By Howard Fletcher
Philip Merrill College of Journalism
June 7, 2018

COLLEGE PARK — Three University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism students are spending the summer in the newsrooms of daily newspapers in Maryland as recipients of the prestigious MDDC Press Association Reese Cleghorn Internship.

The competitive program hires outstanding student journalists to work as paid reporters for eight weeks in newsrooms in Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C. Three of the four student journalists chosen this spring were Merrill College undergraduates.

The Cleghorn interns from Merrill are: Lillian Andemicael, Leah Brennan and Makea Luzader. They’re among the many Merrill College students interning this summer at the numerous news organizations in metropolitan areas close to College Park.

Andemicael, a sophomore, is at The Frederick News-Post. She was a beat reporter on the news desk at The Diamondback, and previously interned at Radio Free Asia.

“It was really eye-opening work because virtually all the stories we reported were on human rights abuse in Asian countries,” Andemicael said of her time at Radio Free Asia. “I really learned a lot about how other governments work.”

She is excited about the new experiences and challenges that working as a local reporter will present.

“I cannot wait to start working with people in the area and on the ground,” Andemicael said. “It will be my first opportunity to work closely with a local community. It will improve my communication skills, and most importantly improve my writing which is key to developing into a successful journalist in any medium on every level.”

Brennan, also a sophomore, is interning at The Baltimore Sun.

“I’ve always been really passionate about The Baltimore Sun,” Brennan said. “I really like their local reporting a lot. So, I am very glad that I got placed there.”

Brennan has worked for The Diamondback since she was a freshman. She’s reported on multiple beats during her two years working for the student-run newspaper, and says “the work just keeps on coming and gets more and more interesting.”

She hopes to one day have a full-time job at The Sun or The Washington Post.

“Right now, I am just going to keep moving things forward and working hard, and hope that things keep progressing in that direction,” Brennan said.

Luzader’s internship is at The Herald-Mail in Hagerstown. The sophomore international relations and government major — who is also minoring in Chinese — is conversationally fluent in Mandarin, an ability she hopes will help her more accurately report stories that might otherwise not be told.

She welcomes the experience she’s getting in Hagerstown.

“I need to build up my news writing experience because I hadn’t had any before entering Merrill,” Luzader said. “I want more experience conducting interviews, finding new stories and reporting them in ways that people find interesting.”

The MDDC internship program is named for Reese Cleghorn, who led the University of Maryland’s journalism school to national prominence in his 19 years as dean. He died in 2009.

All three Merrill College students with MDDC internships this summer said the college’s faculty have played a huge part in their success.

“One of the things that I find so exciting about Merrill is the interaction that we are able to have with the faculty,” Brennan said. “The experiences and successes that they share with their students have been an unexpected bonus that we all receive as Merrill student journalists.”