Summer Internships 2015

Sun-soaked postcards from Bryn Mawr students

August 4, 2015
by Diana Campeggio
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A Postcard From: Marissa Mirecki ’16

10712596_10152939800903455_5356879001265780928_oName: Marissa Mirecki

Class Year: 2016

Internship Placement: I am working in a research lab at CHOP studying the biological mechanisms of epileptogenesis.

What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going!

I’m working in a neurology lab at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. The goal of the lab is to learn more about circuits in the brain, and especially about what happens to these circuits during epilepsy. My main job in the lab is to code raw data into useful bits of information that the researchers can use in their studies. My other, unofficial, job is to ask a lot of questions about what is happening in the lab.

My favorite thing that has happened so far was when we put a dye in the cells that would make the neurons light up when they were active. Then, the whole lab crowded into a dark room to watch the neurons under a microscope. After only a few tries, we got to watch the basis of all of behavior in real time; the neurons lit up and then passed the impulse on to other neurons. Every time the cells reacted to an impulse, they lit up, and all of their connections to other cells were visible.

I love working in the lab because not only are interesting things like that going on all the time, but it is such an amazing community of scientists. Even though I don’t have much experience in a lab, everyone is patient with me and willing to answer all of my questions. Not only that, but everyone is excited about what they’re doing! I get to have long conversations with the researchers about brains all of the time. They can make something as mundane as a chloride channel interesting as they explain all of its properties and the way these could be playing into the pathology of epilepsy. I’ve learned so much through my hands-on experience and just by being in a community of scientists who are excited about the work that they’re doing.

When I’m not in the lab, I’ve been exploring Philly. I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (but did not go up the Rocky Steps). I went to the Magic Gardens, which is a space in the city that is completely covered in beautiful mosaics. I also went to Penn’s Landing to see the tall ships festival, and go aboard the Coast Guard ship the Eagle.

Philadelphia Magic Gardens

Philadelphia Magic Gardens

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My favorite sculpture at the Philly Museum of Art.

August 3, 2015
by Diana Campeggio
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A Postcard From: Jingling Li ’17

IMG_20150725_152851772Name: Jingling Li

Class Year: 2017

Internship Placement: I am working at California Institute of Technology as a student researcher this summer. I am working on domain adaptation problems on astronomical datasets, which is a subarea of machine learning.

What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going!

This summer, I am working on a domain adaptation project for astronomical objects at California Institute of Technology. It is a totally different experience for me both geologically and academically. I really enjoy the culture and weather in California and at the same time, I also get the opportunity to comprehend the beauty of the universe from the astronomical aspect. It is exciting to have hands-on observation experience and I cannot forget how amazing and shinning the sky is after the sunset. Being able to know where the data I am working on comes from also helps me to understand the problem well. Therefore, I am very appreciated for the kindness and support from my mentor (Dr. Mahabal) this summer. If possible, I hope to carry on the research beyond this summer.

View from the outside walk around the 200-inch telescope at Palomar Observatory.

View from the outside walk around the 200-inch telescope at Palomar Observatory.

August 3, 2015
by Diana Campeggio
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A Postcard from: Kira Schmidt ’17

img_4619Name: Kira Schmidt

Class Year: 2017

Internship Placement: I am a Hepburn intern at the Supportive Housing Network of New York (SHNNY), a nonprofit organization that advocates providing housing with on-site services for the homeless, specifically in New York City and state. I work under the chief digital and communications officer, meaning I update the website, help with social media, and edit videos for the YouTube channel!

What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going!

It’s been fun, especially since I get to be hands-on with a lot of projects, and am often able to work independently from the other staff. For example, last week I represented the organization at the Social Media for Nonprofits Conference, attending various panels that talked about how nonprofits can better promote their social media presence, and more easily get funded. It was really interesting to talk to people from all different nonprofit organizations, and it was really reassuring to know that there were all these people advocating for such amazing causes. During the conference, we discussed our individual problems relating to social media, and provided solutions that had worked in the past. It was fun to collaborate with so many people in my generation about social media in a more intellectual and educational forum. There were a lot of practical solutions and ideas that were bounced around, most of which were surprisingly very easy and free. I took a great deal of notes, and this week I presented all my findings to my supervisor, and we’ve been collaborating on how to put some of them into effect in our organization.

My supervisor and I at SHNNY's annual conference, only a week into my internship

My supervisor and I at SHNNY’s annual conference, only a week into my internship

How I heard about my internship:

My friend saw this Katharine Hepburn internship at SHNNY on Bryn Mawr’s LanternLink, and knowing my interest in nonprofit organizations and my love of New York City, she forwarded the information onto me!

Why I applied for my internship:

I’ve always had a love of volunteering and helping the less fortunate, and this internship gave me the opportunity to meet some of the people that do it for a living. I was eager to learn about how homelessness is handled by the community and the government, especially in such a large city as New York.

August 3, 2015
by Diana Campeggio
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A Postcard From: Caroline Clark ’16

meName: Caroline Clark

Class Year: 2016

Internship Placement: I’m interning at The Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies at The Field Museum. As a collections intern I’m working to improve the center’s digital database, as well as assisting postdoctoral student Surya Rout and Professor Philipp Heck with their research.

What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going!

The Field Museum’s Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies is home to one of the largest meteorite collections in the world. The collection boasts 1,479 distinct meteorites with over 10,000 specimens. This summer I was lucky enough to work with this wonderful collection. There were two projects that I participated in throughout the summer. Firstly, I helped The Center continue to digitize the meteorite collection. The Center encourages research; in order to open the collection to researchers worldwide, a public online meteorite database was established. This process began in the summer of 2013. The database, which will tentatively go online next summer, includes information about each specimen’s weight, classification, location, and photograph. Currently, we are focused on rephotographing specimens whose database image is poor. Additionally, I’m assisting Dr. Surya Rout, a postdoctoral student at the museum and Dr. Philipp Heck, associate curator and head of the Pritzker Center. This research concerns the characteristics of iron meteorites that cooled quickly at very low temperatures. I created several polished thick sections for this project. These sections will be studied using a scanning and transmission electron microscope. In order to create a thick section, I cut about a 2 g piece of a given iron meteorite using the center’s Isomet Low Speed Saw. Then I would create the thick section by placing the cut piece in a mold and covering it with epoxy. After baking the epoxy, I polished the sections using grit paper. Finally, I carbon coated the sections using the Denton Desk carbon evaporation coater. Thus the thick section was ready for analysis. My work at the museum added to my lab skills, as well as broadened my knowledge of meteorites.

This is an polished section I created for the Carbo iron meteorite.

This is a polished section I created for the Carbo iron meteorite.

How did I find my internship?

This is the second summer that I’ve interned for The Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies. When looking for geology internships, for the summer of 2013, I began by looking at research institutions. At that point in my academic career I was hoping to explore geology careers in academia. The Field Museum is one of the few remaining museums that employs Ph.D.s’ to actively research. I missed the deadline to apply for an REU program with the museum. However, I emailed Jim Holstein, the collection manager for the museum’s meteorite collection, and asked about summer internship opportunities. He was willing to take me on as an intern with the collection. This summer I contacted Mr. Holstein regarding summer internships and I was again able to fill the intern position.

Why I applied to my internship?

The first time I applied to my internship in 2013, I hoped to experience what an academic career in geology would be like in comparison to an applied geology career. Additionally, I was looking to experience different specializations within the geologic field. While taking a low temperature geochemistry course last spring, I realized that geochemistry is something I want to pursue in the future. Meteoritic studies rely heavily on geochemistry work therefore I again applied to The Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies internship.

August 1, 2015
by Diana Campeggio
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A Postcard From: Jonetta White ’16

11011254_10204014720864064_4938993480609737368_n_2Name: Jonetta White

Class Year: 2016

Internship Placement: I will be working at the Black Brother’s and Black Sister’s Involvement Inc.

What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going!

This summer I am a fundraising and marketing intern for Black Brothers and Sister’s Involvement (BBI/BSI) to raise money for the 2015 Dayton African American Cultural Festival in Dayton, OH. To put it simply, I love fundraising! I have learned that sponsors care about different things. Businesses care about demographics and deliverables; they want to know how closely the population served matches their target consumer market or philanthropic goal and the monetary value of what the requesting organization is giving in exchange for sponsorship. Social organizations, such as fraternities and sororities, care about compelling stories, and the interests of individual donors varies.

Fundraising is a huge and complex game: find out what they want/need/care about, position the deliverables in the context of their need/desire, evaluate donorship trends, make the ask. A pleasant surprise for me this summer was putting together a data collection plan and survey so that BBI/BSI would have more valid and reliable demographic data about festival goers and sales performance for vendors when sponsors asked for that kind of information. I never imagined that everything I love and have learned could be so neatly wrapped in one job. For example, I have worked in a call center making cold calls to collect donations or conduct surveys. I never thought that job experience would be useful until I started cold calling PNC Bank and Time Warner Cable, trying to get in contact with the community investment manager or marketing director. I also have two years of sales experience, a field I love; but I did not think that experience would be valuable until I find myself essentially selling sponsorship packages to people I met at galas or cocktail parties.

I had no idea how committed I was until the day I was in the nail shop and a former mayor sat right next to me for a pedicure. I talked to her about the festival and donations and ended up walking out to my car to get the brochure about the festival and donor levels for her! She actually pledged to give a sizable donation, and I simply could not believe it. Although I enjoyed my training and found it very informative, I even picked up a copy of Fundraising for Dummies to learn more. I have thoroughly enjoyed my internship, and I have grown so much as a result of this opportunity. If I do not attend law school next fall, I may look for a job in community investing (I prefer to be the one who makes the decisions) or fundraising (but I do not mind asking).

August 1, 2015
by Diana Campeggio
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A Postcard From: Isabella Nugent ‘18

my_faceName: Isabella Nugent

Class Year: 2018

Internship Placement: I will be working with the Bi-Co Dalun Summer Action Research Fellowship under my project coordinator, Alice Lesnick. I will be working online with fellows from the University of Development Studies in Northern Ghana on different education projects in the Dalun community. Hopefully, next summer I will be able to travel with the fellowship to Dalun to interact with the community more directly.

What’s happening? We’d love to hear about how your internship is going!

Over the last ten weeks, I have been working with my professor Alice Lesnick as a partner in the Bi-Co Dalun Summer Action Research Internship. I am one of three American fellows from the Bi-Co who are working with three Ghanaian partners from the University of Development Studies. Every three weeks, I individually work with a Ghanaian partner in creating small-scale community projects that encourage cross-cultural dialogue. Our partnership is based on learning and unlearning presumptions about each other’s cultures and attempting to create educational relationships, despite the distance (both physically and culturally), as we work with community mentors within Dalun and strive to learn the language of Dagbani.

How I heard about my internship:

Over winter break, I was researching potential internships in the nearby area that would have focus on my intended major of international studies to see whether or not the field was right for me. Through LILAC, I discovered this fellowship and I was drawn into the idea of being involved in a global partnership. LILAC is an excellent resource for Bryn Mawr students to find potential internships that fit with both your educational interests and your personal passions.

Why I applied for my internship:

I contacted Alice Lesnick over the phone and was immediately fascinated about the idea of tackling so many different fields over the summer, everything from gender issues to working with a community radio, and I felt as though this fellowship would give me incredible experience in cross-cultural dialogue and education, and as these ten weeks is drawing down to a close, I’m happy to say I wasn’t wrong! I look forward to potentially working on the ground in Dalun next summer.

August 1, 2015
by Diana Campeggio
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A Postcard From: Hannah Henderson­-Charnow ’17

10257942_10200906213178063_9002629714349469951_nName: ​Hannah Henderson­-Charnow

Class Year: ​2017

Internship Placement: Jewish Voice for Peace

What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going!

This summer I am working as a fellow for Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization that opposes anti­-Muslim, anti­-Jewish, and anti­-Arab bigotry. JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation and the daily violence directed toward Palestinians in Israel and in the occupied territories. Specifically, I have been researching the Methodist Church divestment movement, and their resolutions concerning divestment that will be debated in the 2016 Methodist General Conference. I have also been creating a guiding resource for people involved with interfaith dialogue and outreach. In contact with other social justice organizations, I have had the opportunity to engage in one-on-ones as a way to exchange strategies and organizing experience as we mobilize for social change and political action. I have learned a lot about the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement and the parallels to the divestment from South Africa movement during apartheid. I have been encouraged to synthesize my academic training into activism work having to do with communications, outreach, and advocacy.

Why I applied for my internship?

As a history major, I am fascinated by historical questions and their application to our contemporary moment. How did deeply ingrained cultural/economic/political structures effect/create/challenge/support a place, a practice, a movement, or a single event? How are people, issues, cultures, religions, art, etc. represented in certain places and why? How has a place become itself ­­or known for certain attributes? These questions encourage us to ask further: how do we know our present moment and ourselves? Remaining unaware of the forces that drive our shared inherited past, we have no way to engage in a meaningful way with the present. Working for JVP has offered me an opportunity to take investigate these questions around the issue of Israel/Palestine, including the current Israeli occupation, controversies surrounding the daily violence visited upon Palestinian civilians, and the ways in which enormous sums of capital undergird and sustain occupation politics. I am accustomed to doing archival and text­based research, and JVP has pushed me to understand the world from another angle: from building outreach networks, conducting interviews, and collecting testimony, which is integral in making sure the historically underrepresented voices are heard. Historical inquiry prepares us to be active and engaged citizens, but we have to take the next to actually become so, and that it what I hoped would be the outcome of this internship

July 31, 2015
by Diana Campeggio
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A Postcard From: Haley Humphus ’17

2Name: Haley Humphus

Class Year: 2017

Internship Placement: I am working with the Weavers Way Community Program as a communications intern where I will be taking photos, working on social media, conducting interviews, and creating a few short videos for the website.

What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going.

This summer I am participating in Bryn Mawr’s Summer of Service, a program hosted by Civic Engagement that promotes volunteering and activism for ten students. Through this program, I have been working as the communications intern at Weavers Way Community Programs (WWCP). This a non-profit organization that provides horticultural therapy to autistic and urban high school students, as well as nutrition and cooking skills to the emergency housing facility, Stenton Family Manor. In addition to site visits and office work, my job has been researching best social media practices, conducting participant interviews, creating participant profiles, and cleaning up the database.

I applied to be a part of Summer of Service’s Cohort because I wanted to be surrounded by service oriented students that would push me to grow as a service leader. Every week I’ve looked forward to our reflection dinners where we all come together to check in about how are internships are going. Another added bonus for being a part of this year’s cohort is that transportation is provided through monthly SEPTA passes. During this school year, with work study and classwork, I hadn’t been able to explore Philadelphia as much as I wanted. Because of the extra time and the unlimited SEPTA rides, I have become better acquainted with Philly and feel more confident in my navigation abilities.

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As for WWCP, I applied for the communications internship because I was drawn to their mission. Food insecurity has been an interest of mine for a while so I was very interested in the idea that urban agriculture can reduce the number of food insecure families. In addition to learning about non-profit management, I have learned so many new things! One week, I was able to sit in on one of the cooking classes and learn how to make a quick and easy stovetop pizza from scratch. I’ve also tried a bunch of new fruits and vegetables like fresh mustard greens, ground cherries, and turnips. Overall, this summer has been better than I could have ever expected!

July 31, 2015
by Diana Campeggio
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A Postcard From: Fatou Sylla ’18

photo_on_52315_at_15.34Name: Fatou Sylla

Class Year: 2018

Internship Placement: I will be working with Alice Lesnick as a Bi-Co Dalun Fellow. As a Bi-Co Dalun fellow, we will be working with UDS Ghanian counterparts to research and collaborate on a range of projects concerning the Dalun community.

What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going!

This summer, I’ve been serving as a fellow for the Bi-Co Dalun fellowship and it’s been an insightful, sometimes challenging, experience. For the first time, the fellowship had fellows serving in the United States instead of Dalun Ghana and we had counterparts from the University of Developmental Studies in Tamale Ghana. Together, we’ve been working with each of these individuals, along with designated mentors, on coming up with projects to present to the community. As you could probably guess, this has included a substantial amount of cross-cultural dialogue with our counterparts, and various group discussions in the United States concerning the nature of service work in developing nations as well as U.S relations and perceived ideals in the nations where service is taking place. All these features of the program have pushed me, and I’m sure my fellow fellows, to contemplate what service means abroad and how the collective United States identity translates when working with non-U.S students.

In order to really get an understanding of the discussions we have had in my fellowship and understand the nature of service abroad, I cannot neglect talking about the role of technology in facilitating global cross communication. It has been critical to the development of our individual projects, as well as our collective language lessons and discussions with the fellows abroad. Through technological mediums such as Skype, email, and Facebook, we have been able to communicate across several time zones and countries, which probably has been my favorite part of this fellowship after the discussions and readings. These mediums have made communication easier, but they have also been extremely helpful in understanding of the region our counterparts are working in, which is something the program coordinators stressed for good reason. This fellowship could have very well been a project where we would work on our individual projects and learn nothing about the region, but then we would accomplish hardly any growth or learning. From the beginning, the coordinators of the program stressed the importance of cross-cultural learning and reciprocity. It’s set a beautiful foundation of not one country (the United States) coming to the aid of another with intent of saving the country, but rather two countries contributing and collaborating to promote progress.

July 31, 2015
by Diana Campeggio
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A Postcard From: Dani Roomes ’17

fullsizerenderName: Dani Roomes

Class Year: 2017

Internship Placement: This summer, I am working at the COLOURS Organization, Inc. It is an LGBTQ organization that focuses on providing social services for LGBT people of color in Philly. I will be working as a social media/communications intern, in which I will be responsible for producing and implementing social media strategies, attending LGBT events in the city as part of the media team, and managing all social media platforms.

What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going!

This summer, I have had the opportunity to work at the COLOURS Organization, Inc. COLOURS is one of the oldest LGBTQA* organization in Philly and primarily serves people of color. My time at COLOURS has greatly impacted my personal growth. My role allowed me to foster my creativity and explore my interests. By far, my favorite project of the summer was organizing an intimate discussion at MilkBoy Studio between queer artists whose works have been deeply affected by the city. Through this project, I was able to gain confidence in my ability to turn my ideas into action. It was great to see my dream come to life.

The discussion was powerful and inspiring. The artists discussed identity and art. They explained the ways in which race and sexuality can be used as a source of empowerment and creativity. Working closely with the videographer and his production team inspired me to become a member at PhillyCAM, a non-profit organization that operates Philadelphia’s public access television. Soon I will be involved in workshops to gain the skills necessary to spearhead my own creative projects.

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This internship has taught me that the LGBTQA* non-profit world is not for me. As much as I see it as vital for creating a world in which all people are viewed as valuable and deserving of love and respect, I could not see myself dedicating my career to this field. I have learned that I can further integrate my identity into my career path by allowing it to inform the way I choose to contribute to the world. For me, that means intentionally creating spaces for the stories of the marginalized to be centered and shared. I want to inspire others to use the beauty and struggle within their own realities to bring positive change to their communities. In addition to discovering a new passion, I have fallen in love with this gritty city. I was lucky to have made long-term bonds with individuals who have been pivotal to making my experience as inspirational as it has been. More importantly, this summer has helped me understand myself better. I am incredibly grateful.