SMA Foundation

In 2006, the SMA Board of Directors approved the formation of a scholarship program. In response to that change, the Stadium Managers Scholarship Foundation (SMSF) was created to provide annual scholarships to undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled in a sport administration / management program. The Internal Revenue Service has determined the Foundation to be qualified as a 501 (c) (3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code and it qualifies for tax-exempt donations.

The mission of the SMA Foundation is simple: provide tuition assistance for educational purposes, special projects and programs that will facilitate the advancement and dissemination of knowledge in the field of stadium management and related fields.


2018-2019 Scholarship Recipients


Kimberly Schabowski, Michigan State University

Kimberly Schabowski is a graduate student and intern with the Event Management & Facilities Operations office in the Intercollegiate Athletics department at Michigan State University. She is from Massachusetts and obtained her Bachelor’s degree from American International College. While at AIC, she was valedictorian and implemented projects within the sporting department that increased community outreach, student/faculty engagement, and raised funding to send students to sporting conferences. While at Michigan State, she is pursuing a career in Sports Administration/Facilities Operations. Her career goal is to become a Senior Women’s Administrator in a power five conference.

Nicole Walen, Missouri Baptist University

Nicole is currently a senior at Missouri Baptist University pursuing a degree in sport management and a minor in business administration. Her claim to fame is that she had been to every MLB stadium by the age of 19. She is originally from Mikado, MI, but moved to St. Louis, Missouri with hopes of becoming a sport event planner. The impact she has made on MBU is evident. She is a member of the inaugural campus Honors Program and has gained a position of Honors Council Student Representative. Her first year at MBU, she was offered a position with the St. Louis Cardinals in ticket development and continues her second season there. This past year, she became president of MBU’s Health and Sport Science’s honor society, Kappa Omicron Nu. The members focus on giving back to the community, especially through child-education of sport, exercise, and nutrition. Her most recent job is with D1 Training as the facility support specialist where she led the planning for their Grand Opening event with over 400 attendees. She hopes to finish up her last year at MBU and then join the special event team with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Christian Seidler, University of Minnesota

Born and raised in Appleton, WI, Christian Seidler is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management and Business Marketing at the University of Minnesota. Christian is actively involved in the University’s athletic department as an intern with the marketing department and ticket office. He also has experience in Minor League Baseball, Major League Baseball, and the National Basketball Association. After graduating next year, Christian aims to continue his career in the sports industry whether that is collegiate or professional athletics. Christian is incredibly humbled to be selected as a recipient of the Stadium Managers Association Foundation scholarship as it will truly allow him to reach his dream of working in the sports industry. Christian would like to thank the entire Stadium Managers Association for this prestigious award.

The 2018 Scholarship Application Deadline has Passed
Please check back in February of 2019 to submit an application for a Student Scholarship.

The SMA Foundation Scholarship program strives to provide an opportunity for outstanding students enrolled in sports administration programs, with an emphasis on facility and/or event management to learn more about the profession through networking with leaders in the field in an educational, and informal setting.

There are a total of three scholarships awarded each year:

1. The Ron Labinski SMA Foundation Sports Scholarship – 1 awarded each year
2. Stadium Managers Association Foundation Scholarship – 2 awarded each year

Requirements to Apply:

  1. Completed a minimum of 2 years of study or be classified as a junior
  2. Full time status for the entire scholarship year
  3. Actively engaged in community service
  4. Stadium related work experience

February – Scholarship applications become available
April – Applications due
June – Selected recipients are notified 

2017-2018 Scholarship Recipients 


MacKenzie King

MacKenzie King Headshot

MacKenzie is entering her second year at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania as a double major in sport management and philanthropy and nonprofit management after spending two years at Kent State University. Her experience began as a toddler while following her father around the hockey arena concourse with his clipboard in tote. Since then, she has worked at Dix Stadium at Kent State with the facilities team and currently is working with athletic communications at SRU for all home athletic events.




Jessica LaRoussa

IMG 2647

Jessica’s desire to work in sports began early, becoming a team manager at her high school in Barrington, IL. Since then, she has completed her undergraduate degree in sports management, volunteered in the events department for a number of non-profit organizations, and spent two seasons as an Event Coordinator at the Arlington International Racecourse. Today, Jessica is pursuing a Masters degree in Sport Venue and Event Management at Syracuse University. Jessica is very thankful to the Stadium Managers Association for this award and the support toward her education.



Keelee Armor

Keelee Armor

Born and raised in Rappahannock County, VA, Keelee Armor, is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Sport and Recreation Management with a minor in business at James Madison University.  Actively involved with JMU athletics, Keelee has served as a facilities student assistant, athletics building manager, athletics event manager, football operations assistant, and instant replay sideline assistant.  Additionally, Keelee voluntarily provides facility tours for prospective JMU students and her sport and recreation management peers.  After graduating next year, Keelee aims to attend graduate school while continuing to immerse herself in intercollegiate athletics.  Being selected as an award recipient by the Stadium Managers Association Foundation is one of Keelee’s most prized honors and it is her hope to continue to work humbly and graciously in the realm of facility management.


2016-2017 Scholarship Recipients


Scott Burk

ScottBurkScott Burk was born in Pocatello Idaho and later moved to a suburb of Salt Lake City Utah. He worked for the University of Utah during his younger years and always looked up to his Father as an industry hero while helping out with events at Rice Eccles Stadium where the Utah Utes Football program hails from.  Scott graduated from Dixie State University in 2014 and accepted a job as the Guest Services Manager for UNLV's Thomas and Mack Center and Sam Boyd Stadium.




Shane Cummings

ShaneCummingsShane Cummings was born and raised in Boca Raton, FL and left home to attend Florida State University where he received his undergraduate degree in Business Management and Sport Management.  After taking a year off, Shane returned to school in his hometown and is currently pursuing his M.B.A. in Sport Management degree at Florida Atlantic University.  He has worked for the Athletic Department before switching over to his current role with Florida Atlantic Sports Properties.




McKenzie Popatak

McKenziePopatakMcKenzie is currently a student at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania pursing a Bachelor's degree in Sport Management. She previously worked at the Pittsburgh Steeler's Ticket Office where she hosted season ticket holder meetings and seat visitations on game day. She organized over 150 fans every game for the Terrible Towel Unfurl. McKenzie has accumulated over 600 volunteer and practical experience hours since the fall of 2013.




2015-2016 Scholarship Recipients


Rachel Garrity

RachelGarrityRachel Garrity grew up in rural Connecticut before starting at Elon University in North Carolina in 2012. At Elon, she studies Sport and Event Management and is spending the summer before her senior year interning in the event office of a vacation resort in her hometown. There, she helps oversee a 300-acre facility, which includes a waterfront, adventure activities, and hiking and biking trails, and serves as a campsite, corporate retreat, and wedding venue. After her May 1026 graduation, Rachel hopes to continue her passion for event planning and facility management.




Karissa Pendleton

KarissaPendletonKarissa Pendleton was raised in Tallahassee, FL and chose to stay close to home to be a Florida State Seminole. My passion for sports started at a young age. My goal is to work for a professional baseball or football team in the future. I started interning at the Athletics Department at FSU my freshman year in Sports Information and my sophomore year in Sports Marketing.  I then spent my junior year interning in Events and Facilities. I followed my passion to St. Petersburg where I am now interning with the Tampa Bay Rays in Stadium Operation. I plan to use this scholarship to further my education and opportunities while I finish my senior year.



Caroline Roche

CarolineRocheCaroline Roche has always wanted to find a job in which she would enjoy her work and face new challenges every day. As a sophomore, with one year of working at the Masters Tournament under her belt and another soon to follow she is very involved in the industry. During her second year in school I began to study the important aspects of Sport Management as well as the basics for running a business. On May 1st  she started a communications internship at the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center inside the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. This fall my goal will be to work at other international horse events such as the World Equestrian Games in Montreal, the Longines Global Champion Tour which includes 15 competitions over 13 countries, or even the 2016 Summer Olympics.


2014-2015 Scholarship Recipients


David Neder

DAvidNederDavid Neder lives in Tuscaloosa, AL while attending the University of Alabama in Sports Management. After doing his undergraduate work at the University of Georgia David worked for the YMCA, but his goal to work in intercollegiate athletics was still at the forefront of his mind. He now has an internship position with the Athletic Department’s Event Management team. David knows this scholarship will allow him to continue to focus on his education, both in the classroom and as an intern by providing him with the financial aid to help him focus on his career goals.




Meryl Hershfield

MerylHerschfieldMeryl Hershfield hails from Vancouver Canada and sports have been a passion of hers since she was a very young child. One of her goals growing up was to play NCAA Division 1 soccer.  She achieved this by receiving a full athletic and academic scholarship at New Jersey Institute of Technology and graduated in May 2013 with a BS degree in Business.  Meryl is now a graduate student at Florida Atlantic University in the MBA-Sports Management program, and is currently an operations intern for the Florida Panthers and the BB&T Center.





2013-2014 Scholarship Recipients:
Kathryn Regaisis – University of New Haven
Blair Long – University of North Carolina – Pembroke

2012-2013 Scholarship Recipients:
Rachel Coleman, University of Delaware - Undergraduate Student (Senior)
Philip Costa, UCS - Graduate Student
Scott Yogodzinski, Gonzaga University - Graduate Student

2011-2012 Scholarship Recipients:
Daniel R. Mullens, Chowan University - Undergraduate Student (Junior)
LaShae Ingram, San Jose State University - Undergraduate Student (Senior)

2010 - 2011 Scholarship Recipient
Stephen Tucci, Slippery Rock University - Undergraduate Student (Junior)

2009 - 2010 Scholarship Recipients
Richard Glasgow, University of Florida - Graduate Student

2008 - 2009 Scholarship Recipients
Laura Bradstreet, University of South Carolina - Graduate Student
Markeisha Everett, West Virginia University - Graduate Student
Richard Glasgow, University of Florida - Graduate Student

2007 - 2008 Scholarship Recipients
Jennifer Miller, Slippery Rock University - Graduate Student
Shauna Bookal, West Virginia University - Graduate Student

2006 - 2007 Scholarship Recipients
Cherai Frazier, West Virginia University - Graduate Student
David Salati, American University in D.C. - Graduate Student



The Stadium Managers Association and Foundation want to recognize Ron Labinski’s influence on the sports industry and his lasting contributions to stadium design. Ron is considered the forefather of the sports architecture industry, and continues to stay active as a mentor to many professionals and students.

With a career spanning more than 40 years, Labinski introduced many revolutionary concepts to the sports business market. He developed the concept of club seating in the 1970s – a concept now standard in sports facility design.

Ron’s legacy thrives in the stadiums he designed, and our goal is to recognize his additional contributions to the industry with a yearly tuition scholarship in his name.

Click here to learn more about Ron Labinski