of Julia Zebley, Intern, Creative Nonfiction Foundation, 12/08
by Graham Thomas
PPW/Writing Center Publicity Intern
Julia Zebley is a senior and is majoring in English Literature and English Writing. Through the PPW program, she acquired an internship with Creative Nonfiction, a literary journal based in Shadyside and published by the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, a nonprofit that is devoted to the investigation and understanding of the creative nonfiction genre. They publish a journal of creative nonfiction pieces three times a year and hold an annual writer’s conference focused on nonfiction writing.
Julia found the internship using the Internship Guide on the PPW Community website. She simply sent them her resume and some writing samples and was invited to come in for an interview. Although acquiring the internship was painless, she found getting work at the internship to be difficult. “I actively asked for work every day, but often there was just nothing to give me that wasn’t already being handled by someone else,” Julia says.
According to Julia, the Creative Nonfiction Foundation is an extremely relaxed environment where employees set their own hours and come and go as they need to. “Everyone dresses casually and eats whenever and wherever they want,” she explains, “and sometimes people just don’t show up without any notice.” Although she likes the laid back atmosphere, she was surprised by it at first.
On an average day at her internship, Julia would first check her email for any new assignments. She would then assess how they fit in with her old assignments and prioritize by working on the ones that seemed most important and timely. Occasionally, she would have no assignments and would have to ask for work. Her
work included compiling donor lists and entering subscribers into the database, which she found to be of significant importance to the foundation. Julia claims, “The best moment at my internship, by far, was seeing my name on the publisher’s page of Pittsburgh in Words.”
Overall, Julia feels her unpaid internship at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation was worth it. She feels it will definitely help her get a job once she graduates and has helped her feel more comfortable communicating in the business world. Her advice to future interns is, “Work hard and be conscientious; even if you don’t have an amazing reservoir of social skills, or your staff isn’t warm and friendly, working hard and earnestly will get you respect and more assignments.”