Vu glides down the lane towards NIL contract

Kristen Schoenick
Staff Writer

Emma Vu, swimmer and senior business major, makes big waves as she is on a Name, Image and Likeness Contract, or NIL, with the competitive and international swimwear brand Arena USA.

In August 2021, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced that they were going to start allowing college student-athletes to get sponsored. 

Coming from Tigard, Oregon, Vu was excited to hear this news knowing that she can further enhance her experience in the swim world with sponsorships.

Back at home over the summer, Vu worked at a country club named Stafford Hills Club in Tualatin, Oregon. It was there where Vu met Mark Pinger, the General Manager for Arena USA

Arena USA is an international swimwear brand that is both stylish and comfortable. Born out of Italy, the company prides itself on equipping swimmers and water lovers with swimwear and accessories. 

At the end of the year staff party, she introduced herself and her previous experiences with sponsorships. Vu got to know Pinger over the summer as she worked at the country club, but she was now able to get to know Pinger on a business level. 

Pinger asked for her Instagram and instantly knew what an incredible fit Vu would be for the company, as she aesthetically fits what Arena USA was looking for. Knowing that they were currently hiring a social media specialist for Arena USA , Pinger talked to his marketing director to see what they could do.

Full of excitement on the drive to work for Arena USA , Vu left the conversation with a big smile on her face. 

“La Verne is already sponsored by Arena USA, which made the thought of working with them even better,” Vu said. 

This past August, the marketing director of Arena USA, Steve Ozmai, reached out to Vu asking her to do an interview. 

“I was so excited but scared,” Vu said. “This was the most qualified job that I had ever interviewed for.” 

With so much potential being seen in Vu, she got the job and began to market herself for the company. 

When you are a student athlete, you should not be receiving products that can help enhance your performance or give you any kind of advantage, like free products. However, Vu said that she receives free products because she is an employee for Arena USA . To avoid any conflict  while working with Arena USA and being a student-athlete, they signed her as a NIL athlete. 

She received the Instagram password for Arena USA and flourished from there.

For the past four months, Vu has been working with Arena USA as a social media specialist. She posts around 5-7 times a week while working remotely. She also receives Arena USA products monthly and promotes the brand to its full extent. 

When they initially hired her in August, the plan was for Vu to work with Arena for three to six months. However, Ozmai told Vu that the work she has been doing for Arena USA was incredible and they can not let her go. 

Recently meeting with her boss, Vu was offered a position with the company post-graduation.

At 20 years old and graduating in spring of 2023, Vu will be working with the marketing team for Arena USA concurrently with her position as a social media specialist. 

“There are only four people on it for all of Arena USA,” Vu said. “Getting a spot on the marketing team is insane.”

On the marketing team, Vu will work with professional athletes and work on marketing strategies with the company’s presence at big meets, such as the Olympic Trials and the U.S. Nationals. 

“This has been my dream job since I was a kid,” Vu said. 

Arena USA’s headquarters are in Portland, Oregon, meaning that Vu can still work remotely and be in the office while also being close to home after graduation. 

Vu’s accomplishments are easily reflected by her hard work and determination. When she came to La Verne, she didn’t expect the once-in-a-lifetime experiences and opportunities that she has received. 

As a natural born star both in and out of the pool, there is no doubt that this job with Arena USA is perfect for Vu. 

Aside from being on a NIL contract with Arena USA, Vu works in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, holds the position of senator for the College of Business and Management, and is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council. 

Kristen Schoenick can be reached at kristen.schoenick@laverne.edu

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Kristen Schoenick is a senior communications major with a concentration in public relations.

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