Asbury Students Return From Rio – Asbury University
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August 23, 2016

Student holding a TV camera by an Olympic swimming pool
Julia Chin ’16 operates a camera in the Aquatics Stadium.

“No words can describe this experience, really,” said Savannah Riley, a senior Media Communication major at Asbury University. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity.”

Along with more than 60 Asbury students, Riley recently returned from a professional media experience at the Rio Olympics. Since 1984, hundreds of Asbury students have worked in paid media positions at the Olympics — an only-at-Asbury opportunity that expands students’ global perspectives and hones their professional skills. Click here to read a student perspective on working at the Olympics.

Asbury students worked in two teams: a journalism team that produced news packages for LEX-18 (a local NBC affiliate) and other digital outlets; and a media team that worked in paid media positions. Working as a student camera operator, Riley enjoyed amazing opportunities to work with seasoned professionals. 

“I loved it because I not only got to learn from listening to our director in my head set, but also from interacting with the journalists, athletes and Olympic committee members that come through the studio,” Riley said.

Journalism students also garnered valuable professional experience as they researched stories, conducted interviews and produced news packages. Allison Antram ’16, a recent journalism graduate, had the opportunity to organize an interview with Luis Orta, a Venezuelan runner who graduated from the University of Kentucky.

“It was incredible just to interview an Olympian, but even more so because he loves Kentucky as much as we do,” Antram said. “To connect with him in that way and hear his journey was incredibly rewarding.” 

Students interviewing USA basketball player DeMarcus Cousins
(From left): Madison Farr ’17 and EmaLeigh Haines ’17 interview DeMarcus Cousins.

Journalism students also interviewed Ole Hesselbjerg, a steeplechase runner who graduated from Eastern Kentucky University, Kentuckian Skyler Faulkner, a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor who was sponsored by the Make-a-Wish Foundation to go to the summer Olympic Games, former University of Kentucky basketball player DeMarcus Cousins and others. Click here to watch students’ interview with Faulkner. 

Combining intercultural engagement, personal growth and professional development, Asbury students found the Rio Olympics to be a whole-person learning experience. Jonathan Heffley ’18, another member of the student journalism team, says the experience built on classroom learning.

“I really appreciated the hands-on experience,” Heffley said. “It was definitely helpful being on my own some days, along with the team. Not having a professor right there behind me telling what I’m doing right or wrong, I had to rely on what I’ve experienced in the past.”

Before he came to Asbury, Heffley had no background in media, but after only two years in Asbury’s School for Communication Arts, he had all the tools he needed to successfully report from the Olympics, and he’s confident that he’ll earn a spot with the Asbury student media team during the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

“I’ve learned everything I know in two years here,” Heffley said. “I’d say that’s a pretty successful track record for a school.”


To learn more about Asbury’s School for Communication Arts, visit: School for Communication Arts