A Postcard From: Zhengyi Xu ’18

Name: Zhengyi Xu
Class Year: 2018
Major: Math
Hometown: Hangzhou
Internship Placement: Shenwanhongyuan Securities, Hangzhou Branch
Job Title: Intern
Location: Hangzhou, China

What’s happening at your internship?

This summer, I am interning in the Investment Banking Department of Shenwanhongyuan Securities. Our team focuses on listing enterprises in NEEQ market (National Equities Exchange and Quotation). NEEQ market is China’s newest stock market. It is an over-the-counter (OTC) market that provides greater depth of financing options for Chinese Mainland small-to-medium enterprises.

In this internship, I have written a report briefing the situation of the gear manufacturing industry in China and analyzing the future development of one enterprise we are current taking charge of; I have finished a proposal for our new project of a clothing manufacture company I was following. Also I am responsible for collecting our previous costumers’ contact information and getting their feedback.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I hope this internship can contribute to my future career. I want to apply for financial mathematics for graduate school, therefore this internship offers me a chance to see what kind of work is done in the investment banking department, and what kind of skills I need to prepare for my future career.

Was there anything special about how you found this internship?

I had an internship in Hongyuan Securities in the summer of my freshman year. That internship was interesting and I had a good experience there communicating with people from the securities industry, so this year I applied for the internship in the Investment Banking Department in Hangzhou Branch. I always want to know about the jobs in finance, specially the job in IBD, and joining in a small group can provide me a chance to get close with my teammates and learn from them, and do more important work.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship is talking with people from banks, enterprises, and investment companies. From the conversations with those people we get to know what kind of service they need and how to cooperate in the future; from this process, I understand the financial market comprehensively and learn more information about other areas in the finance industry.

A Postcard From: Aisha Soumaoro ’20

Name: Aisha Soumaoro
Class Year: 2020
Hometown: New York
Internship Placement: Dalun ICT Centre
Location: Dalun, Ghana

My name is Aisha Soumaoro. I am a rising sophomore at Bryn Mawr College, pursuing my computer science degree. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and for the first seven years of my life, I lived in Guinea, Conakry. Currently, my family and I live in New York.

In high school, I loved spending my free time volunteering and giving back to my community. In my high school career, I volunteered at Harlem Grown, where I dedicated my summer to clearing up vacated lots in order to plant healthy fruits and vegetables for Harlem residents. I also volunteered for Meals on Wheels, where every Sunday I would go door to door delivering meals to elderly people. In addition, I was a tutor at Democracy Prep Middle School, a translator at Sanctuary for Families, an office assistant, a babysitter, and a captain for my high school girls’ soccer team.

While these may sound as a recitation of my resume, I view these organizations or activities that I have partaken in as stepping stones needed for me to reach my optimal life. They have helped me build my character.

I believe that being involved with the Dalun ICT Centre will allow me to continue exercising my values for authenticity, empathy, and kindness. With these values and the mixture of my love for computer science, I will be able to share my knowledge of art, Java, Python, and other basic computer skills with my peers on this fellowship. Furthermore, I am looking forward to being immersed in a community where its member shares all of these values.

Ghana, here we come!

A Postcard From: Darby Andre ’18

Name: Darby Andre
Class Year: 2018
Major: Sociology
Hometown: Fleetwood, Pa.
Internship Placement: The Franklin Institute
Job Title: Development Intern
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

This summer I’m interning with The Franklin Institute’s External Affairs Department, dealing with fundraising, events, and membership. I’ve been learning about all the writing, planning, and management that go into successfully engaging and cultivating donors to the museum. So much goes on behind the scenes at The Franklin Institute that makes all the really cool programs possible. I’ve been writing donor proposals, prepping materials for our various fundraising events, and helping the team with all their office needs.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship at The Franklin Institute because I wanted to get experience in a fundraising department at a nonprofit. I’ve been thinking about working for a year or two before I go to grad school, so I wanted to explore some other career options related to sociology. While I had been interested in working for a nonprofit after graduation, I didn’t know a lot about how nonprofits operated. I thought interning with a really successful development department in the Philadelphia area would be a great learning experience in the city I hope to live in after graduation.

Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?

This might sound a little bland, but I’ve been learning a lot about the program Raiser’s Edge, which is a database used for fundraising in most nonprofits. It’s going to be something really important to put on my resume and have experience in for future nonprofit jobs!

What is most rewarding about your internship?

It’s been really cool to actually see the results of the work our department does. For example, I worked on prepping for an event that helped raise money to give all of our STEM scholars laptops before they go to college, and now I get to actually put the laptops in cases and write nametags for all the students. Next week, I’ll get to go to the event where each student receives their laptop. It’s been really rewarding to work for a department and a nonprofit that gives back to the community and be able to see that tangible progress.

A Postcard From: Madeleine Maier ’19

Name: Madeleine Maier
Class Year: 2019
Major: International Studies in the Middle East, Francophone Studies
Hometown: Eugene, Ore.
Internship Placement: VITALS (Valley Immigration Training, Advocacy, and Legal Services)
Job Title: Extern
Location: Springfield, Ore.

What’s happening at your internship?

VITALS is a new nonprofit in the Eugene/Springfield area. They provide low-cost legal services to immigrants in the area, as well as clients all over the U.S. Another mission of the organization is the education of students in immigration law, so I have been very lucky to have an internship that is not centered around making copies or filing. Instead, I am getting the chance to experience many parts of the process: researching asylum cases, meeting with clients, filing out DACA and U-VISA paperwork, observing immigration court, and writing reports.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I was interested in doing some kind of work with immigrants or asylum seekers, so that I could understand the U.S. processes more and maybe have a chance to practice my Arabic, French, and Spanish. I also really appreciate the emphasis on learning for the student interns.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

My internship has been really hands on. Even in my first morning I helped to interview a client for her asylum case, and later wrote up the report. I really love getting the chance to do so many different things in the office and I’m happy to have the chance to work directly with clients, which also helps with my language skills. I’ve also really enjoyed doing research for asylum cases, which require lots of documentation of human rights violations in the client’s home country. For this, I read through newspaper articles, government reports, NGO reports, and academic studies to support our clients’ claims. I am learning a lot about specific human rights issues in different countries, and although it can be hard to read about, it feels very important.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?

The most difficult part of my internship is how emotionally taxing it can be. Asking clients to relive the worst memories of their lives, sometimes for the first time, can feel like a huge responsibility. It’s also difficult to see how few of the cases are accepted by the court—so much of it seems to be down to chance and the mood of the judge that day. The system is unfair and broken, and it can be hard to watch our clients struggle through it. There are no guarantees, as much as we wish there were, and so empathy and compassion are a huge part of the work that I am doing.

A Postcard From: Aldercy Lam ’19

Name: Aldercy Lam
Class Year: 2019
Major: Sociology
Hometown: Philadelphia
Internship Placement: Art-Reach
Job Title: Program Intern
Location: 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

Art-Reach is a tiny team of five, so my everyday responsibilities require assisting any member of the team whenever I’m needed. Because we are in constant communication with human service agencies and art partners (museums, theaters, and cultural organizations), my duties usually fall within that line of correspondence. For example, I process the ticket requests that the agencies send us through a program, and then email our art partners to make it happen. I also mail out thank you letters from our members to Art Partners and donors. Additionally, I get out of the office and assist in adaptive art workshops. This past week I went on a touch tour at the Philadelphia Theatre Company with the Associated Services for the Blind (ASB), where we were able to get on stage and feel the different props.

Why did you apply for this internship?

The initial reason why I was attracted to Art-Reach was because I was passionate in assisting them with their mission. Taking sociology courses opened my eyes to the way systematic inequality has produced real consequences on underserved communities. After taking these courses and declaring a sociology major, I’ve decided that I want to pursue a career where I can support the individuals and families facing these challenges.
At Art-Reach, we accomplish this by bringing art to members of the low-income and disability communities. I was especially interested in this organization because they are based in Philadelphia, where there are an abundance of art programs that are unfortunately often only accessible to wealthy, able-bodied people. At Art-Reach, we bridge this gap by connecting underserved communities with art partners using support from public and private donations.

What is something you have learned from your internship that you didn’t expect?

By working at Art-Reach, I’ve learned to check my able-bodied privilege and make sure to be more inclusive by keeping in mind the different accommodations one may need. A common but harmful assumption people make is that a “normal” person is able-bodied. There are people with disabilities and they have to face barriers that those without disabilities do not even think about. I felt guilty when I first realized my ignorance, but now I’m learning how I can make things more accessible for everyone.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding part of my internship would be knowing that I have a direct positive role in supporting communities. Sometimes I can go on tours and live out these experiences with our members, but when I can’t I still know that I’ve helped in getting our members to the play or museum when I process the ticket requests from my cubicle.

A Postcard From: Francesca Agnello ’18

Name: Francesca Agnello
Class Year: 2018
Major: Anthropology
Minor: Italian
Hometown: Livingston, N.J.
Internship Placement: Canaday Library
Job Title: Digital Curriculum Intern
Location: Bryn Mawr College

What’s happening at your internship?

I’ve been doing a lot of tech documentation recently (specifically for the new version of Moodle), which is something I’ve never tried before and sounds pretty dry but is something I actually really enjoy. I’ve also started using Adobe Premiere Pro CC to edit videos about blended learning in the liberal arts; I’ve never played around with audiovisual editing before, either. There are three of us Digital Curriculum Interns, so we’re all working together to solve problems, learn Premiere, and figure out BiONiC. We also work in the same room as the AR/VR Interns who are working with the HoloLens, so we DC interns are sometimes their guinea pigs for their apps, which is really fun (and also terrifying because my brain truly believes the holograms are real).

Why did you apply for this internship?

This past semester I was working with Alicia Peaker as one of her Digital Scholarship Research Assistants, and wanted to use this summer to continue honing my digital competencies. Alicia mentioned this internship to us RAs as the perfect way to do this. I was also really intrigued by the 9-to-5 work schedule, which is something I haven’t had experience with.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

Even though I’m not directly helping anyone with this internship, some of the projects we’re working on are meant to help future first-years make the transition into Bryn Mawr College by making educational tools (like Moodle and BiONiC) easier to understand and use. And since this internship is all about finding innovative new ways of teaching others, I’d like to think that some of our projects are going to help non-traditional learners succeed at Bryn Mawr as well as traditional learners. By advocating for blended learning, for example, we’re supporting potential tools and technologies that could help BMC students learn in their own unique ways.

I also think that by being the “guinea pigs” of the college’s efforts to bring digital competencies to the forefront of campus awareness, we can offer valuable insight into how these efforts can prove the most effective. And understanding these competencies is important not only because they’re great to vocalize on resumes and cover letters, but because they also help us recognize our own learning processes.

What is something you have learned from your internship that you didn’t expect?

So far, I’ve had two major “ah-ha” moments in this internship. My first occurred when I was on my lunch break running some errands for myself. I was walking back from Campus Safety (to get a parking permit for my car) and I suddenly realized that this was the first time where, during a work-laden week, I used my lunch break to do something for me instead of rushing around getting to class, frantically finishing up a reading, or printing an assignment. I was doing a chore that I needed to do, but it didn’t have the same sense of desperate urgency that my academic duties have. And I realized in the parking lot behind the Campus Center that I really, really enjoy having a 9-to-5 schedule, where my lunch breaks are my own and when I leave work at the end of the day, I actually have some time for myself.

My second epiphany came when I was learning how to use Premiere. I had never used such comprehensive video-editing software before, so suddenly having to edit video and audio with video overlays and face-blurring was quite daunting. To prepare, I watched an hour-long tutorial on Lynda.com and tried my best to follow along in the program. And after I watched around 40 minutes of it, I grew too frustrated to continue the tutorial. So, I just went for it. Luckily, my two other DC coworkers had also just learned the program a few days prior, so they were able to answer questions I had. And I’m proud to say I picked it up a lot quicker than I anticipated. When I was marveling how fast I had learned to use such a program, I realized that had I needed to learn the program to do an academic project with a strict, set deadline, I would have been too stressed and frustrated to actually learn the program. With these editing projects, however, there are flexible deadlines because we are also responsible for other projects at the same time. And because of this flexibility, I was able to begin learning without anxiety. Long story short, this epiphany taught me how I actually learn (and “Metacognition and Life-Long Learning” is one of those digital competencies I was talking about!). During the school year, I don’t have the time nor the energy to reflect upon my learning process, so this internship has already taught me about myself in under two weeks!

A Postcard From: Codie Fielder Kawaguchi ’18

Name: Codie Fiedler Kawaguchi
Class Year: 2018
Major: Physics
Hometown: Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Internship Placement:
Job Title: Research Assistant
Location: University Of Michigan

This summer I am interning at the University of Michigan, as a part of the Climate and Space Science and Engineering team. Although my day-to-day work is relatively straightforward (running data analysis on hydrodynamic instabilities), I have also found myself attending department meetings and even participating in the coffee hour ritual (coffee and biscotti everyday at 3 p.m.).

I applied to this internship as a means of branching out while remaining in my preferred field, plasma physics — but the biscotti is also a plus.

Last summer was the first time I got into plasma physics research; at that time I was focused mainly on fusion energy and turbulence. I participated in Summer Science Research at Bryn Mawr College, where I worked in Professor David Schaffner’s Plasma lab. During this experience, we not only prepared for the end of summer Symposium, held at Bryn Mawr College, but we also geared up for the Department of Plasma Physics Conference, otherwise known as DPP. It was at this conference where I met Carolyn and she told me about the internship she planned to set up.

I was excited to work with Carolyn because it meant I could not only, see a whole new side of plasma physics, but also work with a fellow Mawrter. It has been great to hear from Carolyn what it was like to go from a small liberal arts school in undergrad to a huge university for graduate school. Moreover, it has been helpful and somewhat encouraging to hear about her experience going from a women’s college, and then entering into a male-dominated subject. She has said that her time at Bryn Mawr gave her the strength that she needed to survive in such an environment, and I have often believed that this would be the case for me as well.

Aside from transitioning from Bryn Mawr College, where it’s only a 10-minute walk to the lab from Erdman, to the University of Michigan where campus spans an entire city, I would say my biggest challenge has been navigating the Space Science Research Building. This structure is not only massive, but it is currently undergoing renovation. Because so many of the hallways are blocked off as you walk through, you are constantly being rerouted. It has been quite an adventure figuring out how to get from point A to B.

A Postcard From: Elena Luedy ’19

Name: Elena Luedy
Class Year: 2019
Major: Growth and Structure of Cities
Hometown: Canton, Mich.
Job Title: Intern Assistant on the Oasis Project
Location: Detroit

What’s happening at your internship?

This summer I am working for a nonprofit organization focusing on the adaptation of their current aquaponic systems for urban use, specifically in the Great Lakes region. My work at the moment is primarily research-based, examining projects similar to this on local, domestic, and global scales. As my internship progresses, I will begin to assist in the generation of an economic report and model based on my findings, the application of grants for continuation of this project, and compiling materials for launching a crowdfunding campaign.

Why did you apply for this internship?

Growing up in the Detroit metropolitan area, the city of Detroit holds a special place in my heart. To be able to work on a project that supports the city has been incredibly important to me, and I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to not only give back to my community but to explore areas that I am interested in, for instance urban farming, the impact it has on food security, and what that means for Detroiters’ everyday lives.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship so far has been the ability to see how the simple act of starting a community garden has impacted so many lives. This internship really has shown me the power grassroots movements have in impacting local communities, something I think that often goes unnoticed in our day-to-day lives. Today more than ever I believe that it is important to show that you don’t have to be a major politician or CEO of a company; even just a small group of people can make meaningful change in people’s lives. To me, being able to witness this first hand has been the most meaningful aspect of the internship I’m working on, and something I hope to take with me as I continue with both my professional and academic life.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

This internship has differed slightly from what I anticipated, as I initially was going to be working on the specific systems to better understand how they reacted to the local climate. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances, the pilot system was unable to be created in time. This has, however, allowed me to pursue other aspects of the project which may prove beneficial to my future academic endeavors; for example, I am able to work on the research and generation of an economic model that will assist in the application of grants and other research opportunities. I believe this will be incredibly valuable information, especially for future professional opportunities. Additionally, this change was made at the beginning of my internship, thus making the transition easier.

A Postcard From: Emmeline Douglas-Mann ’18

Name: Emmeline Douglas-Mann
Class Year: 2018
Major: Physics
Hometown: Petrockstowe, Devon, U.K.
Internship Placement: Center for Laser Experimental Astrophysical Research, University of Michigan
Job Title: Research Assistant
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

What’s happening at your internship?

I’m a research assistant at the Center for Laser Experimental Astrophysical Research (CLEAR) at the University of Michigan. CLEAR models and creates hot dense plasmas to study astrophysical processes in the laboratory. I’m building simulations to study hydrodynamic instabilities and analyzing the results.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I’m very interested in plasma physics and I hope to do further study in this area once I graduate. This internship was a great opportunity to learn more about the field, to develop skills in simulations, and experience the research environment at a large university.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

Working in a big research group and meeting lots of new people.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?

Employment paperwork.

A Postcard From: Caiwei Shao ’18

Name: Caiwei Shao
Year: 2018
Major: Economics and Mathematics
Hometown: Shandong, China
Internship Job Title: Research Assistant
Location: Beijing

What’s happening at your internship?

I work with a group of graduate school students, mostly Ph.D. candidates, and professors on their annual research paper about national accounts. Most of works I do is to support other group members for further analysis and research. I’m currently collecting previous literature and working papers in similar fields and trying to analyze the common elements under different methodology and results. I’m also responsible for collecting data from various resources and databases and adjusting them to a useful from for regression analysis.

Why did you apply for this internship?

As I want to apply for graduate school, my advisor suggested that I apply for an internship as a research assistant to see and experience how a professor works and how research progresses. I feel that this is a great opportunity for me to get more knowledge about a doctoral program, and it will help me to reflect on my career decisions after graduating from Bryn Mawr.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

It is such a great opportunity for me to work and spend time with all the professors and Ph.D. candidates in this institution. Besides the academic work we do together, we always have lunch together and hang out on campus. As we have different backgrounds and experiences, I learn a lot of new things in our conversation. There are people who work after graduation and decide to continue to study in school after several years, and there are people who have an entirely different major in undergraduate school and find they like economics accidentally. I’m not only impressed by their professional skills, but also by their devotion to this subject and effort they are willing to put in their work. I learn a lot from them besides the academic knowledge, and they also give me advice for my study and following application. I feel very lucky to be around this group of people, and they are certainly my favorite part of this internship.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at this internship?

Even though I have almost finished my major plan in Economics, things I learned in school are not sufficient to complete my assigned tasks. I was first supposed to test a regression model by myself, but I found there are a lot of methodologies that I don’t understand and I couldn’t finish this task. Therefore, I borrowed many textbooks from seniors and asked questions more frequently, trying to fill the gap between them and me.