NPR Reporter Zoë Sobel ’14 Returns to Wellesley to Discuss Past WBUR Internship and Current Work in Alaska

November 20, 2017
Bill Littlefield and Zoë Sobel ’14

Like many students Zoë Sobel ’14 arrived to Wellesley, from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, interested in pursuing a future in medicine. But by her junior year, the psychology major was open to more career paths.

A competitive athlete since childhood, she was a member of Wellesley's cross country, basketball, and track teams. During that time Sobel also found time to volunteer as a producer and DJ at WZLY, the campus radio station.

In her senior year, she landed an internship at NPR and WBUR’s “Only A Game” and worked with national writer and sports commentator Bill Littlefield.

Last week, Sobel returned to Wellesley to co-host a talk with Littlefield in Founders Hall. Asked why she chose “Only A Game,” Sobel answered, “As a female college athlete, strategically I thought it was a good choice. I love sports and I felt my background would help set me apart from other candidates.”

During his appearance at Founders, Littlefield credited Sobel’s work ethic. “Zoë was great in that she had everything you look for in an intern—she had energy, enthusiasm and imagination,” he said. “That’s how you want to do it. Do the work. Fit in. Do more. She was from Wellesley so we figured she’d do well.”

After she graduated with a degree in Psychology, Sobel spent another year and a half in Boston. In addition to stints with Only A Game, she produced WBUR’s national award-winning coverage of the trial of Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Then Sobel decided it was time to leave Boston and head to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands where she currently works as a reporter and host for KUCB, the westernmost NPR affiliate, and Alaska’s Energy Desk.  She covers stories related to science, energy, and the environment.

Wellesley prepared Sobel in several ways, she said. “There was a big emphasis on strong writing, being inquisitive, asking questions, and critical thinking.