Intern Testimonials

2003 Summer

Alex Koppelman

Intern, 2003 Summer

I’m a procrastinator, as other interns and staff at FRIENDS JOURNAL could tell you, based on my overly-leisurely morning arrivals at work. For me this summer, that meant some disappointment in being shut out of internships with larger magazines as a consequence of starting my job search late. But it’s August, and I’ve come to realize that in this case, my procrastination may have been a blessing in disguise, as it’s led me to Friends Journal. Friends of mine who worked at larger magazines have nearly uniformly been disappointed, relegated to photocopying, filing, and just general goferdom—the menial tasks no one wants. Working at FRIENDS JOURNAL, though, the staff treats you as an equal: you’ll never hear, “I don’t want to do this—let’s give it to the intern.” Instead, you’ll hear, “What projects do we have that the interns could learn from?”

That attitude on the part of FJ staff has meant that I’ve been involved in all sorts of projects in my ten weeks here. Most often, I’ve been copyediting articles through all the stages of publication. I’ve also honed my computer skills by correcting and doing initial layouts of articles, read and chosen prose and poetry submissions, learned a new design program that no one else on staff has yet learned, written letters of acceptance and rejection to potential writers, and worked on putting together anthologies of material from the first 50 years of the FRIENDS JOURNAL.

After my time at FRIENDS JOURNAL, I’ve come away believing that everyone who wants a career in journalism should have a time like this. Working for a small magazine, where the staff treats you as an equal—just another member of the team—is an invaluable experience.


Sarah Kite Sharpless

Intern, 2003 Summer

Summer 2003 began with a bang. While Philadelphia’s weather swung from unseasonably cool to the heat and humidity that we Philadelphians know and love, I shifted my career choice from psychology-of-some-sort to nebulously-defined “editing.” As a rising senior at University of Pennsylvania with a Psychology major and English only a minor, leaving my position as a psychology research assistant to find an internship that would give me a better grasp of what editing entails was slightly scary; however, the ease in which I settled into the rhythm of FRIENDS JOURNAL made me realize I had done the right thing. After working feverishly to complete the “Orientation Exercises” on the first day, my nerves quickly subsided into a feeling of easy normality.

To reiterate what many interns of the past have written, I did a lot of copyediting this summer; however, this experience showed me that I love copyediting. I love being nitpicky, making the tiny changes needed to have the JOURNAL look runway wonderful. It’s a very satisfactory feeling, seeing the finished issue and knowing that I had a part in basically every aspect of its production. Truly that’s what made interning at Friends Journal so amazing. The staff included me in decisions, large and small; I felt that they trusted my judgment when I made suggestions; and they truly appreciated the work that I did. This personal contact made a huge difference, making even the slowest Mondays more bearable, and making Wednesdays’ informal staff meetings events to look forward to.

The JOURNAL itself I found fascinating to work on—I was pleased to be involved with the diversity issue, as it is an ever-relevant topic, and particularly important to me. Raised a Quaker, I am used to seeing FRIENDS JOURNAL sitting on our coffee table at home or semi-neatly stacking itself in the growing pile next to the couch, but rarely did I venture to read the articles within. Now I can confidently predict that each issue will hold at least one perspective I will enjoy, or at least delight in debating pleasantly over, as Quakers are wont to do. I thank everyone at FRIENDS JOURNAL for making this interning experience both fruitful and fun.


Courtney Elko

Intern, 2003 Summer

My time at Friends Journal was full of new experiences. I learned more about copyediting, layout, and a little about Photoshop software as well. I also tried to learn how to work on a Mac computer, which was something I was unsuccessful with and learned I enjoy a PC much better. I saw the steps and time it takes to print a publication. During my time at FRIENDS JOURNAL I did tons of copyediting, which can be dull at times, but it is the little details that make a publication great. I gave my opinion on manuscripts and poems, corrected articles on the computer, and worked on the topic of “Parenting” for the future anthology project.

Although I did not get very far in the long-term anthology project, I still enjoyed looking through past Friends Journals. I also researched and wrote a few things for the News department. I learned quite a lot about Quakerism, considering I knew next to nothing coming into this internship. Working mainly on the October special issue on diversity, I also expanded my knowledge on different races, ethnicitys, religions, and disabilities. Interning at FRIENDS JOURNAL expanded my sheltered Catholic background and taught me I am able to broaden my horizons.