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Carignan's Washington Post Internship Challenging, Fun

SOC Sylvia Carignan Washington Post

Below is a first person account from Dean's Intern Sylvia Carignan on her internship at The Washington Post.

Every week in the Washington Post newsroom, dozens of visitors tour our hallowed cubicles. Some are students, some are young professionals, but all of them have a look of complete amazement. I’ve even seen a few shake their heads in disbelief.

In a lot of ways, I’m just like them: reverent, and maybe a little dazed. But somehow, there’s a nameplate on one of these desks with my name on it, and a Washington Post ID badge in my pocket.

I’m just an undergraduate student. How did this happen?

As it turns out, SOC is one of those schools where this kind of thing happens all the time. As part of the Dean’s internship program, I was selected to be one of the Post’s Metro section interns. So far, it’s been the most challenging and unexpectedly fun internship I’ve ever had.

On any given day, I’m making calls and filing stories about escaped zebras, local food deserts or Spring Valley’s chemical history. My work is a combination of breaking news and feature stories that keep me busy in the newsroom and in the field. I’ve talked to a Pearl Harbor veteran who loved to dance, and a D.C. public school principal who puts her faith in volunteer mentors.

Though my journalism classes have provided extensive writing practice, I have more freedom at my internship to choose my assignments and go in-depth with subjects. Thanks to the Post’s editors, I’ve been able to develop my writing style and dig into great stories.

Now, I’m years ahead in a career I really love. Instead of rising up through small and mid-sized news media the old fashioned way, I have a great head start at one of the nation’s top institutions of journalism. Nothing is certain in the job market, but the Dean’s internship has given me some insurance. Working at the Post has been an amazing experience that might just become my lifelong career. 

The Dean’s Internship program pairs SOC’s top students with selected partner organizations for semester-long, for-credit internships. The competitive program provides extraordinary opportunities for undergraduates and graduates to have their work featured with named credits and bylines under national brands. Find current opportunities and application information.