You Got to Start Somewhere

  • May 1, 2020

By Aaron Viltres

When I transferred to Stony Brook, I came in with plenty of work experience, but I stressed and struggled over landing an internship related to my major. That quickly changed when I attended the journalism career fair in Fall 2019. This being my first career fair within the major, I didn’t know what to expect, and at times, I caught myself overthinking. This isn’t always a bad thing because it means you’re stepping out of your comfort zone, which is one of the things I valued the most at the fair. Going from recruiter to recruiter, I felt myself gaining confidence and building momentum. 

Then I spoke to Vinny Messana, who is the founder and president of Axcess Baseball. 

I always envisioned working in sports journalism. I grew up playing a multitude of sports, including football, track and martial arts. Despite my mentioning to Vinny that I had little knowledge of baseball, he loved my skills with various editing/graphic design programs, and I feel my honesty gave him the confidence to offer me the internship on the spot.

Heading into the internship, I was very confident. I even volunteered to start a month early during my winter break. For most of the internship, I edited content through Premiere Pro and Photoshop, content that later would be used on the company’s social media page. What I loved about the internship is the flexibility and freedom Vinny gave when I was creating a graphic. He would send me a template of what he was looking for, but he gave me the freedom to experiment with multiple designs, which pushed me to be more creative. I was also extremely excited to conduct interviews with teams and players, but unfortunately, Covid-19 did not allow that. The amazing part about the internship, however, is that I could do everything remotely, which let me continue the internship through the days of the coronavirus lockdown.

The biggest challenge with the internship was at any moment throughout the day I might get a request to complete a graphic because the internship did not necessarily have a structured schedule. This made planning my designs and hitting deadlines more challenging, but it improved my ability to think on the fly. One thing I wished the internship had was a more collaborative environment because I feel working and bouncing ideas off other creatives creates the best work. Throughout the entirety of the internship I worked by myself, which can be challenging when you are struggling to generate new ideas.

One of the things I am grateful for is that the internship showed me the value of self-teaching. Prior to coming to Stony Brook, I had taught myself how to use Photoshop and Premiere Pro through YouTube videos. Even after accepting the internship, I had many moments where I had to teach myself something on the fly and then apply it to a design. The best advice I can give students is “to be comfortable being uncomfortable.” I did not know much about baseball coming into the internship, but I was confident in the rest of my skills and was able to adapt. 

Remember, we’ve all got to start somewhere, and I thank Vinny and Axcess Baseball for granting me that opportunity.


To the #Tigray survivors, victims and their families: thank you for entrusting us with your stories. The recognition for our body of work on Ethiopia serves to counter the false narratives around the reality in Tigray. I’m so incredibly proud to lead this wonderfully dogged team.

News & Documentary Emmys


The #NewsEmmys Award for Outstanding Research: News goes to Ethiopia: Exposing the Hallmarks of a Genocide (@CNN).

What's Putin's end game in Ukraine now? Former @CBSNews Moscow correspondent & @stonybrooku prof Jonathan Sanders and @IREXintl fellow and Moldovan media content producer Ecaterina Miscisina talk it over with the Marie Colvin Center

Join us Oct 6 at the #stonybrooku Bauman Center for My Life as a Solutions Journalist with @soljourno founder Tina Rosenberg. All are welcome!

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