Best Seat in the House

Keely Cashen (left) as an intern during the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Keely Cashen (left) as an intern during the 2012 Summer Olympics.

By Shelby Schultheis ’14

Student Keely Cashen’s internship with NBC allowed her to experience the 2012 Summer Olympics up close and personal.

Keely Cashen, a marketing major and mass communication minor, got to see the city of London during the 2012 Summer Olympics not as a tourist, but as an intern with NBC. Cashen’s aunt, Blaise Cashen, works for NBC in event planning and recommended her for the internship. The internship sent Cashen an introductory e-mail telling her that she had been accepted for the program. After filling out the initial paperwork, she let the internship slip to the back of her mind so she could focus on school. A few weeks before she was supposed to leave for London, a large packet arrived.

“We got a really big packet in the mail with a bunch of information that we had to study and learn about everything from the culture of London, the history of London, the history of the Olympics, all the different sports that were going on and the general rules of them. There were maps to learn of London and of all the different venues,” Cashen says. “Once you got that packet it really got exciting.”

Being in the heart of London during the Olympics was exciting, but Cashen remained professional. She was responsible for escorting guests, leisure tours, and parties, working the ticketing, information, and tour desks, and assisting the senior office staff with various activities.

“Within London and the Olympics, we are the face of NBC,” Cashen says. “We’re the ones wearing the NBC logo out walking around London.”

She admits that maintaining a professional demeanor was challenging at times, especially while she was surrounded by celebrities and other important people. However, when she wasn’t escorting the guests from one venue to another and had time to herself, she notes that they were allowed to ask for pictures as long as they did so in a professional manner.

Cashen got to see many of the Olympic events when she and fellow interns escorted guests to them. She was present for the opening ceremony and recalls how touching it was for the British citizens who were present.

“The opening ceremonies were about the history of England, so a lot of people wouldn’t understand it necessarily,” Cashen says, “but being with the people from England and seeing how much it touched them, they were crying, and seeing the queen, and experiencing that with them was really neat.”

Cashen was also present for women’s and men’s beach volleyball, women’s and men’s gymnastics, and the triathlon. She went to the basketball event and got to see the United States win the gold medal game. During swimming, she got to see Michael Phelps, which she enjoyed because he is also from Baltimore, near Cashen’s hometown.

Cashen is from the suburb of Towson, Md., where she grew up in the same neighborhood as her dad. After she graduated high school, she wanted to break out of her small town and go somewhere new. This prompted her to apply to Loyola University New Orleans, which gave her a larger scholarship than any other college she applied to, which her parents were pleased about.

“They really liked that, so it motivated them to motivate me to come here,” Cashen says. “And they love the campus and school and they’re so happy for me.”

Cashen enjoys meeting students from Loyola who hail from all over the globe. She also loves the endless restaurants and places to go in New Orleans with her friends.

“I just wanted to challenge myself to go somewhere new,” Cashen says. “I wanted something to do besides the school itself. Loyola’s amazing. I’ve had an awesome great experience here, but there’s so much else going on that the city has to offer and opportunities that the school has to offer.”

Cashen wants to continue exploring the world around her. She’s been to France on two separate occasions. When she was younger, she vacationed with a friend in the south of France and has been skiing in the French Alps. She says that after graduating she would like to stay in New Orleans for another year. She would also like to visit Japan since she took Japanese for three years in high school and briefly at Loyola.

She worked as an intern for Gambit, a local newspaper, after her time with NBC and used many of the skills from her previous internship there. She loved the responsibility she was given. Cashen says that working with NBC provided her with hospitality and customer services skills and encouraged her to go above and beyond the call of duty every time.

“I learned a lot of great skills,” Cashen says, “Like the communication skills, which are good everyday skills to have, not just stuff you apply to the workforce.”

Recently, Cashen accepted an internship with Southwest Airlines in Dallas as an OCC communication intern. The internship required her to take a semester off of school and relocate to Dallas, Texas. Cashen says that Southwest Airlines was just named the seventh most admired company in the world by Forbes magazine.

“It’s just so neat to know that I’m interning for them,” Cashen says. “I’ve always been a loyal customer and admired their company culture and dedication to their customers, so I was really excited to be able to transform my loyalty as a customer to being an actual employee here.”

She also wants to apply to the Page Program, a year-long program with NBC which allows recent college graduates to gain experience in different departments. The pages are allowed to choose which departments they would like to try out, such as working on a six-week project in production, spending a couple of weeks on events, working in marketing, or working on a project in NBC Sports.

“It’s an amazing opportunity and it’s highly competitive,” Cashen says. “If I was accepted into the program, it could open a lot of doors for me and it’s an amazing opportunity to have on your résumé, so my next goal is to apply for that.”

Shelby Schultheis ’14 (English) is the publications intern for the Office of Marketing and Communications during the spring 2013 semester.

View a photo gallery of Keely Cashen's experience at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

View the complete spring 2013 issue of LOYNO.

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