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Kristen Ackerman

Public Relations and Strategic Communication

United States Olympic Committee, Colorado Springs


Why did you apply to intern at the U.S. Olympic Committee?
I knew I was interested in working with sports in some way or another after my internship with Purdue Athletics, where I was a Marketing and Promotions Intern. I stumbled upon the opportunity with the United States Olympic Committee when I was on Twitter one day and thought that the internship would be a really good fit for me, given my interest in continuing my career in sports and utilizing what I learned through classes in public relations. The first few weeks of the internship have really confirmed what I was expecting this experience to be like and I’m really happy that I’ve been able to take advantage of this opportunity.

What is the most exciting thing about your role?
I think that the most exciting thing about my role at the USOC is that my internship will overlap with the 2016 Olympics in Rio. I’ll be working with the social media/digital media team to provide coverage for all of the events throughout the games and will be helping to get people excited about the Olympics beforehand! Another thing that is really cool about this internship is that I actually get to live and work at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. I get to use the workout facilities and enjoy the same food that Team USA athletes do while they are here training on campus. It’s honestly so cool to have met several Olympic and Paralympic athletes already – this is definitely an inspiring place at which to work.

What has surprised you most about your internship?
I think that a lot of people don’t realize how much strategy and thought goes in to every single thing an organization posts to their social media platforms. There is a lot of coordination and collaboration that goes on behind the scenes in order to maintain the brand and to ensure that it has a distinct voice. It’s been eye-opening for me to see how we work with paid and organic media, sponsors, campaigns, and how much content is produced and promoted each day, such as videos, articles, and graphics. Even though I studied social media and developed a couple of campaigns in class, I didn’t anticipate the speed and frequency of posting nor the amount of information that we’d be working with on a daily basis. There has been plenty of opportunity to learn and improve every day, so I’m looking forward to what the rest of the summer has in store for me!

How has your internship prepared you for your career?
My internship has prepared me for my career in a variety of ways. I’ve been able to experience sports on a much larger scale than I have in the past, I’ve become a more concise writer, I now think more strategically about the things that I post, and I’ve learned to adjust my voice and style to fit within the Team USA brand. I’ve also gotten to work with Photoshop and am beginning to learn about social media analytics, as well. With trials and the games quickly approaching, I know that I’ll begin to feel more confident when working in stressful, fast-paced situations, which is something that I think will be applicable no matter where my career will take me.