Senior photojournalism major takes on Capitol Hill during summer internship

Senior photojournalism major takes on Capitol Hill during summer internship

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - 11:00am
Calla Kessler headshot
Photo taken by Tom Kessler, New York City

by Maddie Sanders, senior advertising and public relations major

For some, an internship is just something to check off of a to-do list before graduation or something to fill space on a resume, but for Calla Kessler, it was an opportunity to experience her dream job.

In the Fall of 2016, Calla applied for a photojournalist internship opportunity at the Washington Post, by sending in her resume, and in November, after playing phone tag with the editor, was given the good news that she would be moving to Washington D.C. for the summer.

Moving to a completely new state was intimidating at first, but the neighborhood she called home for those short months was very welcoming, and helped her acclimate to her new surroundings.

As a photojournalist intern, Kessler was sent all around the Metro area of Virginia and Maryland to cover stories from Charlottesville to a Pony Swim, and was even five feet away from President Trump and his Cabinet. When asked what her favorite assignment was, Kessler stated that the most interesting was when she covered the Charlottesville Riots. She explained, “I
got pepper sprayed three times, so there’s a first time for everything I suppose. I wouldn’t recommend that.”

This opportunity has given her the chance to expand her portfolio and her talents, which can be seen on her website.

This internship opened up so many opportunities to learn, explore, and advance her skills as a photojournalist, and because of that Kessler was able to put her heart and soul into her work at the Washington Post. Her images spoke to many who saw them, and were the subjects, which really shows how an internship can broaden your mind to new possibilities and your passion can be seen through your work.

A colleague of Kessler’s, Annaliese Nurnberg, said it best when she said, “Beautiful work by one of my dearest friends,Calla Kessler, in the neighborhood that stole our hearts this summer. D.C. is not the same without her here. But these photos will always take me back to those warm memories of our golden hour walks through the neighborhood, making
friends with the people of Newton Place, and who knows how many glasses of wine on that famed
front porch.”

Interning out-of- state has a lot of advantages. For students who want to travel, it gives them an opportunity to experience short bursts in new places while gaining experience in their field. It also gives students a chance to build their social network which can effectively get their name out to other professionals looking for new hires.

According to Ellen Hatfield, a career counselor at the University of Minnesota – Duluth, it’s important to do your research on the location of your internship and look up a directory of the city to see what you will have available to you. She also notes that it is important to point out on your resume or cover letter, that you’re ready and willing to relocate. This will show possible employers that you are serious about
traveling to gain experience.

Kessler will be returning to the Washington Post for the summer after she graduates in May as their photojournalism intern, and hopes she will get the opportunity to be hired on as a full-time photojournalist.

“Fingers crossed, like I said it’s my dream job so that would be pretty crazy," Kessler said. "I don’t want to put all of my eggs in one basket, but I’m also optimistic.”

There are many opportunities to intern out of state and get hands-on experience in your career field. Though it may be intimidating, Kessler found her dream job and through her internship, has been able to create and build an amazing portfolio that she displays on her
website, callakessler.com.

When asked what advice she wants to give to other students aspiring for internships, she said, “If you’re applying for internships, I think it’s really helpful for people our age to market themselves in social media, because a lot of editors don’t understand Instagram, and even if you’re just okay at Instagram, you’re probably more qualified than some of your older
colleagues. So really hit home your technological strengths.”