Jillian D’Onfro, a senior at Syracuse University this year, sat down with me and gave an introspective on her somewhat quirky life. Look out Zooey Deschanel – this girl is gunning for your crown!
What made you want to pursue journalism as a career?
I’ve always loved stories. I want to spend my whole life learning, and I think that being a journalist is a great way to make sure that your eyes never stop widening with curiosity.
What journalistic (or even non-journalistic) activities are you involved with during the school year at Syracuse?
This past year at Syracuse I was first the opinions editor then the features editor for a student publication called Jerk. I also wrote a weekly restaurant review column for The Daily Orange, our school newspaper. I’m also a radio DJ and the student life editor of the yearbook. Next semester I’ll be abroad in Istanbul, but I’ll be writing a travel column about it for the school newspaper once a week.
What's the one story or project you have worked on in your journalistic career (so far) that you are most proud of?
Since freshman year I’ve also been involved with a volunteer group called International Young Scholars, where once a week I tutor a Somali-Bantu refugee. Freshman year and sophomore year I worked with this wonderful young woman named Zeytun, but the summer after sophomore year, an arranged marriage led her to move across the country to Arizona. Later that year, my conversations with her and my experience going to her wedding led me to write a feature for Jerk about arranged marriages for Somali teens, and how traditional customs translate to America.
What was your first day like at Inc. Magazine?
Oh man, I remember being completely overwhelmed and excited. I got to write my first web piece that day. Everyone was so friendly. I fell in love right away.
What's one thing that has stuck out to you the most about your internship?
How a magazine relies on so many little pieces coming together from all these different people.
Any funny/interesting story from your internship this summer or just in general about your summer in NY?
Every night that I spend with my wonderful, hilarious roommates breeds at least one funny story.
What's been your favorite thing about NY this summer?
I’ve always been a night owl, and I love living in a city that doesn’t close up shop at 2 a.m. Late night dinners, late night dancing, late night wanders on streets that feel just as alive at 3 a.m. as they do at 3 p.m.
What are some of your favorite things to do in your free time?
I have listened to almost every episode of “This American Life” (and the show got started in 1995 — that’s a lot of Ira Glass). I love to make collages, drink coffee, and dance like a spastic second grader. I like to spend my time reading short stories and making failed attempts to complete crossword puzzles.
What is your dream magazine job?
I’m really into Bust or Esquire. I can also see myself at Wired, Mental Floss, or Paper (if I somehow increased my hip-ness level about ten thousand percent first of course).
What is one interesting thing about you that you think people should know?
I will put peanut butter on anything. And at home I gave up my bed to now sleep on a giant beanbag chair called “The LuvSac.” (Awful decision, high school Jill).
-by Carson Blackwelder, ASME Intern, TV Guide