This is part of a series where we asked Grady College students to describe their internship experiences during the summer. To see pictures of our Grady students interning, please see our #GradyInternDiaries social media collection.
Other Grady Intern Diary interviews can be viewed here: Kelsey Ann Williams | Jamari Jordan
Name: Nicole Chrzanowski
Title of Internship: United States Olympic Committee Intern Program
Company: USA Triathlon
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Describe a typical workday in your internship.
My day is typically divided into two, in which I spend half the day with one department and half the day with another department within USAT. We have eight total departments, so I work on a rotating schedule throughout the week. My tasks depend on what department I am in, but my supervisors and I try to keep the tasks media and PR focused. I spend a fair amount of time writing for different newsletters that the company puts out, creating handbooks for Team USA athletes, writing feature content, and editing videos for our national championship events. On top of media aspects, I help organize and coordinate high performance camps, test new website features, and help ship out products to race directors and athletes.
What is the biggest challenge you face at your internship?
I would have to say my biggest challenge is not having the independence to always run with projects the way I would want to. I learned very quickly that every company has a way they like doing things, and USA Triathlon is no different. However, the challenge has allowed me to grow in that I have become comfortable suggesting new things and asking why something is done one way instead of another. Often times, my supervisors appreciate a fresh perspective on the way things are done and will implement my suggestions.
What is the most influential experience or most important skill you learned at your internship?
My most influential experience was easily writing a feature about triathlon making its debut in the Special Olympic World Games. I learned that telling their story was and is so much bigger than this company or myself and it was an honor to share it with the world. There are so many incredible people in the world around us and getting to speak with them first hand about their passion really helped me realize why I want to pursue a career in sports communications. Watching someone's eyes light up and hearing joy in their voice when they talk about something they love is something that will never grow old to me and makes me love my career path.
The most important skills I have leaned are perseverance and time management. There are parts of my job that I love and could spend forever on, but there are also parts that I don’t love as much but I know need to get done. Sometimes you just have to persevere and push through the tedious tasks to get to the ones that make your job worthwhile for you. On the flip side, I know that I cant only spend my time on the things I enjoy so I have had to learn how to block my time very well to ensure that all aspects of my position are fulfilled.
What advice would you give to a student looking for an internship?
Do not be afraid to chase after what you want. When I applied for this internship, I thought that it was too big and competitive for me and that my chances of getting it were slim. This summer, there were approximately 3,000 applicants that applied for about 25 positions within the Olympic Committee. And I am one of those 25. If you know what you are chasing after and why you are chasing after it, you have the ability to achieve more than you can imagine. The worst you can hear is no, so always put yourself out there.
What part of your Grady education did you find most valuable during your internship?
My experience with Grady's Sports Media program was easily the most valuable education that has been applied in my internship. My sports media classes have taught me sports reporting skills that I put to use everyday. More so than that, Sports Media and Grady in general have taught me how to be a professional, which has been invaluable during my internship. My professors have set forth expectations of me as a student that I now expect of myself in the work place, which has truly allowed me to succeed at my position. I come in every day ready to work and ready to do it with a smile on my face and connect with people along the way, all of which I can credit to Grady.
August 20, 2015