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Emily Flint

The Fun is in the Details

Student plans super-size events during USO internship

Organizing a picnic for 1,000 people may sound overwhelming to some, but for Emily Flint, a senior communication studies major from Chesapeake, Va., it was just another day as an intern with the USO.

Flint spent last summer assisting the director of special events at the United Services Organizations Inc. (USO) Regional Office in Virginia Beach. The USO is a private, nonprofit organization that provides morale-boosting programs and services to U.S. troops and their families. There are more than 160 USO locations worldwide. For her internship, Flint was instrumental in the organization of three major events for the USO. Her work was so impressive that she was offered a full-time job by the USO following her graduation this coming May.

"I am excited that my required internship experience has landed me a ‘real-world' job," said Flint. "My communication studies classes prepared me to work within an organization like the USO. I believe it is important to pursue an internship in a field that might interest you as a career. An internship is a great opportunity to meet new people and gain real world experience."

Flint's first major event was a Fourth of July picnic in Boston, Mass. More than 1,000 service members and their families attended the event, which was held on the U.S. Coast Guard Base. Prior to the picnic, one of Flint's major responsibilities was to visit local businesses and ask for donations of goods such as utensils, paper products and drinks. She also assisted with coordinating the rental and setup of tents, tables and chairs.

"I learned that when the military is involved, people are very willing to help," said Flint. "I also learned the importance of marketing the USO brand and making it visible in multiple locations."

In mid-July, Virginia Beach's USO office was asked to assist with gaining sponsors and coordinating publicity for the Allen Stone Braveheart Memorial Race, a run-swim-run event held on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. The race honors Allen Stone, a Navy SEAL from Norfolk who was killed in a training accident in 1999. More than 800 runners competed in the event, which is held annually.

To publicize the race, Flint worked with a local radio station to record a commercial featuring Rudy Boesch, a former Navy SEAL and Virginia Beach celebrity who, at age 72, appeared on the television show Survivor: Borneo. Observing the recording session was "a great learning experience," said Flint.

Flint's final major project involved assembling the Military Expo Village at the Kroger 200 NASCAR Race at the Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Ind. The village included displays, exhibits, and demonstrations from all branches of the military. Flint's responsibilities included securing lodging, transportation and food services for those involved with the expo.

"Working with the USO gave me a new appreciation for the military on a whole new level," said Flint, whose father served in Navy. "While the USO is doing these things for the military to show appreciation, military members are telling us how much they appreciate all that we do. It's a very rewarding experience."

Learn more about Longwood’s Communication Studies Program