More Than Fangirling: NPR Interns Find A Warm Welcome : NPR Extra NPR can seem like an overwhelming place for us interns looking to make a career in public radio, but it's easy to feel comfortable here. Fall 2013 interns collected insights and photos from their encounters with some of NPR's biggest and most welcoming stars - and these are their stories.
NPR logo More Than Fangirling: NPR Interns Find A Warm Welcome

More Than Fangirling: NPR Interns Find A Warm Welcome

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If the NPR interns had a band, this would be the cover of our first EP. @nprintern/NPR hide caption

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If the NPR interns had a band, this would be the cover of our first EP.


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Walking around the NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., can be a little overwhelming, especially for us fresh-faced and starry eyed interns trying to fit into our real-world pants and make a career in public radio.

For example, you might start the day sweaty and disheveled after your ride to work, only to encounter Ari Shapiro in the NPR bike room. By the time the afternoon rolls around you've bumped into Michel Martin in the elevator or maybe held a door open for Renee Montagne if you're based at NPR West. It's these potentially cat-got-your-tongue encounters with NPR's most famous voices that make an NPR internship so unique, because more often than not, they lead to comforting and helpful conversations about what it means to work at NPR.

Don't believe us? Each week an NPR intern or two takes over the NPR Intern Instagram account to share a few days in their life - what they're up to and who they've run into around the building and in the field. Whether it's Audie Cornish making a "sparrow" face, or Guy Raz playing an interrupted scriptwriter, our colleagues are more than willing to help us out.

Keep reading to hear from four of our Fall 2013 NPR interns who will tell you that these moments are nothing out of the ordinary (and we've got the pictures to prove it).

All Things Considered Interns Annabelle Ford and Karen Zamora

"Robert Siegel was one of the first people to come say 'hi' to us when we arrived at All Things Considered. While we settled in at our cubicle, he stood patiently by and then introduced himself. It felt great to be immediately noticed and welcomed to the All Things Considered family.

"Everyone, not just Robert, has been overwhelmingly friendly and helpful. During our first few days, producers, editors, bookers and hosts alike made sure to check in on us, giving us things to do and then patiently explaining the right way to do it if (and when) we messed up. Now, we feel fully integrated into the system: people turn to us for help without thinking twice. We feel comfortable approaching anyone to ask if we can contribute, or just watch how the work is done.

"It's amazing to have a hand in the work produced by this wonderful program, and it's thanks to people like Robert and the rest of the staff that the experience has been so special!"

NPR Music All Songs Considered Intern Alex Schelldorf

"My boss, Bob Boilen, is the man responsible for All Songs Considered. He eats at his Tiny Desk, wears a fedora to work every day, and is an Emmy Award winner.

"My internship at NPR has been more than tips on how to write better copy for our blog - though, yes, there's been much of that along the way. My NPR experience has been comprised of fascinating and unique experiences, ones that can never be replicated or replaced. I've shaken the hands of musicians who have come through to play at the Tiny Desk, some that I've been a fan of for half my life. Words that I have written live on, which still blows my mind.

"The best part of it all, though? Bob treats me not as a minion or underling, but as a colleague. When I had half-formed ideas that I thought could work on our blog, he helped to shape and bring them to life. When we do live events, I'm more than just a stagehand. He makes me feel like I'm an integral part of our team. And when I unexpectedly had to go to a walk-in clinic, Bob Boilen drove me to the doctor.

"Meanwhile, my other boss, Robin Hilton, expects me to bring him a warm sugar cookie every day. He's alright, too, I guess.

"My life has been irrevocably altered by hanging out every day with two of the world's biggest music nerds. I wouldn't have it any other way."

Backseat Book Club and The Race Card Project Intern Amarra Ghani

"Working with Michele Norris is one of the many privileges I've had since being at NPR. Not only is she the most down-to-earth supervisor, she is one of the best people to have a conversation with, from quoting RuPaul to talking about deep racial issues that take place in the United States – our conversations are anything but boring.

"Because Michele hosts two different segments on All Things Considered and Morning Edition, I get to sit in on both shows which is the best advantage yet. Michele continues to challenge my views as a journalist and truth seeker and for that, I am forever grateful."

Johnny Kauffman is an intern in NPR's Marketing, Branding and Communications division. He grew up listening to WVPE in Elkhart, IN.

Madeleine Valley, a design intern in the Marketing, Branding and Communications division, contributed to this post.