Students score golden Olympic internships

Ten Bradley communication students and recent graduates felt like they had earned the gold medal of internships when they worked for NBC during the London 2012 Summer Olympics. Some interned in England and others were stationed at NBC headquarters in New York.

All were thrilled at the opportunity to have a role in covering the quadrennial international sports gathering. “Everybody had his or her own part in a huge machine,” says Elise Dismer ’13, who interned as a runner in London. “I was sent everywhere — to aquatics, gymnastics, the Olympic Stadium — delivering packages or tickets. Even small tasks were important. Everybody was pumped to be there.”

Prompted by the creation of Bradley’s sports communication major, Dr. Paul Gullifor, chair of the Communication Department, contacted NBC several years ago to request that Bradley students be considered for the internships. “We needed an international component to the sports communication major, and we set our sights on the Olympics,” he says. “I had a relationship with some folks at NBC, so I started knocking on doors and said we have the right kind of students for this work.”

Persistence paid off, and eventually NBC officials agreed to interview Bradley students for the internships. Seventy-three communication majors applied for the positions, and more than 40 were interviewed on campus. Dr. Gullifor was impressed with the campus-wide interest in assuring that Bradley students would be successful. “The campus community knew this would be a great opportunity for our students and asked how they could help,” Dr. Gullifor says.

The Smith Career Center held resume writing and interview workshops; faculty members reviewed cover letters, resumes and video streams of interviews and offered advice. In an effort organized by the Alumni Relations office, local alumni conducted mock interviews with students. At the conclusion of the process, NBC chose 10 Bradley students for the internships.

Faculty members then instructed the interns to develop goals and plans for their experience. “They asked us to think about what we want to accomplish. They wanted us to make Bradley proud,” Dismer says.

While Dismer was in London, Miles Himmel ’14 was in New York City working as a production assistant for weightlifting segments. He worked with the play-by-play and color commentators and a statistician to produce five 25-minute segments a day. “I saw how it all works. Turnaround times could be anywhere from 45 minutes to eight hours.”

He remembers seeing the final footage on the NBC Sports Network. “It was great seeing it and knowing we did it.”

Himmel says the Olympic experience was a tremendous confidence builder. “It doesn’t get much bigger than this.”

Mathew DeFreitas ’13 also interned in New York, where he worked as a logger. He watched live feeds of events, time-coded them and used a keyword so producers could quickly find the right spot on the tape when creating highlights segments. He logged a variety of events including the United States versus France women’s soccer opener and the gold medal basketball game between the U.S. and Spain.

DeFreitas was most proud of “making a contribution to NBC and knowing the whole nation would see my work. It was a surreal experience, one I will never forget. I hope that one day NBC says, ‘You worked for us; come work for us again.’”

Dr. Gullifor is pleased that the students represented Bradley so well. “I told them, ‘Do the best job of your life, because this is bigger than you.’”

Bradley students have begun the application process for internships at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Dr. Gullifor hopes the relationship with NBC will expand to internships in all areas of the NBCUniversal/Comcast umbrella.

“We have our foot in the door,” he says, noting an NBC official recently told him that whenever he needs interns, he is calling Bradley first.