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Senior Beth Burkstrand missed the pomp of her Commencement. On graduation day, circumstance placed her almost eight thousand miles away, in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of a month-long visit to that country sponsored by Emory's journalism program. While there, Burkstrand completed a feature article for the Washington Post on South Africa's recovery from apartheid, and when she returned in June, she began a reporting internship at the Post.
Burkstrand's stint at that influential newspaper is the third such coveted journalism internship she has held. In 1997, she spent the summer working for the Wall Street Journal in Dallas, and she previously interned at the New York Times' Atlanta bureau.
Burkstrand's interest in journalism dates to her first semester at Emory, when she wrote editorials for the Emory Wheel. Recognized for her keen awareness for important details and a willingness to take risks in her writing, she became editor of the Wheel's feature section that spring.
Her experience at the student paper shifted her career interests from political science and sociology to reporting. She held her first internship, with her hometown newspaper, the Omaha World Herald, the summer after her freshman year.
"I decided that I really loved journalism," Burkstrand says.
Last fall, Burkstrand completed a criminal investigating internship with Georgetown Law Center's Criminal Justice Clinic in Washington, D.C. Her responsibilities ranged from photographing crime scenes to locating witnesses in Washington and Baltimore. Sociology department chair Richard Rubinson, who served as Burkstrand's criminal justice internship advisor, attributes her success as a Georgetown investigator to her reporting experiences.
This spring, Burkstrand covered the government in Henry County, south of Atlanta, as a part-time reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"Wherever I am," Burkstrand says, "as long as I'm reporting and making sure that people have information and helping people along the way, I'll be very happy."--E.C.
Photo by Kay Hinton
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