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University of Iowa News Release

 

Aug. 5, 2008

Photos: University of Iowa student Stacie Carpenter poses with other media volunteers at the Beijing Summer Olympics (photo, left, Carpenter is third from left in the back row of the
photo
). University of Iowa student Emily Doolittle takes time out of her busy Olympic media volunteering schedule to visit the Great Wall of China (photo, right).

UI students participate in 2008 Beijing Olympics as media volunteers

More than 20 University of Iowa students are working as media volunteers in Beijing during the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The students are serving as reporters and writers on the front lines of the Olympic News Service, which provides continual coverage of all events for use by the international media, with English as the primary language.

Many of the students have been preparing for the Beijing experience for the past year or more through their studies and extra-curricular work. The entire group of Iowa student volunteers has been in Beijing since late June for orientation and training. Most will stay through the regular Summer Games, Friday, Aug.  8, through Sunday, Aug. 24, and up to a third will continue at the Paralympics September 6-17.

In May 2007 the UI and a partner school in Beijing, Tsinghua University, signed a Memorandum of Understanding that allowed the students to participate as Olympics volunteers, making the UI the first university outside of China to sign such an agreement. The two institutions reached an agreement with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad for training the 23 UI students to work as media volunteers at the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

Judy Polumbaum, a journalism professor in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, organized the Iowa Olympic Ambassador Project. The project consisted of a conference, travel for five students to attend pre-Olympic test events in Beijing and pre-trip preparation for the entire group. Polumbaum is also the director of the Center for Chinese Language and Culture in the Confucius Institute in UI International Programs.

UI International Programs enables UI students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity and give all university constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit http://international.uiowa.edu/ or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the UI Office of the Provost.

Following are the 23 students participating in the Beijing Olympics. They are listed alphabetically by hometown, with Iowa hometowns first.

IOWA

Ames: Kevin Lu, a junior biochemistry major in the UI Carver College of Medicine, is volunteering as a tennis flash quote reporter for the Olympic News Service. Lu will interview athletes after their matches for quotes to be used in a database which all professional journalists will have access to. "I just want to take part in something bigger than myself and this is supposed to represent the best humanity has to offer," Lu said. Lu can be reached at Kevin-lu@uiowa.edu.

Calamus: Nicole Mason, a senior journalism and mass communications and health and sports studies major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work as a tennis flash quote reporter for the Olympic News Service. Mason will interview athletes after their matches for quotes to be used in a database which all professional journalists will have access to. "I volunteered because I love sports and I want to be a sports reporter someday, so this was the perfect way to get my start," Mason said. "I am really looking forward to interviewing the athletes -- hopefully Serena or Venus -- and learning about the fast-paced life of a sports journalist. I hope to gain some valuable experience and some contacts to use in the future." Mason can be reached at Nicole-m-mason@uiowa.edu.

Cedar Rapids: Emily Doolittle, a senior international studies and journalism major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work as a tennis flash quote reporter for the Olympic News Service. Doolittle will interview athletes after their matches for quotes to be used in a database which all professional journalists will have access to. "I grew up watching the Olympics, and I always knew I'd attend at least one Olympic event live. When the chance to be a link in the Olympic chain arose, I knew I'd be crazy not to pursue it. So many people dream about either competing in the games, or attending them live -- well, I'm not an athlete, but I have the rare opportunity to be part of the production." Doolittle can be reached at Emily-doolittle@uiowa.edu. She blogs about her China experience at www.emilydoolittle.blogspot.com.

Davenport: Cameron Coker, a senior journalism and international studies major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work as a flash quote reporter for the Olympic News Service. Coker will interview athletes after their events for quotes to be used in a database which all professional journalists will have access to. "I'm looking forward to seeing the changes before, during and after the games as China has been relentlessly constructing and deconstructing itself in preparation for the games," Coker said. Coker will study at Tianjin University of Technology in Tianjin in the fall, studying Mandarin. Coker can be reached at Cameron-coker@uiowa.edu. He writes and blogs about his Olympics experience for the Quad City Times at www.qctimes.com. His blog, Beijing Beat, can be found at www.qctimes.com/blogs.

Des Moines: Andrew Bassman, an undergraduate student at the UI, will work as a volunteer for the Olympic News Service. Bassman can be reached at Andrew-bassman@uiowa.edu.

Dubuque: Rene Panozzo, a senior journalism, Spanish and international studies major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work in the International Broadcast Center, where networks from around the world base their operations. "I decided to become a part of this project because of the rare opportunities it provided: to be a part of this huge event and the huge media operation behind it, to come to China and experience the culture here, and to bring together my journalism and international studies majors in practice," Panozzo said. "I'm hoping to gain some practical experience in how the media operates, particularly in the context of the Olympics. I also want to leave with a little more knowledge of this complex country, one that few outsiders seem to truly understand but that is growing significantly in importance on the international scene." Panozzo can be reached at rene-panozzo@uiowa.edu.

Magnolia: Anna Frisk, a junior at the UI, will work as a volunteer for the Olympic News Service. Frisk can be reached at anna-frisk@uiowa.edu. She writes about China, the Olympics and her experiences for Southwest Iowa News at www.southwestiowanews.com.

Mason City: Stacie Carpenter, a senior journalism and mass communication major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work in the Main Press Center as a press operations assistant. "I volunteered for the Iowa Olympic Ambassadors Project because I felt that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would help me grow both personally and professionally as I encounter diverse individuals and learn about other cultures," Carpenter said. "I hope to gain a better understanding of Chinese culture and am looking forward to witnessing the significant impact an international event, such as the Olympics, has on a community." Carpenter can be reached at Stacie-carpenter@uiowa.edu.

Strawberry Point: Nick Compton, a senior journalism and political science major from in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work as a wrestling flash quote reporter for the Olympic News Service. Compton will interview athletes after their matches for quotes to be used in a database which all professional journalists will have access to. "I volunteered to experience foreign cultures and see the Olympics first hand," Compton said. "I hope to interact with as many fascinating people as possible and soak up the diverse atmosphere while improving my knowledge of the Chinese language and culture." Compton can be reached at Nicholas-compton@uiowa.edu.

Urbandale: Justin Guan, a junior biomedical engineering major in the UI College of Engineering, will work as a volunteer for the Olympic News Service. He can be reached at Justin-guan@uiowa.edu.

Van Meter: David McNace, a senior journalism and sports studies major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work as a wrestling flash quote reporter for the Olympic News Service. McNace will interview athletes after their matches for quotes to be used in a database which all professional journalists will have access to. "I volunteered for the Iowa Olympic Ambassador Project because I saw it as a chance of a lifetime," McNace said. "It was a chance that wasn't going to come by very often. To get the chance to be a part of the Olympics as well as spend this much time in Beijing is a life-changing experience and one that I couldn't pass up. It involves the two things that I major in, sports and journalism, and want to have a career in so it seemed like the perfect fit. I look to gain an overall better knowledge of journalism first and foremost. Being surrounded by all of the different media outlets from around the world will undoubtedly show me what the world of journalism will hold for me." McNace can be reached at david-mcnace@uiowa.edu.

Waterloo: William Heathershaw, a senior business management and organizations major in the UI Henry B. Tippie College of Business, will work in the International Broadcast Center, ensuring the smooth operation of the Lobby and Rights Holding Broadcasters. "I found this as a perfect opportunity to commit myself to learning the Chinese language, and to play a role not only in the Summer Olympics, but in the most anticipated perhaps ever. Also, I always enjoy representing my family, alma maters, hometown and home state, especially in this case where we are considered ambassadors by each Chinese person we meet," Heathershaw said. Heathershaw can be reached at William-heathershaw@uiowa.edu.

ILLINOIS

Arlington Heights: Tom Bates, a senior journalism and mass communication and health and sports studies major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work as a flash quote reporter for men's and women's basketball. Bates will attend practices and interview the athletes afterwards. He will also work in the International Broadcast Center as a lobby assistant answering questions and patrolling the ground floor. "This experience will look great on a resume, I'm sure any future employer would love to know what kind of work I did at the Olympic Games," Bates said. "Also, I'm looking to interact with various journalists or media outlets, make connections, and hopefully re-connect with them in the future, possibly for a job opportunity." Bates can be reached at Thomas-bates@uiowa.edu.

Chicago: Diane Hendrickson, a senior journalism and mass communication and health and sports studies major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work as a flash quote reporter for the Olympic News Service. Hendrickson will interview athletes after their events for quotes to be used in a database which all professional journalists will have access to. "I volunteered for this because I might want to be a sports reporter, and working at the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Hendrickson said. "I want to learn about Chinese culture and experience the Olympics both as a fan and a volunteer." Hendrickson can be reached at diane-hendrickson@uiowa.edu.

Highland Park: Daniel Libman, a May 2008 journalism graduate in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work in the International Broadcast Center as a Broadcast Coordination Assistant. Libman can be reached at dmlibman@gmail.com. He blogs about his experiences at www.fear-monger.blogspot.com.

La Grange: Nicholas Rotunno, an undergraduate student at the UI, will work as a volunteer for the Olympic News Service. He can be reached at nick-rotunno@uiowa.edu.

Lake Bluff: Shanthi Nandam, a senior international studies major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work as an assistant at the Main Help Desk of the International Broadcast Center. Nandam will also work as a flash quote reporter covering basketball. "The Beijing 2008 Olympics promised to be one of significance in the history of the world. The promise of political controversy, addressing of environmental concerns, human rights concerns and more has put China under a microscope from the moment it received the bid for the games," Nandam said. "For an international studies major, this experience has provided a well rounded education on all of these. I believed that to be present at the games and to watch history in the making would be an invaluable, indescribable experience. So far, it has proven to be."

Yorkville: Marcus Schulz, an undergraduate student at the UI, will work as a volunteer for the Olympic News Service. He can be reached at marcus-schulz@uiowa.edu.

MINNESOTA

Bloomington: Erica Patterson, a senior journalism major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work as a lobby assistant in the International Broadcast Center, providing resources and information to broadcasting personnel from all over the world. Patterson will also work as a basketball flash quote reporter for the Olympic News Service. She will interview athletes after their games for quotes to be used in a database which all professional journalists will have access to. "When I found out about the Iowa Olympic Ambassadors Project, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to experience China, learn the language, and put my fresh journalism expertise to work at the world's most prestigious sporting event," Patterson said. "I hope I'll come home with the skills to handle the toughest challenges my future jobs throw at me. Being in the heat of the Olympic action will show me what it takes to handle real-world news reporting and production. Working among Chinese volunteers who operate with a collective mentality has already sharpened the management and teamwork skills I will need for future work in TV production. Finally, I'm looking forward to seeing how the Olympics affect China's future." Patterson can be reached at Erica-patterson@uiowa.edu

Excelsior: Elizabeth Tuttle, a senior journalism and international studies major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work as a tennis flash quote reporter for the Olympic News Service. Tuttle will interview athletes after their matches for quotes to be used in a database which all professional journalists will have access to. "I volunteered to get the journalism practice and experience. I wanted to meet people from all over the world and to be a part of a major international event," Tuttle said. Tuttle can be reached at Elizabeth-tuttle@uiowa.edu.

Glenville: Nathan Cooper, senior journalism major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work as a wrestling flash quote reporter for the Olympic News Service. Cooper will interview athletes after their matches for quotes to be used in a database which all professional journalists will have access to. Cooper can be reached at Nathan-cooper@uiowa.edu. He writes about his experiences in China for the Albert Lea (Minnesota) Tribune at www.albertleatribune.com.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Concord: Matt De La Peña, a senior journalism major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will work in the Main Press Center. "I volunteered because I thought it would be a great opportunity experience a new culture, as well as to work at the Olympics," De La Peña said. "I really hope to gain a better understanding of journalism in a professional setting, as well as to gain a better perspective on Chinese society." De La Peña can be reached at matthew-delapena@uiowa.edu.

TEXAS

Houston: Elinathan Ohiomoba, a graduate student in creative writing in the UI Graduate College, will work as a volunteer for the Olympic News Service. Ohiomoba can be reached at elinathan-ohiomoba@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Lois Gray, 319-384-0077, lois-gray@uiowa.edu; Kelli Andresen, 319-335-2026, kelli-andresen@uiowa.edu