Summer Centered: Hannah Melville ’20 Writes for the Philadelphia Public School Notebook
The English major is keeping her writing skills sharp with a summer internship at the Philly nonprofit.
Education has always been important to Hannah Melville’s family.
“My grandmother founded a school,” says the rising junior. “My mom is a math tutor, my uncle is a guitar teacher, etc.”
Now, Melville’s carrying on the tradition with an internship at one of the leading progressive education journals in the country. At the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, an independent news service that caters to the teachers, administrators, and students of the Philadelphia public school system, the English major is “learning to write precisely, quickly, and carefully.” It’s a skill that will certainly prove useful come the first semester of "Junior Seminar"—a department requirement—this fall.
“I've learned to moderate word count, meaning that I now can write much more succinctly,” she says. “I also am much more aware of ensuring that I include all necessary information for readers. Also, I've learned a lot about how to format different types of articles. For example, features need a hook at the beginning and a nice, optimistic quote at the end. Paragraphs tend to be much shorter. Quotes stand by themselves, there's no need to analyze them.”
Aided by her girlfriend, Melville found this internship through the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship back in April. Perusing its webpage one day, she stumbled across a call the Philadelphia Public School Notebook had put out for summer workers and decided that she couldn’t pass up the prospect of “reading, writing, and talking to people” all summer.
“My time in the office is generally taken up by a combination of researching, calling, and emailing in an effort to get an interview with someone,” she says. “I conduct an interview, transcribe it, sort through it for any good quotes, and combine it with any research or emails I've accumulated to put together a nice article. I send it to the editor, and I'm done with that part. There's some data-scraping involved as an intern, so we can release the proper statistics with articles. I also prepare the weekly newsletter on Fridays.”
And Melville’s found time to make some friends—and introduce herself to some Philly luminaries—along the way.
“Since the Notebook is small,” she says, “I’ve [established] really close relationships with all the other people that work here, and I even met the mayor at one of the really cool events I was sent to cover.”
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.