Ivy Houde ’19 is in her fourth year on the Middlebury women’s basketball team and one of this winter’s captains. An economics major from Rixeyville, Virginia, Houde spent the summer of 2018 working at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Tell us about the Hall of Fame internship experience.
I was one of 19 interns out of more than 600 applicants selected as part of the 2018 Steele Internship class at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, serving in the Membership & Development department. The Hall of Fame is a nonprofit, so it relies heavily on the museum membership program and relationships with donors to fund daily operations.
I worked in various roles as some days we were out on the floor of the museum selling membership packages to visitors and helping answer any questions that the members had. Other days, we were processing and selling tickets to our member-exclusive events we held throughout the summer, such as the annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Our capstone experience of the summer was being a part of Induction Weekend where the Hall of Fame welcomed 53,000 visitors to Cooperstown and inducted six new Hall of Famers. I was hesitant about living in Cooperstown all summer, or the infamous uniform of khakis and a polo, but I realized the Steele Internship Program was unlike any other out there.
What drew your interest to the internship?
I knew that I had an interest in working in sports in some capacity after graduation. I have always been a baseball fan but had never considered working at a museum or non-profit as a possible way to pursue a career involving sports. The Cooperstown internship program really stuck out to me because it combined history, business and sports management while providing career seminars and the ability to be involved in some really unique events.
Back at Middlebury, how are you involved with campus life?
I am the communications chairperson for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). I help run the group’s social media accounts and promote SACC events. We’ve been able to bring a Superfan App to the community and participate in various community service initiatives.
I am also the Advertising Director for the student newspaper, The Middlebury Campus. As an economics major, working on the business team for the paper has provided me with really valuable experience in managing a budget and running a small business.
What drew you to Middlebury?
Before I went to boarding school, I had honestly never heard of Middlebury and I definitely had never visited Vermont. When I chose to go to Episcopal High School my freshman year, I was given a lot of resources and connections that put Middlebury on my radar. My soccer and basketball coaches first introduced me to the NESCAC as a potential landing spot, but it was my academic advisor, Mr. Halm, who introduced me to Middlebury. Before passing away during my senior year, he spent a lot of our time making sure I was aware of many of the amazing features that Middlebury has to offer. Whether it was the Snow Bowl, or the academic programs, he was a huge Middlebury fan. His influence on my high school experience is undeniable and he was definitely one of the main reasons I became interested in Middlebury.
When I visited during the spring of my junior year, I felt a strange sense of familiarity. The mountains and farms of Vermont reminded me of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia despite being miles and hours apart. Middlebury immediately felt like home and it was the lone college that I visited where I could truly picture myself.
How did basketball become such a big part of your life?
I’ve been playing the game as long as I can remember. I grew up going to my brother’s AAU basketball tournaments every weekend. Sometimes I’d even jump into their practices and play with the boys. While basketball was never my sole focus growing up, it was always an important part of my identity. After I got to Episcopal High, playing in college became a reality that I worked toward achieving.
What is your #MiddMoment?
So many of my favorite #MiddMoments involve just hanging out and laughing with my teammates and roommates. Whether it be aimlessly driving through Vermont and blasting music or hosting movie and game nights in my Atwater suite, we always have a great time together. Each fall after playing some pick-up games with teammates, we drive to the gorge or quarry and jump into the freezing cold water. It’s always something I look forward to doing and the local swimming holes are definitely something I’ll miss about Vermont.
Note - The inserted photo above to the left shows Ivy (left) with other interns at the Baseball Hall of Fame taken in the summer of 2018.