American Studies Alumnus Puts Love of Sport and Communications to Work in Dream Career

Experiential marketer, Seth Bardacke, seated in sound booth.
Experiential marketer Seth Bardacke seated in sound booth.

Seth Bardacke, B.A., American Studies, '00

After growing up in Watsonville, California, stepping onto the UC Davis campus as a freshman felt like coming home for Seth Bardacke (B.A., American Studies, '00).

“I loved the small town feel; it reminded me of that feeling I had growing up. The campus really extends into the town.”

Seth began his first year at UC Davis undeclared and began checking off his general education classes, eventually trying out an American Studies course. He was quickly hooked.

“I liked the real-world implications of the major; I was able to create a course load around my emphasis,” said Bardacke. “Creating case studies, surveying classmates and getting experience communicating with all sorts of people was so valuable. I still reference things I learned in those settings.”

After graduating, Bardacke turned a successful internship at the Sacramento Kings Game Operations department into a full-time position coordinating, producing, and directing all aspects of the in-arena entertainment, as well as off-site events.

“I was able to get a paid job doing exactly what I wanted to do. Really, it was a dream job for a sports fan.”

Bardacke left the Kings in 2004 and after working with various Sacramento companies and non-profit organizations in marketing and production capacities, he settled in with the Southern California-based experiential marketing agency Hadley Media in 2010.

“We get to build and produce amazing fan events. Every project is a new thing: I love learning how to do something new with almost every project. It’s so creative and innovative.”

Looking back on his days at UC Davis, Bardacke believes his approach over the years has remained the same – and it’s one he recommends to current students.

“If your goal is to do something you’re passionate about, approach school the same way. Don’t just take a class to get a job. Take classes you like and it will lead you to jobs that you will feel lucky to have.”