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Welcoming The Day's summer interns

We've received an infusion of new faces and new energy in The Day newsroom over the past few weeks and — woohoo — are we grateful for the help.

Allow me to introduce our summer interns: Dan Passapera, Sarah Sylvester and Julia Walker. Maybe you'll see them working in the community or exchange phone calls, video chats or emails with them as they hone their journalism skills.

Passapera, of Cheshire, is entering his senior year at Quinnipiac. He'll likely have a camera in his hands if you cross paths. He's a photography intern and has already shot a softball game, Connecticut College's commencement and a Girl Scouts event. He said he heard about the opportunity to work at The Day from fellow Quinnipiac journalism student Melina Khan, who interned with us last year.

"I'm really just happy to be here working with all you guys and to be able to do what I love, and do it more on a professional level," he said.

Passapera said he is excited to work with Sean Elliot, our talented director of photography. When I asked what his dream assignment would be for the summer, he said, "I want to take photos of the Governor."  That seems entirely possible, and we hope it happens for him.

"I've always been interested in photography ever since I was little," Passapera said. "I didn't know until high school I wanted to do photography full time. There's something about telling a story through visuals that's really interesting to me."

Sylvester, a 2019 graduate of East Lyme High school, is a senior at McGill University in Montreal, where she's double-majoring in English and political science. She's an opinion editor for the university's news magazine, The Bull & Bear, and at The Day is helping edit content for our opinion page. She's also writing the occasional column, one of which is scheduled to publish Sunday.

"I have a lot of opinions," she said. "I get pretty worked up sometimes when I read things I don't agree with. Getting worked up helps me write good articles. I like opinion, because I don't always have to maintain that neutrality. It helps me get it out."

Sylvester said she has known about The Day since she was a toddler and we published a picture of her with her dog. We photographed and quoted her in 2019 when she served as the senior orator for her class at East Lyme High.

She said she would like to work for a local newspaper, then move on to a bigger organization.

"I'm really enjoying it," Sylvester said of her internship. "Even after being here for a week and a half, I'm pretty sure this is what I want to do. I like working in a newsroom, collaborating with people."

Walker, who is entering her junior year at Syracuse University, has joined our Housing Solutions Lab team and is working on an investigation into housing and health. We were impressed by her pitch to us, earlier this spring, to investigate health risks associated with asbestos, mold and lead paint and pipes in New London's older housing stock. Walker said she was inspired to work on our investigation, because when she was younger, she and her mother lived in houses in the city where mold made them sick.  

"Definitely people are in unhealthy situations, and a lot of times people don't know how to get out of it, so just having that information available will be helpful," she said. "I think everyone on the housing projects feels a similar way. They want to get that information out there so no one feels stuck."

Walker occasionally will be helping out with other stories, including an upcoming article on how area food pantries and homeless shelters are coping with inflation.

She's pursuing a bachelor's degree in magazine, newspaper and digital journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Publications at Syracuse and writes for The Daily Orange newspaper and NewsHouse, a digital site.

Working in The Day newsroom is exciting, Walker said.

"I love hearing the keyboards clicking all day and hearing people bounce ideas off each other," she said. "I like newspaper journalism, which is kind of old school in a way."

Karen Florin is The Day's engagement editor. She can be reached at k.florin@theday.com or (860) 701-4217.

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