What’s It Like to Intern at Midstory? 2021 Intern Cohort Journal

Live a day in the life of a Midstory intern through this collection of moments recorded by our 2021 cohort during their remote internship with us. Video filmed by Midstory's 2021 intern cohort and compiled by Jocelyn Zhou for Midstory.

This year, 24 college students from all across the nation joined Midstory to learn, think, create and problem solve for the future of the Midwest. Hailing from 20 universities and 22 hometowns, our interns Zoomed in for 10 weeks of research, multimedia storytelling, guest speakers and seminars, workshops and collaborative brainstorming. From researching regional labor history to writing a podcast about innovative environmental initiatives in the Midwest, they developed a vested interest in and love for Toledo, Ohio and the Midwest at large. 2021’s applicant pool was our most competitive yet, with a 350% increase in applications since 2020 and applicants coming from 53 universities, 20 home states and 73 hometowns. You can meet the college cohort here.

The Midstory college program is for the next generation of creatives and thinkers who believe in shaping the post-industrial story through a multidisciplinary framework and are eager to initiate change on the ground. Interns work closely with our team to craft and share hidden stories through research, solutions-oriented projects and multimedia production—with such topics as demography, the environment, culture, arts, education and more—to be broadcasted through our national multimedia platforms and physical exhibition & outreach. In addition to our college program, our summer programming includes the ThinkLab, a six-week creative storytelling and media literacy program for regional high school students.

In light of the pandemic and recent global events, Midstory believes our programming is more important than ever, specifically to engage the next generation of leaders in understanding and solving complex issues in underserved and often ignored geographic areas. We aim to change perceptions and contribute vital and youthful energy toward the revitalization and betterment of communities across the Midwest and beyond. Read below for testimonials from this year’s cohort:

“My experience at Midstory allowed me to connect with communities and stories directly relevant to my life and the lives of people dear to me, in an environment where my individual creativity was nourished and strengthened through a rigorous and uplifting internship.”

— Tomas Miriti Pacheco (University of Chicago, from Columbus, OH)

“It changed how I view the Midwest and taught me that every region in the nation has something unique and wonderful to offer. It was a pleasure to harvest creative ideas and churn out projects that I am proud of as part of.”

— Sarah Dolgin (Syracuse University, from Briarcliff Manor, New York)

“Midstory created a space where I could learn more about Toledo and the Midwest, regions that I wasn’t familiar with before my internship, and explore topics and stories that are invaluable parts of the Midwest narrative…It has been quite eye-opening to learn about a different region of the U.S. and very inspiring to see how passionate and dedicated everyone is to bring their ideas to life.”

— Elizabeth Peng (University of California San Diego, from Diamond Bar, California)

“Being a part of the Midstory community, I came to realize the wide variety of culture, education, and perspectives of the Midwest that I didn’t take the time to notice before. As someone who had resided in the Toledo area for only 6 years, I was quite surprised to see myself truly integrating with the community and advocating for the Midwest…I learned so much valuable information to take away and use in my future college and career path, thanks to Midstory.”

— Solim Kim (HS ThinkLab participant from South Korea)

“I learned so much about communities near where I live and that I am a part of but had never participated in or learned much about. I understand the area around me much better than I had after three years living here.”

— Owen MacMillan (Kent State University, from Bay Village, Ohio)

“Midstory was a great opportunity to learn about an overlooked region and different formats of storytelling. Very organized and enthusiastic leaders and peers made it very encouraging to try new skills and the three different weekly deadlines were helpful guideposts to keep exploring the Midwest and to keep our creative thoughts flowing!”

— Jocelyn Zhou (Yale University, from Brookline, MA)

“…this internship allowed me to learn about the Midwest through different lenses — its history, challenges, and areas of growth — that gave me newfound appreciation for the region.”

— Aparna Paul (Case Western Reserve University, from Cleveland, OH)

“This was a wonderful experience! I’m glad to have had a chance to work on improving Toledo through the power of storytelling.”

— Julianna Kim (Harvard University, from Mendham, NJ)

Interested in applying? Check out our college program here and our high school program here.

Midstory’s 2021 summer programming was supported in part by the Secor Fund of the Greater Toledo Community Foundation. To learn more about the grant and how it supports our programming, read our press release.


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