Category Archives: Internships

INTERNING WITH WBAA PUBLIC RADIO

HISTORY & MISSION

Located in Purdue’s Elliott Hall of Music, the award-winning WBAA public radio station has made a name for itself nationally. It was licensed in April 1922 as an AM station by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Still going strong after 97 years, WBAA is now the longest continuously operating radio station in Indiana. Over the years, WBAA has offered internship opportunities to hundreds of local students, ranging from high schoolers to undergraduates and graduate students. The public radio station’s website says, “education has always been at the heart of WBAA’s mission and that goes beyond the content you hear over our airwaves and into the very ethos of the station” (WBAA). The best part is that they’re especially interested in Purdue undergraduates majoring in English, Communications, or Political Science!

WHY WBAA?

Interning at WBAA is a great experience for English majors, especially those interested in journalism. Its News department offers general news, arts, beat, education, science, and local government reporting, as well as digital reporting. At WBAA, you are not just an intern; you are a professional. “We’re going to treat you like a real, working radio station employee, whether it’s in the newsroom or whether it’s doing production work behind the scenes,” says Stan Jastrzebeski, WBAA’s News Director, “You’re not going to get coffee.”

All internships at WBAA are paid, offer real, deadline-driven experience, and allow for hands-on time with professional reporting, writing, editing, or voicing. WBAA offers experience to Purdue undergraduates of any year; the longer you stay, in fact, the better opportunities for internships and jobs after you graduate. Stan says, “It typically takes at least a semester to fully train somebody to get used to the job. Then, the second semester they can hit the ground running.”

Interns at WBAA typically come in one day a week. The goal is to have one intern every day to go and report on moment’s notice, according to Stan. This allows each intern to give a little bit to the internship program and contribute to the whole of the newsroom over a week. Depending on your schedule, WBAA will give you ample time to work without too much pressure.

Stan says, “We make a difference in the community, we pay better than any other broadcasting internship in town, and we turn students into award-winning reporters.”

MARISSA TILDEN, ENGLISH

One of WBAA’s newest hires is Marissa Tilden, a third-year student studying English Literature and Comparative Literature. At the station, her title is “Public Service Announcement Coordinator.” Along with writing PSAs for upcoming community events, Marissa also does other small organizational tasks, such as creating a calendar of events for various musical organizations in the community. Her PSAs are aired on the station often. Here is an example of her work:

“Purdue’s Disability Resource Center presents comedian Ryan Niemiller (NEE-miller),  the self-proclaimed ‘Cripple Threat of Comedy,’ whose stand-up draws from his experiences with physical disability. Open to the public but tickets are required. More  information is  available at Purdue dot E-D-U slash D-R-C.”

This is a great example of a PSA because it demonstrates how Marissa has to be “conscious of the fact it will be read aloud.” She adds, “It’s necessary to provide phonetic pronunciations of names that could pose a challenge (and therefore a lull or stutter), as well as clarify things like the URL.” Otherwise, a story or PSA could be read wrong on-air. Greg Kostraba, WBAA’s content director, told Marissa that once at another radio station, “Malcolm X” had been read on-air as “Malcolm the tenth.” “It’s crucial to keep both the audience and the reader in mind when I write,” says Marissa.

“WBAA has provided me the opportunity to practice some of the skills I learn as an English major—things like precise writing, research, and organization—in a career setting,” Marissa also says. This internship has also enabled her to learn a little more about how a radio station operates and what kinds of positions exist in this setting. Marissa has found that there are lots of opportunities for English majors in radio.

CARLY ROSENBERGER, MASS COMMUNICATION

A sophomore studying mass communication, Carly Rosenberger has always been interested in a career in news media. She has been working at WBAA since September 2018 and has written a total of eight stories as an arts and culture intern. Carly produces features, which are pre-recorded stories that are typically no longer than five minutes on-air. “Creating a feature is a complicated process…. I’ve learned more from [it] than I could have ever imagined,” says Carly.

WBAA has entrusted Carly with many responsibilities, including setting up and conducting interviews, writing a draft of a script, recording the script, and sharing the final product on WBAA’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Carly says, “When I first began working at WBAA last fall, I was honestly surprised with the amount of trust and responsibility the staff places in their interns. I’ve since realized that the large amount of responsibility is affirming and even rewarding. I’d much rather have an internship that allows me to produce meaningful work than one that forces me to do menial tasks.”

OTHER INTERNSHIPS WITH WBAA

Stan has also provided us with descriptions for several other WBAA internships:

If you are interested in classical music, WBAA has another great internship for you. With 101.3 FM, WBAA Classical, students aid in the station’s programming as well as taping interviews. This internship is a great opportunity for those interested in learning about media management.

If you are tech-savvy, on the other hand, WBAA offers internships covering board shifts, allowing them to practice one of the essential functions of a broadcaster. WBAA will train you in both the technical duties and how to use your voice effectively for an audience.

WBAA also has internships in promotions, marketing, and development. To keep the radio station going strong, WBAA needs young, talented people to help it reaching new audiences.

Finally, WBAA just hired its first social media intern, and so internship opportunities at the station just keep growing. “Anytime anyone wants to send me a resume, they are more than welcome to do so,” says Stan. His email is stan@wbaa.org.

Works Cited:

“Student Engagement.” WBAA, https://www.wbaa.org/student-engagement#stream/0.

“WBAA History.” RSS, https://www.wbaa.org/topic/wbaa-history#stream/0.

Libby Joson is a sophomore majoring in Professional Writing at Purdue.

Interning at Purdue University Press – with Hannah Spaulding

Purdue English majors have the perfect publishing internship opportunity available to them right here on campus. A member of the prestigious Association of University Presses, Purdue University Press publishes scholarly books, journals, and e-publications in a range of fields, including, according to its website, business, technology, health, and veterinary sciences, as well as the humanities and sciences. It is conveniently located in Stewart Center, next to Purdue Memorial Student Union and across from Heavilon Hall, the home of Purdue English. Each semester, the Press interviews and selects undergraduates for internships in editing and production. It even prefers students in English or other related fields!

Below is an interview with Hannah Spaulding, a senior in English Literature and Creative Writing, who recently completed a semester-long internship in Editorial, Production, and Design at the Press.

How has your internship helped build skills and clarify your career goals?

First and foremost, interning at the press has helped me develop my editing skills. I’ve had the opportunity to practice copyediting, sharpen my proofreading, and review completed book manuscripts. I also was taught to use Adobe InDesign for typesetting manuscripts, which is a skill I had wanted to learn. Working at the press has given me more confidence in my editing ability, a confidence that I hope to translate into starting my own freelance editing business before I graduate. As for my long-term career goals, I know editing is a strong skill I can bring to the table in any setting. One of my goals is to work as a grant writer for a nonprofit organization. The ability to edit my work will allow me to develop clearer arguments and better grant proposals.

How do you apply your Liberal Arts skills in your internship?

My skills as an English major have been invaluable to my work at the press. Being a good editor requires a high level of reading comprehension, attention to detail, and familiarity with the mechanics of quality writing. My studies in English literature have equipped me not only to pay attention to the details of a text, but also to understand the big picture. As an editor, this allows me to address sentence-level and paragraph-level concerns, while also offering feedback on the larger structure and meaning of a text. Many of the manuscripts I worked with at the press were essays for academic journals about subjects not in my field of study. Because of the high level of reading comprehension developed through studying literature, I was able to understand and edit these pieces, even those in fields such as engineering. My studies in creative writing have also helped me be a better editor because I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of editorial feedback. Knowing the experience of authors—of developing and crafting a work for others to review—helps me give more thoughtful comments. I also am able to address grammatical or structural issues from the lens of a reader. By focusing on the reader’s experience of the text, I am able to better communicate my editorial suggestions to authors.

What is the typical day like as an intern, any challenging or exciting aspects?

A typical day involves going to the Purdue University Press office in Stewart and working on my assigned projects in the office. I could be proofreading, copyediting, typesetting, or doing some other task that my supervisor, Katherine, assigned me. I work independently on all my projects, and update Katherine about my progress so that she knows how soon to expect a finished project. Katherine is always willing to help, however, if I have questions. This semester, I was one of two interns under Katherine, so sometimes her other intern and I would collaboratively on larger projects.

One challenge I experienced during my internship was learning all three grammatical styles—APA, MLA, and Chicago. I already had experience with MLA and Chicago, but I had never used APA before, so proofreading or copyediting in APA style was interesting. Whether I was using APA, MLA, or Chicago style, I felt like every day I learned a new grammatical rule or stylistic rule, which was fun to discover and then apply to my own writing outside of the internship.

Another challenge, which I mentioned earlier, was editing journal articles in subjects I am not familiar with, such as engineering. Although I didn’t understand the complexities of the subject matter, I did understand the way a research paper or journal article is supposed to be structured, and that knowledge helped me edit not just for grammar, but also for organization and clarity of thought. Editing essays with difficult subject matter boosted my confidence in my editing ability and helped me apply my skills to new situations.

Hannah Spaulding is senior in English Literature and Creative Writing at Purdue.

Tutoring in the Purdue Writing Lab: Empathy & Expertise

Interested in helping students improve their writing while simultaneously sharpening your own? Working as an undergraduate tutor in the Purdue Writing Lab might be the perfect job for you.

Portrait photograph of Harry Denny, Director of the Purdue Writing Lab.
Harry Denny, Director of the Purdue Writing Lab

Prof. Harry Denny, Director of the Writing Lab, describes it as “a space where we work with writers from across the university…on any aspect of their writing, from getting started, to revising, to editing. You name it, we do it.” Tutors work with undergraduate and graduate Purdue students from all disciplines on every form of writing. From essays and research reports to resumes and graduate school applications, no genre is off limits.

The Writing Lab offers one-on-one, in-person writing consultations or e-tutoring sessions, while its world-famous OWL provides a treasure trove of online resources. In 2017-18, the Writing Lab saw approx. 6,000 visits from Purdue students. The OWL had 515M page views from around the world.

Perks of being a tutor

All employment with the Writing Lab, whether in the form of tutoring or research, is compensated; however, according to Prof. Denny, the biggest perk is the “opportunity to work in an environment that truly values learning and collaboration.” The Writing Lab promotes an atmosphere of innovation and strongly encourages tutors to explore the impact writing has in real life settings.

Companies like employees who can write clearly, but they especially like those who can help other people to write better too. Tutoring with the Writing Lab gives you a chance to practice both. Interacting with Purdue students from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds also provides experience with intercultural collaboration. In survey after survey, employers list writing and collaborating as their most desired skills, ahead of technical expertise. 

Writing Lab tutors and staff also write all of the material found on the OWL. A section of the site is even devoted specifically to research conducted by lab personnel. Undergraduate tutors are welcome to add to this growing body of writing center research.

What professional qualities does tutoring cultivate?

In-lab tutoring session.
In-lab tutoring session.

Want to become a Writing Lab tutor but afraid that your writing skills aren’t good enough? No worries. While having a grasp of basic writing techniques is essential, no one expects you to be an expert. Part of being a tutor is learning with your client. Prof. Denny says that a good tutor isn’t someone who knows everything about writing, but rather a “person who is willing to say, ‘I don’t know. Let’s figure that out together’.”

While knowledge of composition and grammar is an asset, the most important quality for a tutor is strong people skills. For this reason, the Writing Lab looks for applicants who demonstrate empathy for students from all backgrounds and writing abilities.“We can teach you how to respond to student writing, [and] we can teach you the mechanics. The hard part is meeting such a wide variety of writers, meeting them…where they are, and being respectful of them,” says Prof. Denny. “The thing that I really care about when I am looking at undergraduates, is making sure…that we work with a whole, wide range of writing.”

It can be easy to forget that sharing one’s writing is a very personal experience; when someone judges our writing, it can feel like a judgement of us. Being respectful and connecting with writers on a human level creates a safe environment where students are free to be vulnerable. Only with trust can writers learn and improve. In this way, the role of a tutor is less like an instructor and more like that of a peer counselor.

“I think alot of times students struggle with writing because they have been shut down at some point,” says Prof. Denny. “I think people [should be] allowed to have a voice, and to cultivate their voice and their prose in an environment that’s not going to make them feel bad about themselves.” To demonstrate his point, he cites Steven North, an important writing center scholar: “We are about making better writers, not necessarily better writing.” Prof. Denny echoes this sentiment in his own words, “If you make someone feel more confident as a writer, effective writing will come along.”

Another important part of becoming a tutor is understanding how to help students within the parameters of the Lab. Like most college writing centers, the Purdue Writing Lab is not an editing service. A tutor’s job isn’t to “fix” students’ papers, but rather to give them the skills to revise their own writing, and to help them apply these skills to future assignments.

Tutors also learn to balance student needs with time restrictions. “We try and respectfully negotiate with a client, ‘What is realistically possible in 25 or 50 minutes?’” says Prof. Denny.

If a writing lab client has a 50-page research paper, it will be impossible for the tutor to read and give feedback on every page. Therefore, helping the client prioritize their needs and set a goal for what can be accomplished in one session is an important skill tutors learn.

How to apply to be an undergraduate tutor?

Tutors working in the staff room of the Writing Lab.
Tutors working in the staff room of the Writing Lab.

Until this year, the application process involved submitting a writing sample, a resume, and a letter of recommendation. To make the process less daunting, the application is now simpler. Students email the writing.lab@purdue.edu with a notice of interest. From there, they meet with Prof. Denny to discuss why they want to become a tutor and the skills and experiences they feel make them a good candidate.

The last step is enrolling in ENGL 390: Tutoring Practicum, a required internship course that teaches students how to work in the Writing Lab. Students learn writing center theory and gain hands-on experience with strategies for tutoring writing. If, at the end of the class, they seem like a good fit for working at the Lab, students become paid tutors. If students turn out to not be good fits, they still get course credit.

Some final advice

Prof. Denny’s advice for tutor applicants? “Be open to working with your peers. Be open to being challenged about how you learn and how your peers learn…. [I]f you want a really exciting environment where collaboration…reflection, and pedagogical research is valued, we are a cool place.”

The bottom line? Whether you are a tutor or a client, writers of all skill levels and backgrounds are welcome at the Purdue Writing Lab. No Pulitzer required.

Editorial Intern at Arthuriana

A portrayal of King Arthur.

One of the newest of the department’s many internship opportunities is with Arthuriana, an academic journal devoted to all aspects of the Arthurian legend from its beginnings to present day. You read that right: King Arthur, Merlin, Camelot, the sword in the stone —right here at Purdue. Our Department Head, Dr. Dorsey Armstrong, is the editor of Arthuriana and oversees the journal’s production. Housed on the fourth floor of Heavilon Hall, Arthuriana’s graduate student Editorial Assistants are involved in the academic publishing process, from article submissions to copyediting. Undergraduate Editorial Interns for Arthuriana work closely with these graduate students on typesetting and proofreading articles.

Duties:

As with most editing internships, this is a grammar-heavy position. Arthuriana is looking for a strong proofreader with a good grasp of grammar; if you know a comma from a semi-colon, this could be the internship for you. Having a handle on the general principles of citation comes in handy, too. Because Arthuriana has its own in-house citation style (“Chicago-adjacent,” as Editorial Assistants Aidan Holtan and Adrianna Radosti describe it), the ideal intern has an eye for mistakes in articles’ citations.

Editorial interns also use Adobe InDesign to finalize articles, so knowledge of that program is a plus. But don’t worry—even though their InDesign skills mostly involve fist-shaking and prayer, the graduate students are happy to train.

Additional responsibilities include supervising “proofing parties” for graduate students in medieval studies, which spread the proofreading wealth. Arthuriana’s Editorial Intern would answer questions about articles, relay issues to the Editorial Assistants, and act as a go-between between the volunteers and the journal. The ideal intern would also show initiative in identifying projects that need to be done (like organizing the boxes of Arthuriana’s back issues that take over the office) and following through.

Perks:

Interns also have the possibility of attending the International Congress on Medieval Studies hosted by Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan every summer. Arthuriana hosts an exhibitor’s booth at the Congress, where they sell subscriptions, back issues, and other Arthurian and medieval swag. Students have the opportunity to attend panels and meet medieval scholars, as well as other exhibitors—an excellent professional development opportunity.

So if you have an interest in medieval literature and aren’t afraid of commas, Arthuriana could be the place for you to gain experience in academic publishing. Working closely with graduate students is helpful for those who may be interested in pursuing graduate school; plus, as you will be reading all the articles Arthuriana publishes, you are sure to learn quite a bit about all the cool and exciting new developments and discoveries in the field of Arthurian studies.

Perhaps the coolest part of interning for Arthuriana? Seeing your name in print on the masthead for the issue!

Application Advice:

Decorative

For those interested in applying, the most important part of your application is the cover letter. Since this position is mostly about grammar, make sure your materials are free from errors!

If you have questions about Arthuriana, you can reach out to the current Editorial Assistants Aidan Holtan (gaunta@purdue.edu) and Adrianna Radosti (aradosti@purdue.edu). They’ll be happy to help!

You can also book an appointment in the Writing Lab if you want help with your cover letter.