Intern Testimonials

We ask each of our interns to write a short post about their experience as a Friends Journal intern. Read on to see how talented young people have gathered real-world editing and business experience and exposure to Quaker thought and life through the Friends Journal internship program.


Kellie Carle

kellieI initially searched for an internship that would convince me that a career in the publishing industry was my destiny. Since I had just completed my fall semester as a graduate student and did not need any more required courses, I felt the need to start the resume-building process and find an internship that could possibly lead to my future career.

I was drawn to Friends Journal because of my previous experience with Quakers. Throughout my attendance at two Quaker schools, I was reminded how welcomed I felt in a new environment and how appealing the Quaker ideals were. When offered the internship, I excitedly accepted and barely slept the night before I started, counting down the hours until I could official call myself an editorial intern. During my stay, I edited articles, making sure to keep the detailed copyediting style sheet close. In reading these articles, I discovered how passionate the writers submitting to the magazine are not only about their work but about what the magazine represents. From one viewpoint, it represents a way for Quakers to express themselves on the various topics offered in each issue. To an outsider, it could be used as a tool of education and a way to welcome those who may not follow the Quaker beliefs to join the discussion.

Even though I entered as an editorial intern, I became fascinated with the organization process. I loved logging books and emailing publishing companies requesting review copies. I did not expect to gain this experience during my time at Friends Journal but found that all the staff members were willing to teach me different aspects of producing the magazine if I expressed an interest to learn.

The atmosphere of the staff meetings allowed me to feel fully involved in the process of the magazine, sharing what I was currently working on as well as what was happening in my personal life. It is the occurrence of these staff meetings which reminded me of the welcoming environment which drew me to the magazine in the first place. Birthdays and achievements were celebrated, fruits and assorted candies were shared all while discussing the work that needed to be done, learning new methods on how such work could be carried out or looking ahead at what was expected to be accomplished in the upcoming weeks. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience I gained while interning at Friends Journal and I am sure it will continue to benefit me as I continue forward in the publishing world.




Pola Lem

Pola LemI first noticed the Friends Journal internship two years ago in an email from Haverford’s Career Development Office. I was looking for a biweekly opportunity in Philadelphia, and wanted to volunteer with a Quaker organization.

Because Friends Journal is by not a large magazine, I feel that the little things I do here—editing, proofreading, managing the book review—really matter. As a second-semester senior, I appreciate how flexible and stress-free this internship has been. When I wanted to write some articles or contribute artwork, the editors were open to my requests. Everyone I interact with both at the office and digitally (like the book review editors) has been welcoming, helpful, and patient with my occasional mistakes (here I mean the book review editors, in particular).

Besides giving me a taste of the office environment experience, my time at Friends Journal has taught me that within the small group called Quakers, there is a broad range of beliefs and opinions. Before my internship, I thought I already knew a good deal about Quakerism (I attended a Friends school for twelve years, and a Quaker college after that), but I soon came to see that this perception was in fact narrow. Until my semester at Friends Journal, I had not been exposed to the multiplicity of opinions within the Quaker community. By proofreading articles, I not only improved my attention to detail, but also my knowledge of Quaker philosophy. While I didn’t always agree with the things I read, I liked that they made me think.



Megan L McDaniel

Intern, fall 2012When I first started at Friends Journal back in September, I had no idea what to expect. I was fresh out of college and had never even worked in an office setting before. When I first arrived, they had me complete a short orientation consisting of different activities that allow you to familiarize yourself with the magazine. The activities are geared towards familiarizing you with not only the content, but also their editorial practices. The activity I enjoyed the most was the one which had you look at all of the editorial records for a particular issue.  I found that very interesting and helpful, since I was able to pick up on some of their editorial practices, including various proof-reading marks.

As an editorial intern, your main duties consist of acquiring review copies from various publishers for the book reviews that come out monthly, and editing the articles before they go to print. Although I didn’t mind coordinating with publishers and requesting review copies, my favorite part about the internship was getting the opportunity to be a part of the editing process, which I learned was a lot more complex than I’d originally thought. There are so many grammatical rules that you have to remember to follow and they often differ between the style guide we use and the Friends Journal style sheet, which contains all the things, which are specific to the magazine.

I loved being able to read the different articles as I edited them. Each author had their own voice and I was surprised by the variety of content that the articles covered. There were some very fascinating stories. I also loved seeing the articles go through each stage of the editorial process, reading them as they improve, and finally become the finished product, an article ready for print. My favorite article that I worked on was one about the D.C. snipers. I found it fascinating, mostly, because it was from an unusual perspective and told by a man, who had known them, not as criminals, but as people because they had attended the same Y.M.C.A.

As an intern at Friends Journal, not only do you get to everything that goes into the editing process at a magazine and get to order books directly from the publishers themselves, but you also get the opportunity to set in on staff meetings, production meetings and so fourth. The staff meetings, which are held every Wednesdays allows us the opportunity to check in with the rest of the staff and Friends Journal and see what they’re contributing to the next issue. I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to check with other staff members concerning both personal and work related issues. I can honestly, say that I truly enjoyed my time working here and will miss everyone very much.



Sarah Westbrook

Before I started writing my testimonial, I was curious to read through the words of past interns. This process unearthed two realizations: the first is that an intern’s job at Friends Journal seems to be consistent from year to year. We get to do some amazing things, like copyedit, partake in staff meetings, learn about the production process, and request review copies of books from publishers (the last one can be a lot more thrilling than it sounds, especially if you’re a book-lover). The second realization is that I learned something important about voice. There are countless voices that people encounter in their lives, but during my summer at FJ, particular types of voices pressed for my consideration. There were the voices of authors who came from all walks of life, represented a range of ages, and discussed topics which I found intriguing and remarkably honest (even though I was at first apprehensive because I’m not Quaker). Editing can be a tricky business, particularly when an editor is concerned about protecting a writer’s intention, style, and voice in a piece of writing. In this sense, editing seems to mimic life, since it’s often necessary for me to develop a balance among the different kinds of voices surrounding me while supporting and developing my integrity. This led me to think more about my own voice, not only in writing, but also in spoken interactions and daily conversation.  My voice was at times challenged, encouraged, refocused, fortified, but always inspired, both by the authors of the articles, the staff and volunteers at the office. Truly, Friends Journal is a place where voices have a home of the best kind, where they can become something beautiful and probing, incandescent as they forge a space of their own in the world.

Katie Dockhorn

I have been grateful to Friends Journal ever since it became the first and only magazine to publish my book review of Ann Turnbull’s No Shame, No Fear back in sixth grade. However, after three months of reading through and editing excellent material here, I am now grateful to Friends Journal for very different reasons.

I attended Quaker schools all of my life, but after transitioning last fall to a huge university, it was refreshing to spend the summer in a workplace that allowed me to reconnect with my Quaker roots and explore the art of editing. I feel more in touch with Quakerism after editing work on Quaker history, accounts of experiential spiritual journeys, and plenty of wonderful book reviews that featured Quaker values. It was also interesting to focus on the complexities of editing—from grappling with the Oxford comma to figuring out the balance between one’s liberty as an editor and the importance of maintaining an author’s unique voice.  Thanks to my daily train commute, I was able to read for pleasure more than ever, which probably contributed to my skills as an editor.

I am excited to have worked at Friends Journal at a time when they began maximizing their use of social media and transitioning to an improved website. It was interesting to help brainstorm posts that would engage people on the Friends Journal Facebook page and fascinating to compare past and present technology. A long-term project from the art department was to scan and write descriptions for pictures that were used in Friends Journal decades before software like InDesign was invented. I liked seeing some of the old pictures we had scanned emerge on Friends Journal’s Facebook page for people to respond to.

One of the most important things that I take away from my summer at Friends Journal is a newfound appreciation for working in a small office environment. I enjoyed watching film clips to celebrate a Friends Journal staff member’s retirement, eating lunch with staff at the “glass table,” stuffing envelopes with other staff members, and savoring pumpkin cookies from Reading Terminal Market to celebrate the publication of the latest issue. I am so grateful for such a valuable internship experience.



Katherine Pryor

Intern, 2011

Very late in the end of the semester, when most internship applications had closed, I was frantically searching online for anything to do over the summer. By chance I came across something that seemed too good to be true: an internship at Friends Journal! Not only were they still accepting applications (they are open to applications all year round) but it was also an internship that, being an English major, was something I was interested in learning more about and that I might even be able to apply later in life.

Now that my time at Friends Journal has ended, I can honestly say that it has lived up to all my expectations. The people who work here are wonderful and genuinely want to share their experience with you. I was welcome to all the different meetings that members of the staff had and, if I did voice an opinion, it was weighed equally with any other staff member there. I have participated in many aspects of the production process while working here, including copyediting, picking poems to accompany pieces in the Journal, and evaluating poetry and article submissions. I have learned everything I was hoping to learn about editing coming in, as well as things I didn’t expect to learn such as the thought process that goes behind choosing a book cover, choosing a magazine cover, and in corresponding with the many people who submit pieces to Friends Journal. I am so glad to have been able to have such an in-depth experience learning about a process which I can now say I am definitely interested in.

In the two months I was here, one of my favorite things that I worked on was a long term project which I was encouraged to take at the start of my internship by the senior editor. I choose to work on the anthology on Quakers and the Arts that is in the process of being put together. This anthology has been prefect for me because of my interest in the arts and I have really enjoyed the process of looking through the Friends Journal archives to find the pieces that would fit. This work really gave me a sense of what a rich history the Friends Journal has and I found some really amazing pieces along the way, such as one from a Friend who knew personally the poets Carl Sandberg and Robert Frost.

The people who work at here made me feel welcome from the very first day and I have become friends with both the staff and the other interns who work here. Even though I’m excited to be going home for some time with my family, I’m sad to leave all the great people I’ve met here. I was expecting whatever job I found this summer to be painfully boring and something uninspiring. Instead, I found the Friends Journal and I know that I will be coming back to visit soon because I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here.



Grace Lundergan

Intern, 2011

I looked for an editorial internship partly to answer the question, “What are you going to do with an English major?” Since I just graduated from college, this is a question I have to answer not just to well-meaning adults, but also for myself.

When I was offered and then accepted this internship, I was hoping to gain editing experience, learn about how the magazine works, and learn about Quakerism. I definitely fulfilled those goals, and I really enjoyed my job. I edited a lot of articles and also read and commented on possible submissions. I learned a great deal about the process of producing Friends Journal—even little details I had never considered before—which has made me read other magazines in a different way. I enjoyed the meticulousness of copyediting and following the style sheet to a T. I had fun reading back issues of Friends Journal as I worked on the parenting anthology, and it was a great way to pick up the basics of Quakerism—by the end of the summer, I could understand the Quaker jargon that was thrown around at staff meetings.

There were also unexpected benefits to this internship. I felt like the editors trusted me, and I knew my opinion was valued. I actually enjoyed staff meetings. I also enjoyed working with friendly, welcoming people who are passionate about what they do. There is a real sense of camaraderie in this office. We celebrated each other’s birthdays, we shared fruit or desserts at staff meetings, and I could sit down for lunch with anyone in the office. In addition, I loved living in Philadelphia, taking the train to work, and exploring the city. Interning for Friends Journal has been a great experience for me, and it will continue to shape my career path after I leave.



Jennifer Leedom

Intern, 2011

I came to intern at Friends Journal a few weeks after I graduated from college, and it proved to be a wonderful experience. After completing the quick intern orientation, I was allowed to dive right in and start reading submissions, which became my favorite thing to do here. I learned about copyediting marks and the FJ style sheet, how to choose a magazine cover, and many other aspects of publishing a magazine.

I was also able to engage in a number of other projects. I searched for good books and requested review copies to be featured in the books section of the magazine. I was able to pursue one of my other interests, women’s studies, which was my minor, and evaluate and add to an anthology of articles based on gender, sexuality, and marriage. I also looked after FJ’s new Flickr account and contacted meetinghouses for their newsletters. I was exposed to many different things during this internship, including Quakerism. However, since Quakers have so many interests, I enjoyed reading about a variety of topics within the magazine’s articles, from gay rights to the benefits of nuclear power to Inazo Nitobe, a Japanese Quaker.

One of the greatest benefits of interning at Friends Journal is the friendly staff, who are always willing to help and answer questions. I can’t imagine that I would have worked with such a welcoming staff if I had had an internship at a large publishing company, and I feel that I learned just as much at FJ. I’m grateful for my internship at the magazine, and I’m sure it will benefit me as I take my next step in the publishing world.


Drew Lane

Intern, 2011

As I read down this list of past intern experiences at Friends Journal, I can’t help but think how old endless amounts of positive feedback must get. I could just imagine some readers believe a portion of their subscription money goes specifically to bribing interns. And man do I wish that was true.

After spending my first few days completing orientation activities, I was thrown right into the mix with other more seasoned interns. I evaluated and commented on submission entries, proofread articles, and even transcribed lectures. During my time there, I also hosted several projects to better the company including outreach and social media. Here I wasn’t just an intern who made photocopies; I was a living being who shared responsibilities in a small community.

Now thanks to Friends Journal, I’ve completed my internship requirements for bachelors degree, and will soon receive it in the mail, however in this economy that translates to “move back home.” I honestly believe my time at Friends Journal was one I wish hadn’t come to an end.