Western Carolina University students Roger Cote and Monica Papworth will be heading to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, early in 2014, but they won’t be traveling to the other side of the globe to skate, ski or curl. They will be part of the NBC network’s team that will help broadcast the games back to the states.
Cote, a native of Newland and 2003 graduate of Avery County High School, will be graduating from WCU in December with a dual concentration in broadcasting and journalism. He has signed on with NBC to work a temporary job in the video controls area as an “ingest operator assistant” at the network’s facilities in the International Broadcast Center in Sochi.
As he carries out his duties of verifying and taking in video feeds from up to 15 competition venues at a time, Cote will be working alongside WCU alumnus Jarrett Frazier, a Sylva native who is now an ingest coordinator for NBC based out of Connecticut. Frazier was an ingest operator assistant for NBC at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and after fulfilling those temporary duties he secured a permanent position with the network.
Cote said he was tipped off about the opportunity to work at the Olympics by Frazier and former WCU communication faculty member Gabe Nucci, who also is a regular on the NBC Olympics broadcasts, provided a positive reference for him. “They both told me that they wouldn’t have vouched for me if they didn’t think I could do the job,” Cote said. “I would love the opportunity to have this become a permanent position and will be working very hard to show them why I would be a great asset to their company.”
Cote said he is literally counting down the days until WCU’s commencement on Saturday, Dec. 14. “The nerves already have started because this is one huge career path that I could be headed down, and there’s no bigger stage to show off what I’m made of than the Olympics,” he said. “It’s a job that I’ve dreamed of doing, and I can’t wait to be there.”
Papworth, a WCU senior with a broadcasting concentration, expects to graduate in May. She will be working her required professional internship at the Sochi games and will be serving as a “runner,” taking care of clerical and administrative tasks, running errands and providing support to the production staff while working out of areas such as accommodation sites, competition venues and the International Broadcast Center.
A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Papworth was raised in Waxhaw and graduated from Parkwood High School in Monroe in 2010. She applied to NBC for the internship and, after multiple interviews with network officials, learned that she would be interning at the Sochi games.
“If this led to a permanent job, that would be awesome; however, my dream in life is to go to the Olympics working for NBC, so this literally is a dream come true,” Papworth said.
“I’m totally excited to fly over to Russia and have this once-in-a-lifetime experience and learn some Russian. I always have loved the Olympics and can remember sneaking downstairs to watch the Olympics in the middle of the night after my parents told me to go to sleep. I know this experience will be fast-paced and amazing,” she said.
NBC’s coverage of the Sochi games begins Thursday, Feb. 6.
For information about WCU’s broadcasting concentration, contact Don Connelly, head of the Department of Communication and director of the concentration, at 828-227-3851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.