Intern Testimonials


Derry Kiernan

Intern, 2009-2011

Interning at FRIENDS JOURNAL was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I have been here for over a year now, editing engaging articles, poring over proofs for publication, and organizing anthologies on various themes. These projects sharpened my editorial proficiency and gave me a whole new set of skills. More importantly, however, my time at the Journal has taught me to honor the author’s voice. After a couple of days you realize that the Journal is, first and foremost, a place that prizes personality on the page. Editing is more than red ink; it is the process of pulling writers out of the shadows and into the light. I also realized, with the help of folks at FJ, that writers frequently shine so brightly in their prose that it is almost impossible to see them. At the beginning of the internship, the passages that best exemplified a writer’s voice often struck me as repetitive, disjointed, or biased. I couldn’t see past my doubt. Because of my time at FJ, however, that tendency to question transformed into moments of personal reflection, growth and acceptance. Editing is a process that requires a critical, discerning, and steady hand, but also an acknowledgment that sometimes it is better to let it be. I learned this lesson about humility with the quiet prodding of my fellow editors and interns at FJ. I don’t believe that message could’ve stuck so well had it not been for the honest, thoughtful, and committed community at the Journal.

I will also miss interning at the Journal because of the people I met here. The weekly staff meetings, where everyone gathers to talk about matters both work-related and personal, were highlights. I not only learned about the responsibilities and difficulties of the various staff positions, but I also got a glimpse into the lives of my co-workers, who spoke sincerely and openly about their daily struggles and experiences. I cannot think of a work environment that is more conducive to community wellbeing than the Journal. The staff is always willing to help and take suggestions when hard questions arise. Early on they identify your strengths and seek you out when they need someone to tackle a specific project. After a couple weeks there, I got the point: the Journal is truly a communal production, with everyone putting in their two cents and everyone taking away a sense of accomplishment. They treat interns as equals, something I cherished while I was there.

I joined the community at FRIENDS JOURNAL more than a year ago and I don’t think I could’ve spent that year in a more supportive and challenging setting. Although my future may not involve editing or publishing, I learned skills that are indispensable in many different careers. More importantly, I learned a few things about humility and community.



Casey Marie Jackson

Intern, 2009-10

I applied to Friends Journal as a recent college graduate, wearied by the job hunt. I was tired of sending emails and applications, and I was tired of the anxiety of waiting on responses. When I found out I got the internship at Friends Journal, it was like a breath of fresh air. Finally, someone said yes. Finally, I had something to do! To top it off, I got to work in a field I was interested in and studying in grad school.

When I started the internship, I had a general idea that I would actively be contributing to the publication. What I didn’t know, however, was the extent. While at Friends Journal, I was exposed to all aspects of the publication process. I felt totally included in this process. There were no looks that read, “What’s she doing here?” from the staff. They actually valued my input as an intern; I didn’t feel like an outsider.

I also loved how the interns were included in the staff meetings. During these meetings, the staff gathered to discuss how the business was going. Before the very end, everyone on staff brought up what was going on in their lives; topics ranged from weddings to chickens. It was always the best part of my Wednesdays (besides the “intern lunch,” of course.) I often left these meetings feeling happy, grateful to be in a relaxed, fun environment each day.

I think that’s what I’ll most miss. Friends Journal is a very friendly place to work. Everyone there was kind, generous, and helpful. I couldn’t have asked for a better internship with better people! It was a great experience that I will never forget.


Carol Patel

Intern, 2009-10

I was searching for internships in the Philadelphia area one day when I stumbled onto the Friends Journal website. I felt strangely lucky when I came across it because in all my numerous searches for internships I had never before seen the site. It seemed like the perfect place for me to gain the publishing experience that I desired and after interning at FJ, I can honestly say that it was the best experience that I could get. I felt that my opinion really mattered and that I was an important part of FJ as an intern. There was always something to do from helping to edit articles, to reading over and commenting on submissions, and attending the weekly staff meetings.

I was not sure what it would be like working at a Quaker magazine and how they would feel working with someone who is not a Quaker and did not know much about Quakers in general. However, as soon as I started interning at FJ I forgot about ever worrying about something like that because they truly are some of the nicest people I have ever met. It was also a wonderful experience to learn about Quakers in general and I am glad that I had the opportunity to do so.

My long term project at Friends Journal involved compiling an anthology from all the back issues that started off including just Business articles, but ended up also including articles on Economics and Money. I really was not sure how I would feel about the project, but I actually ended up enjoying working on the anthology. It was interesting learning about all the issues that individuals have faced through the years regarding these topics. Also, as I was working on the anthology I learned that the word business can mean different things to Quakers and non-Quakers!

My time as an intern at FJ has truly been a wonderful experience and I have learned so much here that I will take with me into other careers. Thank you to everyone at FJ for giving me this opportunity!


Kat Richter

Intern, 2009-10

Coming to Friends Journal at the age of 24, and without the benefit of an English degree, I was prepared to feel out of place in my editorial internship. I had just completed my MA (in the entirely unrelated field of Dance Anthropology) and moved back to Philadelphia after a year and a half in London; feelings of not belonging, therefore, were nothing new to me.

When asked why I wanted to intern at Friends Journal, I explained that I had recently joined the Religious Society of Friends and, by virtue of being in the right place at the right time, had fallen into the world of freelance journalism. Although I have always been a strong writer, I lacked formal training. When my editors bandied around words like “nut graph” and “final proofs” I had no idea what they were talking about. The obvious solution, as I saw it, was an editorial internship.

I didn’t expect to fall in love with copyediting—I just wanted to see what lies behind the scenes in magazine publishing—but after my first month at Friends Journal, that’s exactly what happened. I tiptoed through my first assignment, afraid to make too many changes, or worse, to make the wrong changes. I had to refer back to the Friends Journal style sheet every five minutes, and I couldn’t remember the difference between an “en” dash and an “em” dash for the life of me. Eventually I reached a paragraph that needed a complete overhaul and although I took a stab at it, I fully expected to be overruled.

Then the April issue came out, complete with the revisions I had suggested. I was shocked but I should not have been. Since my very first day at Friends Journal, I had been made to feel that my opinions mattered. If the senior editor wanted to know what I thought of a new submission, it was because he genuinely cared about what I, and the rest of the interns, had to say.

Four months later, thanks to the support of my fellow interns, the staff, and volunteers at Friends Journal, I’ve gotten over my “but I’m not an English major” inferiority complex, and I learned the proper time and place for an “em” dash along the way.


2009 Summer

Katie Ailes

Intern, 2009 Summer

My mother suggested I intern at FRIENDS JOURNAL this summer to fill the requirement of “something to look good on a college app.” Sighing, I resigned myself to six weeks in an office. However, I looked up one day from my desk at FJ and realized: this isn’t drudgery! This is fantastic!

This internship has given me an incredible amount of experience. Reading the bios of other interns before I started, I thought, “I’ll never be able to do half those things in six weeks! Layout software? Ack!” But thanks to some great fellow interns who guided me through InDesign, I was able to learn the program and even write a detailed guide for others (‘Guide to Compiling an Anthology’).

At FJ, I

  • learned how to copyedit (so that’s what STET means!)
  • compiled an anthology (Quaker Personalities and History)
  • read countless articles for anthologies
  • learned how to use a scanner and OCR
  • spent three days adding commas to 50 pages worth of addresses
  • read and gave feedback on whether certain articles and poems should be published
  • fell in love with Reading Terminal Market
  • contributed ideas at a layout meeting
  • selected pull quotes for article layout
  • held an actual blueline in my very own hands!
  • was inspired to write several pieces of my own (although I have yet to summon the courage to submit them)
  • input corrections to copyedited articles
  • folded more letters and sealed more envelopes than you can shake several sticks at
  • shared at staff meetings
  • met wonderful people

All in six weeks!

In addition, although I was raised in by Quakers and taught about George Fox in Sunday School, I had never been sure of my faith. Although I’m still questioning and testing (as I imagine most teenagers are), reading dozens of FJ articles about what the Quaker faith means to others has helped me build a foundation for my own religious experience.

My internship at FRIENDS JOURNAL was truly a fantastic experience for me, and I’d love to come back for more.


Hilary Bisenieks

Intern, 2009 Summer

As a Creative Writing major with a minor in English, I have always joked that if my own writing doesn’t work out and I don’t want to ask, “Do you want fries with that?” for the rest of my postgraduate career, I could always become a professional Quaker, but I had never really considered it that seriously. What Quaker organization would need my set of obscure skills, consisting mainly of making literary references and bad puns?

My internship at Friends Journal was inspired foremost by my need for “a substantial internship in writing,” which is required of Creative Writing majors at my college. In a meeting with my advisor, after being given a list of possible internships that I could do on campus, I remembered that a good friend of mine had done an internship at the Journal the previous year. My advisor was enthusiastic, and I began to get really excited about spending part of my summer working with Quakers every day. Finally, I thought, a place where my knowledge of where commas do and do not go will be more than grudgingly appreciated.

To say that working at FRIENDS JOURNAL exceeded my expectations wouldn’t be entirely correct, because I didn’t know quite what to expect. Copyediting, sure; I knew I would be doing a lot of that. Reading fresh submissions? How else would the staff get through the hundreds of unsolicited manuscripts every year? I always kind of assumed that the manuscripts that Friends Journal eventually prints come in looking very professional. Boy was I wrong! Rare is the manuscript that doesn’t see several colors of pen on every page during the editing stage. I even found myself editing an article or two that I actively disliked, my colored pen tearing through misplaced punctuation, malapropisms, extraneous words, and, sometimes, whole paragraphs like a colored pen through a bad simile in a high school English paper.

To say that my experiences at Friends Journal were valuable would be a serious understatement. Foremost, I gained a new appreciation for the work that the staff of the science fiction and fantasy magazines I submit my work to have to go through every day. Never did I feel that I wasn’t doing something useful, even when faced with common intern drudgery like stuffing endless stacks of envelopes, and never did it feel like a chore when a staff member asked me if I would be willing to drop what I was doing for a change of pace, even when it was something as simple as changing a light bulb (and before you ask, the answer is two). Getting to know the staff and my fellow interns was wonderful, and I’ll miss the fellowship and occasional cake of Wednesday afternoon staff meetings, where I got updates on what was going on elsewhere in the office, and in the lives of my co-workers. I’m not going to give up on my writing, but I can’t say it would be too bad to have to find some other way of supporting myself if it means working somewhere as wonderful as Friends Journal.


Allison Butler

Intern, 2009 Summer

When I began looking for an internship last year, the only thing I knew was that I wanted to find a place I could get actual experience. I didn’t want to have to work in a place where the interns were basically waiters—getting coffee and making copies. I found exactly what I was looking for at Friends Journal.

Here at Friends Journal, I have never been treated like my opinion and input didn’t matter. The staff here includes the interns in every aspect of the assembly of the Journal—reading submissions, editing, layout, and design. This summer I have been very involved in helping compile articles for anthologies, and along with another intern, we have finished one anthology: nonviolence and peace testimony. Along with anthology work, I have read over submissions for the Journal for upcoming issues, made comments on each article and poem, and edited numerous articles on both on paper and the computer.

One really beneficial thing I have learned this summer has been how to use a layout program: InDesign. While working on the anthologies, the art department was more than willing to show any of us how to use the program, and answer our numerous questions. Also, I have learned how to just read more closely and with a more observant eye. Editing has now become a natural thing for me to do when reading anything, which in turn has helped my own writing.

I haven’t only learned about editing and writing, though; I have learned about Quakers, and people in general. Before coming to Friends Journal, I didn’t know too much about Quakerism, but just within my first week here, I learned more than I had learned my whole life about the Quaker way. I have also met some really incredible people here; people whose friendships I will cherish for many, many years to come.

I wouldn’t trade my time here at Friends Journal for anything; not even a paycheck. I have learned so much about a profession I will perhaps one day be involved in, as well as about people and myself. It has truly been a summer to remember.


Constance Grady

Intern, 2009 Summer

Coming back to Friends Journal for a second summer internship was an incredibly rich and rewarding experience. Last summer, everything was new to me. I had never done copyediting for a magazine before. I had never considered what kinds of articles a magazine should publish and what kinds they should discard. My knowledge of Friends Journal itself was limited to what I learned from browsing its website for 15 minutes before I applied for the internship. Of course, over the course of the summer, I learned. By the end of the summer, I was able to mark up an article without having to check the style sheet every few minutes, and I was able to come to a decision on whether or not an article was “FJ material” within minutes of reading it. And, crucially, I learned about FJ itself: about the work that it does and the incredible wealth of ideas that it puts forth for its readers every month.

This summer, I was able to hone all of the skills that I had developed last summer and develop some new ones, too. The particular box of tools you need for editorial work, I found, is like any other skill set—it will atrophy with disuse. Coming back to Friends Journal allowed me to relearn all of the little tricks of the trade that I had started to forget, and even to improve on them. It also gave me a chance to learn a new skill set. Last summer I had spent a lot of my time compiling articles from back issues of FJ anthologies. This summer, the interns began to transform the anthologies from binders full of photocopied articles to digital manuscripts. As I scanned articles and reformatted the basic “look” of the anthology, I learned how to use layout software, how to format and reformat and polish the look of a page. I also began to learn what questions to ask myself when laying out an article, and what decisions I would have to make to turn messy columns of typo-ridden text into clean, easy-to-read copy.

This summer, I was able to learn new things, to brush up on old skills, and to do genuinely interesting work—all the while at an organization I honestly respect and admire. As summer internships go, it really doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.


Josh Kinney

Intern, 2009 Summer

Walking into Friends Journal, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had never read the Journal previously and had very little knowledge of Quakerism. In fact, the only thing I knew about it was that William Penn, whose statue has stood atop Philadelphia City Hall all of my life, was a Quaker. After exploring the Journal in great detail from past issues to present, I soon became acquainted with Quakerism and gained a wealth of knowledge I wouldn’t have learned anywhere else. After meeting for an interview, I quickly came to realize that he and the staff at Friends Journal were very kind and laid-back people who genuinely enjoyed their work environment and one another.

One thing I did really enjoy about the Journal was that it accepts controversial articles from both sides of an issue, leaving the Forum open for discussion and input. I wish more magazines and papers would do the same. I found this opportunity so unique, not only because I learned about the editorial side of a journal, but also, between staff meetings, anthology research, and various other assignments, I feel I have received a well-rounded perspective on the workings of Friends Journal and what goes into publishing.

The working environment was exceptional and I especially enjoyed our weekly staff meetings. We would go over agenda items and talk about what we have been working on and ideas we would like to bring to the table. These meetings were a unique opportunity to talk with everyone at once and see how everything fit together. They gave us a great chance to get to know the other staff we wouldn’t normally work with. from the other departments including sales, advertising, and art. We also would discuss anything in particular happening in our lives that we felt we could share. This openness was something I valued.

Friends Journal was the ideal place to work this summer. Even though it was only for a short period of time, I got so much out of the experience and I hope the staff benefited from my contributions. The internship has given me firsthand experience and prepared me for my future work as an English and Creative Writing major.


Lily Megaw

Intern, 2009 Summer

When I first arrived at Friends Journal, I was surprised at the length of time it takes to prepare each issue, which (at about three months) seemed extraordinarily long compared to the extremely hectic two-week schedule of my university paper. I spent my first day reading through a stack of submissions, correcting mistakes and awkwardly phrased sentences with my newly acquired copyediting shorthand, amid several other interns’ comments. I then realized part of the reasoning behind the long process: it not only ensures that articles are thoroughly edited, but also provides enough time for authors to approve revisions and allows everyone to have an input in selecting articles for the next issue.

In line with this thought, everything about FJ was friendly and accommodating—from flexible hours to the ability to choose how to fill your day—unlike those coffee-serving internships we all try to avoid. As an international relations student, I found my niche working on an anthology on peace and the nonviolence testimony. This consisted of reading through past issues, selecting relevant articles, converting them into an electronic format and laying out the pages with Adobe InDesign. FJ gave me the chance to work on a project that interested me, and by completing the project (along with other interns) I felt that I accomplished something while I was there. I also learned about a number of topics by reading submissions, and greatly improved my InDesign skills.

Additionally, Friends Journal was a great place to work due to the friendly staff and interns, not forgetting the close proximity of the Reading Terminal Market at lunchtime!


Carl Sigmond

Intern, 2009 Summer

If you are raised Quaker, you are bound to pick up and leaf through a FRIENDS JOURNAL. If you go to Friends General Conference Gatherings during high school, you are bound to hear FRIENDS JOURNAL staff talk about the internship program. I fit into both groups, and after I heard the FJ announcement at FGC for the third time, I decided I had to apply. For years, I have been passionate about the Religions Society of Friends and fascinated by the realm of journalism. This would be a wonderful way to combine the two. I also knew that the FJ website needed some work – web development is one of my strengths.

When I came into the office for my interview, I instantly felt the sense of community that is written about in other pieces on this page. The people were so welcoming. I began my internship the first week of July and got right in on the website. I was tasked with the job of updating old pages to newer standards. Since I am good at editing HTML code, this job was easy. I also participated in the editorial process.

I will never forget the weekly staff meetings. FJ staff and interns gather every Wednesday afternoon to discuss the business of the JOURNAL and share about our personal lives. I learned a lot about the publishing process and connected with other people in the office.

Two weeks after I started here, I was asked to write a piece about the 2009 FGC Gathering for the November issue of FJ. After much thought, I decided to write a reflective essay about my experiences attending FGC Gatherings with my father, who passed away unexpectedly in April. Writing the essay helped me grieve for my father and process my loss. I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think I would have written the piece if I hadn’t been in this community here at FJ.

This is my last day at FRIENDS JOURNAL. One week from today, I enter Haverford College as a first year student. I will always remember my time here with fond memories. Thank you to everyone who makes this community what it is.


Katie Toran

Intern, 2009 Summer

I have to admit, when I first applied for an internship at FRIENDS JOURNAL , I thought it might be a bit of a long shot. Would they even be interested in a religiously disinterested non-Quaker like me? But I quickly discovered that FRIENDS JOURNAL, in the manner of Quakers in general, welcomes diversity.

That was to my benefit, since I’ve had a great summer here. To talk about how much you learned from a job is something of a clichĂ©, but in this case I feel compelled to say that I learned much more from being an editorial intern at FRIENDS JOURNAL than I have from most jobs. And I didn’t just learn about journalism and editing—I also expanded my knowledge about Quakers, a topic that I discovered to be fascinating. Quakerism promotes many ideals and beliefs that I find to be admirable, particularly a commitment to seeing good in everyone.

Contained within FRIENDS JOURNAL are articles that cover a wide range of interesting topics, from Quaker structures to ethical debates to history to politics. I know that I was lucky to have a job that stayed fun and opened my mind to new ideas. What could be better than spending the summer reading interesting pieces of writing?

But what I liked best about working at FRIENDS JOURNAL was the feeling that I was seriously making a contribution to the magazine. It’s always nice to feel useful. It was great to be able to look at an issue of Friends Journal, and feel I could recognize the work that I’d done in the final printed version.

At FRIENDS JOURNAL, interns are given real work such as sorting through submissions and editing articles. Such labors are more interesting than the busy work that most inexperienced college students can expect, and they feel much more rewarding. When the other interns and I were given the task of working on creating anthologies, we were left on our own to select articles, arrange them into chapters, and cut them down. I felt empowered; my ideas and opinions actually mattered. And I also think the anthologies are going to turn out brilliantly—look forward to them!

In conclusion, I want to thank everyone at FRIENDS JOURNAL for having me. I hope you were as happy with me as I was with you!