Institute for Humane Studies Journalism Internship Program


Ashley Kay Fingarson, a Montana State University-Bozeman College of Business marketing student, applied for a position at the Institute for Humane Studies Journalism Internship Program at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. She never thought she had a chance to make it as the positions are highly competitive and only a few applicants are accepted. "I thought that others might be better qualified than me," Fingarson said. She was chosen, and now is on her way to what looks to be a great experience. It is a 10-week internship, with a kick-off seminar in Washington D.C. and nine weeks in the newsroom at the Valley Morning Star in Harlingen, Texas.

The IHS program works with Freedom Communications, Inc. newspapers that are across the country. The company states that "respect for individual freedom, community and life-long learning are the bedrock on which Freedom Communications operates today".

Fingarson was a reporter for the MSU student newspaper, "The Exponent" and most recently a writer for Property and Environment Research Center (PERC). Fingarson credits her experiences at PERC as one reason she was selected. "My essays submitted in the application process wouldn't have been so strong. PERC has taught me so much about free markets, liberty, and increased my writing skills. Three of the clips I included with my application were done at PERC. These were all of the things that applicants were judged on."

Fingarson feels that several business classes have prepared her for this internship. "Business Law has sparked an internal passion for the law I was aware that existed, but not to this extent. Professional Selling reinforced the notion to do what you love. I sit in class and smile when the professor emphasizes that because I already am." She is also earning minors in history, non-teaching and English, writing.

Dan Moshavi, Professor of Management at the College of Business, had Fingarson in a class and saw a special spark and enthusiasm in the student. "Ashley is a dynamic and insightful person who, no doubt, was able to thoughtfully communicate her passion in this area to the program sponsors. I expect that Ashley will gain tremendous insight into the challenges faced by journalists who write about business and economic issues."

She learned about the IHS internship program through her economics professor, Rick Stroup. "Two weeks before the application due date, Rick Stroup asked me if I had received his e-mail regarding the IHS journalism internship," Fingarson said. "I had nothing to lose so I applied." Stroup was also the person who encouraged her to apply at PERC. His wife, Jane Stroup, is Fingarson s supervisor at PERC.

Fingarson also credits her parents for instilling a belief in herself and setting goals. "My mother and father have always been my biggest cheerleaders. Both of them have a strong work ethic and I admire their tenacity in the workplace and life. Never afraid to go the extra mile, my parents proved that it is worth it," she said. "I learned customer service from both by working in my father s business."

Fingarson plans to use the knowledge she will gain during the internship to good use. She hopes to write for a publication with the quality and prestige such that of the "Wall Street Journal". She plans to enroll at Boston University to earn a Masters in Communication in the concentration of Business and Economics Journalism. She also hopes to one day practice law in regards to journalism by protecting first amendment rights and stopping censoring of newspapers. "Another area of interest with the law would be business-ethics issues, such as whistleblowers. I have high regards for whistleblowers," Fingarson said.

Fingarson will always remember the "Congratulations" e-mail from the IHS program director, David Mellor. "I was ecstatic. I couldn t sleep all night!"