Maddie McGarvey is a senior at Ohio University and interned at the San Francisco Chronicle this past summer. She is the President of Ohio University’s chapter of National Press Photographers Association and is the current student representative for NPPA. She recently won the LUCEO Student Project Award with her story on grandparents raising their grandchildren in Ohio.

Shely Pack teaches a ballet lesson at her studio in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Wednesday, August 4, 2011. Pack's dance studio has produced numerous award winning dancers.

How was your internship structured?

My internship was about 11 weeks long. I worked 5 days a week and had anywhere from one to three assignments a day.   Luckily, it was a paid internship that treated me very well.  I was given a car, camera equipment and a laptop for the summer. More information can be found here. I would normally go into work, shoot an assignment or two, and come back to the office to get my take edited if I wasn’t on a tight deadline. My assignments were anywhere from a few miles away to an hour away. I got a variety of assignment from shooting A’s and Giants games to portraits of an “ecosexual” couple.

Artist Beth Stephens and former porn star and sex-positive feminist Annie Sprinkle are prominent leaders in ecosexuality, a movement that seeks to combine the study of sexuality and environmental consciousness. They are infamous for their ecosexual wedding ceremonies, in which they've got the moon, the earth, the sky, and other elements of nature.

What was the most important thing you learned?

I learned an incredible amount on my internship.  Judy Walgren, the Director of Photography, was a great mentor. She really pushed me to see in new ways, use lenses I normally wouldn’t use and keep going back if I didn’t get it right the first time. She also trusted me to shoot a few A1 stories and seeing my photos on the front of the paper was always an incredible feeling. I also learned to get more organized, trust my gut, and get out there and shoot everyday. Going from a small town to a big city was definitely an interesting change, but I learned how to navigate and manage shooting assignments every day.

Earlier this year, 15-year-old Nathan Adelman had a heart attack in his sleep at his home in Livermore. Six months later, he's got defibrillator in his chest, and his entire family -- parents and five brothers and sisters -- are facing a genetic quandary that already has changed all of their lives. Nathan's experience, aside from being a fascinating story on its own (the family dog saved his life by alerting them that the kid was in trouble), underscores a lot of the ethical dilemmas families and doctors face when they consider genetic testing.

What’s the best part about this internship? What’s the most difficult part about this internship?

The best part about the internship was being able to take photos everyday in the coolest city in the world. San Francisco is an incredible and accepting city, surrounded by beauty everywhere you look. And in some odd way, that made it more difficult to shoot there at times. Coming from shooting in Appalachia every day to a big beautiful city was a little tough. It’s just an entirely different environment. But it really pushed me to get out of my bubble and see different things. One of the most challenging things initially was navigating the city and getting used to how long it takes to get places. But other than that, it was great.

Members of the Hot Pink Feathers arrange themselves for a portrait after the Alameda Fourth of July parade in Alameda, California. The Hot Pink Feathers got many complaints for dressing too risque in a family friendly parade.

Describe your personal and professional growth during the internship.

This was my first internship, so I learned a LOT about how newspapers worked. I also learned how to work under a deadline.  Initially the rush of only having a small amount of time to complete an assignment and get the photos captioned and toned and sent back to the office was overwhelming, but I learned to enjoy it.  I learned to shoot with more than just a 35 and shoot sports (sort of!).  The photo staff was really awesome and always helped me edit when I asked. They made it really difficult to leave at the end of the internship. On a personal level, I lived alone for the first time in my life and that taught me a lot about myself.  I also learned a lot more street sense and to trust your gut feeling when you think something is wrong (especially while carrying around thousands of dollars worth of gear).

Dr. Rae Lyn Burke was a long-time Alzheimer's researcher -- until she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's herself. Now in the early stages of the disease, she's participating in a clinical trial for a therapy that she actually discovered. Dr. Rae Lyn Burke meets at the Alzheimer's Association to discuss public advocacy on July 28, 2011.

What was your favorite assignment and why?

My favorite assignment was following around a woman for a day who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease after studying it for years. She now participates in the same clinical trials that she helped develop. It was so nice to spend the entire day with her, which involved using public transportation to get to an Alzheimer’s clinic several towns away. That was a bit of a struggle for both of us, but we both learned a lot and had a great day. It ended up running A1 with a big spread inside.

Luke Rawson, 5, touches his great-grandmother Helen's face while saying "I love you too much, Grandma". "There's no such thing as loving me too much," Helen replies. Helen and her husband Martin are currently raising their great-grandchildren and have four generations living under their roof.

Did you set a goal for your internship?

I really wanted to shoot a story on my own this summer. I wanted to continue on a story I worked on in Ohio about grandparents raising their grandchildren and Judy really encouraged me to do so. She told me I could take as much time as I needed to work on it. Unfortunately I hit a lot of dead ends and didn’t find a suitable family until the end of my internship. But I got to spend some time with a wonderful Native American family raising their great grandchildren and I’m very thankful for meeting and spending time with them.

Sunday Streets 2011 Season continues the tradition of visiting diverse communities throughout the City with a variety of routes in different neighborhoods. On Sunday, August 14, 2011, Sunday Streets was held in the Tenderloin with activities such as bike riding through the streets.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

The San Francisco Chronicle was truly a great place to work. They have a wonderful and helpful photo staff, a wide variety of assignments and you get to live in the most wonderful city in the world (in my opinion).  If you get the internship, definitely push yourself to explore a TON, ask a lot of questions and get your work edited by the staff. You definitely have to put in the effort to succeed there too, but it’s an amazing place to be.

What will you do next?

Good question. I’m graduating from Ohio University in June and then we’ll see! I’m applying for some internships, but no plans are set in stone yet.

The deadline to apply for the San Francisco Chronicle’s summer 2012 internship is December 30, 2011 and the application process is online here.