Flood Warning

Super Bowl Internship Takes Root for ISU Student

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AMES, Iowa -- It's the off-season, and a pristine blanket of snow covers the field at Jack Trice Stadium at Iowa State University in Ames.

"I don't want to walk on the field," says Georgie Heitshusen, one of the students who takes care of the turf.

She knows keeping it in perfect condition is a year round balancing act -- part science, part art, part intuition "and hard work," adds Barb Clawson, an agriculture professor and advisor at ISU.  She manages the turf crew.

"It's an interesting field to be in because it's male dominated," says Clawson.

That's also why she's particularly proud of Heitshusen, one of 120 students Clawson has taken under her wing.  They met during Heitshusen's orientation at ISU.

"I ended up blurting out to my advisor, Barb that I wanted to try doing turf grass management," says Heitshusen.  "My dad was like, 'Where did that come from?'"

Heitshusen started considering the career after reading an article about an internship with the Minnesota Vikings.

"I thought that would be something that would be really neat."

That's pretty neat, but not quite as neat as an internship at the grand-daddy game of them all - the Super Bowl

"This is an incredible honor," says Clawson.  "This particular application goes out to every turf student in the United Sates."

Heitshusen applied for the internship, sponsored by Torro, and got the call she'd hoped for in mid-November.

"I went outside and started jumping around a little bit you know, cause you know, I was excited," says Heitshusen, who still can't quite believe she got it.

Clawson, whose own son won the scholarship in 2013, says she's incredibly proud of Heitshusen, even more so because Heitshusen is the first female selected for the internship.  The honor isn't lost on Heitshusen.

"Since I’m a woman in the field, I’ve had to overcome a lot more obstacles than maybe some other people," she said.

Heitshusen will be on the sidelines during the Super Bowl on Feb. 7, taking care of the turf, setting up and tearing down the half time show and mingling with elite members of the turf management community.  But she's not forgetting her roots.

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