Student finds her place at the Super Bowl


Staff Sgt/Kristi Machado


Summer Bontrager

While many will watch the Super Bowl from their couches at home, Georgeanna Heitshusen will stand on the green that the big game will be played on — the field she has to manage. 

Heitshusen, junior in horticulture with an emphasis in turf grass management, was chosen to help construct the esteemed Super Bowl 50 field, which the big game will be played on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

The opportunity stems from the Toro Super Bowl Sports Turfgrass Training Program Internship with the lawn care manufacturer The Toro Company, which hails from Minnesota. The internship allows for the student chosen to contribute in undertakings such as preparing the game field as well as the two practice fields, painting the lines and logos and various other jobs.

Heitshusen beat out 35 different applicants to obtain this position.

Heitshusen is currently the only female in the turf grass management field at Iowa State. Heitshusen has had previous experience working on Jack Trice Stadium, as well as experience with the Iowa Cubs in Des Moines and at Michigan State University.

While at Super Bowl 50, Heitshusen said she will have time to learn under some of the best in her major, including George Toma, who has been involved in the industry since the first Super Bowl in 1967.

“I’ve never worked with an NFL facility before, so I am really looking forward to raising my standards to how they run things,” Heitshusen said.

The Toro Super Bowl Internship is now in its 12th year. Three ISU students have been recipients throughout its history, more than any other school in the country.

Dale Getz, sales manager at The Toro Company, informed Heitscusen she had been chosen for the internship, and will also accompany her to the Super Bowl.

“The applicant pool that we have been getting from Iowa State University has been good and it has turned out well,” Getz said.

Heitshusen said her adviser Barb Clawson, program coordinator in the horticulture department, has been a helping hand to Heitshusen since the beginning.

Clawson said she was excited to see Heitshusen as the first woman to ever receive this internship, as well as the only woman in turf grass management.

“I truly hope that by young women seeing that it’s attainable to them,” Clawson said. “All you need to do is do it.”

As for her future, Heitshusen said she wishes to enter the work field as an assistant either at a NFL or collegiate facility.