What's Up UA? - Olympics Interns Share Sochi Experiences - Tucson Local Media: University Of Arizona

What's Up UA? - Olympics Interns Share Sochi Experiences

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 1:45 pm

Three University of Arizona students recently returned from Sochi, Russia, where they worked as NBCUniversal interns at the Winter Olympics.

The opportunity gave them valuable hands-on experience outside the classroom, which is a key goal of the University's "100 percent student engagement" initiative.

Joseph Shaw and Desiree Piazza, both seniors majoring in Russian and Slavic studies, worked in guest services at the games. Heather Smyser, who has a master's degree in Russian and Slavic studies from the UA and is currently pursuing her doctorate in second language acquisition and teaching, worked as a production assistant. All three are fluent in Russian.

NBCUniversal approached the UA in search of interns because of the University's strong programs in Russian language and culture.

We caught up with the student interns to hear about their experience.

What was the most memorable part of your time in Sochi?

JS: My most memorable time in Sochi was attending the USA vs. Russia men's hockey game. I've been to many sporting events, but I've never experienced an atmosphere as intense as that!

HS: With so many memories, it's hard to choose the one that sticks out the most. That said, I don't think I'll ever forget sitting in the stands right in front of Mikaela Shiffrin's family, watching the second run for the women's slalom, waiting for her turn to finally come, and then cheering her on as she raced and made history. The excitement of the Americans in the stands was palpable, and there was a collective gasp as she barely caught herself at the top of the race. Although it only took a minute for her to finish, it felt substantially longer. Seeing her cross the line, you couldn’t help but cheer and leap for joy!

DP: One of the most memorable things about Sochi was witnessing spectators and athletes, from all over the world, come together for such a thrilling sporting event. 

What did you learn from the experience? 

JS: I learned more than I could have hoped for while working for NBC. One thing that comes to mind is that I need to appreciate just how much goes into an event like the Olympic Games. It's easy to sit at home and scrutinize; but after working behind the scenes, I now can appreciate just how much man and brainpower is required to put that all together.

HS: I learned so much from this experience and am so thankful for the opportunity to have been able to observe everything that goes into producing a sports segment. Once the games started, I spent a lot of time in our production truck, ready to get anything any one might need, since once the races started, the men and women there were pretty much glued to their seats until editing was done. More often than not, this meant I was able to watch the feeds coming in and see when it was time to switch between cameras. Listening to them discuss, you start to get a feel for what"makes the show" and that the most important part of your job is to bring out the story.

DP: I walked away from this experience learning how much hard work and dedication pays off and about what opportunities are out there when you are passionate about something. 

How will this experience help you with your future goals?

JS: This internship will help me with my future goals in several ways. First, it is extremely valuable resume experience. Second, it has exposed me to the heart of the corporate work world, and given me a better understanding of how businesses and their staff work at the highest level.

HS: Honestly, prior to this experience I never had any experience with broadcast, and so now that I’ve returned, I'd love to get more experience in the field. At the moment, my career goals are pretty open due to the difficulty of finding jobs in this economy, and I can see myself using this experience to forge a new career path or to inform my teaching, should I end up in academia. I could definitely use the production experience, should I teach a composition class, since you focus so much on crafting a good story for a short segment. That means you have to listen for appropriate sound bites, or in writing quotes, and frame the story in such a way that it engages your audience.

DP: I gained credibility and experience that can be put toward my desire to become an interpreter. I leave in the summer for the Marine Corps, and I aspire to work as a linguist for them. 

How did your time at the UA prepare you for this internship?

JS: My time as a Russian studies major and an Air Force ROTC cadet here at the University of Arizona has greatly contributed to preparing me for this internship. Our Russian department is fantastic, and I had no issues with the language barrier. Sochi was a high-pressure, high-speed work environment, similar to what I've experienced during various military training exercises as a cadet. Overall, I felt extremely prepared.

HS: So much of my coursework has included discussions of culture and cultural competence, so it helped me to be aware of the differences in Russian and American cultures, broadly speaking, and to articulate these to people who have never had the opportunity to work with someone from the other culture. Having already had these discussions, I was able to anticipate what might surprise my colleagues and be ready to answer their questions. Also, had it not been for the work I did in the Russian program, I would have had quite a few problems with understanding some of the Russian speakers I was around since their dialect can differ quite a bit from what I was exposed to in Ukraine as a Peace Corps volunteer.

DP: The UA more than prepared me for this internship by possessing an outstanding Russian department and study abroad programs that have allowed me to obtain the proficiency that I have.

© 2017 Tucson Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

Oro Valley Audiology

Oro Valley AudiologyAddress: 2542 E Vistoso Commerce Loop Rd, Oro Valley, AZ 85755Phone:(520) ...

Saturday 09/26/2015

Little goes right for the Wildcats

Saturday 09/19/2015

Records fall in lopsided win

Friday 09/04/2015

Arizona challenged by Roadrunners

Tuesday 08/18/2015

Arizona has few questions at QB

Thursday 08/06/2015

Cats open fall drills

Monday 03/09/2015

McConnell, Johnson finalists for awards Johnson Named FOY, Four Wildcats Honored by Pac-12

Monday 01/19/2015

Johnson named Player of the Week

Friday 01/16/2015

Wildcats down shorthanded Colorado

Monday 01/05/2015

Vote for Sean Miller & win $100,000 for the Tucson Ronald McDonald House

Monday 12/15/2014

Arts and Sciences Are Writing a New Love Story Together

Thursday 12/11/2014

More hardware for UA's Wright

Wednesday 12/10/2014

S.H.I.E.L.D half season finale delivers Cats get a glimpse of the future in blowout

Friday 11/14/2014

UA Eller College To Share Economic Outlook for 2015-2016

Wednesday 11/12/2014

UA Humanities Seminars

Tuesday 11/04/2014

What's Up UA? - Hiring Interns? Top 8 Tips for Companies

Wednesday 10/15/2014

What's Up UA? - Close Encounter 'One in a Million'

Monday 10/13/2014

What's Up UA? - Austin Hill: The Comeback Kid

Monday 10/06/2014

What's Up UA? - Health, Wellness Practices Highlighted by Chinese Culture Festival

Thursday 10/02/2014

What's Up UA? - Ready for a Super-Fast Internet? UA Scientists Are Fast at Work on It

Tuesday 09/30/2014

What's Up UA? - Using the Force: UA Police Officer Completes NASA Project

Monday 09/29/2014

What's Up UA? - How New Social Movements Take Root

Friday 09/26/2014

What's Up UA? - PBS 'NewsHour' to Feature Inspirational UA Student

Wednesday 09/24/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Paves Way to Redefine STEM Education

Monday 09/22/2014

What's Up UA? - Wildcats Rally, Hail Mary TD Defeats Cal, 49-45

Thursday 09/18/2014

What's Up UA? - When Job Loss Equals Weight Gain

Monday 09/15/2014

What's Up UA? - Don’t Underestimate Your Mind’s Eye

Thursday 09/11/2014

What's Up UA? - 'What I Wish I Had Known as a Freshman'

Tuesday 09/09/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Undergraduate Researchers Take to the Radio

Thursday 09/04/2014

What's Up UA? - Send Your Tweet – and Your Name – to an Asteroid

Tuesday 09/02/2014

What's Up UA? - Brown Foundations' $2.5 Million Kicks Off Catapult Corp

Thursday 08/28/2014

What's Up UA? - New Veterinary Degree Program Made Possible by $9M Gift is Critical for State

Monday 08/25/2014

What's Up UA? - Laser 'Lightning Rods' Channel Electricity Through Thin Air

Thursday 08/21/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Fall Enrollment Sets Record for Diversity, Number of Freshmen

Tuesday 08/19/2014

What's Up UA? - Remarkable Résumé: UA Student Journalist's Career Includes CNN, NYT Phoenix

Friday 08/15/2014

What's Up UA? - Through Innovative Partnership, 'Hot Shot' Team Tackles Yuma Produce Perils

Wednesday 08/13/2014

What's Up UA? - The UA Named a Top College by The Princeton Review

Monday 08/11/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Researchers Study Increasing Lifespan and Immune Function What's Up UA? - UA Undergrads Conducting Microgravity Research Aboard NASA's G-Force One

Monday 06/09/2014

What's up UA? - UA to Host U.S. and Mexico Officials Exploring Collaborations in Education, Innovation, Research

Thursday 06/05/2014

What's Up UA? - New Wilderness Medicine Class Hones Patient Care Skills in Rugged Conditions

Tuesday 06/03/2014

Track Cats Send Eight Athletes to TrackTown USA

Monday 06/02/2014

What's Up UA? - Bringing a Spacecraft Back From the Dead

Friday 05/30/2014

What's Up UA? - Heart Attack Patient Defies Odds with Tailored Surgical Treatment at UA Medical Center

Thursday 05/29/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Marketing Students Win National AT&T Competition

Tuesday 05/27/2014

What's Up UA? - Scientists Discover Genetic Basis of Pest Resistance to Biotech Cotton

Friday 05/23/2014

What's up UA? - Four UA Students Picked for Pat Tillman Foundation Scholarships

Wednesday 05/21/2014

What's Up UA? - Scientists Discover Genetic Basis of Pest Resistance to Biotech Cotton

Monday 05/19/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Tunnels Get Carbon Fiber Makeover


Follow us on Facebook

Online poll