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Leading Innovation

Media students GoPro at Mountain Games

Written by Erica Lindsay (BSJ, 2004; BFA, 2008), WVU Reed College of Media Director of Marketing and Communications

It happened just like that. In March 2023, Maria Boyle and Ethan Moore were asked to stay after their Sports and Adventure Media Video Storytelling class. They were nervous. Were they behind on assignments? Had they failed a recent exam? Then Shott Teaching Assistant Professor Chuck Scatterday presented them with the opportunity of a lifetime – a chance to intern with GoPro for the 2023 GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado.

“I’ll never forget that conversation,” said Moore, who was then a sophomore. “When I heard the word ‘GoPro,’ he could have said anything, and I would have said ‘yes.’ I was sold.”

Since 2002, GoPro has been the go-to for innovative and versatile photo and video equipment and accessories. In 2010, Rick Loughery (BSJ, 1994) became the 13th employee to join the company. Today he serves as the vice president of global marketing and communications, overseeing GoPro’s brand marketing, lifestyle marketing and product marketing initiatives.

Loughery has donated GoPro equipment to the Reed College of Media and serves on the College’s visiting committee, a group of alumni and industry professionals who act in an advisory capacity. When Scatterday, a longtime ESPN veteran, joined the College’s faculty in 2020 to lead the Sports and Adventure Media program, the two connected and hatched a plan to get students to the country’s most celebrated festival of adventure sports, art and music.

“I am grateful for the experiences I have had working here at GoPro, like being able to attend events such as the Mountain Games, and I wanted to share that with my alma mater,” Loughery said. “I am so impressed with the Sports and Adventure program that WVU has created, and I knew the Mountain Games would be a perfect place for the students to come and work and share in this experience.”

“Prof. Scatt” is beloved by students for many reasons, but primary among those are his sincere interest in their career aspirations and his willingness to let them pursue projects and assignments that align with those passions. At the start of each semester, his rollcall includes more than just the students’ names. They’re asked to describe their interests and goals.

Scatterday, Boyce and Moore at GoPro Mountain Games

Chuck Scatterday, Shott Teaching Assistant Professor in the Sports and Adventure Media program, and students Maria Boyce and Ethan Moore break out the WVU flag after participating in GoPro Mountain Games Mud Run in Vail, Colorado (submitted photo).

“He makes a real effort to get to know every one of his students,” said Boyce, who expects to graduate in May 2024. “And he’s open to experimenting and trying new things and being creative. Even though his background is in sports, he stays up to date on the adventure side and gives us the experiences and skills to make it in that world.”

Boyce grew up in Morgantown and started taking gymnastics classes at age three. This became a big part of her childhood, and she started crafting videos of her routines to share on Instagram. In high school, she joined her brother’s Scouts BSA troop and fell in love with the outdoors and outdoor education.

“I was looking for opportunities that would merge those two things – videography and the outdoors,” Boyce said. “I remember learning about Sports and Adventure Media during a college tour at WVU. I texted my mom and said, ‘I have to do this major!’”

Moore grew up in Columbus, Ohio. In eighth grade, he shadowed a family friend who was a Fox Sports sideline reporter for the Columbus Blue Jackets, and at that moment he knew he wanted to do sports media. That idea shifted toward adventure sports media in high school when he started working at a local ski shop.

“I learned a lot in that job and met so many people from all over the world who centered their entire lives around skiing. I realized that the part I loved was that it was so global. No one’s talking about American football in the UK or China or Africa, but adventure sport athletes are all over the world.” ETHAN MOORE

WVU is one of the only places in the country where students can study adventure media, and that was the selling point for both Boyce and Moore. Scatterday has solidified that decision by customizing assignments and facilitating out-of-the-classroom learning experiences.

When it comes to life-changing experiences in the adventure media world, the GoPro Mountain Games are at the top of the list. Thousands of pro and amateur adventure athletes compete in 11 disciplines in more than 30 competitions, including kayaking, running, slackline, DockDogs, trail running, mountain and road cycling, climbing, photography and more. As the title sponsor, GoPro hosts more than 50 influencers from around the world, outfits them with the latest and greatest equipment and sets them loose to document and share photo and video content from these activities.


Boyce and Moore take a ride with motocross drivers through Vail, Colorado, during the GoPro Mountain Games (submitted photo).

On June 7, Boyce and Moore landed in Denver and caught the 11 a.m. shuttle to Vail with Katie Marylander, GoPro’s director of global social marketing and their boss for the duration of the games. Over the next three 18-hour workdays, they had three key jobs: keep batteries charged and equipment at-the-ready for the influencers, pull select clips from more than 15 hours of video footage and compile a two-minute highlight reel at the conclusion of the games.

“I was surprised to discover that Maria and Ethan were it – there were no other interns – just the two of them repping WVU at this huge event,” said Scatterday, who also attended the games. “And they killed it. They showed up each morning, did the work and had some fun, too.”

On Thursday morning, the interns joined the influencers for GoPro trainings on the best ways to use the equipment and how to take full advantage of the cameras’ many features. Boyce and Moore were each given a HERO11 Black Mini, the smaller version of GoPro’s newest camera, dubbed “the content creator’s dream,” and were encouraged to capture their own footage in addition to crafting highlight reels from the influencers’ videos.

From there, they were off to the races. On Friday, they shadowed world-renowned drone pilot Jay Christensen of JayByrd Films as he documented whitewater activities. On Saturday, they woke up early to go on a UTV ride with professional motocross drivers before participating in a mile-long mud run later that afternoon. Every moment in between was spent looking through hours and hours of video content to choose “selects” to be featured on different social platforms and accounts.

“Everything kind of blurred together because we were constantly moving,” Boyce said. “But wow. I’ve never done anything with drones before, and we got to wear the goggles to watch the drone footage real-time. It was crazy. And then on the UTV ride, the motocross drivers were going so fast. It was such an adrenaline rush.”

At the conclusion, Boyce and Moore compiled this highlight reel from GoPro footage captured from adventure influencers from around the world.

The Mountain Games culminated with a concert featuring indie-rock band Local Natives in the open-air Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, but this was far from the end for Boyce and Moore. Their final task was just getting started, as they received the last bits of video footage to be combined into a two-minute highlight reel. They spent the last 48 hours, which included much of their last night in Vail, the shuttle ride to Denver and wait time in the airport, crafting a video that would showcase content from each of the nearly 70 guests and GoPro staff members.

“Those were the highest expectations I’ve ever been put under,” Moore said. “But I enjoyed it. It was such a big crunch those final two days to put out something we were proud of and that met all of their expectations.”

In their words...

What was the most exciting part of being at the GoPro Mountain Games?

Ethan Moore

Ethan Moore: The most exciting part was working with the GoPro social media staff, which was only two or three people. They were so cool, and they’re doing my dream job. I learned a lot from watching them up close and seeing everything that goes on behind the scenes.

Maria Boyce

Maria Boyce: The most exciting part was just meeting all these incredible people. I would be talking to someone at dinner and they would reveal that they’re one of the best skiers in the world. We were working alongside people who are the best in the world at what they do. And the GoPro team was just amazing and treated us like equals.

How about the most challenging part?

EM: Being jet-lagged, and the crunch-time when we were working on that last video. We had some computer issues and technical difficulties that made that last task so tough. I lost my mind a few times … we kept restarting the computer and things would start working and then two minutes later, it’d break again.

MB: The technology problems were so frustrating. It wasn’t something we could fix – we just had to make it work.

What did you learn from the experience?

EM: The influencers would bring their GoPros with them everywhere and they would almost always have it running. Content is constantly coming in and constantly going out. I didn’t quite realize that there are no breaks. You’re just in it. Also, my video editing skills and Adobe Premier Pro skills definitely got better. I learned how to make things look more interesting than a steady timeline that has no movement. And, finally, one of the biggest takeaways was how to network with such a diverse group of people. I can’t put big enough emphasis on the importance of this global event and how we constantly had to consider how to please people in so many different markets – what do the people in Thailand or Brazil or Indonesia want? We were doing this in a hands-on, real-time way and I learned a lot from that.

MB: I have always heard that networking is super important, but seeing it happen in real time and the connections the GoPro crew has with people in the adventure industry – it makes such a huge difference. I was also amazed at the work ethic of the GoPro employees. They would end up working all night until they got what they needed and there’d be no breaks – it was such a fast-paced environment – but there were no complaints. They really love what they do and the company they work for, and that was so motivational.

What are your career goals?

EM: The guys we worked under – Zach Richardson and Mike Maholias [GoPro Social Marketing Managers] – I want to have their job. That’s my goal straight out of college, even if it’s not for GoPro, I want to do what they do. The connections they have are insane and they’re constantly getting free equipment and admission passes from companies who want to be featured on the GoPro social accounts.

MB: My dream job isn’t necessarily correlated, but after the GoPro games, I headed to the International Stunt School in Seattle and learned all about the stunt industry. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was 12 years old. But being at the GoPro games and meeting these professional athletes who have similar lifestyles to a stunt performer, where you spend most of your time training and traveling to jobs – it was really cool to see how passionate they are about what they do, to see how hard they work and how they find other connections, like with GoPro, to make extra money. The experience helped me brainstorm other career ideas … what if I wore a GoPro for all the stunts I do and share this content like the influencers? Learning about the hard work and all these different types of people and how the events are executed are lessons that can be applied to any field. Also, the training in the Reed College about media and learning how a camera works and what makes for a good shot are really important to being able to do things that look good on camera, so I took that and ran.

More about Rick Loughery

Rick Loughery earned his bachelor’s degree from WVU in 1994 and moved to New York City to pursue an advertising career. It didn’t take long for him to realize that the Big Apple wasn’t the right fit, so he packed up and drove across the country to San Francisco, California. He soon landed a job with a PR agency that specialized in tech, which led to a 14-year career in Silicon Valley working with a variety of technology companies. In that time, he co-founded Three-Forty Communications, where he worked with early-stage technology companies such as Yelp and also helped launch Fitbit. The success of Three-Forty led to an acquisition by Dig Communications (now Olson Engage). He started working with GoPro at the end of 2009 and joined full time as the 13th employee in early 2010. During his time at GoPro, he has worked closely with teams to build and execute marketing programs that helped GoPro become one of the top brands in the outdoors sports and consumer technology industries. Loughery currently serves as GoPro’s vice president of global marketing and communications, overseeing the company’s brand marketing, lifestyle marketing and product marketing initiatives.

His advice for students who dream of being in his position?

“Go for it! In my opinion, there are two approaches: either you are motivated to go and live in a particular place, or you are more motivated by what you want to do. So, either pick a place where you want to live and go there. Do whatever job you can get and then start building a career from there. If you’re more motivated by the specific job or career you want to pursue, look for any type of opening in that particular type of company or type of job and build from there. In my case, I picked the place and went there because I wanted live where I could pursue the outdoor activities I was passionate about. Then I was lucky enough to build a career in tech, which was of keen interest. Those experiences led me to GoPro where I could combine my career interest with my passions. But my first job in California was waiting tables and selling dial-up internet service.”