NBC hires Quinnipiac students

Emily Sherman

Benjamin Franklin once said “to succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.”

This summer, seniors Eric Jackson and Maria Athanasopoulos will be living those words.

After they graduate in May, Jackson and Athanasopoulos will travel to Athens, Greece for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help NBC produce the 2004 Summer Olympic Games.

The two mass communication majors will spend almost two months from early July to early September working with NBC, a national broadcasting company.

Eric Jackson of South Plainfield, NJ, said the only thing he needs to worry about now is learning Greek.

Unlike Athanasopoulos, who already has the advantage of being fluent in Greek, Jackson feels “Greek is simply Greek” to him.

To prepare for his departure, Jackson already bought a “How to Speak Greek” CD which he listens to every night to learn the basics of this foreign language.

Maria Athanasopoulos of Palisades Park, NJ, was in position to get the production assistant job because of her internship last summer with ABC’s “20/20.”

“The competition for these positions was tough,” Athanasopoulos said. “When I first called NBC, they told me that they didn’t have enough space to send all of their own people. A couple of producers at ABC called to get me an interview at NBC.”

Jackson learned about the opportunity through his internship this past summer with NBC’s Today Show.

At one of his last days at the Today Show, Jackson had a meeting with his supervisor who recommended he try to work for the show at the Olympics.

“I told myself that there was no way I could pass something like this up if I was offered the job. So, I sent in my resume, got hired, and that was it,” Jackson said.

While in Greece, Athanasopoulos and Jackson will be production assistants who will be part of the team responsible for the continuous coverage from Aug. 13 – 29.

Athanasopoulos will be working for NBC’s Olympics, while Jackson will be specializing on the Today Show.

“I think it’s just a priceless, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” Athanasopoulos said.

“It will be a great learning experience. It’s not only what I will be learning, but what I will be seeing over there.”

Jackson expects to gain an extremely different experience then the one he gained working for the Today Show. He feels this experience will truly open his eyes to the value of hard work.

Jackson’s internship showed him the difficulty of producing the show in New York. “This experience is going to open my eyes up to the hard work that it takes to put the show on the air when it is halfway across the globe from Studio 1A in New York,” Jackson said.

The supervisors at NBC have told the two to expect a lot of hard work and long hours, but when you consider who you’re working with and where you are, Jackson says he can handle that.

“No problem.”

The next step is tuning into NBC in August to watch Quinnipiac alumni Eric Jackson and Maria Athanasopoulos live this “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.