Every summer, we welcome a handful of journalism interns into our newsroom.

Terry DeVine, a longtime managing editor at The Forum who recently died, is largely credited with starting the newspaper's internship program. Since the mid-1980s, the newspaper's profile and reputation in the journalism internship area has grown, mainly because our interns are paid and get real-world experience.

Unlike many newsrooms - where interns write briefs, do background research and run errands - our newsroom puts them to work as real reporters, copy editors, designers and multimedia storytellers.

Many of the interns go on to make real differences in our profession and in the world. We try to keep track of them.

For instance, Kristen Daum, an intern for us last summer, already landed a prestigious follow-up internship as a Washington political correspondent with Newsday.

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Many of our interns, myself included, eventually work full time at The Forum.

Here's a brief look at this year's excellent intern class:

- Copy editor Amanda Huggett is a 22-year-old graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, where she earned a degree in mass communications, with a minor in sociology and a certificate in publishing.

She grew up in South Bend, Ind., and came to Moorhead to attend Concordia College.

While at MSUM, Huggett was a copy editor and columnist for the college newspaper, The Advocate.

She enjoys traveling, spending time with her cats, playing board games with friends and watching the Food Network.

- Sports reporter Tom Mix is a 22-year-old graduate of St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., where he earned a degree in communications, with a minor in political science.

Originally from St. Cloud, Minn., he became interested in sports journalism because of uncle Gary Larson, who was sports editor at the St. Cloud Times and now edits the Mille Lacs County (Minn.) Times.

Mix, an Eagle Scout, enjoys all things baseball.

- News reporter Michelle Rydell is a 21-year-old senior at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, her hometown. She is pursuing both a journalism and English degree.

In the fall, Rydell will continue her term as editor in chief of The Volante, the USD student newspaper. When she's not working, she enjoys spending time at her sorority and with her large family.

After graduation, she plans on either attending graduate school or working at a newspaper in the Midwest.

- News reporter Alyssa Schafer is a 21-year-old senior at MSUM, where she's pursuing a degree in English and mass communications, with a certificate in publishing.

Originally from Mandan, N.D., she was editor of The Advocate and managing editor of MSUM's online magazine, Horizonlines.org.

Schafer plans to study at the University of Lincoln in England during spring semester 2009. She hopes to graduate in May and then pursue a master's degree in magazine journalism.

She enjoys playing tennis, reading and walking her Chihuahua, Fox.

- Multimedia reporter Tirrell Thomas, a 20-year-old senior attending Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., is close to finishing his triple degree in English communications, psychology and theater.

Though attending college in Colorado, he's from Kotzebue, Alaska, just above the Arctic Circle.

When Thomas returns to Colorado this year, he will be editor of his college paper, The Independent, run on the cross-country team and help with a couple of theater productions.

He hopes to travel extensively throughout his life and stay busy.

Von Pinnon is editor of The Forum. Reach him at (701) 241-5579 or mvonpinnon@forumcomm.com