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An internship experience: Hanging with "Dog" and the "Slam Man"

Most internships aren't highlighted by time spent with people nicknamed "Dog" and the "Slam Man," but that's exactly what New Mexico State University senior Nick Mitchell got during his time this summer at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

NMSU senior HRTM student Nick Mitchell stands with Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman and his wife, Beth, during the Fourth of July Block Party and Fireworks Extravaganza at Naval Station Pearl Harbor. (Photo courtesy of Nick Mitchell)

Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman and Jay "Slam Man" Mohr were just two of the celebrities Mitchell met during his three-month stint in the Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation intern program.

"It was an absolutely incredible experience," Mitchell said. "I got to work on a lot of concerts, comedy shows, a Harlem Globetrotters game. Our largest event this summer was a huge Fourth of July block party. We had between 17,000 and 20,000 people there."

The 26-year-old is set to graduate in December with a degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. The self-proclaimed "foodie" credits several factors for opening the doors for this opportunity, including advisement from HRTM associate professor Priscilla Bloomquist.

"If it weren't for her, I would have never known this opportunity was available," Mitchell said. "But, HRTM also played a part in my success in the internship.

"I was the first intern my supervisor had received from NMSU. She was very impressed with the skills our program emphasized," he added. "We'll take on more responsibilities and work really hard, which really showcases everything we learned at the school."

Mitchell said the faculty is the key to turning out quality interns, students and graduates from HRTM.

"The faculty has worked in hotels, restaurants or organizing special events before," he explained. "They take all that experience they've got from the real world and bring it into the classroom."

Even though he's getting ready to move on after graduation, Mitchell plans on doing his part to bring more notoriety to the nationally-ranked HRTM program.

"I've often thought that if I'm involved in upper level management in the future, I will make sure the recruiters are coming to NMSU because it's a quality program," he said. "Twenty years down the road, I will be an advocate for the school. The faculty and staff are second to none and it shows in the students they produce."

However, Mitchell's ties to NMSU go beyond the classroom. His wife is Pamela Bruemmer, head coach for the university's equestrian team. The internship also allowed the couple to celebrate their first wedding anniversary in Hawaii.

He said that memory won't ever fade away and the work experience was invaluable, but the job also offered another perk.

"Being able to leave work, catch a ride to the beach and go surfing," he said. "That was amazing to be able to do that every day."