Four journalism students complete summer internships together

July 28, 2021

(Editor's Note: This is the 10th in a series of stories about Bellisario College students completing summer internships.)

Many college students complete summer internships as a necessary part of career development and exploration — they’re an almost vital opportunity and they’re almost exclusively completed as an individual endeavor.

Four Penn State journalism students made internships a team game this summer, though.

All four worked together as members of the media team for the Charlottesville Tom Sox, a member of the collegiate summer Valley Baseball League, based in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“I sent samples of my work to John Leonard, who runs the entire Valley League, and asked if he could forward them to the rest of the league. The Tom Sox reached out and said they could get me play-by-play and other duties, so it seemed like great option,” said Zech Lambert, a senior from Northampton, Pennsylvania. “I’m friends with Eric Fenstermaker and said, ‘Hey man, you should reach out too.'”

Fenstermaker, also from Northampton, did just that. Brooke Steach, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Kelly Warner, from Waxhaw, North Carolina, had contacted the team as well. They knew each other and previously worked together on “Penn State Sports Night.”

After successful interviews, all four were hired for the summer. They arrived in Virginia in early June, just days before the team’s 42-game season started.

They handled analytics, graphics, social media, the team’s YouTube show and much more. While the four knew each other, they did not really get acquainted until they started working together. They moved into a house together and a local TV station featured their presence.

“It’s the best experience,” said Steach, who transferred to Penn State after initially attending Point Park University. “We were able to do so many hands-on things. After not having classes in person, it was great to get out and do things. I wanted to be at the best journalism school in the state of Pennsylvania and doing this internship as well as getting involved with The Daily Collegian, PSN News and ‘Penn State Sports Night’ has only confirmed my decision was the right one.”

Along with classroom experience, those cocurricular opportunities helped position the interns for success.

“Three of us have been involved in the ‘Penn State Sports Night,’ so we had editing and writing skills,” said Warner, who also leads the on-campus chapter of the Association for Women in Sports Media at Penn State. “We proved we were able to edit our own video and write our own scripts. I don’t think they were expecting us to know as much as we did.”

She and the others typically shared responsibility and took turns with assignments. They also handled logistics for camera setup and tackled technical troubleshooting when necessary.

“The Tom Sox media crew is the main source of content for the team,” Warner said. “We often got compliments from fans and parents, so we treat everything as professionally as possible.”

Fenstermaker, who focused more on analytics, worked closely with coaches and players. He said how the interns were treated was especially helpful.

“For me it was a mix of things I would not have been able to do anywhere else,” he said. “It was the players, a podcast and so much more. Plus, the team has been really supportive. We’ve traveled to some road games and been able to get an experience that feels like it has helped prepare me for anything.”

Like the others, he plans to return to campus in the fall and put his newfound skills to use.

While all four showed up in Virginia just days before the season started, they’re slightly surprised how quickly the summer passed.

“It flew by,” said Lambert, who initially came to Penn State as a forensic science major but found a passion for journalism and will serve as an editor at CommRadio in the fall. “I felt like we just had opening night and now it’s over. It was great, though, and I’m hoping our experience can help build a Penn State connection with the Tom Sox in the future.”

Last Updated August 05, 2021