USC student Tera Novy at the 2015 Track & Field National Championships, where she placed fourth place.
Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

Student Spotlight: Tera Novy

During her four years at USC, Tera Novy spent several hours just about every day going through the grueling training required of an elite track and field athlete. In her senior year, she broke the USC record for discus, twice.

Off the field, her academic journey led her to a Communication major and a Media, Economics & Entrepreneurship (M{2e}) minor, where she developed an interest in how sports and media industries were evolving. Johnna Hughes sat down with her to chat about what she took away from that experience. 

Tell us about how you got to USC.

I was recruited to throw discus on the track team and that’s what led me to USC. When I first came in my major was human performance. But then I took a journalism class with Professor Jeff Fellenzer about sports and business. I liked it. I wanted to minor in sports media but I decided to change to communications and it’s been really exciting. I’ve been able to learn a lot about life and culture. Then I picked up the Media, Economics and Entrepreneurship minor in my junior year. It was new and it sounded interesting and I’d already been studying a lot of media with my communications major.

What attracted you to the M{2e} program? Was there a specific part of it that represented what you wanted to do after school?

I was looking for a minor and this one happened to be through Annenberg but also Marshall. So I thought this was perfect and I liked the fact that it was different from what I was studying in communications. There was the entrepreneurship part of it, that aspect I really liked. I was really interested in the business side of it, too, so that’s what grabbed my attention the most.

What have you done since you picked up the M{2e} minor?

I haven’t had any internships only because all my time is dedicated to competing in track and field. However, taking the courses has definitely shaped the work I want to do.

Tell us about that.

I would love to work in the media industry, whether it’s in sports or entertainment. I feel like the minor has helped me understand how the industry operates. But really what I took away from it was the entrepreneurship classes. It totally opened my mind, I’d love to be an entrepreneur some day and I would’ve never realized that if I didn’t have the minor.

Were there any classes that stuck out to you in terms of entrepreneurship that you felt like you gained a lot from?

The two classes I took were introduction to entrepreneurship and the other was the feasibility class. They really made me think like a businessperson. I learned how the startup industry works and the process and what you need to accomplish, and that was exciting. I loved the guest speakers the most. We had a lot of entrepreneurs come to both classes and talk about their experiences and their failures and how they succeeded and that was so exciting.

So you’re involved in track and field. Was it hard to balance that with school?

At first it was an adjustment, because the sport is more difficult when you’re in college and so are the classes. But you just have to be committed to both. You find a balance, you make it work. I’m a really organized person. They’re both really important areas of my life.         

Looking back at the past 4 years, and in the M{2e} program, was there anything that specifically stuck out to you?

Definitely the interaction that I got in the minor, in terms of the classes and the professors. It was small and easy to actually talk to people, and ask questions, and there were so many events that the minor puts on that allow you to go and talk to people who are in sports or media, or any other industry you're interested in. Also, we got to hear from YouTube executive Lance Podell, who runs the YouTube Spaces around the world. We had a specific get together for M{2e} students, like a really intimate meeting with him where we got to ask so many questions. I love that it’s more than sitting in a classroom and just doing work.