Meet the Interns

Midstory’s 2022 College Internship Program

Chisom Akpom | University of Chicago | Computer Science

Chisom is a rising second-year student at the University of Chicago. She’s from Arlington, Texas, and has interests in linguists, music, traveling and film.

At Midstory, She’s looking forward to collaborating with others to share stories in unique ways.

Bonus Fact: Chisom can speak four languages.

Victoria Benefield | Northwestern University | Journalism and History

Victoria Benefield is a junior at Northwestern University studying journalism, history, and film and media studies. She is passionate about long-form, multimedia journalism with an emphasis on social justice and immigration reporting, especially on the AAPI community. Hailing from Long Beach, California, Victoria can be found hanging out with her dogs, baking mediocre cakes or training for her next half marathon.

Veronica (Roni) Deckard | Boston University | Sociology, minor in Journalism

Roni is a senior at Boston University majoring in Sociology and minoring in Journalism. Her academic interests center on immigration and its reform. She has conducted research with her professors on projects involving the efficacy of certain immigration relief. When not in school, Roni can be found enjoying a peanut butter (always crunchy) sandwich with a book somewhere deep in the woods or working as a whitewater rafting guide.

In her time at Midstory, Roni hopes to facilitate multimedia-based projects regarding immigration related initiatives in the Midwest. She is excited to grow her storytelling abilities in an audio format.

Bonus Fact: Roni has tripped and fallen down a flight of stairs on the Great Wall of China (her hefty backpack saved her fall).

Michelle (Michi) Franklin | University of Chicago | Philosophy

Michelle Franklin is a first-year student at the University of Chicago. She loves reading and writing.

This summer with Midstory, she is most excited to meet new people from different cities and to learn from them.

Bonus Fact: Michelle has seven screws in her right ankle from playing competitive softball.

Jasmine Green | Harvard University | Social Studies and Arabic

Jasmine is a rising junior at Harvard majoring in Social Studies and pursuing a language citation in Arabic. At school, they are a contributing writer to The Harvard Crimson, and edit op-eds as an executive for the paper, as well. In her hometown of Chicago, Jasmine enjoys reading, roller skating and spending time with friends and family.

This summer at Midstory, Jasmine hopes to develop her research skills while learning more about how to connect issues that recur across cities in the Midwest through storytelling.

Bonus Fact: Jasmine loves grape jolly ranchers, which apparently is the worst flavor?

Joanna Hou | Northwestern University | Journalism and History

Joanna is a rising sophomore at Northwestern University double majoring in journalism and history. She originally is from sunny San Diego, but is embracing the Midwest and all its seasons. At Northwestern, she’s served as a reporter and editor at The Daily Northwestern.

At Midstory, Joanna looks forward to writing long-form features and hopes to spotlight housing issues and activism with her work.

Bonus Fact: Joanna can play five different instruments!

Kristina Kim | University of Chicago | Public Policy, Human Rights and Creative Writing

Kristina Kim is an ethnic Korean born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She is in her final year of college at the University of Chicago and studies Public Policy, Human Rights and Creative Writing. Since moving to Chicago, Kristina has been a published poet, featured spoken word performer, active community organizer and peace circle trainee, and has interned with The Chicago Poetry Center and Westside Justice Center. Currently, she dances with a competitive hip hop dance crew and is studying for the LSAT.

Bonus Fact: From January to March, Kristina lived with a local family in Oaxaca, Mexico for a study abroad program. Aside from practicing her Spanish and learning about Latin American civilizations, her favorite part was traveling to different cities and villages on the weekends and meeting new people.

Logan Klutse | Yale University | English and Theater Studies

Logan Klutse is a junior at Yale University studying English and Theater Studies, where He is a member of WORD, the oldest and (most hype!) performance poetry group on campus. He’s also interested in playwriting, creative nonfiction, game development and journalism. He calls Lakewood, Colorado, home.

He’s really excited to meet the other interns at Midstory and see what their outlooks on storytelling are!

Bonus Fact: Logan was born on April Fools' Day!

Yee-Lynn Lee | Amherst College | Economics

Yee-Lynn is a rising senior at Amherst College majoring in economics. Originally from Eldersburg, MD, Lynn is currently the editor-in-chief of The Amherst Student, the campus newspaper at her school. In her free time, Lynn likes listening to Chinese songs and watching Chinese dramas.

At Midstory, Lynn is looking forward to working with the other interns and exploring new mediums of storytelling.

Bonus Fact: Lynn has a twin brother!

Russell Leung | Northwestern University | Journalism, Environmental Science and Spanish

Russell Leung is a rising junior studying Journalism, Environmental Sciences and Spanish at Northwestern University. He hails from Flushing, New York, and when he's not working at The Daily Northwestern he enjoys listening to rock music, watching the Knicks and playing twenty different variations of Wordle.

At Midstory, he is most looking forward to learning more about the history of the Midwest and applying that knowledge to projects that look toward the region's future.

Bonus Fact: Russell’s family owns a Chinatown restaurant at which Rihanna and A$AP Rocky once dined.

Ester Luna | Yale University | Comparative Literature and Linguistics

Ester is a rising sophomore at Yale University from Washington, DC. She is a prospective double-major in Comparative Literature and Linguistics and is interested in how these fields intersect with issues of human rights, such as language justice.

Ester enjoys creative writing and translates fiction and medical literature from and into French, Italian and English. At Yale, she is the curriculum director of the Building Bridges club, an editor for the French literary magazine L’Amuse-Bouche, and volunteers as an interpreter for political asylum cases through the Yale Interpretation Network.

This summer, Ester is looking forward to learning about Midwest culture, as well as to honing her journalistic writing, podcasting and filmmaking skills. She can’t wait to meet and collaborate with the other interns!

Bonus Fact: Ester sleeps without a pillow.

John Nguyen | Yale University | English, Creative Writing

John is a rising junior at Yale University majoring in English, hoping to concentrate in creative writing. He enjoys mentoring students with their writing and is obsessed with em dashes. From Saint Paul, Minnesota, John likes to sing, watch anime, write poetry, short stories, and personal essays, play with his puppy Kenzie, decorate spaces with flowers, and read.

This summer, he’d like to meditate on the myth that blue states in the North are free of racism, on police brutality in the Twin Cities and anti-Asian hate nationally, on rejecting simplistic, binary ways of thought, on the culture-shocks experienced by Midwestern high-schoolers leaving their region for college, on love and critique, on farmers’ markets and on language as a simultaneously alienating and liberating tool. Graphic design is a skill he hopes to work on!

Alex Ori | Yale University | English and Data Science

Alex is a rising junior at Yale University studying English and Data Science. She is from Chicago, IL and is excited to strengthen her appreciation for the Midwest at Midstory this summer. At school she reports for the Yale Daily News, but also enjoys writing creatively. In her free time, she follows the Cubs and writes fake SNL skits that aren’t particularly funny to anyone but herself.

This summer, Alex is excited to learn about other Midwestern cities besides Chicago. She can’t wait to work on long-form, investigative pieces and hopes to blend her interests in both storytelling and statistics to produce meaningful, thoughtful journalism.

Elizabeth Peng | University of California, San Diego | International Studies - Linguistics

Elizabeth is an incoming third-year student at the University of California, San Diego majoring in International Studies - Linguistics. She is planning to take on a Chinese Studies major and a French Literature minor. Her hometown is Diamond Bar, California. She is the News Editor on The Triton, an independent student news outlet at UCSD, and she enjoys writing news and feature stories. She finds stories, languages, and cultures fascinating, and loves learning and hearing about people's experiences. In her free time, she likes to dance, travel and explore new places and listen to music.

This summer, she is looking forward to learning more about the Midwest, discovering and sharing people's stories, and challenging herself to try new things. She wants to improve at graphic design and explore interactive storytelling. She hopes to create content that will allow people to learn more about undertold narratives and that will inspire and resonate with readers.

Bonus Fact: Elizabeth started ballroom dancing in 2020 when classes were online. It has been an incredible experience to reignite her interest in dance and to go from learning choreography at home via Zoom to dancing and competing with others in person this past school year.

Annalise Peterson | Northwestern University | Journalism and Legal Studies

Annalise Peterson is a rising sophomore at Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, majoring in Journalism with a minor in Legal Studies. She is passionate about local reporting through both print and multimedia. Outside of journalism classes, she also focuses on mass incarceration and prison reformation.

Beyond the classroom, Annalise can be found tossing a frisbee with Northwestern's ultimate team. She is thrilled to be working with Midstory this summer from her hometown outside Amherst, MA, and hopes to apply her experience in Chicago to research in the broader Midwest. She is especially interested in developing new technical skills in video and audio production.

Bonus Fact: Annalise can speak conversational Mandarin!

Ella Sheedlo | University of Michigan | Communications

Ella is a junior at the University of Michigan, majoring in Communications. She is interested in being an editor, especially in the field of literature. In her free time, she enjoys fiction writing, reading and listening to podcasts during long walks. Originally from Owosso, Michigan, Ella is looking forward to both bringing her own experiences as a Midwesterner and gaining a new appreciation for her home territory.

She is excited to research and write about arts and culture in the Midwest.

Bonus Fact: Ella’s favorite flowers are dark purple irises!

Nicole Tan | Northwestern University | Journalism and Legal Studies

Nicole is a rising sophomore at Northwestern University from Hong Kong. As a Journalism and Legal Studies double major (with a minor in political science), she is interested in the role news coverage plays in the political scene and is currently researching local news deserts in the United States. She has previously worked at the South China Morning Post (YP) in Hong Kong. Outside of academics, Nicole enjoys singing, baking and watching horror movies.

At Midstory, Nicole looks forward to conducting research on local, community-based issues and sharing it through articles. She hopes to explore long-form investigative journalism, as well as her new home in the Midwest.

Bonus Fact: Nicole has also lived in Shanghai and Taipei!