Two Student interns for the Southern Ohio Copperheads working the ticketing desk during July 1 game vs Grand Lake Mariners

Southern Ohio Copperheads provide stipends to interns

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – Every year the Ohio University interns who run the Copperheads summer baseball program put in hundreds of hours to make the season happen.

And now, for the first time in 20 years, they’re going to get paid for it.

The student directors who have been working for the team since January will receive $500 added to their student account, said Anne Valeant, vice president of the Copperheads. The interns who are only working during the season will get $250.

The stipend comes from the Southern Ohio Copperheads Student Support Fund, which was set up by College of Business Director of Development Ryan O’ Connor with help from donors John and Kelli Kotowski. 

“And with that we were able, for the first time, to distribute stipends to our unpaid interns,” Valeant said.

John Kotowski also played an instrumental part in getting the Copperheads up and running back in 2002, Valeant said.

“I watch how much time and how hard the students have worked strengthening this town,” Kotowski said. “Kelli and I wanted to be a small part of that success.”

Copperheads Vice President, Anne Valeant, describes the stipend for the interns (Jack Demmler – WOUB)

Kotowski hopes the funds will help the interns as they pursue a career in sports journalism and management.

The new stipend may open the internship up to more students.

“Not every student has the financial ability to take an unpaid internship or move away,” Valeant said. “These students put in so many hours with the organization. … I know everyone wants to continue to raise money for this fund so it’s really exciting.”

Natalie Appleton, director of marketing and

: Ian Hankinson questioning a fan for in-between inning entertainment during July 1 game vs Grand Lake Mariners
Ian Hankinson questioning a fan for in-between inning entertainment during July 1 game vs Grand Lake Mariners (Jack Demmler – WOUB)

communications for the Copperheads, said she is pumped for the added bonus.

“When Anne told us, we were super excited,” Appleton said. “All of us going into this assumed it was going to be unpaid … but she told us and $500 sounds pretty cool.”

Most students who intern with the Copperheads tend to find themselves picking up a second job in order to earn money.

Aidan Walsh, director of facilities for the Copperheads, also works at the golf and tennis center at Ohio University.

“I did seek out a second job because I knew it was an unpaid internship,” Walsh said. “I need to pay the bills.”

Walsh hopes the addition of a stipend will make it so the interns will not have to work a second job.

The organization hopes to see the stipend continue for future classes but understands what it takes. 

“It’s gonna take some generous donors and alumni outreach,” Valeant said. “We’ve already started talking with a handful of alumni and reaching out to them.”