journalism Archives - Kendall College of Arts and Sciences


Rising writer hones her craft with multifaceted journalism internship

young woman with dark hair, smiling and wearing a pink sweater while holding a copy of TulsaPeople magazineWhen Julianne Tran, a political science major, signed on for a spring 2022 internship with TulsaPeople magazine, all she knew was that she wanted to write. Mostly about food, perhaps about people.

“I knew I was interested in food and culture, but I didn’t have much experience writing shorter, third-person articles,” Tran remarked. “I also just tended toward topics that I personally found interesting and didn’t do too much writing outside those interests.”

Before starting the internship, Tran had already spent a couple of years developing her writing skills at The Collegian, The University of Tulsa’s student newspaper, where she currently serves as variety editor and contributes stories. For The Collegian, Tran writes first-person pieces about baking, movies and other topics. These experiences, she believes, helped her discover her love for writing and prepare her for working at TulsaPeople.

Writing beyond the kitchen

Once her internship began in January, this ambitious senior was tasked with crafting more than just food pieces. Being assigned to cover myriad topics, including philanthropy events, FC Tulsa, cycling clubs and nonprofits, Tran quickly learned to be adaptable and versatile.

“In the first week, I was bombarded with emails from all directions: writing assignments, fact-checking, email replies. I was overwhelmed and thought, ‘How do adults handle all this?’” Tran laughed. She eventually discovered her groove and learned to cut out all the extra words and better manage her time.

Sample Tran’s versatile and engaging voice in these recent TulsaPeople articles:

“Call for celebration” – About the gala Uncorking the Cure for MS fundraiser

“A menu for all seasons” – On chef Justin Thompson and his restaurant Juniper

Tran’s internship supervisor at TulsaPeople was Morgan Phillips, the magazine’s senior editor. “Julianne is a skilled communicator who has impressed me with her writing talent and professionalism while interning with us,” said Phillips. “She is a high-capacity individual who works quickly and effectively. I was particularly impressed when Julianne pitched a wonderful story idea on international grocery stores to our editorial team and then seamlessly executed the idea as a multi-page feature.”

Author and cover model

After two months of interning, Tran not only found herself curious about all kinds of writing assignments she had never anticipated, she even found herself on the cover of some of them.

At the end of February, Phillips emailed Tran to ask whether she would be a stand-in for the March cover shoot at a local all-women’s coworking space. Never one to say no to new opportunities, Tran quickly agreed. “I thought I was just going to be a back of the head in the bottom left corner,” she said. Things turned out rather differently.

Arriving at the co-working space the next day, Tran walked in to find four other women looking much more prepared for a cover shoot. Following the photographer’s instructions, she moved around the space for different shots: a mug in her hand, looking intently at a laptop, taking a few steps for a walking picture.

“I really enjoyed being part of the photoshoot process,” Tran said. “I just never thought I’d be on that end of photoshooting!”

Tran, with a short stack of copies in hand, commented, “As proud as I am to be on the cover, I am most excited to see my writing in print.” She joked: “I guess I can add cover modeling to my resume, right under my favorite: author!”

While Julianne Tran took the initiative and organized the TulsaPeople internship on her own, all TU students and alumni are invited to get in touch with the experts at CaneCareers for help finding relevant internships and employment.

Big Apple alumna

woman with short hair and glasses smiling and wearing a white topCatherine Roberts graduated from The University of Tulsa in 2012 with a bachelor of arts in English and a bachelor of science in economics. Following her studies, Roberts spent a year working as a news reporter for Public Radio TulsaThis experience helped to whet Roberts’ appetite for journalism, and in 2014 she enrolled at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York. She graduated from there with an MA in journalism in 2015 

Roberts currently lives in Queens, New York, where she is a health journalist at Consumer ReportsFor both the magazine and the website, Roberts covers a wide range of health-related topics, such as infectious diseases and environmental health. She is currently working on an article related to pesticides, for which she had to conduct a large amount of research. “I wasn’t convinced at the time,” Roberts noted, “but now I know that writing all those research essays during my undergraduate days at TU has really paid off!”  

Roberts recently sat down with us to reflect on her time at TU and offer advice to those who are studying English.  

What is your favorite memory from your time studying English at TU? 

I have several. I had so many good professors and classes and I had the chance to read a lot of things I wouldn’t have otherwise read.  

One of the things I appreciate the most is when, during my sophomore year, I took the first half of the British literature survey course with Professor Lars Engle, where we read Twelfth Night. In class, he would have us act out parts of it, and he assigned me to the group that was doing one of the scenes where Viola is pretending to be a man and telling Orsino what he should say to the girl he is trying to woo. I got to be Viola in that part, which was really fun 

Later, during my senior year, I took Professor Engle’s Shakespeare course, and we read Twelfth Night again. I’m sure he doesn’t remember this and didn’t realize it at the time, but he assigned me the same part, so I got to play Viola twice in the same scene! I remember realizing at the time that I really understood that part more, so I felt like I really had a handle on it.  

Do you have any advice for students currently studying or looking to study English? 

I would say don’t be afraid of itI think that people always wonder, “What do you do with an English major?” I would just tell people not to be afraid of the uncertainty, because there are so many things you can do that require writing, the ability to look through and analyze evidence, and the ability synthesize material into original thoughts. I think those are such important skills. And if you really like books, and if you want to spend four years reading books, then you should definitely do it! 

What was your favorite book/story you read during your time as an undergraduate at TU? 

This is such a hard one. I do appreciate the Shakespeare class I went through with Professor Engle, particularly because it included a number of history plays, which I never would have read on my own. That was interesting.

Another one I really ended up appreciating, not as much at the time but later when I reread it, was At Play in the Fields of the Lord, by Peter Matthiessen. I really love that book and then I ended up reading his magnum opus Shadow Country, which I probably would have never picked up if I hadn’t known about him. I read that with Professor James Watson.

In one of my classes with Professor Diane Burton, which was all about Bohemianism and the Bloomsbury movement in England and the 1960s counterculture in the United States, we read The Hotel in New Hampshire, by John Irving. Professor Burton later said she didn’t know why she added that book to the course. But I really loved that bookand I ended up writing about another John Irving novel in my senior thesis.  

Do you have any advice for someone looking for a career after graduating with an English degree? 

I always will put in a plug for journalism. I’m not, however, a naturally outgoing person and part of journalism is having the ability to call strangers and talk to them. I think I’m probably not the only English major who is nervous and shy around people! 

woman with short hair, glasses and a white top seated in a subway carThe great thing about journalism, though, is it gives you a really good excuse to talk to others, whereas if you’re in a casual situation where you’re trying to make friends, it’s really hard to figure out how to strike up a conversation. But if you call someone up and, for example, tell them you need to ask them about a study they wrote about genetic testing, then it’s a super interesting thing to talk about and a natural reason to get to know somebody and listen to all the things they have to say.

I think people who tend to read books are people with a lot of curiosity, and that works really well with journalism. I’ll always recommend that as a possible career.  

What was your favorite English class at TU? 

It was another class by Professor Burton. She taught course called “The Twentieth-Century Condition-of-England Novel,” which was based on the idea that people like Charles Dickens were writing condition-of-England novels in the nineteenth century. For example, Dickens wrote about child labor, so she took that idea into the twentieth century.  

We read all these books about modern English life. It was fascinating. I recently reread Crewe Train by Rose Macaulay and realized I hadn’t fully appreciated it when read it in Professor Burton’s course. I feel like I talk about that course more than any other when the topic comes up! I still think about that course a lot and the books we read. Dr. Burton was so great too. She’s just a really fabulous teacher and lovely person.