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Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Meet Bridge Michigan’s interns for summer 2023

Bridge Michigan 2023 interns
Riley Hodder and Irena Li are both juniors at the University of Michigan. Ashley Zhou is a senior at Michigan State University.
  • Three interns will join the Bridge Michigan staff for summer 2023
  • Riley Hodder and Irena Li are both juniors at the University of Michigan. Ashley Zhou is a senior at Michigan State University
  • All three have written for their college newspapers

Bridge Michigan welcomes three new interns this summer. 

Riley Hodder is a junior at the University of Michigan double majoring in English and creative writing. She is a senior news editor at The Michigan Daily, U-M’s student run newspaper. 

Hodder, who is from Oxford, said she wants to become a journalist because she wants a job where she could write a lot.


“There's nothing like telling stories, big and small, and finding that they have an impact on people,” she said.  


Hodder will begin her internship on Monday. 

“I've seen the growth and skills gained by other interns in the past, and I wanted that growth, I wanted that mentorship,” she said. “I just knew Bridge was the place for me.”

Irena Li is a junior at the University of Michigan studying cognitive science and computer science. The Portland, Oregon, native has worked at The Michigan Daily, U-M’s student run newspaper as the daily news editor. 

“I really enjoy the process of gathering information on a topic or issue from research and interviews and fitting all of it together into one cohesive story,” Li said.  

“It feels like a big puzzle, getting all the pieces to fit together, and seeing the final product come together is always super rewarding. And getting to hear from readers and feel the impact that my writing has on the community is incredibly fulfilling.” 

Li will join Hodder and start her internship on Monday. 

“I first started reading Bridge Michigan when I wrote and edited for the government beat in my first year at The Michigan Daily, and I really appreciated Bridge’s fair, well-rounded coverage of ballot proposals and statewide races,” she said. “I’ve since expanded to reading pieces from all of the beats Bridge reports on, and I can’t wait to learn from all of the editors and writers whose work I’ve admired for so long this summer.”

Li said she is excited to do more enterprise stories this summer and work on data-driven stories. 

Ashley Zhou is a senior at Michigan State University studying journalism. She comes to Bridge through the MSU Knight Center’s environmental journalism diversity project, funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

She began her internship on May 1. She has worked at The State News, MSU’s student newspaper, most recently as the student affairs reporter. 


“Every day, listening to stories that may frustrate or liberate communities, is something I’m so thankful and blessed that I can do,” said Zhou from Novi.

Zhou has been working closely with Kelly House, the environmental reporter at Bridge Michigan. So far, Zhou has covered parasites in Michigan, deer hunting regulations and food waste. 

“I chose an internship with Bridge because of the beat I was offered: environment journalism,” she said.  “In my past student reporting, I have had absolutely zero experience in environment reporting. However, as I’ve learned with Kelly, environment reporting is such an expansive issue with endless, exciting stories.”

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