There are summer jobs and then there are summer adventures. Allura Leggard, a 2017 Pierson School graduate and a junior at Ithaca College, where she is majoring in journalism, will embark on the latter this summer when she heads to Japan to help cover the Summer Olympics as an intern with NBC.
After going through a rigorous, three-round selection process that lasted most of the year, Ms. Leggard learned that she had been selected for the program when her phone rang in class early in December.
“At first, I wasn’t going to answer it because I’ve been getting so much spam,” she said, “but I noticed the area code was New York.”
When the caller informed Ms. Leggard she was one of three Ithaca students to make the final cut, “I was shaking. I could not believe what I heard,” she said. “It made my day. It made my whole year.”
Ms. Leggard will fly to Tokyo July 17 for a week of training before the games, which run from July 24 to August 9. She will serve as a runner for operations. “That means I’ll get to help out with all that is going on behind the scenes with the broadcast,” she said.
A track star at Pierson who runs sprints for the Ithaca College team, Ms. Leggard said she is especially excited because the internship will afford her the opportunity to see one of the sports venues up close.
“I’d love to be with track and field, but in the end any sport I’m assigned to I’ll be happy with,” she said. “As an athlete myself, I can understand the training everyone puts into perfecting their craft, improving their athletic abilities.”
Ms. Leggard said she chose Ithaca because it has both a top-notch journalism program and an excellent reputation for placing students in internships. She is concentrating her studies in broadcast journalism and serves as the director of development for ICTV, the college’s television station. Her duties include leading the team that reviews prospective programs and trouble-shoots other student programming that is falling short of the mark.
Although she had told her friends she would be attending the 2020 Olympics, “I didn’t know how,” she confessed — that is until she went to a networking event early last year where she met a woman who worked for NBC. A few weeks later, after learning the network was seeking interns for the games, she reached out to her contact for guidance.
“In March, when the internship opened, I applied immediately,” she said. She worked with professors to make sure her resume and cover letter looked good. In July, she was notified that she had advanced to the second round, which consisted of an on-camera interview via computer. Candidates were given seven questions and a minute to answer each one. Fortunately, Ms. Leggard said, applicants were allowed to practice before submitting their answers. “I practiced and practiced and practiced until I got the questions answered the way I wanted,” she said.
The day after Thanksgiving, Ms. Leggard learned she had advanced to the third and final round. She was given only two days to call NBC for her final interview.
“The woman I was being interviewed by asked me to use three words to describe myself, and I said ‘disciplined, ambitious, and fun.’ She was surprised by that and told me nobody else had described themselves as ‘fun’.”
When she gets to Tokyo, Ms. Leggard said there is one athlete she hopes to meet: American sprinter Allyson Felix, who has won more World Championship medals than any other athlete. Ms. Leggard said she came close to meeting the star when she competed at the New York Armory as a senior in high school. “She was shaking everyone’s hand, but right before she got to me, she had to go,” she recalled.
Before setting off for the Olympics, Ms. Leggard has another internship to complete. From February 28 to March 4, she will be in Memphis with four other Ithaca students interviewing residents of the city leading up to Super Tuesday, reporting on the presidential primary for National Public Radio.