Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A whirlwind learning experience

As I am finishing up my second internship with the U.S. Olympic Committee, and reflecting on it all, I am amazed by how much I have had the opportunity to be involved in, the great people I have met, and the invaluable learning I have gained! Having recently graduated with a master’s degree in Sport Management, this internship is ideal for me for multiple reasons. As the intern for the Human Resources division, I have had the chance to work with several departments within the USOC and obtain a broad view of all that goes on at the organization. I have had the chance to help with recruiting new employees, learned interview techniques, assisted with a few programs put on by USA Paralympics, edited content of a couple of key manuals for USOC employees, and From a personal development perspective, it has been helpful to be exposed to many career areas and narrow down where my passions lie.

Colorado Springs has a lot to offer, from beautiful outdoor activity options to a city rich with sport and fitness, it is a great place to intern! Some of what I’ve been able to do recently, in no particular order, includes:

· Act as Volunteer coordinator for the Developing Amazing Leaders Conference, reaching an audience of people involved in Military and Paralympic Sport clubs across the United States. This experience was huge for on-the-job learning. I was given the task of recruiting, training, and managing a group of almost fifty volunteers during the conference. I needed to ensure they were at the right places, at the right times, and had the resources to fulfill their volunteer position(s). I enjoyed working with the volunteers, staff, and participants, and was exposed to an amazing amount of knowledge regarding adaptive sport programs.

· Climb the Manitou Springs Incline for about the 10th time. 1 mile straight up in 2,000 ft…we all talk about it because it’s quite a doozy! Athletes have been known to complete the challenge in times under twenty minutes, while I am just happy to make it in less than an hour each time!

· Volunteer for the inaugural Warrior Games, which offers sport competition for wounded servicemen and women. This is a truly amazing event! Check it out at

· Snowshoe for the first time! It’s a great workout, and a wonderful way to traipse around in beautiful Colorado.

· Help with the planning and execution of the Paralympic Ambassador Program, working with a consulting company to train Paralympians on being effective at telling their stories in front of various audiences. We traveled to the beautiful training center in Chula Vista, California, and facilitated this event. We also had the opportunity to go out on the water with the US Men’s Rowing Team and strengthen our knowledge of ultimate teamwork! As a former rower at the University of California at Los Angeles, this was pretty cool!
· Get the ball rolling on production of a training manual for those at the USOC who supervise interns. I scheduled informal interviews/brainstorming discussions with several key USOC leaders to talk to them about what need a supervisor manual could fill. We discussed what information would be great to have readily available, and talked over what techniques they found effective in managing interns and providing a comprehensive development experience for them. It was eye-opening talking to team members from several departments, and picking their brains to see how the Human Resources department and Intern Program Manager can facilitate effective practices.

I thoroughly enjoyed my internships with the USOC, in the Human Resources and Development divisions, and have volumes to speak of the experience. It is truly a unique and privileged opportunity to be part of this Movement, and I am grateful to my supervisors, co-workers, fellow interns, and others I’ve encountered along the way for supporting me in learning on the go!
Britt Merchant
Human Resources Intern
Spring 2010

1 comment:

  1. This is great. I really enjoyed reading through your blog posts...I am applying for the Fall semester strength and conditioning internship. I want this internship more than anything - Do you have any suggestions for how to make my application stand out? I assume they receive tons of applications from qualified individuals.