Photo caption: Emma Mabie stands next to the “Pro Football Today” gallery that she keeps updated in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where the UW-Eau Claire graduate is working as a summer intern. The Blugold is one of 16 people hired for the summer internship program, which attracted more than 1,500 applicants. (Submitted photo)
A lifelong fan of the Green Bay Packers, Emma Mabie still remembers doing her own version of the Lambeau Leap when she was a young girl visiting the Packers Hall of Fame for the first time with her football-loving family.
So, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire graduate is excited that she’ll be in Canton, Ohio, this summer when LeRoy Butler — the popular football star who invented the Lambeau Leap — is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Mabie is one of two interns working in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Museum Collections this summer, an internship that would be a thrill any time, but is even more special because she’ll be there for a childhood idol’s Aug. 6 enshrinement ceremony.
“It seems full circle that I’m working here when LeRoy Butler becomes a Hall of Famer,” Mabie says of seeing the Packer honored as one of the all-time greats.
A dream internship
Nearly 1,500 people applied for the Pro Football Hall of Fame summer internship program, and 16 students were hired, including two in Museum Collections, where Mabie works.
The Blugold says her interests align perfectly with the internship, making it an especially interesting summer opportunity for someone who enjoys history, museums and sports.
“I have always been involved in sports, whether I was playing in high school or watching as a spectator after I graduated,” says Mabie, who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 2020 with a degree in integrated strategic communications-public relations and minors in history and political science. “So, seeing this internship opportunity, I thought it was perfect because I was able to combine two of my passions, sports and museums.”
As an intern, Mabie is working on a variety of projects that require her to complete many different tasks in the Hall. The variety of her work is among the aspects she enjoys most about the internship. Those real-world experiences will be invaluable as she begins her career next year, she says.
“Every day is a little different here, which is something I love about working at the Hall,” Mabie says. “Some days I work with the other intern on rehousing projects, other days we work with processing items that were either donated or loaned to the museum, and sometimes we work on curation projects.”
Mabie, who was a statistician for her high school football team for three years, says her favorite exhibit to work on so far is one that focuses on women in football. The exhibit highlights the many ways women have been a part of the game, whether as players in the Women’s Football Alliance, announcers, referees or coaches.
“This exhibit means a lot to me because I was able to learn about the women who changed the game of football and opened the door for so many others to be a part of the game,” says Mabie, who worked on the exhibit from ‘start to finish.’ “I love having the opportunity to tell their stories to future generations.”
Finding her path
Now a graduate student at UW-Madison in the library and information studies program with a concentration in archives, Mabie says her experiences as a Blugold prepared her well to be successful in graduate school and in her Pro Football Hall of Fame internship.
Mabie was still in high school when she began thinking about what a career might look like if she were to focus on history and museums, two things she loves. So, while still a senior in high school, she met with Greg Kocken, the university’s archivist, to talk about potential career paths.
“I’ve always been drawn to museums and archives due to my love of history and research, as well as how these institutions preserved different records and artifacts,” Mabie says. “After meeting with Greg Kocken and discussing different areas I could go into involving museums and archives, I was able to narrow down the path I want to pursue.”
After she finishes her graduate studies in May 2023, Mabie plans to work in the field of museums or archives. Her “dream job” is to someday work for a Smithsonian Museum or the National Archive.
As a Blugold, Mabie worked with Kocken as a student assistant in the special collections and archives department of McIntyre Library, a position she held throughout her years as an undergraduate student.
Kocken says campus jobs help students meet mentors, learn about career paths and develop lifelong skills, all things Mabie took from her position in the library that will help now and in the future.
Mabie was “a valued team member” in his department, Kocken says, noting that “she contributed to nearly every aspect of the department’s operations and excelled in her outreach and public services responsibilities.”
Her work in McIntyre Library’s special collections is among the experiences that helped her “stand out as a top-tier candidate” for the internship at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Kocken says.
Mabie agrees, noting that working as an undergraduate student alongside Kocken gave her real-world experiences she couldn’t get in a classroom, including working with 2D and 3D items.
“This allowed me to become comfortable with handling artifacts, and confident enough in my skills to apply for and get the internship at the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Mabie says.
Mabie is the fourth Blugold to hold this “competitive, prestigious internship,” and the second student he mentored to intern at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Kocken says. UW-Eau Claire graduates who have interned at the hall of fame in the past include Brent Hensel, Matt Foss and Jeremy Swick. Foss, who earned his bachelor's degree in 2007 and his master's degree in 2009, credits Hensel for "starting this path and making a good first impression for Blugolds in Canton."