Sydney Spuzzillo

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Robert Morris University

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
Sydney Spuzzillo is from outside Cleveland, Ohio and grew up loving sports, but more specifically hockey. She is currently a sophomore at Robert Morris University studying Sport Management. She has a passion to see females become more active in the sports field, as an athlete and in the business side of sports. Her career goal is to be a player development coach at the professional level for the National Hockey League, and help players drafted from other countries adjust to their new country, a new language, and new customs.
International Experience Summary:

Sydney Spuzzillo had the opportunity this past summer to spend six weeks interning virtually with Red Card Global, a company located in Singapore. She was tasked with finding potential partners through searching different coaching websites, as well as reaching out to coaches through various social media platforms, such as Instagram. Throughout her virtual internship, Sydney was challenged by a twelve-hour time zone difference for virtual meetings but was able to attend all meetings by arranging her schedule. She worked through the day to be able to have all of her tasks completed for when her manager would wake up in the morning. Sydney persevered through the difficult communication circumstances that would arise. She could tell that there were differences between the cultures and worked hard to understand these differences, as it would help her to better understand her tasks at hand. Sydney was not the only intern working with Red Card Global this summer. Her co-worker, Christian, who started roughly two weeks before her, helped guide her through the situations. He had similar questions and problems and knew exactly how to guide her through them. Christian and Sydney were in the same time zone, so it was easier for them to communicate and help each other through the problems they were each having.

When Sydney was not working, she was planning out her weekly schedule to determine what hours she would be available, as well as when she would do things she enjoyed, such as working out, going to her job, or meeting up with friends. Sydney would do her best to try and fit everything in but knew that her internship and job were the two most important. Sydney learned a lot about Singapore’s culture through this experience and was very grateful to be selected as a Vira for the cohort year of 2021. She plans to use her knowledge about culture to help her succeed in her future career.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title Virtual Experience, Global Issue: The Mental Health Effects of Virtual Communication 

Our CEE was entitled Virtual Experience, Global Issue: The Mental Health Effects of Virtual Communication. Our goal was to explain to our community here at Robert Morris University how different virtual communication can be between different countries, as well as some mental health effects that can result from working virtually. We started off our CEE with a short documentary introducing ourselves to our audience as well as talking about our virtual internships and experiences. We then transitioned into discussing the effects of virtual communication with one of our panelists, who is a professor of communications at Robert Morris. We asked questions on topics such as how to handle communication differences and what he thinks the future of virtual communication looks like. We then shifted into conversations about the mental health effects of virtual communication with our school’s resident counselor, who was our second panelist. We focused the discussion on the feeling of “imposter syndrome” and what this mental health effect truly is. We then discussed effects such as anxiety and the feelings of loneliness that come with virtual communication and work.  

Our goal was to make sure that students and the community at Robert Morris knew that they were not alone in their mental health occurrences and that there are reasonings and support behind them in their endeavors. Overall, our objective was to show our community how the world of communication is changing, and that virtual communication is starting to become more popular, especially during the world of Covid-19. Virtual communication has allowed virtual internships to arise and become more popular, but at the same time, allow for mental health effects such as imposter syndrome to increase alongside other mental health effects. By informing our community at Robert Morris University about not only the opportunities and possibilities with virtual internships and communication; but we also were able to help students know that they are not alone in their mental health struggles and that the feeling of not being good enough or that their work is good enough is called imposter syndrome and that these feelings are valid.