There’s nothing quite like an internship to take you out of your comfort zone and send you around the learning track at very high speeds. Just ask Cameron McCarty, a senior in Communication. He’s spending his summer as an intern with NASCAR Productions.
McCarty signed on with NASCAR as a broadcast engineering intern. “I was fresh out of television and multimedia production courses, so I thought I knew a good bit about each facet of media production, including the highly technical areas of broadcasting and production,” McCarty recalls. “But NASCAR’s Engineering Department is a team of knowledgeable and innovative geniuses. I was intimidated, nervous, and unsure — until my first day. I was welcomed with open arms. The whole team was invested in my learning experience just as much as I was.”
The team provides engineering design, integration and support for the entire NASCAR Productions building in Charlotte; supports a host of “at track” elements for all the NASCAR races; and supports three live control rooms, three studios, two radio studios, and 14 post-production edit rooms every day.
McCarty, now in his second summer internship with NASCAR, says he has been thoroughly trained in fiber and satellite transmissions for each race. He has experienced the hectic setup of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Day. And he has become heavily involved in the maintenance schedule of a world-class production facility.
“Every day is a little different,” he says. “I could be in a conduit pulling hundreds of cables for integration or sending highlight feeds to ESPN. This summer, they gave me a little more responsibility. It’s my job to do the daily check-in and maintenance for the NASCAR SiriusXM radio show “Tradin’ Paint” with Chocolate Myers and Jim Noble. And it’s on me to set up and engineer two NASCAR.com shows.”
McCarty’s internship was sponsored through the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program (NDIP) that the company implemented to encourage diverse groups to gain interest in the motorsports industry.
What has he learned? Aside from being exposed to a high-paced, high-visibility work environment, McCarty lists lessons in broadcasting, production, business and networking. “I’d say the biggest take-away is the skill of being assertive and making connections,” he says. “Networking is essential and promoting yourself in a confident yet humble way is key. Mastering that skill comes from experiences such as internships, co-ops, and different work environments.”
McCarty strongly encourages fellow students to find internships that challenge and stretch them. “The exposure to other professionals, exposure to different types of work experiences, and the learning experience of an internship is one of the most valuable things I have done in my college career,” he says.