Nekich arrived at Penn State in 2017 from Allentown to major in musical performance with an emphasis on opera, but as the demanding nature of the program limited her ability to pursue other interests, she knew it was time to to change.
“At the time, I was also getting to know the music industry and the business side of things, which led me to change majors and focus more on working behind the scenes on the technical side and the fan part of it all,” Nekich said.
The change was natural for Nekich, who freelanced in high school as a social media manager for various bands and artists, including the Aces and Hayley Kiyoko. Her background in entertainment marketing continued at Penn State, but in 2019 she knew she had to add to her skillset to succeed in the music industry.
“That’s when I grabbed the opportunity for an internship at the College of Arts and Architecture,” Nekich said. “It allowed me to stay within college and stay connected to my musical roots, but it also allowed me to manage social media accounts for drama school and music school, which made me see it from a different angle.”
The internship also gave her the opportunity to literally see the arts through a different lens as she explored her love of photography. Attending music and theater performances honed his skills as a fine art photographer and in May Nekich photographed a New York concert by Phoebe Bridgers, who retweeted her work.
“I was blown away,” Nekich said. “The filming took place in a stadium and thanks to my training, I was able to work in this environment and it did not seem too big to me.”
During her internship, the COVID-19 pandemic limited in-person events. To maintain a creative outlet, Nekich and his peers developed a semester-long drama school podcast that focused on how arts students were navigating the pandemic.
“It was a perfect mix, and the internship was what I had been looking for all this time,” Nekich said. “The skills I learned, I use them almost every day and it was a career-changing experience.”
In 2019, Nekich also joined SPA, a student-run club that provides large and small-scale entertainment at the University and collaborates with the Movin’ On festival each spring. There, Nekich said she found “her people”.
“I found not only my best friends, but also a way to learn on the pitch,” Nekich said. “From working on social media, taking photos, choosing the artists and working with them on the day of the show, even building the stage, it was amazing and it’s something that few people in the music industry were able to experiment in college. ”
Armed with knowledge, skills and determination, Nekich flew to London, England after graduating in 2021 to work with singer Baby Queen, but as she did not receive a job offer. full-time artist, she returned to Allentown to regroup.
“I hit the pavement and just thought, ‘I’m going to get a job and move to New York and do whatever I can to make it happen,'” Nekich said.
Through networking on a “Women in the Industry” Facebook group, Nekich was contacted by Aimee Berger, a Penn State alumnus and founder of Aimsley Management, a full-service talent management firm. The two established a connection and Nekich was hired as the company’s creative director.
Nekich also applied to Primary Wave and through Berger she was connected with Rob Dippold, chief digital strategist and Penn State alumnus. Nekich picked up the job and started running.
“None of this would have been possible without my internship experience and my time with SPA,” Nekich said. “At Penn State, there are so many opportunities, but you have to go after them. Join a club, go try something you’re passionate about, and you’ll find Penn State is what you make it.