Author Archives: Daniel Nester

Intern Profile: Chris Surprenant at Modern Farmer magazine

Surprenant1Chris Surprenant (right) was an editorial assistant at Modern Farmer, based in Hudson, NY. Here is his account.

During my time at Modern Farmer, I was required to do a variety of different tasks for both their print magazine and website. I produced several transcriptions of phone interviews that ranged anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour long. I was also required to create several photo posts using materials from the Library of Congress, and conducted a phone interview that I later turned into a Question and Answer post for their website.

When I was not involved with the writing side of things, I was actively involved in administrative duties that required me to take inventory of their online store items. For this, I created a spreadsheet that included names and addresses of potential places where the magazine would be sold. While I performed a variety of different tasks, creating photo posts and transcribing were my two biggest responsibilities.

summer14I pitched our web editor three or four ideas, and he chose which one he felt would generate the most online traffic. Once I was given the go-ahead, I would spend the afternoon gathering up a collection of photos from the Library of Congress, create a document with the provided captions, and write a short blurb about the spread itself. I then uploaded the photos and captions to their website through WordPress where I would arrange them according to preset guidelines. The following week, the post would be published on a Friday afternoon. As for the transcriptions, they were a tedious but integral part of the writing process for the writers. On average, a half an hour interview could take up to two hours to transcribe without interruption.

I was able to observe how a print magazine is put together and the many steps it takes to actually create a final product. The pitching process was also interesting to observe, as I was able to see what would or would not fit into the magazine and why.

I was definitely able to see the potential of an English major in the workforce, particularly in areas that rely heavily on writing and research. English majors are trained to find answers to hard questions with all of our research papers we write. Also, knowing how to correctly form a sentence is something that is valuable in the news industry. Clarity and the conciseness are things we are taught as undergraduates in our writing, and it is overwhelmingly applicable when writing a story.

The creative muscle of an English major is also incredibly valuable. The “7 Prominent Pop Culture Pigs” post I created required me to be able to phrase their biographies in such a way that was not only humorous, but also clear and brief. These are skills that I feel can be applied to marketing, writing, editing, or research positions in the future. I’ve learned that, as an English major, it’s all about how we market ourselves. We can’t say that we just read a lot of books and wrote a lot of papers. That’s reductive. It’s elaborating on how we did those things that employers will ultimately care about.

For English majors who will eventually be doing their internships, my advice would be to write, write, and write! Modern Farmer liked that I had clips to show them to actually prove I could coherently string words together and write on variety of topics in different ways. Also, it’s a good idea to join clubs where there is a lot of collaboration. My time at The Chronicle not only gave me an outlet to write, but it also required an immense amount of teamwork. I think that those traits are valuable not only for landing an internship, but for functioning in the real world.


Announcing: The College of Saint Rose High School Essay Contest!

EssayContestFlyer 001 The English Department at The College of Saint Rose is starting an essay contest for high school juniors and seniors.  The theme for this contest in 2014-2015 is:

If you could share a meal with a fictional character, author, or filmmaker, who would this be? How has he or she affected your life?  What would you eat?  What would you discuss? 

Any high school junior or senior is welcome to submit an essay related to this topic.  Research is not required, but, if you choose to do research, make sure you give credit to your sources.  Essays will be judged on originality, depth, clarity, and correctness.

FIRST  PRIZE:  $300.00

SECOND PRIZE:  $200.00


LENGTH:  Between 3 and 5 pages (in 12-point type, double spaced, with 1-inch margins).  Do not include your name on the pages of the essay.

SUBMISSION:  You may send a print copy of your essay to: Dr. Catherine Cavanaugh, The College of Saint Rose, English Department, 432 Western Ave., Albany, NY 12203.  If you prefer, you may email your essay in a Word document to  Include a separate document (print or electronic) with your name, contact information, high school, the title of the essay, and the name of your English teacher.

DEADLINE:  December 3, 2014.  Winners will be notified in February 2015.  All winners and their parents and English teachers will be invited to an awards ceremony at The College of Saint Rose in Spring 2015.

QUESTIONS: Contact Dr. Catherine Cavanaugh

The College of Saint Rose ( is a dynamic, comprehensive college of nearly 5,000 students. Located in the city of Albany, the heart of New York State’s Capital District, the College is a private, independent, coeducational institution with a comprehensive liberal education curriculum and progressive academic programs.  For almost 100 years, the programs at Saint Rose have included strong and continually evolving majors in English and English-Adolescence Education (   We have nurtured great writing for a long time and welcome applications to our English programs from high school students who care about writing, literature, drama, film, and media studies.

Intern Profile: Hannah Fairbanks at Northeastern Association for the Blind at Albany

photoHannah Fairbanks (right) interned at the Northeastern Association for the Blind at Albany (NABA).  This is her account.

NABA is a not-for-profit organization that provides assistance and support to those who are visually impaired or blind.  The organization serves fourteen counties and helps people of all ages.

During my internship I worked under Michele O’Hare, the head of development and marketing at NABA.  During my time there some of my tasks included writing articles for the newsletter, entering information into the organizations databases, conducting interviews and working during one of NABA’s fundraising events.

I wrote several articles for their annual news letter as well as their website.  I wrote an article for their website about the Blind Golfers Association, asking people to volunteer as coaches.  I also conducted an interview with NABA’s employment specialist and wrote an article about the Work Experience Training program she put together. 

What I was most excited about was the mail appeal letter I wrote.  I wrote it about Lois Winner, an elderly woman with vision loss.  The mail appeal letter is sent out asking people across the fourteen counties NABA serves to donate during the holiday season.  This mail appeal letter will reach thousands of people. It was exciting to know so many people would see something I wrote.  It was also a nice experience that I got to meet and have lunch with Ms. Winner and read her the letter I wrote.

Another task that really stood out to me was my work during NABA’s Casino Night fundraiser.  The fundraiser took place at the Albany Country Club and had more than two hundred guests in attendance.  My job was to sign people in and collect their information for the mailing list.  Although the job was not difficult, it was eye opening.  Prior to this internship, I had no idea the amount of work that went into a not-for-profit.  They rely on donations to provide support to those who need it, making fundraisers such as Casino Night a big deal. It was interesting to see all the preparation and dedication from people working at NABA to pull off such a large event.

I benefited a great deal from this internship.  Before working at NABA, I had a very limited idea about what it meant to work for a not-for-profit.   I now know that it takes a lot of work, and you have to be willing to do an assortment of tasks in order to help the organization.

One day, I ended up making salad in NABA’s kitchen for a luncheon they were having.  My internship advisor told me that when you work for a not-for-profit you have to be willing to do anything to help out, and sometimes that means making salads. That’s when I realized that working in a not-for-profit is something I could see myself doing as a career.  I like the idea of never sitting and doing the same thing day in and day out.   I learned a lot about what it means to be professional as well as the importance of performing tasks given to me in a timely manner.

This internship connected directly to being an English major.  Working on newsletter articles each week as well as working on articles for the website allowed me to use my writing skills.  I also got to conduct an interview with a NABA employee, as well as people that attended NABA’s Tech Fair.  I had learned about interview techniques in an English class I took Freshman year which made it easier and less stressful. Furthermore, I had to write emails and perform tasks in a timely manner, which I believe is relevant for every major, not just English.

My biggest advice to students about to embark on the journey of finding an internship is to go somewhere you’re interested in but might not know a lot about.  Going to a not-for-profit was so beneficial to me because it allowed me to see another side of business.  In my opinion, there’s no better time to try something new then during an internship.  You’re really not going to lose anything from going somewhere you don’t know a lot about, you’ll end up learning so much.  I now know I would like to work for a not-for-profit which is something I would have never learned about myself had I not interned at NABA.  

Intern Profile: Samantha Short at The Sanctuary for Independent Media

Short Samantha photo1Samantha Short was the Social Media Intern at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY. Here’s her account.

My first duties were to create events on the Sanctuary Facebook page and website and create pages on the Sanctuary ticket seller website, I also helped create an entirely new segment on their website called People Power. In this part of their website, I created new stories about almost all of the people who volunteer and spend their time helping out with the Sanctuary. The People Power page has buttons that navigate you to each section of the page: for example, I created the Kitchen Sanctuary button, which has a different story for each person that has dedicated their time in helping to prepare and share food with the community. I have also written stories for the intern page, the Youth Media Sanctuary page, the Funders and Inspiration page, as well as many more organizations and people that volunteer. I also wrote up the press releases for their events of the Fall 2013 season, as well as attended some events to help out with the door and café.

Short Samantha photo3I met artists and presenters from all over the world who came to perform and speak at The Sanctuary. I have definitely broadened my horizons by learning about these different artists and organizations that are affiliated with The Sanctuary. I have not only learned a lot about these people, but I have also learned a lot about different types of media, which was helpful because I would like to pursue a career in that field.

After writing all the stories, descriptions, bios, and press releases, I now think being an English major was the right path for me. I enjoyed studying the different bands and performers that came to The Sanctuary as well as writing about them on the website to attract the public. When I first came to college, I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my future, but since I started my internship at the Sanctuary, I think I would like to go in the direction of social media and public relations since I enjoyed my time doing this type of work.

Before I started my internship, I thought the only thing that English majors could do with their degree was either become an author or become a librarian. Since my search for an internship, I realized that there is a lot more that could be done with an English degree. I enjoy working with different types of media, and I have realized that there is a need for people who can write and communicate with others in the media world.

Intern Profile: Stephanie Clowe at Hellman Library Archives

Haunted Saint Rose Archival Display

English major Stephanie Clowe, above, poses with her “Haunted Houses of Saint Rose Display.” At her internship at the Hellman Library, she worked with Maria Kessler McShane, librarian and archivist. This is her report.

What does an archivist do? This is the question that plagues every archives intern.

I could tell you that an archivist

  • Preserves history and cultural heritage
  • Digitizes materials for accessibility
  • Assists with research

I could also stress

  • how an archivist selects what is significant and worth saving
  • how an archivist describes the content and conditions of materials
  • how an archivist preserves materials in acid free folders in temperature-controlled rooms

But what I have learned from my experience as the Neil Hellman Library archives intern is how much people love Saint Rose. The history of the College reveals that the traditions of learning, growing and believing in one another are perhaps the strongest qualities of Saint Rose. The support of faculty, students and administrators has been present since the beginning in 1920. What the Saint Rose Archives does is outline the community that the College has created; it’s in the maps, the yearbooks, the photos, the newspapers and the books.

The history of the College would not mean anything if not for the students, past and present. Every student that comes to Saint Rose dreams of achieving a similar goal: to develop abilities, acquire knowledge and the ultimate goal of a meaningful life.

On my first day in the archives my supervisor, Maria Kessler McShane, took me to the special collections. This locked room on the third floor of the library reminds me of the second rule of the archives: what‘s in the archives stays in the archives. This means that the materials in the special collections are non-circulating. Members of the Saint Rose community can look at items and documents but not remove them from the library.

The archive’s special collection is home to the rare book collection, the crowns of all Rose queens, college documents, and realia, which is the term archivists use to categorize three-dimensional objects. The special collections is cool, literally: the room must be at a certain temperature to maintain the quality of the materials. Looking around this windowless room I realized a crucial element of the archives: storage. The college archives is home to a lot of paper products: theses, announcements, photos, but also, glassware, the original Rose Queen gown, and banners. All of these items take up space. Exploring the special collections of the Neil Hellman library helped me to understand just exactly what an archive is and also began my thoughts on projects.

My main project this past semester was blogging under the title “Tales from the Archives.” Each week I would search the archives for a story, something that I wanted to share with the community about Saint Rose’s history. There were times when I really struggled to choose something. What would people find interesting? I wrote blogs about the Saint Rose Chronicle and other student publications. I wrote about the alma mater, course listings, campus maps, and Neil Hellman. Every blog post included a picture that I scanned from the primary document and links to the archives website. Researching for the blog posts was fundamental. The more materials I found meant the more I had to write about.

My favorite project this semester was my display, “Haunted Saint Rose,” in the library window. Among other things October is National Archives month. I created an exhibit about ghostly activity on the college campus. I began researching for this project in the vertical files and found information already assembled on ghosts.

Most of the information about ghosts on campus talked about the same buildings. I compiled the most interesting stories and began searching for ghostly materials in other places. I listened to Sister Dorothy Flood talk about her experience in Carey Hall. I found creepy Halloween photos and a Halloween dance card from 1939. Researching and writing my project was the major part of the display. However, assembling the materials and developing an aesthetic layout was much more time-consuming. After two and a half weeks I took my display down, packed up my materials in a folder, in a box, in the special collections, happily knowing that if someone is ever interested in paranormal activity on the Saint Rose campus. The research is done.

Two other minor projects that I worked on were digitizing the college’s online photo collection and writing supplements to the oral histories. Any romantic would love to look through the photo collection. The boxes I looked through were all from the 1960’s. This was a fascinating time in Saint Rose’s history. So much change. The college went co-educational, non-denominational, there was an increase in “day-hops” or commuter students and the college expanded physically buying more property and building the Events and Activities Center. Scanning, cropping, titling, describing and exporting are all things that went into this project. Out of all of my projects this semester I think I learned the most about the college from listening to the Oral Histories. All of the interviews I listened to were from Sisters who spent decades teaching at the college. Their passion for learning is awe-inspiring; most of the Sisters while teaching were students themselves and achieved Ph. D.’s for this project I listened to each oral history multiple times, wrote a small biography of the Sister, a summary of the interview and a list of subjects discussed.

The skills I have developed as an English major–reading, writing, and researching–truly helped me in my internship. After I graduate in the spring I would like to attend graduate school and study Information Science. The best advice I can give future interns is be enthusiastic about everything. Even the small assignments are important and deserve your full effort and attention.

The archives is an abundance of information. (And yes, I looked in Jimmy Fallon’s file.) Anything you want to know about Saint Rose is in the archives. If you want to see a picture of nuns playing instruments, it’s in the photo collection. If you want to see the Rose Day procession from 1939, it’s in the video collection. If you want to read the first edition of the first student newspaper The Arrow it’s in the newspaper collection.

Maybe I’ve become a nerdy archivist intern, but that somehow seems redundant (like all archivists/ librarians are innately nerdy). And that is something so wonderful because of the archivist’s love of sharing the past with the future.

Intern Profile: Amy Student at The Millay Colony

IMG_20131101_144710_279Amy Student (above) was the Fundraising and Social Media Intern at The Millay Colony for the Arts. Here’s her account.

I did a lot of website maintenance and creation for The Millay Colony. My first assignment was to get them set up with an Indiegogo campaign, which is a website that anyone can use to raise money for a worthy cause. The Millay Colony wanted to raise $20,000 to send four people on a one-month residency on our campus. We successfully raised the money by offering gifts as simple as our colony bookmark and as extravagant as a poker lesson with Annie Duke. I also helped sell tickets to our annual Ruby Party, which also helped us raise some of the money.

I attended the Ruby Party, and helped with a lot of the set-up. We had artists from past residencies come to volunteer for our “Encounter Booths” where you could do anything from having your palm read to getting a poem written just for you. I worked directly with the artists to make sure they had everything they needed for their encounters. I also worked the door where I checked in people who had already purchased tickets and took donations from those who wanted to help our colony. Before the night was over we had raised the $20,000 goal plus thousands more in donations.

During my time with the Colony I spent a lot of time spreading the word about the application process for our residencies. I sent a lot of emails to local art blogs and galleries to raise awareness about our residency programs and to also try to get people interested in applying to our colony. I sent emails to news and radio stations and even got us a mentioned on WEQX.  I made flyers like the one above, and posted them around the Albany area to further spread the word. I also made sure we were on all local events calendars.

There was also basic office work. I would maintain our database of alumni and enter all donation checks. I sent out all the gifts from our Indiegogo campaign and made sure that Caroline and Calliope had everything they needed in the office. I would also do small errands for the residents, and help them with their computer problems.

One night I was there late and got to meet all of the new residents that were going to be with us for the next month. I took the tour of the campus with them, and got to eat dinner with all of the staff and artists. It was really awesome to be able to be surrounded by people who felt so strongly that fallowing your dreams is OK. Someone said in our Indiegogo video that The Millay Colony for the Arts makes her feel like what is she doing is OK, that she is doing what she is supposed to. That night I totally understood everything that woman had said about the Colony.

Being an English Major is a real blessing because I’ll be able to do just about anything I want when I graduate. I have an education that is applicable to so many fields that my possibilities are endless. The Millay Colony for the Arts really showed me that by maintaining a website, updating a data base or just by spreading flyers, I’m using the skills. You can still do all the things you like to do in a professional setting, so yes, The Millay Colony really did make me use my major. After college I really want to work to pursue working at a nonprofit organization. I also like that all the money we raise goes right back into the organization. I always thought that I would have to be either a teacher or a journalist, but there is so much more that we can do with my major.

Intern Profile: Susan King, New Sanctuary for Immigrants


photo 6Susan King (right, above, holding the name tag for Meghan Kelly, pictured at left) interned at New Sanctuary for Immigrants in Albany, NY this past fall semester. We asked her some questions after her internship, and here are her answers.

During the semester I spent at NSI, I did a variety of things, from collecting signatures to petitions for Compassionate Immigration Reform to helping maintain an urban garden. I did it all.

The petition wasn’t necessarily a petition; it was more of a way for members of the Albany community to say they were in favor for Compassionate Immigration reform. This was one of the biggest things I did all semester. Sadly, Immigration Reform was turned down in the house this November. But NSI was able to collect over 500 signatures from Albany County. Which really goes to show people such as our local congressman, Rep. Chris Gibson, and Speaker Bohner that people in Albany are in favor of Immigration Reform.

It was a really fun experience. Myself and other volunteers set up tables as several churches, The University of Albany and Siena College to both have petitions signed and to hand out information on immigration reform.

Some days I was going to meetings to talk about immigrants in the area that were seeking help and what we could do to provide for them. Legal consulting, job searching, ESL programs and assisting in furthering any kind of educational or career goal are things that NSI works will. I was able to observe and assist my director, Meg Kelly, with most of this, even if it was just paperwork, I learned a lot.

Many of the immigrants also benefited from the urban garden from Emmaus House. I offered to care for the garden and was able to help harvest and deliver some of the vegetables to Trinity Alliance Food Pantry. I surprised myself, because I actually really enjoyed it.

Writing a newsletter was something I slowly worked on all semester. I collected information about NSI from August to December and composed everything into a blog for NSI. As an English major it was something I actually really enjoyed. I updated their Facebook page and blogged for their newsletter. Mostly it was letting people know about the work NSI is doing and also informing people about what is going with the organization.

Working with NSI in generally affected my opinion about immigrants. NSI is not just lobbying for immigrants; they do everything you can imagine pertaining to assimilating immigrants into Albany.

There was one specific client I helped. She’s a single woman who had a baby born premature, almost three weeks early. She speaks very little English and had to leave her job after her son was born. She didn’t have anything ready for her baby, not a crib or even a car seat to take him home from the hospital in. I collected donations for her and her son through the college of Saint Rose faculty. I was able to collect several bags of clothes, diapers and various other baby supplies. I was surprised at the response from the entire faculty, and everyone was very thankful for their generosity.

I would like to go abroad and teach English as a Second Language after I graduate, so being exposed to non-native English speakers was really beneficial to me. The most important thing I saw was how people shift from their own specific culture into American culture. It was really challenging for some of them. Simple things that most of us take for granted, like getting a license or even enrolling in high school, becomes a huge struggle for immigrants. Seeing these struggles taught me to be more compassionate towards people. Something I think everyone could learn a little about, not just English majors.

What advice would I give future English major interns at NSI? Have an open mind. You may have a preconceived idea about immigration, but you’ll learn from a whole new perspective if you just keep an open mind. Everyone at NSI is a volunteer. They all give time from their busy lives to this cause. They’re really passionate about what they do, and if you’re interested in helping the cause, then you are welcomed with open arms.