Graduate Students Intern at NBC Covering Olympics

Three Sacred Heart University graduate students in the communications program have spent the past three weeks interning for NBC Sports working to cover the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

These students worked out of the network’s headquarters in Stamford, CT.

Shannon Szefinski is now in the graduate program at SHU and getting her master’s in Sports Communications and Media Program on the sports broadcasting track. Szefinski interned for NBC, working as a digital production assistant for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

“This truly would not have happened if it wasn’t for Sacred Heart, and I know that sounds so cliche, but the whole journey started when I was applying for Tokyo Olympics when they hosted a recruiting event on campus. When someone from NBC sports came here and I had my initial interview with her, and that just started to get the ball rolling.” said Szefinski. “So from that kind of standpoint, Sacred Heart is the reason that it happened.”

Szefinski’s first internship started with NBC covering the summer 2021 Tokyo Olympics, postponed due to COVID-19. This time around Szefinski was able to work at NBC headquarters instead of the Marriot Ballroom in Stamford, CT.  

Lucca Pla is a graduate student getting his master’s in Journalism and Media Studies.

Pla spent his three-week internship working on NBC’s daytime broadcast where he and the editing team would prepare sequences of all the Olympic events. 

“The directors were awesome, people in the studio were great, people in the board room were great. I met Rebecca Lowe and she was incredible and such a great person,” said Pla. “Everyone there was nice, and it was spot on. It was a great experience with great people and a lot of help.” 

Szefinski worked her first two weeks of the internship from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., and on her final week at the network, she worked from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.

While Pla worked Friday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., they would either come in between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. – typically varying day to day.

“What prepared me was my senior year and I was working for the ‘The Pulse’ at SHU, and I did two courses with Professor Joseph Alicastro. It was the best class I’ve ever taken,” said Pla. “What SHU does very well with the communication department is they have the facilities for us to do all these things you would find in big televisions studios.”

The Olympics is seen as a life-changing event for world class athletes, but they are also just as impactful for those working behind-the-scenes. 

“At first, it can be very intimidating. The people at the studio were good at teaching everything and making sure you understood what was happening,” said Szefinski. “The first time I walked by Laurie Hernandez and I was like how is this my life.” 

There were no serious restrictions that came with the internship. Because of the time difference between Beijing and the United States, anyone working at NBC was prohibited from recording in the studio since it had not aired yet in the United States. 

These three graduate students have served as an inspiration for undergraduate students who hope to gain the same experience. 

“After hearing about students who got the opportunity to intern for such a huge company like NBC gives that warm feeling that in three to four years that could be me,” said freshman Kaillan Gaynor.

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