PBS Intern Spotlight: Jackie Manginelli

From aspiring lawyer to educational gaming developer


Jackie Manginelli, like many young professionals starting their careers, changed their mind. After graduating with a double major in government and women’s studies in 2019, Jackie started working in a law office as an investigator, gathering evidence for cases — a step in their trajectory to law school. After a few years, however, the work became unfulfilling. Interested in problem-solving and communication, Jackie started learning how to code, self-taught. Then, they enrolled in a computer software engineering program and started applying for coding jobs.

In summer 2023, Jackie started as an engineering intern for the PBS KIDS Games Squad. After a warm welcome from PBS President & CEO Paula Kerger, Jackie – along with more than 20 other interns across various departments – began a summer full of unique, exciting opportunities. From networking and visiting member stations to attending the PBS KIDS Producers Summit to learn about upcoming children’s programming, Jackie was immersed in the world of public television. They also had the opportunity to visit NPR’s headquarters, where they learned more about public media as a whole.

The highlight of Jackie’s internship was creating their own game, “Road Trip,” which was designed to expand accessibility and teach computational thinking skills. In the game, the player’s objective is to get the car to the beach through voice commands, teaching kids left, right, and forward. By using voice controls, Jackie created a game that is accessible for children who haven’t learned to read yet, as well as for children with disabilities.

“[The game] isn’t live anywhere, but the potential this unlocked for the future of games at PBS KIDS is HUGE,” said Jackie’s supervisor, Corinne Dey, who is the senior manager of technology for PBS KIDS games. “We had about 1,000 applications for this internship position, more than any of the others this summer, and one reason I chose Jackie was because I knew they were great at problem solving. They were such a great addition to have on the Squad this summer, and I am so proud of what they accomplished in just a few short months!”

Armed with this experience, Jackie is excited for the future and is currently applying to junior software engineer roles.

“Because of my career change, I experience a lot of imposter syndrome about coding and not really believing that I can do it,” says Jackie. “My biggest takeaway from this internship is that I am capable of sticking things out and learning how to do it.”

Your support of the PBS Foundation gives young professionals like Jackie invaluable experience, inspiring future careers in entertainment and public media. And, because our interns complete valuable work, they earn competitive pay and benefits. Thank you for your generosity, which ensures excellence at PBS – now and in the future.

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 “It’s so wonderful to know that in the future, I can work in an environment where the people really care about what they’re doing, in a way that they’re not working for money – they’re working to make education accessible for kids.” -Jackie Manginelli


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