Taylor Wilder, a senior studying advertising at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC), recently completed an internship with the U.S. Olympic Committee. Wilder reflects on her experience as an intern and shares some of her insight and advice.
What did you do as an intern for the USA Olympic Team, and what was your experience like?
There were two parts to my internship at the U.S. Olympic committee. My main job was to produce content for all of the @TeamUSA social media platforms. I made graphics and GIFs, wrote tweets, scheduled Facebook posts and helped with their Snapchat on a day-to-day basis. I also had to create monthly decks with our monthly social statistics and progress toward our yearend goal. I sat in on a lot of meetings with my boss and also had the chance to listen to social media-related apps/companies pitch to Team USA about why we should use their company to better our own social media. I came into the internship with barely any social media experience, so there was a huge learning curve for me at first.
The second part of my internship consisted of sports photography. The Olympic Training Center did not have an in-house photographer, so I kind of created that role for myself. I spent a lot of time photographing athletes training at the OTC. I would follow them around from when they woke up to when they went to bed so that I could show Team USA fans what it was like to train for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It was crazy fun, but also a ton of hard work.
The U.S Olympic Committee re-hired you to work at the upcoming Rio Olympics. How did this come about?
When I heard they were going to hire out help in Rio, I negotiated with my boss and my boss’s boss to get them to let me go instead. It took a lot of time and a long proposal to do so, but I’m really excited to be joining the team again down in Rio.
How did you get your start in photography?
I became interested in photography in eighth grade. I found an old camera in my house and started playing with it. I’ve also always been interested in business and entrepreneurship, so I quickly found a way to make money by taking [photos for] people’s Christmas cards starting my freshman year of college. I then joined the yearbook and have basically been doing the same stuff ever since.
I’m passionate about photography because it’s been the only thing I’ve ever been interested in enough to do even when it’s not considered a job. I feel so much more confident with a camera around my neck than when I leave it home in my room. It’s the only thing I feel like I really know how to do.
What are some of your hopes for the future?
I want to continue working in sports for a while. I’ve just started applying for jobs, but I’m hoping to start out as a photo editor for the NFL. Eventually I want to be a full-fledged, successful freelance photographer.
Do you have a specific SOJC faculty member that particularly influenced you during your time at the UO?
Both Deb and Dan Morrison have influenced me a ton. I am an advertising major and was first inspired to get creative on my own terms by Deb Morrison. Yet at the same time, Dan has been there every step of the way to keep me going in photography. They really are a dynamic duo.
Do you have any advice for students seeking a similar career path?
Create opportunity for yourself. You don’t need to belong to a club or a group to make cool stuff.