Community Connections: Profile of former Times intern Maddie Everett

Mike Christopherson
Maddie Everett

What year did you work in the Crookston Times newsroom?

The summers of 2017, 2018 and 2019.

What was your favorite part of your experience at the Times?

My favorite part of working at the Times was the unexpectedness of each day on the job. One day I chased after a fire truck searching for the story, another day I got to hold a baby peregrine falcon named Rand, and one week I painted a mini lending library for the outside of the Crookston Times office. I never really knew what the day would bring, but the spontaneity of the job allowed me to have many interesting new experiences. 

What was the biggest thing you learned about yourself and/or the biggest life lesson that you took with you when you left the Times?

The most important thing that I learned was just how essential newspapers are — especially local ones. I saw firsthand how the news we collected impacted the community of Crookston. Being a part of the Crookston Times team was truly meaningful to me; I felt like I was making a definite impact on my own community. Because of my positive experience at the Times, I did an internship over the winter at the Western Iowa Journalism Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving journalism in western Iowa. I interviewed journalists, editors and publishers across western Iowa and wrote a piece about the grim — but not unusual — state of journalism in Iowa. I have high respect for small town journalists and newspapers; local news is incredibly essential, and in need of aid right now. 

What have you been doing since? Give us an update on where you’re at, what you’re doing, who you’re with, etc.

I am a junior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, studying English and medieval studies. I work at my college newspaper, the Olaf Messenger, as an Arts & Entertainment Editor. I am a teaching assistant for a history and literature course, and I work at the college rock wall and the St. Olaf post office. I am also in the St. Olaf Handbell Choir. 

What are you passionate about these days?

I am very passionate about Arthurian literature —  medieval literature about the legends of King Arthur. I find all of the varying versions of the legend fascinating in the way that their morals and differing depictions of characters reflect the societies of the people who wrote them. I designed an independent research project and was offered a fellowship study race and Arthurian literature this summer. I’ll also be helping one of my professors edit the bibliography and notes of her book on Arthurian literature.

Maddie Everett and a friend

When you were at the Times, when I mentioned you to someone, the response was that “Maddie’s an old soul.” What do you think the person meant? Are you an old soul?

I literally laughed out loud from surprise when I read this. I think perhaps they meant that I am a rather serious young person, or perhaps they knew that I often wish I lived in a different era, and that sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong century. 

I googled the term “old soul” and found that it means someone who is enlightened beyond their years. I’m not sure that I am enlightened beyond my years, but I do spend my time thinking about different things than many other people my age probably do. I’m not so interested in TikTok, but I love to think about medieval mystics and Latin.

Tell us how the pandemic impacted you/continues to…

At the beginning of the pandemic, my family adopted a cat. My mom finally gave in because she felt bad that the pandemic sent my brother and sister and I home from school. Our cat, Theo, has been a bright spot in an otherwise dark year. 

I was supposed to be studying abroad at Harris Manchester College at Oxford University in England all of this school year. Because of COVID-19, I was not able to go. However, I am supposed to study abroad at the Middlebury Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS) in Oxford, England, next fall. I am hopeful that, as vaccinations seem to be going well in the U.K. and the U.S., I will be able to go. At CMRS, I hope to study more Latin and Arthurian literature. I am hopeful that I will also be able to explore different parts of the U.K. and see some cool medieval manuscripts. 

I am currently on the St. Olaf campus, and although many courses are online, most of my courses are in person. We all sit six feet apart, masked. We all wear masks everywhere, even outside. Thankfully I have been able to continue all of my jobs and extracurriculars. At the Olaf Messenger, we have restrictions on the number of people allowed in the office, and in handbells, we each have our own bell table and we clean our bells after we play them. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

When I am home, I love baking, biking, painting and spending time with my family. At St. Olaf, I enjoy hiking in the St. Olaf natural lands and reading. I also play board games with friends on the weekends. I have a weekly campus radio show with one of my friends, so each week I enjoy preparing content for that (usually riddles and random music). 

Look in your life’s crystal ball: Where do you think/hope you’ll be 10 years from now, and what do you think/hope you’ll be doing?

I intend to apply for graduate school for a PhD in medieval literature. Eventually I hope to become a professor of medieval literature at a university and continue to research and write about Arthurian literature. I hope to live somewhere with rain and mountains and have a cat.