Ian Kullgren

One morning on his way to high school,  Ian Kullgren, then a 15-year-old sophomore, stopped with his mother to fill the gas tank. He saw The New York Times, bought a copy and has been “worshiping” it ever since.

“I had no idea you could tell these real stories with compelling words with such a wonderful story layout,” said Mr. Kullgren, who went on to become editor-in-chief of his high school’s newspaper. While working at the paper, he covered a shooting and a bomb threat that happened at his school.

“That’s when I saw how important journalism was,” he said. He is a journalism major at Michigan State University. Now, after completing his last semester as editor-in-chief of The State News at M.S.U., he is excited to attend The New York Times Student Journalism Institute.

Mr. Kullgren, 22, is a native of Midland, Mich., and grew up with news “ junkie” parents. His parents would sit at  the dinner table and discuss political cartoons; he admired their passion for politics and wanted to understand their discussions.

“My dad is a Republican, and my mom is a Democrat, so living in a house with them was interesting,” he said. “From an early age, I was able to hear both perspectives on issues. Not a lot of people have that; it helped me develop my own nuanced view at an early age.”

Mr. Kullgren enjoys covering politics. He covered the Republican primary from November 2011 to February 2012; the Republican National Convention in August 2012 for his university’s paper; and the Ohio Legislature for The Columbus Dispatch in summer 2013. He was also an intern at Scripps Howard Foundation Wire in Washington in spring 2013.

After the institute ends, he will go home for a few days, then board a train to Oregon for an internship at The Oregonian.  He says he expects the tough editing here “will make my writing a lot more precise with everything I do.”

When he is not covering politics, Mr. Kullgren enjoys reading non-fiction and fiction books. He plans to make his way back to Washington to cover Congress professionally.