Sophie Jeong (WAMU)

Sophie Jeong Interviewing for WAMU

Sophie interviewing early voters at the Judiciary Square polling place

A lot of things have happened since I stepped into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. I moved into my new room, made new friends and bought groceries on my own. But If I had to describe my first week in D.C. with one word, it would be “surprise.”

Like a magician’s hat, my first week in D.C. was full of surprises. On my first day of work, I saw my long-time idol Diane Rehm and learned that her show gets produced in an office right next door (I almost failed to suppress my urge to ask for a selfie). On Thursday, I met a Senior Manager at NPR at the gym while I was working out and received an offer of a tour of NPR studios. On Saturday, I met a Vandy grad who currently attends Georgetown Law School while waiting for the metro.

And my work reflects the same pattern. I don’t know what I will be working on or researching about until the day of. Every day is a surprise for me. One day I am working on DC voting rights and interviewing early voters and the next day I am working on Zika virus cases in Maryland and Virginia. And it’s really fun. It’s like opening a cereal box every day to see which toy I had just won. And it’s the very reason why I chose the news industry to be my career path.

Surprises are not always good though. Because the news industry is very sensitive to changes, sometimes all the hard work you put into preparing and producing one segment gets scraped by a segment on breaking news (e.g. the Orlando shooting). This action might disappoint people who have worked hard on the originally scheduled segment (like me). But as my producer said it was the right call because it’s the conversation that our community that we serve is having. And serving our community is the most important goal of any news agency.

I’ve been so fortunate to have an opportunity to come and work in D.C., meet so many wonderful people (peers and mentors) and have one of the best experiences I will have in college. I cannot wait for more exciting surprises to come in my way!

Listen to clips from Sophie’s interviews with early voters and read more about her experience at


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