Meet the Interns

Midstory’s 2021 College Internship Program

Matthew Albrecht | University of Wisconsin-Whitewater | Film Studies, Electronic Media

Matthew Albrecht is from Muskego, WI. He just graduated this Spring with a BA Double Major in Film Studies and Electronic Media from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He has a deep passion for the film industry and narrative storytelling; he is using my experience in writing and directing to pursue opportunities within the field. He has experience in scriptwriting, video shooting, and editing, with plans to write and direct his own feature length films someday. A fun fact about him is that he created a 30-minute short film for his senior capstone film project, and it is currently streaming on YouTube!

This summer, with Midstory, he is most excited to meet and collaborate with other passionate storytellers and focus on projects that highlight the Midwest's role in the film industry. He is also excited to explore stories within regards to social justice development and progression in the Midwest.

Ioanna Athanasopoulou | Rhode Island School of Design | Architecture

Ioanna is currently in the summer of her junior year studying to complete her BArch in Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. She comes from a small seaside fishers’ village in the north of Greece which was home to Greek immigrants from the Persian region around the 1920s. During recent years, the village has seen a big influx of tourists and each year dedicates more and more land to accommodate them. Growing up here, Ioanna has learned the importance of memory and identity in both architecture and land, which is something she is interested in exploring in both the field of design work and writing.

At Midstory, she would like to explore further the tourism industry and its impacts on the land that accommodates them. As an international student, she has little knowledge of the industry in the U.S. and even less about the Midwest, so she is interested in doing some research regarding areas within this region and further connects this to her research on the Greece situation that she began earlier this year. Also, she is excited to work with content including map making, creative nonfiction writing and graphic design.

Bonus fact: During her time living alone in the U.S., she adopted a little Miniature Pinscher, who she named Moti after her home village, Keramoti.

Lincy Chen | Cornell University | Industrial Labor Relations

Lincy Chen is a rising sophomore at Cornell majoring in Industrial Labor Relations. She is passionate about applying statistics and programming to learning more about the social sciences. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, shopping and cross-stitching.

At Midstory, she hopes to engage in research projects using data to explain issues in public policy and labor. Having grown up in Bowling Green, Ohio, she looks forward to learning how to create graphics and data visualizations that share insight into labor conditions in Ohio.

Bonus fact: She has over 100 million bells in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Paige Cirtwill | Ohio State University | Journalism

Paige is from North Lawrence, OH, a small town about 20 minutes outside Canton. She graduated from Tuslaw High School and currently attends The Ohio State University where she studies journalism. She was a reporter for The Lantern (Ohio State's student newspaper) last semester and now serves as a senior reporter. She is also a research assistant in the Communication and Psychophysiology Lab at OSU. She enjoys reading about history and culture, binging anime, and eating ice cream. This summer, she is most looking forward to learning more about the Midwest and Ohio through research and reporting.

Bonus fact: She got her cat Sammy at a Dunkin' Donuts.

William Clark | Northwestern University | Journalism, History

Will Clark is a sophomore at Northwestern University double majoring in Journalism and History. He is also interested in languages and is considering a minor in French or Arabic. In his journalistic work, Will is interested in social and environment policy, and how each intersects with American history. He enjoys using multiple journalistic mediums to delve into these issues and has worked on audio and print feature projects as a reporter at the Daily Northwestern. Outside of academics, Will enjoys long walks, reading, cooking for friends and family, and just about every genre of music.

With Midstory, Will hopes to write articles and conduct research on the ways labor and environmental policy interact with inequality and environmental issues in the Midwest. He also looks forward to working with the podcasting team to create audio storytelling pieces.

Bonus fact: During Will’s three years working at a fudge and ice cream shop, he and his coworkers created a Spotify playlist featuring only songs about money, which they would play through the store’s Bluetooth speakers in hopes the music would subconsciously convince customers to tip more. He’s 99% sure it doesn’t work, but he’s willing to share the link – it’s a good playlist!

Sarah Dolgin | Syracuse University | Newspaper and Online Journalism and Information Management and Technology

Sarah is a rising junior at Syracuse University dually majoring in Newspaper and Online Journalism and Information Management and Technology in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the School of Information Studies. She is from a small village in Westchester County, NY, called Briarcliff Manor, and has worked for her local newspaper as well as her university's publications. In her free time, she likes to run and loves reading & working at her hometown bookstore.

With Midstory, she hopes to meet and collaborate with different people and write a multitude of articles covering a wide range of issues. She looks forward to connecting with others and sharing their stories.

Bonus fact: Sarah is a rabbit mom to her beloved rabbit "Bean".

Lawrence-Jason Dukes | Morgan State University | Multimedia Journalism

Lawrence-Jason Dukes is originally from Rochester, NY. Currently, he is a Senior at Morgan State University majoring in Multimedia Journalism. His interests include spending time with family, American football, playing video games, sports journalism and exercising. One fun fact about him is that he is ambidextrous.

This summer, he is most looking forward to learning from the rest of his peers and the rest of the Midstory team

Elise Hannum | Northwestern University | Journalism, Sociology

Elise Hannum is a rising senior at Northwestern University, majoring in journalism and sociology and minoring in French. She was proudly born and raised in Saint Paul, MN. She is interested in long-form storytelling and deep dives on current trends. In her free time, she likes to bake, do yoga, and binge watch TV shows from the '90s. A fun fact about Elise is that knows pretty much all the lyrics to any Taylor Swift song.

With Midstory, Elise is excited to write about social issues in the Midwest, as well as the implications of national coverage of Midwestern stories. She also looks forward to trying out multimedia storytelling with audio and video pieces.

Grace Jensen | Smith College | Government, Spanish

Grace is an incoming senior at Smith College in Northampton, MA, but is spending the summer in her hometown of Ann Arbor, MI. She is a Government major and Spanish minor, hoping to travel and work in political journalism or communications post-grad. She has previous journalism experience with The Communicator, The Sophian, and Current Magazine. In her free time, Grace enjoys photography, cooking and baking new recipes, and euchre with friends.

This summer, Grace is most looking forward to writing and researching stories that affect the Midwest and often go untold and unheard in the broader national narrative. She also hopes to contribute and learn more about feature photography, graphic design, and web publishing.

Bonus fact: Grace's favorite flowers are dandelions, which she wrote a song about (and performed) when she was little!

Avani Kalra | Northwestern University | Journalism

Avani is a rising freshman at Northwestern University, and she is planning to major in Journalism at its Medill School. She is from Chicago, and is particularly interested in (someday) reporting from abroad. Outside of school, Avani loves baking way too often, hiking, and embroidery.

While at Midstory, Avani is most excited to try her hand at new mediums of storytelling, including audio-journalism and long-form investigative projects. She is looking forward to (virtually) exploring the City of Toledo, while continuing to learn more about the people in her own Midwestern home city.

Bonus fact: Avani is currently on a gap year, during which she learned how to professionally pour and finish candles!

Susanna Kemp | Northwestern University | Journalism

Susanna is an incoming senior at Northwestern University, where she is majoring in journalism and minoring in creative writing and Spanish. She is originally from the Boston area but currently lives in Evanston, IL for school. Apart from academics, she spends a lot of time cooking, trying to keep her plants alive, and exploring the Chicago area by bike. A fun fact about her is that she DJs a weekly show on Northwestern’s radio station, WNUR, where she plays everything from indie rock to electronic music depending on the mood she’s in. She loves live music too, and pre-COVID she photographed and reviewed Chicago concerts for WNUR’s website.

She can’t wait to join the Midstory team this summer, and she is especially excited to learn more about graphic design and visual storytelling. She is also really passionate about education and hopes to tell some stories about the lingering effects of the pandemic on education in the Midwest.

Julianna Kim | Harvard University | Creative Writing

Julianna Kim is a junior at Harvard (although she's currently located in Mendham, NJ) studying Creative Writing. She loves interactive, multimedia storytelling projects: everything from video games to podcasts to playwriting! When she's not doing that, Julianna can be found fostering kittens, gardening outdoors, and writing things to procrastinate writing other things.

Julianna hopes to make some really awesome creative pieces for Midstory, whether that be writing realistic fiction, designing some cool video graphics, or planning out an entire Alternate Reality Game! She is extremely excited to collaborate with the other interns, especially those who can code.

Bonus fact: The Kim household has recently adopted its first puppy. This is going to be a very interesting summer.

Auhjanae McGee | Princeton University | English, Journalism, African American Studies

Auhjanae McGee is a rising junior at Princeton University from Detroit, MI. She is an English major pursuing certificates in Journalism and African American Studies. At Princeton, she is a head editor for The Daily Princetonian's arts and culture section, The Prospect, as well as a senior copy editor and member of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Board. Outside of The Daily Princetonian,, she works for the Office of International Programs, and is a member of the Scholars Institute Fellows Program and the Film Society.

This summer with Midstory, she is most excited to learn more about the Midwest outside of Detroit, as well as to write about a multitude of topics that interest her, including food, the environment, race and culture, education, and the arts.

Bonus fact: She is hypermobile and can bend her arms back over her head.

Kajinowele Lungu | University of Chicago | Political Science

Kaji is a rising senior at the University of Chicago majoring in political science. He loves the outdoors, particularly hiking, camping and participating in high ropes course challenges. He is from a small rural town called Randolph in the beautiful state of Vermont. Some other things he enjoys include playing (as well as watching) basketball and soccer, video games and weight lifting. He also loves space (Interstellar is his favorite movie).

Owen MacMillan | Kent State University | Journalism, Political Science

Owen is a senior at Kent State University studying journalism and political science and is from Bay Village, OH. He has worked at the university paper, the Kent State, for three years, and last year was the sports editor for both the fall and spring semesters. With Midstory Owen hopes to do his part to help build up and inform the midwest and northern Ohio, where he was born and raised.

Zoe Neely | School of Visual Arts | Animation

Zoe Neely is currently a rising sophomore at the School of Visual Arts where she is pursuing a BFA in Animation. Originally from Cleveland, OH, she is a passionate and dedicated animator, storyboard and background artist, and writer. Additionally, she works as an illustrator and graphic designer. She loves coming up with stories and bringing them to life through her art. Zoe is the illustrator for several children’s books and has produced her own animated shorts as well as commercial products. She was runner up in the 2019 and 2020 Kids Film It Festival animation category for her films “Cat Fight” and “Joe” respectively. Zoe also received an honorable mention from the Scholastic Art Awards in 2019 and 2020. She has worked as a freelance animator with companies such as My Malibu Swimsuit, Chicken Joe’s Restaurant, and NxtGen Nexus. Zoe has been a board member and the head graphic designer for Burning River Baroque, a non-profit early music organization, since 2016. Additionally, she is an illustration intern for Vol Up 2 Magazine and an in-house designer at Joffe Emergency Services. Outside of art, Zoe enjoys café sketching, watching movies, and being outdoors; one time she accidentally fell in a frozen river in January on a camping trip.

With Midstory, she is most excited to get to collaborate with other interns at Midstory this summer and combine her writing and artistic skills.

Cate Novak | Michigan State University | Social Relations and Policy, Spanish

Cate is a rising fourth-year student at Michigan State University from Palatine, IL a suburb outside of Chicago. She studies Social Relations and Policy and Spanish, and is pursuing a minor in Educational Studies. At MSU, she participates in a professional pre-law and public policy fraternity, Kappa Omega Alpha, and enjoys exploring new places in Michigan with friends in her free time.

At Midstory, she is looking forward to researching current social issues in the Midwest and collaborating with interns from universities across the country.

Bonus fact: She loves to read and owns over 250 books!

Tomás Miriti Pacheco | University of Chicago | English, Creative Writing

Tomás Miriti Pacheco is a rising junior at the University of Chicago studying English and Creative Writing. Coming from Columbus, OH, he looks forward to pursuing stories in his hometown, particularly its vibrant arts community (his own passion for writing was sparked in local open mics and poetry slams).

Bonus fact: He's 7 feet tall!

Aparna Paul | Case Western Reserve University | Chemical Engineering, English

Aparna is a fifth-year student at Case Western Reserve University majoring in Chemical Engineering and English. She is originally from Elizabethtown, PA, and she will be completing the first half of this internship in Cleveland, OH, and the second half back in Pennsylvania. She is particularly interested in environmental studies, energy storage, and literary ecocriticism. Outside of academics, Aparna enjoys reading and writing fiction, keeping her basil plant alive, and doing crosswords with her friends.

With Midstory, Aparna hopes to write articles and conduct research about the social implications of science, technology and environmental issues in the Midwest, especially with regards to energy and entrepreneurship in the region. She is also looking forward to conducting interviews in the greater Cleveland area and learning more about how energy policies are affecting citizen's everyday lives.

Bonus fact: Aparna has library cards in seven different library systems (Lancaster, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Boston, and Cambridge).

Elizabeth Peng | University of California, San Diego | International Studies, Sociology

Elizabeth is currently an incoming second year at the University of California, San Diego majoring in International Studies and Sociology. Her hometown is Diamond Bar, CA She writes for the News section of The Triton, an independent student news outlet at UCSD. She enjoys learning about people's experiences and writing news and feature stories. She is also interested in graphic design and visual storytelling. In her free time, she likes to play tennis, listen to music, read novels and webcomics, and create art.

This summer, she is looking forward to learning more about the Midwest, sharing people's experiences and voices in my stories, and exploring different topics and issues. She is also looking forward to creating graphics and learning how to bring a story to another level with the visuals. She hopes to write stories and create work that will spread awareness and have a meaningful impact on readers.

Bonus fact: She started learning French at the end of March, and it has been both challenging and interesting to learn more about a different language and culture. Learning a new language has been a humbling and mind-opening experience, and she looks forward to gaining a better understanding of the culture and viewing the world from a different perspective.

Peirce Robinson | Brandeis University | Theater Arts, Film, Journalism

Peirce is a senior at Brandeis University, MA, majoring in Theater Arts and Film, with a minor in Journalism. Hailing from Philadelphia, PA, Peirce has always loved to act and make films, but recently he’s begun to explore how important storytelling is to our humanity, and how telling these stories can be both economical and equitable. In his free time, Peirce loves to hike, explore abandoned buildings, watch cartoons, and has recently begun gardening.

During his time with Midstory, Peirce hopes to consider how the entertainment industry in the Midwest and beyond is used both to separate people and to bring them together. He aims to use virtual mediums to advocate for representation and accessibility in entertainment, as well as to find new ways to lend voices to new stories.

Bonus fact: Peirce has seen Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End at least 50 times, and doesn’t plan on stopping now.

Julianne Tippett | Carnegie Mellon University | Social and Political History

Julianne Tippett is a social and political history major at Carnegie Mellon University. She is interested in environmental justice and income inequality and has worked for the Climate Institute and the Western Center on Law and Poverty. She is originally from Torrance, California, and in her free time she loves reading, going to the beach, and thrifting.

With Midstory she hopes to write articles about both income inequality and environmental issues. She also hopes to profile community leaders in Toledo in order to gain a deeper insight of the challenges facing the Midwest. She is looking forward to working with such a talented team!

Bonus fact: Her name is graffitied on the California state capitol building.

Simone Toney | Wellesley College | Psychology

Simone Toney grew up in South Orange, NJ. She is a rising junior at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts majoring in psychology. She is particularly interested in learning about clinical psychology and about how the criminal justice system interacts with psychology.

She loves music and has been learning to play the piano since her freshman year at Wellesley, though she would also love to restart a cappella since she’s been on a hiatus since high school. She loves hanging out and grabbing coffee with her friends and playing spades and board games with her family. What she is most looking forward to this summer with Midstory is learning from her fellow interns and honing her writing skills to fit pieces that are published to the public. She is also hoping to learn about graphic design!

Bonus fact: She has an identical twin sister!

Harrison Tremarello | Northwestern University | Journalism, Political Science

Harrison is a rising senior at Northwestern University studying Journalism and Political Science. As a multimedia journalist and former video editor for The Daily Northwestern, he enjoys incorporating audio and video elements to print stories. With a developing passion for investigative reporting, he is also interested in how local, state and federal policies shape how people live. Although he will be working remotely from the Chicago area, he still fondly thinks of Milwaukee as home.

At Midstory, Harrison is excited to explore new digital storytelling methods to drive stories advancing solutions for challenges facing communities across Toledo and the broader Midwest.

Bonus fact: When he’s not in the field or editing, Harrison is on the hunt for used classic rock, soul and blues records.

Jocelyn Zhou | Yale University | Undecided

After moving around a bit during her childhood, Jocelyn now lives in Brookline, MA and will be starting her fourth term at Yale in the fall. While she still can’t decide on a major (there are too many to choose from!), she’s always been in love with stories and is particularly excited to explore how to use narrative structures in interdisciplinary ways, especially as a tool for problem solving and building cross-cultural understanding. She also loves dogs, paint-by-number kits and all things chocolate.

This summer, Jocelyn hopes to gain skills in interviewing and graphic design, but she is mostly looking forward to meeting and learning from all the amazing people at Midstory.

Bonus fact: The back of her head is flat from not being caught during a trust fall as a kid (she will always ask if you want to touch it, but feel free to decline, of course).