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California girl

HSS grad first international student to receive Gzowski internship

Student Life

By Janet Harron

Broadcaster Peter Gzowski may have been known as Captain Canada, but this year’s Memorial University Gzowski intern hails from south of the 49th parallel.

Rebekah Nolan is from Morrow Bay, Calif., (just north of Santa Barbara) and is Memorial’s first international student to receive the coveted internship with CBC Radio.

BA grad

A recent graduate with a bachelor of arts with a major in folklore and a minor in psychology, Ms. Nolan discovered Memorial after Googling universities offering an undergraduate degree in folklore.

“I loved the folklore department,” said Ms. Nolan, who first saw an advertisement for the Gzowski fellowship last year.

“I made great friends and learned amazing things about fairies and witches and cultures and everyday stories. It was perfect for me.”

With no formal journalism experience but with a love of interviewing developed through her folklore classes — “Sitting down with somebody and listening to their stories is my idea of heaven,” she says — Ms. Nolan set out to make herself as competitive as possible for the 2017 award.

Public radio intern

Back home in California during the summer of 2016, she volunteered as an intern for public radio station KCBX.

That stint led in turn to her ongoing role as a regular correspondent for the program Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer. To date, she has filed several stories with Newfoundland and Labrador themes, including Fishing For Success in Petty Harbour, the St. John’s Haunted Hike and Bell Island.

Peter Gzowski
Peter Gzowski
Photo: CBC

Ms. Nolan recently spent a week training at the CBC’s national broadcasting centre in Toronto, Ont., with the three other Gzowski interns (one each from Trent University, McGill University and Simon Fraser University).

Her biggest takeaway from the experience?

The collaborative work that goes into every radio show and that each story belongs to four or five people.

“I like that.”

“[Radio is] untameable and emotional in a way that no other broadcasting is.” — Rebekah Nolan

She was particularly inspired by CBC Metro Morning’s host Matt Galloway’s comments about radio and the art of storytelling.

“I think radio will always be relevant. It’s untameable and emotional in a way that no other broadcasting is. Done right, it’s like the host and guest are talking directly to you so there is no separation between you and the stories. I think that is really beautiful.”

Ms. Nolan will work full time at CBC in St. John’s over the summer.

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