Submitted by Sarah Eldred
Minnesota Public Radio’s 50th anniversary is right around the corner. Just a few months ago, Ali Lozoff was chosen to organize this benchmark year with celebrations, events and programs. Interns Jackie Lawyer and Afua Paintsil were hired to jump-start this enormous project.
Jackie Lawyer is beginning her sophomore year at the University of Pennsylvania in just a few days. She applied for the internship because she “thought that the skills learned and practiced here would be applicable to an undertaking I have waiting for me when I head back to school.”
“I’m learning a lot about the specifics of the archival process, which, before this internship, really only extended as far as the fact that fingerprints and pictures are not friends.” On a more serious note, “I’ve managed to absorb that way of holding one’s self for when I actually exit my college student bubble and enter the real world. The project itself has allowed me to view the company’s history in photos, and I can assure you the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is definitely an average–some of them get your brain going and produce far more than a thousand words, and others just leave you with no words whatsoever.”
Just recently, Jackie and Afua showcased the culmination of their summer’s work. They oversaw a multi-day review of all the photos spanning 50 years which was open to the company to enjoy and comment. “Hearing all the stories behind all the pictures I’ve become so familiar with over the past month or so has been so much fun and I’m so glad to have helped create a space for people to relive the moments captured in these pictures,” said Lawyer.
Paintsil had this to say about the photo review, “This past week has been very memorable just because I didn’t imagine our work would bring so much joy to employees. There was such a great energy in the room, everyone was just so happy to look through old photos or connect with people they don’t always see because they’re in different areas, it was like a class reunion.”
Aside from the new skills she gained during the past few months, Afua treasured the time she had with Ali, “[she is] a great boss to have because she wants this to be more than an internship, but also a mentorship, so in the last few weeks she’s set up informational meetings for us and that’s been a great learning opportunity for me.”
Both Lawyer and Paintsil had wonderful things to say about working with Margaret Bresnahan, Digital Media Coordinator in Broadcast Operations. Margaret agrees, “Jackie and Afua are whip smart and working with them has been a real treat. I look forward to the day they return to APMG to run the place as our COAs (Chief Officers of Awesome).”
At the suggestion of CEO Jon McTaggart, Lozoff was thrilled to have two interns rather than one, as originally planned. “[Jackie and Afua] were able to tackle the immense job of sorting through 50 years of documents and photographs to ready them for selection for the [commemorative] book. If they weren’t working together on the project, the task and being cooped up in the archives may have caused one of them to go a little stir crazy.”
Interns are integral to APMG and so are great managers. Ali not only provided guidance in the archival process, but also designed additional learning opportunities. She explained: “Throughout the summer Jackie and Afua were able to work with and meet with a wide assortment of MPR staffers, affording them a glimpse into the working life of MPR. Since they are up close and personal with documents and images from the very founding days of the organization, it’s been great for them to see how this place functions day to day and has grown into what it is. Thanks to everyone who has taken time with them and explained how their individual roles contribute to MPR, and how they chose the career path they did.”
And to reiterate the importance of being open to new experiences, Lozoff had this to say about her two interns, “As far as Jackie and Afua go – I couldn’t imagine selecting better candidates for this position. They are smart, self-sufficient, problem-solvers with positive attitudes and a curiosity about all things MPR. They’ve taken advantage of Slack channels, ticket offers, Church lunch, and social meet-ups to integrate themselves into #MPRLife in the short time they’ve been here. It’s been a delight. I only hope they are taking lessons from beyond the archives back to school with them.”