Written by Jessica Benham
Alumnus Sean Kern traveled to Beijing China for the 2008 summer olympics as part of
an internship with the United States Olympic Committee.
What began as a graduate program requirement has turned into the experience of a lifetime
for one recent Texas Tech University graduate from Wichita Falls. An internship with
the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) landed Sean Kern in Beijing for the 2008
“The atmosphere surrounding the games is incredible,” said Kern, who completed his
master’s degree in sport management in May. “I’ve never been involved in something
of this magnitude. The work experience in this environment is something I don’t think
I could get anywhere else. I mean, this is one of the largest sporting events in the
Throughout his internship, which began in January in Colorado Springs, Colo., he dropped
hints that he would like to go to Beijing for the games, but didn’t think a spot would
become available. About three days after graduation, his hopes became a reality.
Getting to Work
Kern arrived in Beijing on July 14 and will remain until the games are over.
“I still can’t believe I’m out here,” said Kern. “Working at the Olympics is a great
honor for me. I never thought that I would be doing something like this. I feel really
blessed because I get to experience a few events first hand as well as the behind-the-scenes
Kern works at the U.S.A. House, which offers hospitality to the USOC board of directors,
donors, VIPs, sponsors and athletes. Initially, he helped set up the house which is
staged in a building that once housed a nightclub and a restaurant. Now he works with
a team of three others organizing transportation to different venues and events.
“This doesn’t seem like a very difficult job, but we can’t communicate easily to any
of our drivers because we don’t speak Mandarin and the people we are responsible for
are constantly moving from place to place for different events,” said Kern. “Plus,
our staff has transportation needs as well. It’s not such a bad job though, I’ve loved
being in the mix since day one.”
Kern said he gets along well with the team of people he works with and they are able
to make their work enjoyable.
“The people that I’ve been working with are awesome. It really is like a second family,”
he said. “We all know what our job is, and we get it done, but we have a lot of fun
in the process.”
Taking in the Sights
Since arriving in China, Kern has been to Tiananmen Square, and hopes to visit the
Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven after the games are finished. But his favorite
memory so far was getting to see the Great Wall.
“The pictures that I’ve seen don’t do it justice,” he said.
John Miller, associate professor of sport management, was Kern’s graduate advisor
and professor. He said Kern was one of only a few USOC interns asked to go to Beijing.
“This provides global exposure not only for the sport management graduate program,
but also for the university overall as a place that students can learn and grow,”
Miller said. “When you consider that Sean was among a select group to be asked to
do this, I believe it puts Texas Tech in a very positive light nationally and internationally.”
Health, Exercise and Sport Sciences
The Department of Health, Exercise and Sport Sciences is located in the College of Arts and Sciences.
The Department offers Bachelor and Master of Science degrees as well as three collaborative
doctoral programs in three major divisions:
- Community Health
- School Health
- Clinical Exercise Physiology
- Exercise Physiology
- Motor Behavior
- Sport Psychology
- Pedagogy/Teacher Education
- Sport Management