Sophomore to study impact of sports in Dominican Republic

Passion and academic opportunity await a student with baseball summer program

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Amy Otte’s passion is baseball, and her goal is working toward a career in the game she loves.

“I would like to be the director of international relations for either a Major League franchise or the director of international relations for Major League Baseball as a whole,” Otte explained.

The director of international relations oversees international outreach for a club and how the game extends beyond the borders of the United States, she said.

This summer Otte, a sophomore business major, said she will travel to the Dominican Republic for a study abroad program where she will study the sport as it pertains to Caribbean culture and ethics.

There are currently 95 MLB players from the Dominican Republic where the sport thrives as a blend of pastime and escape for the Dominican youth, according to MLB.com. No other country in the world has produced more MLB players per capita.

The study abroad program offers students a chance to meet with representatives from MLB who work in international relations.

But to Otte, she said the most important part of the trip is the chance to meet the scouts, players and trainers in the Dominican Republic.

“We get to have some guest speakers come in that work in Major League Baseball and at the camps down there," Otte said. "We also get to take some field trips to the camps to meet players, scouts and coaches.”

The program covers six weeks from the middle of June to the end of July, and Otte said she will take six hours of courses during her stay.

“One of [the classes] is focused on the ethical development of sport down there,” Otte said. “Is all this interaction with Major League Baseball really benefiting the people there or is that perhaps taking advantage of the people there? The other class is cultural study of Caribbean sport.”

Jesica Severson, who works in the university study abroad office, said she feels that Otte and this program are “a perfect match.”

The study abroad program will allow Otte to combine her passion for Latin American culture with her passion for baseball, she said.

“Latin culture is something that really captivates me. It’s very different than here in the United States,” Otte explained. “It’s a lot more family focused, and I just really like that.”

Otte said she found her passion for baseball before her freshman year of high school.

In 2007, the Colorado Rockies had a run through the end of the regular season and postseason that saw them win 21 of 22 games, and at that moment, Otte said she knew she was hooked.

“I knew early on after that run that the Rockies had in 2007 that this is awesome. This is something that I can be a part of for a long time,” Otte explained. “Now that I have found Spanish and international relations and my passion for baseball, that is just exciting to think about.”

Her passions connected her to the program in Santo Domingo.

The program in Santo Domingo is sponsored by the Council of International Educational Exchange, an organization with which the university works to sponsor unique study abroad opportunities across the globe.

The program is called “summer sports + society: baseball in context.” Students in the program explore the economic, cultural and social impacts of MLB on Dominican society.

“This program in particular is designed to give students a very specific type of experience that really caters to students who are interested in sports and the impact of sports on a society,” Severson said.

CIEE offers numerous unique programs that give university students a chance to find a program that fits their specific interests.

Otte said she considers herself “lucky” to have found per passion at such an early age, and Severson said the experience in Santo Domingo “will pop” on a resume when speaking with future employers.

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