remote)
  • Must Love Sports, LLC – Summer Session Intern (Remote)
  • Amherst Climate Justice Youth Program – Program Coordinator (Amherst, MA)
  • Rochester Red Wings – Group Sales/Promotions Intern (Rochester, NY)

Where will you be working after graduation? TBD! (If you are reading this and have a role available for a community-focused, driven, and ambitious individual, please connect with me on LinkedIn!)

What company do you admire most?  I most admire Sesame Workshop, which is Sesame Street’s dedicated nonprofit organization. Sesame Workshop has a unique ability to spread awareness and acceptance while also spreading joy. Sesame Workshop takes immense pride in exposing youth to the diverse experiences and challenges that their peers face. With dedication, thoughtfulness, and understanding (along with the help of some Muppet friends), Sesame Workshop is shaping our beautiful next generation.

Who is your favorite professor? This is an immensely difficult question to answer, as so many of my professors have been influential in my development as a student and change-maker. If I had to choose, it would be Dr. Matthew Katz, who is the Undergraduate Program Director and Associate Professor of the McCormack Department of Sport Management. Dr. Katz recruited me to come to UMass, which I will forever be grateful for. I have taken three of his classes: Sport Analytics, Sport Marketing, and Sport History. In every class, he manages to engage his students while building a curriculum that develops career-applicable skills. (Honorable mention to Dr. Nefertiti Walker and Dr. Nicole Melton, who have led my growth as a student and young professional.)

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business?There is a lot to be learned from classroom assignments and projects, but the most valuable part of business is connecting with others and building a network. Connecting with people is what makes business so beautiful, as every person has a unique perspective on the business world.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Begin connecting early! Build relationships with your professors as soon as possible, as they can be your biggest advocates and mentors. Connect with your own classmates, as well as peers at other universities.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I was most surprised that my professors did not try to steer me towards any particular field or career path. My professors allowed me to follow my heart and supported me in any way they could, regardless of whether or not they thought I was well-suited for an opportunity. Every professor I had was encouraging and ensured I knew the potential I have.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I would have begun connecting with my peers who attend other universities sooner. Growing an external network is highly beneficial to my knowledge and comfort within the industry I work in. It can be hard finding peers at other universities to connect with, but it is invaluable.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of initiating the Rochester Red Wings’ first-ever Women in Sports Night. As a Group Sales and Promotions intern, it was not within my responsibilities to design and implement a promotional theme night, but I saw an opportunity to create something I had never before seen in my hometown. I developed a youth-focused theme night that empowered girls and addressed the reasons they drop out of sport at a higher rate than boys. I took the initiative to propose the theme night nearly the entire front office and continued to work on the theme night after the conclusion of my internship. Seeing the theme night come to life a year after my internship was surreal, as many girls and parents came up to me thanking me for an inclusive space that celebrates the awesomeness of girls in sport.

Which classmate do you most admire? I most admire my classmate Trinity Monteiro. I met Trinity in Sociology of Sport and she has inspired me with her unwillingness to settle for less than what is deserved, creative expression, and confidence in building relationships. Being Trinity’s classmate and friend has allowed me to grow my skills and knowledge. I am most grateful for the many deep conversations Trinity and I have had about the tumultuous American social climate, how to be a change-maker in and out of the sport industry, and the importance of authenticity. I am grateful to Trinity for all she has done for me and can’t wait to see all she will accomplish.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank Dr. Matthew Katz, as I never would have chosen UMass without his recruitment efforts. As a high school senior, Dr. Katz made it clear that UMass and the McCormack Department of Sport Management would value me, listen to me, and support me in every way they could. My time at UMass has shaped and developed me into the person I am today—a person I cannot confidently say I would be without my time at UMass. I can’t thank Dr. Katz enough for the effort he put in in 2017 to get me to choose UMass. It changed my life and welcomed me into the McCormack community which is prominent in every corner of the sports industry. Thank you, Dr. Katz.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

* I am planning on starting a nonprofit organization and can’t wait for it to reach 501(c)(3) status. I am dedicated to supporting women and girls through a sport-for-development program and will measure my success by how many people I am able to positively impact.

* I want to expand my work across industries. I want to make an impact not only in sport, but in entertainment, the arts, and anywhere else people can be supported.

What are your hobbies?

  • Thrift shopping
  • Exploring cities
  • Singing/playing music
  • Equestrian sports

What made Alannah  such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Alannah is exceptionally intelligent, boundlessly thoughtful, and boldly creative. In the time that I have served as her advisor, she has proposed and written a children’s book focused on empowering kids to think outside the bounds of traditional gender norms. Most recently, she created the Rising Phoenix Sports Program, an organization that uses sports to support girls in the juvenile justice system. Alannah has most beautifully connected her passion for social justice, business, and sport. Despite these accomplishments, somehow, those who know her understand this is just the beginning of her impact on the work being done at the intersection of sport, business, and social justice.”

Dr. Nefertiti Walker
Interim Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
UMass Amherst & Associate Professor, Sport Management



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