We’re excited to announce our interns for 2016! Emerging Prairie scored some good ones this year and we couldn’t be more stoked to start our summer with these rockstars. Look for them come May/June around the Prairie Den and at our events.


JustinOdneyJustin Odney

Birthplace: Fargo, North Dakota

Currently a student at: Concordia College

Last song you listened to: “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5

Your favorite “hidden gem” in Fargo: The Sloppy Joe special on Tuesday’s at Sandy’s Donuts!

If you could reinvent anything and make it better, what would it be? How would you do it? If I could reinvent anything, it would have to include utilizing the disabled community in the common workplace to a much greater extent. Many individuals with special needs have the most peculiar talents, and I would see that each major corporation would create a position for one of these individuals that would allow them to interact with top executives and provide feedback. You simply cannot find a better community when it comes to creativity and positive energy.

What do you hope to learn as an intern of Emerging Prairie? I hope to learn more about the startup culture in Downtown Fargo and work with professionals who have startup experience. My goal is to create a business that focuses on bringing value to both my employees and customers. I hope that by the end of the summer, I will become even more excited to start my own business and be equipped with the skills necessary to succeed!

What was the moment you decided to get involved with TEDx? I was first introduced to the TEDx organization by attending TEDxFargo in 2012. A friend of mine told me about a really cool volunteer opportunity in the Fargo Moorhead area, and now the rest is history. I have constantly been intrigued by the mission of the TED organization, an interest that ultimately led me to create a TEDx event at my own institution.

katiebeedyKatie Beedy

Birthplace: Fargo, North Dakota

Currently a student at: Concordia College

Last song you listened to on Spotify/Tidal/Itunes/Mixtape: untitled 02 | 06.23.2014 by Kendrick Lamar

Favorite “hidden gem” in Fargo: I spend a lot of time in the coffee shops of Fargo-Moorhead, and one of my favorite shops is perhaps the hardest one to find: Stumbeano’s. Stumbeano’s is tucked away in the basement of the Loretta building downtown. The shop is small, with only three or four tables, but the coffee is spectacular. The beans are roasted by the owner, and all of the syrups are made in-house. Perhaps the real “hidden gem” is their lavender latte, my favorite drink.

If you could reinvent anything to make it better, what would it be? How would you do it? I don’t know how I would do it, but I would make socks that do not slide down from their respective places on ankles and thighs.  I wear a lot of dresses and I like to pair them with thigh-high stockings, but I can never take more than ten steps without having to pull them back up. It’s quite a nuisance.

What do you hope to learn as an intern with Emerging Prairie? I am not a technology buff by any means; as an intern with Emerging Prairie, I hope to learn more about the amazing things happening in our tech community while continuing to improve my own writing skills. It is very important for me to be able to write well-informed stories on topics that I’m not all-too familiar with.

If you could write about anything in the world, what would you write about? Right now, I would kill to interview the cast and crew of Hamilton. But above all else, I want to tell people’s stories.  If a person invents something, creates a brilliant piece of art, begins a social movement, or overcomes immense obstacles, I want to be there. I want to hear them talk about what matters to them and use my position as a writer to share their story with the world.

adamvarebergAdam Dean Vareberg

Birthplace: Des Moines, Iowa

Currently a student at: Harvard University

Last song: The last song I remember personally playing on Pandora is “Imagine” by John Lennon.

Favorite “hidden gem” in Fargo: Orchard Glen in South Fargo

If you could reinvent anything to make it better, what would it be? How would you do it? I know that when I am trying to sleep one of the best feelings in the world is having a pillow that is cool, but not too cold. It’s tough to come up with an innovation on the spot, but I would definitely love to have a temperature control for my pillows.

What do you hope to learn as an intern with Emerging Prairie? There are a few things I really hope to learn as an EP intern. The first is that I want to learn about the startup process and develop a better understanding for the community’s support of startups. I would also like to discover new ideas about group and community dynamics by working with the EP team and the rest of the FM community. I finally want to gain a greater appreciation for everything that is going on in Fargo and the surrounding area.

You recently met Mitt Romney. What was that like? I gained a lot of respect for Mitt Romney after meeting him and getting to hear from him in a personal setting. He was able to recognize and share the mistakes that he made while running for President of the United States in 2012 and articulated very well how he would have improved. He brought new insight to political issues at hand and even offered advice to young entrepreneurs, suggesting that we must all stay true to our values.

ashleyblazekAshley Blazek

Birthplace: Fargo, ND (woot woot!)

Currently a student at: Drake University

Last song you listened to on Spotify/Tidal/iTunes/mixtape: “You Make My Dreams Come True” – Hall and Oates

Your favorite “hidden gem” in Fargo: watching airplanes land and take off at Hector International Airport (hidden in plain sight)

If you could reinvent anything to make it better, what would it be? How would you do it: I would reinvent trampolines to have twice the bounce, so a single bouncer can feel like they are being double bounced, without having to have another person there. This way, when you are double bounced on this type of trampoline, you would be quadruple bounced.

What do you hope to learn as an intern with Emerging Prairie? I hope to learn how to plan events and network with the outstanding members of the Fargo – Moorhead community. I think I’m going to learn a lot from my coworkers this summer about myself, and how I want to live my life and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

You use the word “fruf” often. What does it mean?: “Fruf” is a slang word my friends and I came up with while chilling on Maple Lake, MN. It originated when describing things as “First Grade Stuff”. The literal, Urban Dictionary definition reads: “Cool, sick, totally bro, of course, ahh heck yeah, for sure, what are we waiting for, righteous. Usually used in reply to something or when describing something or someone. Only to be used in a positive context. Originated from ‘first grade stuff.’

So to use fruf in a sentence: “Emerging Prairie is so fruf.” or “Hey, want to watch a TED Talk? Response: fruf”

Choosing the fruf lifestyle is choosing to embody positivity, an acceptance of others, and a love of living life to the fullest. Fruf is the next cultural movement sweeping the millennial generation.

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Marisa Jackels