Intern ChroniclesStarting 5

Intern Chronicles: Father of four balances career pursuit, family obligations

Hugh Powell with his wife, Kristen, and four children Elijah (12), Gabriele (11), Leigha (8) and Micah (5). (Photo courtesy of Hugh Powell)
Hugh Powell with his wife, Kristen, and four children Elijah (12), Gabriele (11), Leigha (8) and Micah (5). (Photo courtesy of Hugh Powell)

Front Row’s Intern Chronicles series showcases ESPN’s summer interns. For more information on ESPN Internships, visit the ESPN Careers site.

Like many of ESPN’s summer interns, Hugh Powell hopes to parlay his experiences at the network into a job.

What makes Powell’s internship story unique: He is a married father of four. Yet for 10 weeks this summer, the Eastern Michigan University senior Electronic Media major works as a Network Control intern in ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. headquarters.

What Made Hugh Stand Out?

Competition for ESPN internships is always intense. Amy Bennett, ESPN Professional Internships Recruiter, shares some of what made Hugh Powell stand out: “Production Operations Interns will be involved in technical operating positions, and we look for candidates with experience in campus control room operations or other related operations internships and an understanding of TV production equipment including, but not limited to, studio cameras, server based recording and playback devices, master control and production switchers. Hugh’s experience as a camera operator and knowledge of non-linear editing and multi camera switchers were a great fit for this role, and his experience as the Technical Director for Eastern Michigan Basketball is what made Hugh a stand-out candidate.”

“I set a goal to have an opportunity to be part of a great network,” Powell said. “It was important for me to show my children that no matter what the obstacle is, when you set a goal you have to fight for it and you have to believe in yourself that you can achieve it. I can look my children in the eye and tell them, ‘I’m doing that and you can too’.”

Powell’s wife, Kirsten, and their four children are living in Michigan while Powell learns the ins and outs of the television profession. This pursuit has involved sacrifices, including downsizing his family home. Front Row caught up with Powell to learn more about his story.

Why were you so driven to intern with ESPN?
My passion has always been in television and ESPN gives me the opportunity to be successful. I want my children to see me be successful. They’re why I’m here. What child would be proud that their dad is an intern? But the fact that I was going to ESPN was so huge to them.

What sacrifices did you make to take this internship?
I knew I had to sit down with my wife and talk to her about it. We had to make decisions and make sure it was doable, but the entire time she said ‘This is your career goal and this is what you want to do, so go after it’.

What is the toughest part of being away from Michigan this summer?
I miss my family and friends who I’m used to talking to every day. Sometimes a phone conversation doesn’t do justice.

How does ESPN accommodate your family situation?
ESPN is very family-oriented. A lot of people say this is the greatest place to be if you have a family. [The company] never asks me to choose between my family and my career. It’s always family first.