After graduating from Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL in May 2019, Sydney Clark ’19 packed her bags and joined the TFAS Journalism + Communications program track in Washington, DC. On the first day of her internship at Catholic News Service, she was delighted to learn that her daily commute would take her past the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Catholic church in North America. Throughout her TFAS summer, she soaked up the many sites and sounds of the nation’s capital. At the end of the summer, she took some time to reflect on her TFAS experience.
Sydney Clark ’19
Hometown: Gretna, LA
Internship: Catholic News Service
College: Spring Hill College
What did you like most about your internship?
My internship at Catholic News Service was very hands-on. I was a multimedia intern, so I was able to produce photos, videos, and online news stories throughout the summer. I was able to explore the city and highlight various religious sites and churches, including St. Augustine, the Mother Church of Black Catholics, and the Saint John Paul II National Shrine. Additionally, my internship site was right across from Catholic University and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, so my daily commute to work was beautiful, to say the least.
Other than the internship, what was your favorite part of the program & why?
I loved how TFAS really encouraged us to take advantage of living and working in D.C. I had opportunities to visit the Capitol, the monuments, Mount Vernon, eat unlimited tacos at the National Press Club, visit NPR, tour the Newseum and so much more.
What did you learn about yourself this summer?
I learned that I can adapt to any environment that I am in because of my mindset. I learned to be humble yet not underestimate my abilities. I learned that solo trips, like spending a day in the city, are needed to do some self-reflection and get away from the chaos and distractions that life can bring. Finally, I learned how to build my confidence and take bold moves.
What surprised you most about Washington DC?
I expected D.C. to be intimidating and have that big city feel, like New York, however, D.C. reminded me a lot of my hometown New Orleans. As the summer went on, I experienced that “small city” feel and easily adapted to D.C. life. It is a great city to live in as a young pre-professional/professional because there’s a lot to do, including opportunities to network and meet people.
What are your plans after graduation? Did your summer impact those plans?
I’m currently in graduate school at the University of Maryland studying journalism. After I graduate, I want to pursue social justice reporting, focusing on poverty, racism, and immigration. My summer internship sparked a desire to cover immigration topics. I wrote a piece on World Refugee Day, where I spoke with a Somali asylee and a Somali refugee, and their stories were very powerful.
What advice would you give to anyone considering TFAS for next summer?
For anyone who is considering TFAS for next summer, remember to be open-minded and ambitious. You will meet people who are different from you: ethnically, culturally, politically, socially and spirituality. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to get outside of your comfort zone and be spontaneous. Take risks. Speak things into existence. Think about how a summer internship program like TFAS is a true investment for your future and professional career. TFAS is a big commitment. You work hard and play hard. You will come back to your room very tired from a long day at your internship, but you will feel accomplished each day.