Meet Casey McDermott, one of SPLC's spring interns



Nice to meet you! I'm Casey. I graduated last May from Penn State University, where I spent most of my four years as a reporter and editor at the independent student newspaper, The Daily Collegian. (I also studied sociology and journalism.) At the Collegian, I started out covering student government and local crime, later moving on to work as a chief (or an assistant editor) for the campus staff. In my junior and senior years, I served as the managing editor and editor in chief, respectively, and oversaw — among other things — the Collegian's coverage of the Jerry Sandusky case and its effects on the university community.

I'm coming to SPLC after spending the fall as an intern reporting on internships for ProPublica's ongoing #ProjectIntern series. (A mouthful, I know!) For that position, I traveled to campuses across the country to document students' perspectives on internships and focused on the role that colleges and universities play in the intern economy, in part by calling attention to unpaid internships within higher education. Last summer, I interned with the Chronicle of Higher Education. There, I (also) wrote about internships, as well as school responses to bias incidents, sexual assault procedures and other student issues. And earlier, I interned with USA TODAY's opinion department.

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In college, I found SPLC's guidance on campus crime reporting especially invaluable as I worked on an enterprise story about Clery Act compliance in the aftermath of the Sandusky case. And as an alumna of a public university that's conveniently exempt from much of its state's public records laws (for now, at least), I'm excited to help SPLC call attention to public records access and freedom of information, in my home state and elsewhere. I'm also interested in other issues related to free speech, student media and campus discipline, and this semester I'll be focusing on activity surrounding these issues within the Eastern United States. (My coverage area's essentially everything on this side of the Mississippi, except for Wisconsin and Illinois.) If you have a story idea or want to let me know about something happening at your school, I'd love to hear from you — feel free to reach out by email (cmcdermott@splc.org) or phone (703-807-2109, ext. 127).

As someone who owes a lot to my college newspaper experience (and who's been consistently impressed by the work done by other campus outlets around the country), I feel especially strongly about the importance of empowering student journalists. I'm excited to be a part of SPLC's work toward that mission in the months ahead.