This year, the 2018 Olympic Winter Games will feature camel spins, corkscrews and Cardinals. 

Five students from Ball State’s journalism department are heading to Pyeongchang, South Korea, as a part of BSU at the Games, a program that provides daily student-run Olympic coverage to news organizations such as The Chicago Tribune, WTHR and The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Through BSU at the Games, Ball State students have traveled to the London, Sochi and Rio Olympics. Now, these journalists are traveling to Pyeongchang with full media credentials, something faculty adviser Ryan Sparrow said hasn’t happened before. 

“Team USA called and asked if we wanted full media credentials and my jaw just dropped,” Sparrow said. “I was like, ‘Holy crap. This is different now.’ In a lot of ways this is my first time really taking students to cover the actual Olympics.” 

Sparrow said this opportunity is a great way to not only allow students to perform as full-time journalists, but also a way to “expose them to the world.”

Here is a quick look at the five students who will touch down in South Korea: 

Kara Biernat


Biernat is a senior news journalism major from Crown Point, Indiana. Biernat began sports reporting in high school and has continued building her résumé by reporting for NewsLink Indiana and being sports editor at The Daily News. 

“I come from a big sports family, and I always knew I wanted to be a sports reporter,” Biernat said. “Turning in content weekly on deadlines and always coming up with story ideas and editor duties has definitely prepared me, so I feel pretty ready.” 

Biernat said she is excited to report on sports such as snowboarding, women’s skiing, curling, bobsled and luge, but she’s also excited to tackle cultural stories as well. 

“I’m most excited that there are no boundaries,” Biernat said. “I can just go and think of any story idea and just do it exactly how I want to. I think there’s going to be so many cool stories and just different ways to tell each story.” 

After graduation, Biernat hopes to either write sports for a newspaper or go into sports broadcasting. Eventually, she would like to become a sideline reporter for baseball, basketball or football. 

Grace Hollars


Hollars is a junior photojournalism major from Muncie. Hollars began her journalism career in high school and continues to shoot photos for The Daily News. 

“I’m just really excited to get to work. I really just want to work, I want to take good photos,” Hollars said. “Canon sent us, like, the best equipment they have and we have some really good stories. I just really can’t wait to see my photos at the end of this.”

This is Hollars’ second Olympic experience, as she traveled with BSU at the Games to Rio. This time around she will be covering snowboarding, speed skating, hockey and figure skating. 

“I was really, really honored,” Hollars said. “Rio was a goal that I had for three-and-a-half years, but South Korea? That was just out of nowhere and I just feel really relieved. I feel like the hard work I put in has finally kind of paid off.”

After graduation, Hollars plans to “go where the wind takes” her, but eventually she hopes to work for Getty Images. 

Samantha Johnson


Johnson is a senior news journalism major from Martinsville, Indiana. She began broadcast journalism as a junior in high school. 

“Ever since day one in that class I have been in love with journalism and telecommunications,” Johnson said. “This is my sixth year of studying it and I’ve loved it ever since. I have never changed my mind.” 

Johnson said her passion is sports journalism and she practices it as a reporter for NewsLink Indiana and a videographer for the football team. She said the thing she is most excited for is the chance to represent Ball State. 

“Ball State is only one of two universities that gets to send credentialed students,” Johnson said. “To know that I’m one of the handful of students that gets this amazing opportunity to not only make Ball State CCIM proud, but also just Indiana in general. So, I think just having this opportunity to represent everybody else in the TCOM department that’s as successful as we are will definitely be cool.”  

Johnson will be covering Nick Goepper, the only Hoosier to make it to the Winter Olympics. Johnson hopes to attend Ball State graduate school for the next two years and then be a sports reporter “wherever the job takes” her.

Josh Shelton


Shelton is a junior news journalism major from Alexandria, Virginia. Shelton began writing after receiving the journalism merit badge from the Boy Scouts. He came to Ball State after his dad, an alumnus of the university, brought him on a tour. 

“I think just being at the games themselves will just be an incredible experience,” Shelton said. “I’ll get to interact with world-class athletes on a daily basis and also just getting to not only be considered a student-journalist, but a full-time journalist while I’m there is what I’m looking forward to most.” 

Shelton, a sports reporter for NewsLink Indiana, will be creating video content for WTHR and The Chicago Tribune. He plans to cover athlete press conferences and cultural aspects of South Korea. 

“I’ll just get to build an incredible profile that very few people will have coming out of college,” he said. “Very few people in their professional career will have this kind of opportunity, so to have it in college is just incredible.“

After graduation, Shelton wants to do sports play-by-play coverage. Eventually, he would like to end up reporting for his “all-time favorite team across all sports,” the Washington Nationals. 

Elizabeth Wyman


Wyman is a senior news journalism student from Indianapolis. She began sports reporting for The Daily News as a freshman. 

“I’ve always wanted to be a sports reporter, ever since I was 8 years old,” Wyman said. “I’ve always liked sports and I’ve always liked writing, so it just made sense. It’s not really work for me.”

This will be Wyman’s second Olympic endeavor with BSU at the Games after traveling to Rio in 2016. This time around, she will be covering men’s ice hockey.

“I’m just excited to actually go to the events and being able to report on the games and getting to work with some of the most elite athletes in the world,” Wyman said. “I’m just really excited for the opportunity and I’m going to make the most of it.”

After graduation, Wyman hopes to be a sports reporter for a newspaper and eventually work her way toward becoming a NBA beat reporter. 

Contact Brynn Mechem with comments at bamechem@bsu.edu or on Twitter at @BrynnMechem.