The O'Brien Student Experience

The O'Brien Fellowship has matched more than 60 Marquette journalism students with nearly 20 experienced journalists reporting on issues such as the environment, education, mental illness, health care, medical science, open government and criminal justice.

Here are some questions we hear from students interested in getting involved:

O'Brien Student FAQs

What role do students play in the O'Brien Fellowship?

As a student intern you have an opportunity to gain real-world experience working with journalists (O'Brien Fellows) from around the country in reporting in-depth stories that could lead to a major impact on the world. Typically, three to four professional journalists participate in the fellowship annually. Each fellow works with several students in a team. The resulting work is published by each fellow’s news organization.

What types of work have past O'Brien interns completed?

Students have produced research, reporting and writing for various formats and platforms: print, web, audio, video. In many cases students have received bylines or other named credit. Some students have received solo bylines. Students have generated story ideas, data analysis and survey research. Many students have traveled in the U.S. and internationally as part of their projects.

See the examples of student work elsewhere on this page, or by clicking on the “Journalism” tab.

Are there any other benefits?

Undergraduate students receive 3 credits per semester and typically work with fellows for two semesters. You also have the chance to compete to be a paid summer intern at the home news organization of a fellow at the end of the academic-year O'Brien project.

Do I have to be a certain grade to apply?

You must be either a rising junior or rising senior undergraduate student; an incoming graduate student; or a rising second-year graduate student to apply for an O'Brien student intern position.

How do I apply?

To apply for the O'Brien Fellowship school-year internships, you must submit:

  • A resume that includes your grade point average (GPA).
  • A one-page cover letter addressed to the director of the O'Brien Fellowship, Dave Umhoefer, outlining your interest in the position, your career goals and your qualifications for the position.
  • 3 to 5 published pieces of work, including written pieces and other formats
  • The names and contact information for three references.

ALL materials should be submitted in PDF format and emailed to obrienfellows@marquette.edu. Please ensure your hyperlinks are working.

When do I apply?

The application period opens Feb. 1st and closes March 16th.

Is it competitive?

Yes. Interns will be selected by the O'Brien program in consultation with faculty and incoming fellows.

Do I get to pick which journalism project I will work on?

Yes and no. If you are selected as a student intern, you will then be able to review the story proposals submitted by professionals selected as the next class of fellows.

You will rank the projects by your preference and those preferences will be taken into account in matching you with a fellow.

Will the O'Brien experience help me get a job when I graduate?

Many O'Brien interns have moved quickly into reporting jobs after school. The chance to learn from, impress and make lifelong friends with a professional journalist gives O'Brien interns an advantage available at few other American universities.

What can I do to prepare for becoming an O'Brien intern?

Work with student media, the Neighborhood News Service, and other internships can put you in a good position. Feel free to talk to O'Brien Director Dave Umhoefer for more detailed advice.