NEW YORK - Gloversville resident and Ithaca College student Mackenzie Marotta has one of the closest seats to the Olympic games, which begin today.
She won't be in London, but at NBC headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City, supporting the network's coverage of the Olympics.
The 19-year-old is one of 35 Ithaca interns selected for an unpaid internship that gives on-the-job training at a premiere broadcast event.
Marotta's 2012 summer Olympic experience began in spring 2011. That's when the radio and television major applied to be an intern for NBC.
Her internship suits her interests and career plans. She's been on screen at ICTV - the Ithaca College TV station - as part of her educational training. Yet, it's the behind-the-scenes producer's role that she prefers. She wants to coordinate and organize what needs to happen in pre-production, she says.
"There's something about watching something and knowing that you created that," said Marotta.
"I am loving every minute of the internship. I am meeting great people," she said.
It's a lifestyle change, too, she said. Besides learning television production skills, she's learning life lessons. It's the first time she's lived in New York City and "by myself and on my own."
She rides the subway or walks on Manhattan's long city blocks.
Marotta began saving money to meet her expenses, helping at the Fulton Street Deli, working alongside her aunt and store owner, Donna Simonson. Marotta's grandfather, Arnie Simonson, is the deli's manager.
Marotta is on track to complete her bachelor's degree in three years. She will be 20 when she graduates. Marotta made the dean's list at Ithaca last semester.
The internship requires a seven-day workweek. She's been in New York since July 21, and her last day on the internship will be Aug. 12, the day the Olympics close.
She wants to live in New York City after graduation, she says.
When her internship is completed, Marotta said she is looking forward to spending time with her mother, Brenda Marotta, and her brother Michael, 17, who will be a senior at Gloversville High School in September.
Opening ceremonies will be broadcast on NBC and its affiliates tonight.
Marotta said she will keep an eye on American swimmer Michael Phelps' meets to see if he adds to the record eight gold medals he won at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"If he can pull through, I think that would be amazing," Marotta said.
Marotta is grateful for the internship, she said.
"I am so blessed to have it," she added, contrasting the size of Gloversville to New York City.
"The college works with NBC to facilitate the program, and we work with each student to make sure they're getting what they need done to earn proper credits," said Dave Maley, associate director of media relations for Ithaca College.
This Olympic season marks the fourth time Ithaca students will intern for NBC.
Students must ensure they remain on schedule to earn credits and finish courses necessary to complete their degrees on time. It's a great experience for the students and college, Maley said.
"NBC sets the timetable. We've been fortunate to be in the pipeline," he said.