WCC student scores an internship at U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials
Calling camera angles and shots, spotting athletes, running in and out of production meetings, researching, and fact-checking was all in a day’s work last month for Washtenaw Community College student Tierney Isaac.
The Broadcast Arts major recently returned from completing an internship at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. A match made in heaven considering Isaac swam her way through high school and comes from a family of swimmers.
While working as production staff for nearly two weeks, Isaac rubbed elbows with several high-profile people, including the legendary sportscaster Bob Costas, and even witnessed 22-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps complete his final Olympic challenge. Once again, Phelps made the team.
“There’s a lot of relaying back and forth, which can be stressful, and there’s definitely a sense of urgency at all times, but it’s also exciting,” Isaac said. “One of my proudest moments was hearing the production manager tell the director, ‘It’s OK. I trust her.’”
Luckily for Isaac though, it wasn’t her first time doing something of this magnitude. In 2012, she worked as a production runner at the U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials. And for the past three years, she’s spent her summers working at the Phillips 66 National Championships. That meant Isaac became used to working 14-hour days. But she points out that her most-recent trip wasn’t “all work, no play” all the time.
“After each day came to a close, all the staff and crew would just hang out and let loose,” she said. “It’s weird because we were all exhausted by that point, but the adrenaline keeps you awake.”
But the fun didn’t end there.
Members of the media competed in a swim race for the chance to win an Omega watch. Though Isaac didn’t win, she received some sound advice: Hustle and smile.
“That’s true for anybody,” she said. “Knowing your stuff is important and if you don’t know something, you better find someone who can help. Things go by so fast in production, so you can’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s takes true collaboration to successfully pull off a live event.”
Since classes cannot fully prepare anyone for the unpredictable world of production, Isaac plans to take advantage of every opportunity before transferring to Marymount Manhattan College in New York City next year. She already has another internship lined up this December at the Short Course World Championships in Windsor, Ontario.
Interestingly enough, Isaac almost didn’t go into production. She started off her college journey as an architecture major at Washington University in St. Louis but quickly realized it wasn’t for her.
“I always worked on production events during the summer,” she said. “It started out as just something fun to do until I realized it could actually be a career.”
Isaac’s passion for television is now in full mode thanks to WCC. She says the college’s affordability gave her the freedom to explore all options before deciding on the one that was best for her.
“What I will miss most about WCC is the people. The teachers I’ve had have played a huge role in shaping my career. Without their passion for the subjects they teach, I probably wouldn’t be so passionate about the field myself,” she said. “The environment WCC fosters of collaboration and support among the students is amazing and I’m so thankful for it.”
This story originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of On The Record.