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Covington student completes internship

Olivia Martzell of Covington, a Northwestern State University student studying mass communications, was nominated for two awards for a multimedia package she produced during an internship in Italy last summer. Martzell wrote, shot, edited and produced a package that was nominated for best story in the multimedia category and best overall photography, which she won.

Martzell is a senior majoring in liberal arts in the Louisiana Scholars’ College with a concentration in fine and performing art focusing on journalism. She studied at Collegio Urbino in Urbino, Italy, a small town in the Le Marche region near Italy’s Adriatic coast. The IEIMedia internship was coordinated through James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She was one of 41 students from the U.S. and Canada selected for the program.

Martzell and other interns lived in student dorms and attended classes with Italian students for half-days Monday through Friday with the other half devoted to assignments.

“We were each assigned a story based on interests we gave to the program directors,” Martzell said. “I was given the story on a local dance school. The school was in Cagli, 30 minutes away from Urbino. The dance school was Movie Mento e Fantasia and the director was Benilde Marini. I was able to watch their two performances, “Sleeping Beauty,” a classical ballet/pointe piece and “The Mirror of the Vampire,” a contemporary performance.”

Martzell interviewed two dance students, ages 17 and nine with the help of translators, fellow students at the college in Urbino who were fluent in English and Italian. Her completed package, which was featured by the school, can be viewed at

“All of the work is my own, my story, my photos, my package,” she said. “I won the award for best overall photo which was funny because that was the first time I ever took a photography class.”

During her stay abroad, Martzell and fellow students were encouraged to travel and explore the region.

“We were given weekends off to travel to other cities. One weekend I went to Venice, another weekend I visited a winery called FratteRosa,” Martzell said. “I think international study is extremely important for students. It encourages students to get out of their comfort zone and test their skills and abilities. It is important to experience a different culture other than your home because I feel it helps you grow as a person, and getting to travel abroad helps you discover who you are and what you want in life. It was extremely therapeutic.”

Martzell hopes to become a broadcast journalist for a national news network.

“The most valuable information I learned was that if you are willing to work hard and go the extra mile, this will show in your work,” she said. “I feel I progressed so much with my journalistic abilities. I was challenged to work hard and to go out, despite being out of my element, and learn Italy’s culture and truly get the story.”