By Jason Mount
When traveling in a new state, it’s helpful to have an idea of what there is to do and where everything is. That is where senior English writing major Kathryn Weniger comes in.
Weniger landed an internship with the New Jersey Department of State, in the division of Travel and Tourism, where she helps work on the New Jersey Travel Guide. She was the company’s first ever fall intern.
“It turned out to be a really good internship,” said Weniger. “I applied for them on a whim, like ‘let’s see where this goes,’ and I heard back from them two days later for an interview. And a week after I applied, I got the position.”
A typical day at her internship involves a lot of fact-checking. Weniger said that she was drawn to the internship because it was a hands-on opportunity with a major publication, and because she has loved traveling around New Jersey since she has lived in the state all her life.
The travel guide that Weniger writes for contains many different lists of state attractions, she explained. The guide also contains feature articles for particular destinations that she has written.
“Right now, I’m in the middle of fact-checking the distance of trails just to make sure everything is 100 percent accurate,” Weniger elaborated. “There’s really weird stuff you have to fact-check all the time. A lot of what my summer consisted of was fact-checking phone numbers and addresses for all the listings we have.”
One of the most noteworthy aspects about the internship, Weniger said, is that it felt “like I had a real job.”
Weniger has faced ups and downs while interning. Some of the highs include “just getting to write” as well as seeing her own work published. She also enjoys working at the state department because “it looks very official on a résumé.”
However, the main challenge of the internship was how exhausting fact-checking was, she said.
“Sometimes it can be kind of tedious, so you’ll go through a lot and nothing has changed, and then suddenly one thing will change and that will be the highlight of your day,” said Weniger.
Weniger also mentioned that her advertising classes here at Rider helped prepare her for the internship, but mentioned one English class that also helped: her non-fiction class with English literature professor Mickey Hess.
“It taught me to write creatively about things that you would normally find boring,” Weniger said.
Hess believes that, with classes such as non-fiction, students gain a new appreciation for writing, especially for publishing companies.
“Students read current writing so that they’re knowledgeable about what’s being published right now,” he said. “Their awareness of it gives students like [Weniger] an advantage when they approach literary agents or small presses about internships or jobs.”
Weniger believed that her advertising minor helped her stand out from the other candidates, and that her interview went well because she researched the company beforehand.
For those who want to get involved in this particular line of work, or land an internship anywhere, Weniger had this advice to give: “Look everywhere. Apply as much and as often as you can, and go for anything.”
Printed in the 12/7/16 edition.