Introducing Hear Nebraska’s Summer 2017 Interns

School is out for the summer, and that means a new crop of interns has entered the fold.

Readers will recognize Lauren Farris, who enters her fourth semester with HN in an expanded role. She’ll execute normal concert photography and videography duties in addition to joining the Good Living Tour visual team.

We are pleased to welcome our newcomers, which include: multimedia interns Emma Petersen and Marti Vaughan, based in Lincoln and Omaha respectively; editorial intern Sam Crisler; marketing/editorial intern Jamie Vassar; and events/program intern Callie Austad. All will be contributing to HN’s major summer projects — Hear Grand Island, the Good Living Tour, Hear Lincoln, Turner Park Night Market — as well as to our editorial content.

Get to know them below and say hello to them when you see them at shows.


Emma Petersen


Age: 20
Hometown: Lincoln, NE
Current City: Chicago (for school, but I’m home in Lincoln for the summer)
Internship Focus: Multimedia

What should Hear Nebraska’s audience expect from you during your internship?

During my time with Hear Nebraska I hope to bring my happy-go-lucky personality into my work to create unique content that is visually compelling and enjoyable to watch. I am extremely passionate not just about music, but life in general. I hope to convey this through my work with bands and the Nebraska music scene as a whole.

In what ways/skills do you hope to improve the most during your internship?

My artistic focus has mostly been on photography in the past, but I am ecstatic to be able to develop my skills as a videographer. I hope to create visually compelling work that bands can use as promotional content. I also hope to work on creating relationships with bands- I consider myself to be an introvert so sometimes it’s difficult for me to step out of my comfort zone and say, reach out to a band I’ve never met, or go up and talk to that lead singer that just finished a set on stage.

What was the first and most recent concert you attended in Nebraska?

Alright, don’t laugh. My first ever concert was Hannah Montana when I was seven or eight years old. I’m happy to say that I have branched in my taste of music since then. Since I have been away in Chicago for school, I have not had many opportunities to attend concerts in Nebraska. Some concerts that I recently went to were Druids with Laughing Falcon and Super Moon, as well as the Wildwoods.

Tell us about a time you realized music and art mattered/impacted your community.

I have been involved with music and art since I was very young, and I think the first time that I truly realized what an impact it can have on society was when I first looked at photographer Joel Sartore’s work. He is employed by National Geographic taking photographs of endangered animals, giving them personalities and informing the public of what makes them great and how we can all help save them and their habitats.

What’s one Nebraska artist or band you’d like to work with or cover during your internship?

I may be a little biased considering that I grew up with them, but I would love to be able to work with The Wildwoods. I have done work for them in the past and absolutely loved collaborating with them- here’s to more in the future!

Tell us one thing outside of your musical comfort zone you’d like to explore during your internship.

I would consider my musical taste to be in the land of indie and americana, so I would love to branch out and cover some heavy metal and punk bands.

What professional in your field do you most look up to and why?

As far as photography goes, my biggest inspiration would have to be Nebraska based photographer Wyn Wiley. He took my senior photos and ended up taking me under his wing as an aspiring photographer. He is an extremely passionate person that is not afraid to let his quirky and authentic light shine.


Sam Crisler


Age: 20
Hometown: Ashland, NE
Current City: Lincoln, NE
Internship Focus: Editorial

What should Hear Nebraska’s audience expect from you during your internship?

I’ll be challenging myself to write engaging and powerful stories that not only cover Nebraska artists and the music they create, but also find inventive ways to connect the various scenes that make up the Nebraska music community. There’s such a wealth of artistic talent in Nebraska, and I hope to contribute to bridging any divides to make the scene a true music community.

In what ways/skills do you hope to improve the most during your internship?

I hope to develop trusting relationships with musicians throughout the state because I know they all have interesting stories to tell. I hope to find new, captivating ways to tell their stories aside from just writing a standard profile. These artists have connections and deep musical histories that deserve to be shared.

What was the first and most recent concert you attended in Nebraska?

In 2012, during my freshman year of high school, my dad took me to see The Lemonheads at The Waiting Room when they played “It’s a Shame About Ray” in its entirety (sans “Mrs. Robinson”). Evan Dando didn’t seem that interested in playing, but it was still cool to hear such a great album live. I wasn’t introduced to the local music scene until my freshman year of college in the fall of 2015 when I caught See Through Dresses at The Waiting Room. That really opened me up to a whole world of bands and venues. The most recent show I saw was Altura’s EP release show at Lucy’s Pub with The Way Out, Uh Oh and The Cosmic Smiths.

Tell us about a time you realized music and art mattered/impacted your community.

I still consider Ashland, Nebraska, my hometown, and while I was growing up in the town of 2,500, art seemed like it was at the back of everyone’s minds. There were a few art galleries in the downtown area, but if anyone needed an art fix, they would just drive a half hour to Lincoln or Omaha. But I think within the last few years, there’s been an influx of creative types. Art’s impact on Ashland really became clear to me when the city’s art council held an art walk downtown this April. There were dozens of people venturing up and down Silver Street in downtown Ashland to check out the art on display, and it showed me that even in a small town like Ashland, art can bring people together and have an impact.

What’s one Nebraska artist or band you’d like to work with or cover during your internship?

I’d love to do something with BOTH. Skylar and Nate seem like the coolest dudes, and they’ve been churning out bangers for the last few years that deserve exposure outside the state. But I think just having the chance to hang out and talk with them would be pretty dope.

Tell us one thing outside of your musical comfort zone you’d like to explore during your internship.

I’ve never really covered much of the folk, roots and soul scenes. I realize there are a ton of fantastic bands that play venues like the Zoo Bar every night, so I’d love to explore more of what those scenes have to offer.

What professional in your field do you most look up to and why?

It’s gotta be Nardwuar the Human Serviette. I hope that doesn’t come off as a diss to more traditional music journalists, but I don’t think anyone does their homework on their interviewees better than Nardwuar. He approaches every interview with confidence, no matter if he’s talking with Snoop Dogg or Slipknot. But he wasn’t always the effortless interviewer that he is today. There’s an interview of his with Nirvana from 1994 in which Nardwuar just can’t get through to Kurt Cobain. It’s inspiring to see how far he’s come as a journalist. And he’s done it all with his squeaky voice and wearing goofy plaid hat.


Marti Vaughan


Age: 22
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Current City: Omaha, NE
Internship Focus: Photography and Video

What should Hear Nebraska’s audience expect from you during your internship?

Audiences can expect my photography to explore vibrant colors, interesting angles and fresh editing. My videos will be well-edited and attention-grabbing. I also hope to bring attention to some unfamiliar faces in Omaha through enjoyable feature videos and fun portraits.

In what ways/skills do you hope to improve the most during your internship?

I hope to become a quick and impressive editor. I want to not only be fast, so that I can take on more work, but to truly be skilled in my field. I think this will come with time, constructive criticism and working with other artists.

What was the first and most recent concert you attended in Nebraska?

My first proper concert (other than the Qwest Center) was Lucero at The Waiting Room. The show was about 6 years ago and I’ve been hooked on live performances since. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to attend shows lately. The last show I attended was JoJo featuring Stanaj at Slowdown in early March.

Tell us about a time you realized music and art mattered/impacted your community.

This moment was also at the Lucero show that I attended at The Waiting Room when I was 18. Before I stepped through those doors I thought the only way people bonded was through the common hatred of rival sport teams or Netflix documentaries about serial killers. This was the first time I had ever seen people truly come together in community, all bonded by the inspiring music they each love. I saw timid, silent-types blossom into dancing maniacs and people who had never met share friendly glances like the show was a weekly meeting at their grandmother’s house. This was when I realized that people need music and art. Especially when the world is having so much trouble finding commonalities between different types of people, it’s always the arts that we can all appreciate.

What’s one Nebraska artist or band you’d like to work with or cover during your internship?

It would be an absolute dream to cover Tim Kasher or Conor Oberst but I realize that those are tough gigs to get since we have so many amazing contributors. I also think it would be amazing to cover Ladyfinger, Satchel Grande or See Through Dresses since I have enjoyed their shows many times and would love to see how creative we would be able to get during a photo shoot or some concert coverage.

Tell us one thing outside of your musical comfort zone you’d like to explore during your internship.

I want to take sensational portraits. It’s easy to ask a musician to stand against a brick wall but entirely another when you ask to drench them in glitter, stick a rose in their mouth and cover them with Christmas lights (a hideous idea for a picture but you get the point.) I want to be able to have these conversations with other artists and have them take it seriously for the sake of an amazing picture. I would love for my portfolio to be so well-developed by the end of this internship that artists feel they can put themselves out on the line as much as I am. I’m certainly not great at having these conversations now, but I think becoming better at them is what I need to learn to reach creative landscapes I haven’t been able to before.

What professional in your field do you most look up to and why?

I most look up to the photographer Annie Leibovitz. She has explored so many different areas in her time as a photographer without ever losing her touch. She has excelled in everything she’s done from serious black and white portraits to recreating famous Disney scenes with celebrities. Some of my absolute favorites are the works she’s done with Angelina Jolie.

Just look at their versatility through the years! The work speaks for itself!


Jamie Vassar


Age: 25
Hometown: Grand Island, Nebraska
Current City: Omaha, Nebraska
Focus: Marketing/Editorial

What should Hear Nebraska’s audience expect from you during your internship?

A unique voice and full engagement into the projects I am given.

In what ways/skills do you hope to improve the most during your internship?

Polishing my writing and marketing sense for a more professional setting outside of the realm of literacy that I am so familiar with as well as becoming more confident in marketing management.

What was the first and most recent concert you attended in Nebraska?

My first concert in Nebraska outside of seeing my friends’ bands play was actually when I was dragged to a Papa Roach concert by some of my best friends who claimed “You haven’t been to a show if you don’t end up bleeding.” But when I don’t want to tell that story, I default to when I saw Story of the Year in Lincoln and leaving fully content while being drenched in other people’s sweat.

Chance the Rapper at the Century Link Center was the most recent concert I’ve seen and I could have watched him shuffle across stage all night. A charming man, that guy.

Tell us about a time you realized music and art mattered/impacted your community.

The most recent account I can recall is right after the election. I saw the Omaha creative community erupt in every artistic outlet, and this is important because in times of turmoil people often find their voice through the arts in an effort to connect with people. It is a unique and rewarding thing to witness.

What’s one Nebraska artist or band you’d like to work with or cover during your internship?

AZP. Hands down. I love their sound and I love what I’ve seen them do so far.

Tell us one thing outside of your musical comfort zone you’d like to explore during your internship.

Anything in the metal realm. There’s a whole culture that comes with it that I find intriguing but has never been explored due to my inner timid kid.

What professional in your field do you most look up to and why?

Chuck Palanhuick and Evan Puschak. Both are very intelligent writers but are able to engage their audience through inviting and playful in their presentation. They use the lens of pop culture in a very smart and effective way that I can only hope to imitate.


Callie Austad


Age: 21
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Current City: Lincoln, NE
Internship Focus: Programs

What should Hear Nebraska’s audience expect from you during your internship?

Expect to see me everywhere! I bounce between Omaha and Lincoln checking out bands and venues. I love to meet and connect with new people all the time. I will help bring fans to artist, artists to venues, and venues to new ways of thinking. My main goal of this internship is to connect people of Nebraska to new music, new ideas, and new perspectives.

In what ways/skills do you hope to improve the most during your internship?

I am challenging myself to step outside of my comfort zone to see what I can accomplish within the upcoming year. This fall I will begin my senior year and I am anxious to apply the things I’ve learned in class to meaningful work that I am passionate about. I look forward to gaining experience in contract writing, securing sponsorships, in addition to developing educational programs for local artists.

What was the first and most recent concert you attended in Nebraska?

The first concert I ever attended was the Cheetah Girls back in 4th or 5th grade. That was so long ago but nonetheless a huge deal. Within the last six months I’ve seen some of my favorite artists including: the Lumineers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Broods, Hippie Sabotage, CAAMP, and Chance the Rapper.

Tell us about a time you realized music and art mattered/impacted your community.

For the last few years my family has taken vacations to Bonnaroo. I first thought going to these festivals with my parents would be very strange but it has turned out to be some of the greatest experiences. Once you’re there, you realize that within a crowd of thousands, everyone is connected. There’s a mutual feeling of love and respect that’s shared between every concert-goer, an amazing feeling of connection that cannot be experienced elsewhere. It’s that sense of community I am hoping to help deliver throughout our state.

What’s one Nebraska artist or band you’d like to work with or cover during your internship?

During the internship I’d like to work with Twinsmith. I’m attracted to their energetic performances and upbeat style. It’d be great to work with a band that is giving Nebraska a new look, feel, and sound.

Tell us one thing outside of your musical comfort zone you’d like to explore during your internship.

I hope to combine my interest in photography with music. A friend of mine has recently helped me start taking photos and I am hoping to incorporate my new found interest into my work at Hear Nebraska. If I could learn more about photography and videography, I’d have my dream job.

What professional in your field do you most look up to and why?

The professional I most look up to is Jenny Chapin, a very talented individual. She worked alongside David Letterman for many years and has experienced working with a wide-range of artists. She was the one who recommend I follow my passion of music and has opened the door to endless opportunities for me.

Andrew Stellmon is Hear Nebraska's managing editor. Reach him with news tips and story ideas at news@hearnebraska.org.