What was your position at National Geographic and how did you find out about the opportunity?
I worked as the Explorer magazine intern at The National Geographic Society this summer. Explorer is a K-5 literacy magazine that is used in elementary school classrooms, so I was able to work at the intersection of journalism, publishing, education, and conservation. I found out about the opportunity through NatGeo's website, but my previous summer experiences have been in communications and conservation, so NatGeo was already on my radar.
Can you give a brief description of your day-to-day tasks?
My day to day tasks varied, but some of the things I got to do were: help with the Business Operations side of the magazine through revenue analysis and maintaining relationships with our top subscribers; develop a presentation for the Education team based on the results of a nationwide survey about Explorer and other ed-tech platforms; gain exposure to the Marketing side of things by developing three separate blog posts for NatGeo's Education blog; and (my favorite experience!) I was able to pitch, research, interview, and draft my own story which will be in the April 2020 Explorer issue. In addition, I was able to conduct three interviews for these editorial tasks.
What was one of the most interesting parts of the experience or what was something you really enjoyed?
One of the best parts of the experience was the exposure the interns were given to all facets of National Geographic. We had meet-and-greets with the Editor in Chief of National Geographic Magazine, Susan Goldberg, as well as the graphic design team for the magazine, the two staff photographers for NatGeo, the Chief Scientist for the Society, among others. Everyone at National Geographic was super welcoming and open to interns too, and we were able to network and connect with people in Senior positions to learn more about the many different positions at NatGeo. Another education intern and I had the opportunity to sit down with Natasha Daly, who wrote the cover story for the June issue about the dangers of wildlife tourism, and it was so insightful to hear about her experiences reporting in the field and learn about what led her to National Geographic.
Had you been to Washington D.C. before? What was it like living there? Did you like the area you stayed in?
I'm from Baltimore, so I've been to Washington, D.C. many times. However, this was my first time living there, and I lived in Foggy Bottom with my teammate Maddie Chai. We were super close to the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall, were walking distance from Georgetown, and got to use GW's squash courts to play after work.
Did you have time to do any sightseeing/day trips?
I definitely had free time to do sightseeing and day trips, especially on the weekends. The IOP's Summer in Washington program provided us the opportunity to listen to amazing speakers and go to incredible events - for example, I was able to attend a talk by Susan Rice only steps away from my office, and got to visit NBC studios to attend a live taping of Hardball with Chris Matthews. I also had a great time exploring D.C. more by going to the Congressional baseball game, visiting the National Sculpture Garden and a bunch of museums on the Mall, trying out new restaurants around D.C., and running/biking/scootering around the city.
Did this position relate to your concentration? Is it something you had planned on pursuing post-grad? Did it shift your idea of what you want to do post-grad?
I study History and Literature, so a position working with a magazine was right up my alley. However, National Geographic, in particular, is an organization that intersects almost perfectly with my interests in conservation and education, so to be able to have a summer experience that overlapped with these interests was amazing. This position made me think more deeply about the role of education in tackling various environmental issues, and also shifted my thoughts a bit about what I want to pursue post-grad.