A Postcard From: Rosa Nanasi Haas ’18

Name: Rosa Nanasi Haas
Class Year: 2018
Major: English
Hometown: Philadelphia

Internship Placement: Puentes de Salud
Job Title: Team Leader
Location: Southwark School

What’s happening at your internship?

The five teachers, including me, worked with the oldest students, teaching fourth- and fifth-grade students. We had a different theme each week: Social Justice Superheroes, STEM superheroes, Animal Superheroes, and Migrant/Hispanic & Latino Superheroes. One of my favorite days was when we asked the students to split up into four groups and research an animal superhero — something an animal can do that humyns cannot and that the students find fascinating. My group chose to research the Giant squid and we learned that the Giant squid has the largest eyes of any animals. We created posters together based on the research we gathered.

Another great day was when we asked the students to write love poems to a part of their bodies. We were focusing on self-care and how it is important to value each part of one’s body for how it enables one to perform different tasks. The poems were funny, creative, and thoughtful. One child wrote a poem to her heart, another child wrote a poem to her feet, and then then six of them got up in-front of the class and performed their poems. Everyone in the class was attentive and supportive of the student who was delivering his or her poem. That day we also talked about different ways to take care of our minds, bodies, and hearts. I was so proud of them.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I wanted to improve my Spanish and continue working with some of the students I worked with my first semester in college. My experience as a teacher’s aid at Southwark Elementary School in a kindergarten classroom that initiated a bilingual education program in the Fall of 2014 sparked my interest in bilingual education and the importance of becoming proficient in one’s native language first in order to perform better in English as well as one’s native language. I believe in the idea that education and dissemination of information can not be separated from the health of individuals and communities. I wanted to work with this immigrant community in South Philly and encourage kids to love to read, write, and explore. I wanted to hear the students’ ideas, thoughts suggestions, and opinions.

Living in a new city? What has that experience been like for you?

This was my first time living in an apartment in a city where I had many connections, but had never fully settled. I loved being able to cook with my roommates and eat what I wanted. I felt healthier and freer. I loved being closer to my friends and fellow activists fighting for Black Liberation. I like the people I live with and it was so nice to be able to walk to work.

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

I am learning how to work with four other brilliant, thoughtful, caring, opinionated people, which is common in the spaces I find myself in, but can also be difficult when multiple people have different good ideas. I have learned to be more patient and forgiving. It is important to recognize that we are all growing and that is something often easier to see in children. I have learned different strategies for getting kids’ attention, as well as warm-up games to get them energized to learn and work. I am learning how to determine what is worth explaining and how to wait for children to figure problems out on their own.

A Postcard From: Paige Weber ’18

Name: Paige Weber
Class Year: 2018
Major: Biology
Hometown: Auburn, Maine

Job Title: Research Assistant for Dr. Thomas Mozdzer
Location: Rowley, Mass.

What’s happening at your internship?

I am currently using the Los Gatos Research Lab Greenhouse Gas Analyzer to measure carbon intake of Spartina alteriflora, a dominant plant species on the Plum Island salt marshes. By measuring the carbon intake, I can determine gross primary production and ecosystem respiration rates of the marsh.

I am also continuing a long-term experiment of decomposition rates using two different types of tea. After installing the tea bags, they are removed 1, 2, and 3 years later and weighed. By calculating the weight lost, I can determine decomposition rates of the salt marsh. This is really exciting because it is part of a global experiment where scientists all over the world are doing the same experiment in different ecosystems.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I am currently working in Thomas Mozdzer’s lab at Bryn Mawr College. I worked for him at Plum Island last summer and I am continuing my work from last summer to collect data for my thesis.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship is living and working with ecologists from all over. I get to hear about their work and learn what they are studying. It is amazing to see what other scientists are doing and how it relates to the same ecosystem that I work on. It also gives me insight on graduate school programs and other advisors for when I start looking after I graduate from Bryn Mawr this spring.

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

The biggest challenge has been making my own schedule because I know what needs to get done and I don’t want to overwork myself or my lab mate, but I also don’t want to fall behind in work to the point where we are rushing to get things done. With our work being scheduled around the tide, if a day isn’t perfect for measuring gases, it can really mess up the whole weekly schedule.


A Postcard From: Mimi Benkoussa ’19, Madeline Perry ’19, Nathália Santos ’20, and Claudia Zavala ’20

Name: Mimi Benkoussa
Class Year: 2019
Major: Computer Science w/ Statistics minor
Hometown: Glastonbury, CT

Name: Madeline Perry
Class Year: 2019
Major: Psychology
Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Name: Nathália Santos
Class Year: 2018
Major: Economics and Political Science
Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Name: Claudia Zavala
Class Year: 2020
Major: Cities
Hometown: Houston, Texas

Internship Placement: Digital Scholarship Program
Job Title: Digital Scholarship Summer Fellows
Location: Bryn Mawr College

As part of our fellowship we have learned HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, used Python to create a web-scraper, applied management and cleaning techniques to “dirty” data-sets, and are currently creating our own website to house a data visualization project based on the collegewomen.org collection.

Just like our own cohort, our reasons for applying to this fellowship were varied. Mimi has always been interested in data and how it can be used, and was curious about the broader, “real world” applications of computer science and saw the fellowship as a way to apply her skills to a new and unique project. Madeline, on the other hand, has always been interested in computer science but has never pursued it. This fellowship has offered her the opportunity to develop her coding skills while working on a multifaceted digital project. For Nathália, the Digital Scholarship Summer Fellowship offered her the opportunity to continue to develop the skills she acquired as a Digital Scholarship Research Assistant during the spring semester, and to expand upon her knowledge of the Digital Scholarship field. As a Cities major, Claudia has an interest in how people interact with the spaces around them. This fellowship has allowed her to consider how a team of developers can bridge the gap between digital world and the people who engage with modern technology every day, and furthermore been a chance to explore how scholarly research can be displayed through data visualization, HTML, and CSS.

Being able to speak with Interactive Mechanics and Bryn Mawr Special Collections has been one of our favorite experiences, as we were able to see how collegewomen.org was built through collaboration. The Digital Scholarship Summer Meetup (which we hosted here at Bryn Mawr!) was also eye-opening, as we were able to talk to other students about their projects and see how digital tools allowed them to fulfill their research interests.​ Website creation has been another one of the most engaging and fun parts of this fellowship — it is so satisfying to see your hard work become a usable, tangible interface that people can interact with!

Let’s also not forget the fact that we have a lot of creative freedom regarding the direction of our data visualization project. We learned and applied various project management skills in order to take charge of the project and make it uniquely ours. It now reflects all of our talents and abilities, and displays our own visual interpretation of the contents of the collegewomen.org collection. One of the most rewarding things about this fellowship has been its collaborative aspect. Because we all come from diverse backgrounds and have different academic interests, we all bring unique strengths to the table and are constantly learning new things from one another.

We have spent significant time this summer learning and perfecting our CSS and HTML proficiency, which we believe will be immensely helpful in our future career paths. ​At the beginning of the fellowship, a few of us had doubts about the extent to which we would be able to contribute to this team project. Throughout the course of these eight weeks, however, we have acquired the skills to create a website from scratch and to clean large datasets. Moreover, we have learned about web scraping, web design, user experience, and video editing. This fellowship has allowed us to think critically about the digital tools available to us and programming languages needed to build a project. Prior to participating in this Fellowship the multi-layered process required front-end development was still a mystery, yet as the summer progressed, we were able to truly engage in this procedure by learning how to choose our audience, create design modules, web scrape, clean data, and write web functions.

A Postcard From: Victoria Tamura ’18

Name: Victoria Tamura
Class Year: 2018
Major: Biology
Hometown: Tamuning, Guam

Internship Placement: OneHeartSource
Job Title: Health Innovation Intern
Location: Cape Town, South Africa

What’s happening at your internship?

I am a proud mentor working with seventh graders at Oranjekloof Moravian Primary School. These bright students are on winter holiday, but they still choose to come to school because of their dreams of becoming doctors and healthcare professionals. As part of the Health Innovation program, we help them master their academics as well as educate them on medical issues and stigmas common in their community. Outside of school, we also volunteer with other groups within the community that need a helping hand.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I was instantly drawn to the program for its intimate community engagement within Cape Town. Also, as one aspiring to become a healthcare professional as well, I wanted to help foster the drive in the students to reach their goals and become educators of important health issues within their communities.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

To help us in our interactions with our students and the community, the program has provided a few lessons on the Xhosa language and culture that are predominant to the area that we are working in. Xhosa is a unique South African dialect in that it is the only dialect that incorporates clicks into their alphabet. The entire process of learning the different clicks and greetings and practicing them with the locals has helped us open up to each other in the short amount of time we have. My students love assigning me homework on new Xhosa words, and we always have a lot of fun with it!

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

Traveling to South Africa with OneHeartSource has introduced me to so many people with similar passions and motivations for the program, but with any large group inevitably comes a lot of different and sometimes conflicting opinions on what is best. Despite the unavoidable discord, I highly appreciate all the respectful and thoughtful discussions that have come from the diverse group I was with. It was important to listen to each other’s ideas as well as the community’s needs in order to truly be effective. I’m grateful that OneHeartSource incorporated meaningful dialogues and encouraged safe spaces to share during this internship.

A Postcard From: Anisha Kannambadi ’18

Name: Anisha Kannambadi
Class: 2018
Major: Philosophy
Hometown: Princeton Junction, N.J.

Internship Placement: Lissenhall Veterinary Hospital
Job Title: Vet Intern
Location: Swords, Dublin Co., Ireland

One of the three baby hedgehogs dropped off at the hospital.

At my internship, there’s a lot going on! There have been so many different animals and cases which arrive daily at the hospital and they are all so interesting! Some of them include acupunctures, ultrasounds, spays and neuters, splenectomies (one of the spleens weighed a whopping 2 kilos!), lumpectomies, and tumor removals. This past Friday, there had been a stray cat who had a broken femur, most likely a result of oncoming traffic, which needed to be set in place to begin the healing process. A surgeon from an outside group had come in to perform the surgery, placing pins and rods into the cats’ femur. I was able to catch some of it as I also worked with the other patients who needed to receive vaccinations and other smaller procedures.

Some of the animals which come in are your typical cats and dogs, but there have also been some rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, seagulls, pigeons, and even hedgehogs! I’ve had a lot of experience, in the past month, with interacting with the animals as they were being treated. Most resulted in full recoveries while others resulted in the implementation of different methods to achieve positive results. I still have another month to go, but I cannot wait to see and do more! I have been enjoying this opportunity to work with an amazing group of veterinarians and nurses who are all very positive and willing to have me involved in their practice.

I applied for this internship because I wanted to experience working with animals in a country outside of the U.S. I had been able to do so with animals in Nicaragua, but I wanted to also understand the differences and similarities between veterinary practices in underdeveloped countries versus developed countries. I also wanted to be able to practice techniques and skills that I had been fortunate enough to learn through my previous experiences working with animals, as well as gain new ones. I wanted to get to know the staff and personnel involved at the vet clinics, to gain a better understanding of what they do and any insight they have to offer. As a pet owner myself, interaction with clients and understanding their situation while helping them with their pets was very important to me. I also wanted to gain more life experience living in a country which was out of my comfort zone. Initially, I was a bit weary with the idea of working in Ireland. It is very different from the work environment in the U.S., but it is just as rigorous. I’ve been loving it!

Living in Swords, I have had to make a reasonable adjustment to my expectations and needs. As I was used to using cars and other methods of transport to take me to the places that I needed to go to back home, I needed to change that mindset and plan ahead to get from place to place. Public transport had been a bit of an issue in the beginning, as I had no clue of where to go or how to get to the places I wanted to see. After studying and memorizing the lay of the land (thanks GoogleMaps!) I felt more comfortable going from work to home and around city-center. I also managed to find a route to work which provided a nice scenic walk in the morning; it takes 40 minutes, but since I am not a morning person it gives me a chance to properly wake up before beginning the work day. I also had to get used to the society and family dynamic, which was pretty different from mine in the beginning. As the weeks passed by I realized that, while different, it was all so interesting and fun! I am still in the process of getting used to Irish sarcasm, but my host family is helping me with that!

Made my host family a “traditional” American breakfast: chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon! (Or streaky rashers, as they say here.)

One of the biggest challenges that I have had to face during my internship was loss. I knew coming into this practice that there would be some bad times along with the good, so I was prepared to face them. The first day of my internship was the first day that I had to face the loss of an animal. It was hard for me, but I had rationalized the situation in my head and was able to distance myself emotionally from what had to be done. I was pretty good at doing this for most of these instances; however, in the last couple of weeks it had been a bit harder.

A Jack Russel puppy after surgery (she was such a cutie!).

There were two situations which took a toll on me. The first was an older Dalmatian, about 13 years old, who had an enlarged spleen due to two huge tumors. There was a splenectomy scheduled for the Friday, and there was a 30 percent chance that he would not have made it through surgery. Thankfully he did, and I was able to watch a pretty cool and interesting surgery! However, during the recovery period, he was not doing well, and when I came in the following Monday, I was told that he had passed earlier that morning. I was a bit in shock, as I had just seen him a couple of days before and he seemed to be doing well. After taking a couple of minutes to recompose myself, I was able to continue with doing the tasks I was expected to do. It was hard, but I decided that I needed to have a different attitude towards the whole situation and think of the positives rather than dwell on the negatives.

The second situation was pretty recent. A Samoyed, 8 years old, had come in for not eating. He was diabetic and had a fever, so I was tasked with trying to hand-feed or syringe-feed him. During this time, I had created a pretty strong bond with him. While he still was not eating on his own, I had managed to syringe-feed him a bit of food and drink water. I had left to go home after getting him to eat one of the days and came back the next morning, only to find him gone. He had passed before I arrived, which was quite emotional for me. This time, there was less than 24 hours since I had seen him last and he seemed to be eating more willingly and responding to everything positively. This was the first time that I had cried due to the loss of one of our patients. I tried my best to manage through the day so that I could get home and just have a good cry. It was an emotional day for me, but like I did in the previous situation, I decided to focus on the positives and work on making those the priority in my mind.

While I have had different types of experiences in my internship, I had also had a chance to explore the country around me, going to Blarney Castle, Cork, Galway, and many other places.

Blarney Castle.

Walking down the streets of Galway.

A Postcard From: Virushi Shah ’18

Name: Virushi Shah
Class Year: 2018
Major: Mathematics
Hometown: Bombay, India

Internship Placement: Thorro LLC
Job Title: Business Analyst Intern
Location: Piscataway, N.J.

What’s happening at your internship?

Thorro LLC is a boutique management consulting firm. Every day we do and learn something new. Right now, I have been assigned to create business models for a client about investigating potential emerging technologies.

At the same time, I have been assigned to come up with different marketing strategies and prepare proposals for implementation for the same.

Why did you apply for this internship?

When I was applying for this internship, Thorro LLC stood out, as though it was a consulting company, it believes that technology is the key to the future. They strive to keep up with technology and integrate it within their firm.

Logic, numbers, creating models are some of the things that truly fascinate me. How one person can forecast the future and be able to tell you where “x” market will be in say 20 years and these aren’t just guesses but, have logically flow behind it. It has always been my dream to work as a business analyst, being able to this in the United States would give me a different exposure as I am from India. Therefore, I applied here.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part about working here, at a small firm, is that my ideas and opinions have so much importance and don’t just fall away. Another intern and I had this idea about changing up their website and once we pitched it to our supervisor, in the couple of hours we were discussing our ideas and implementation strategies with the CEO for the same.
At the same time, I love the independence given to me. Once I have discussed the main topic of my model, I have the freedom to carry it out and work on it, in any way I see fit, without being constantly monitored or being told how to execute it.

Can you give us three adjectives and three nouns that describe your internship experience?

The three adjectives the I would describe my experience would be: Fast-paced, Innovative and Exciting

The three nouns the I would describe my experience would be: team, exposure and reality.

A Postcard From: Emma Wu ’18

Name: Emma Wu
Class Year: 2018
Major: Geology
Hometown: Houston, Texas

Internship Placement: School District of Philadelphia
Job Title: Office of Environmental Management and Services
Location: Philadelphia, Pa.

What’s happening at your internship?

I am working on a couple projects! Primarily, my job is facilitating a district wide waste diversion competition that will run next school year. Secondly, I am working on a Recycling Resource Guide that compiles signage, troubleshooting guides, set-up tips, etc., for schools that will be starting their recycling programs in the fall. Smaller projects of mine have included making a Principals How To Guide to give principals an access point to start sustainbilizing (not really a word, but my department uses it constantly and claims it will be by the completion of their program) their schools, making a master social media calendar, sitting on environmentally focused committees, and completing typical data management tasks.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I have always been interested in conservation and education! I thought this would be a good opportunity to work on improving real world skills in both of these fields. My previous experience is mostly in research and I wanted to try out working in an office. I have also never stayed in Philadelphia for the summer and this job gave me plenty of opportunities to explore downtown Philadelphia.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

I have learned so much about design I expected this internship to push me to practice using any conservation, education and networking skills I have gathered through my time at Bryn Mawr. I did not expect this internship to utilize any of my passions for art. I’ve been able to cultivate a relatively brandable aesthetic that will be used by the district in multiple resource guides. This has not only encouraged me to improve my eye for layout work but also heightened my awareness around readership accessibility.

Can you give us three adjectives and three nouns that describe your internship experience?

Adjectives: Personally informative, Rewarding, and Environmentally Conscious

Nouns: Aesthetic, A Challenge, Sustainable Design

A Postcard From: Sanam Sheriff ’18

Name: Sanam Sheriff
Class Year: 2018
Major: Creative Writing
Hometown: Bangalore, India

Internship Placement: GirlFoward
Job Title: Teaching Intern
Location: Austin, Texas

What’s happening at your internship?

My internship this summer is with GirlForward. They are an organization that runs a range of different programs to help teenage refugee girls from all over the world who are resettling in America. Once here, they all enter regular public high schools in the states, and the gaps and distances to be covered — be that language, culture, religion, race, gender and politics — are vast. I am a teaching intern at a Camp GirlForward which is a 6-week summer program designed to help teach the girls English, begin and facilitate conversations around identity, and get them better acquainted with the city and how to navigate it. We have campers from Syria, Afghanistan, Burma, Congo and Pakistan, to name a few. Every day, we plan and run different activities, and every day, all of us emerge having learnt something new and valuable.

Why did you apply for this internship?

The modern refugee crisis is just that — a crisis. The brutal realities of so many people displaced and persecuted around the world should not be able to coincide so seamlessly with the luxury and comfort in so many of our lives. GirlForward beautifully combines my will to contribute and help this cause with my passion for the empowerment and education of women. I applied to this internship because I knew it would be meaningful work that would propel my growth as an individual and invest my time in a manner that is not tangible or quantifiable, but transformative nonetheless.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship has been forming and building my relationships with the girls. Our stories and lives have been so different and far apart, yet, there is something so amazing about the way we can join hands in a space of community and love. To earn their trust has been most rewarding. To share my own culture with them, and in that transaction, learn more about theirs, has continuously challenged and shifted my perspective. To witness them learn about themselves in a way they haven’t experienced before, to offer them ownership of their bodies and minds and belief systems in a way that brings them pride and self-worth, is work I will never get tired of pouring myself into. It has been a humbling and constant growing experience to get to know their stories, and it makes me so excited to think about the women they will become.

Can you give us three adjectives and three nouns that describe your internship experience?

Empowering. Challenging. Necessary.
Bridges. Perspective. Growth.


A Postcard From: Kalaina Thorne ’18

Name: Kalaina Thorne
Year: Class of 2018
Major: Biology
Hometown: Randolph, Mass.

Internship: Harvard Forest Summer Intern
Location: Petersham, Mass.

What’s Out There?: A Small Yet Large Study of Harvard Forest

This summer I am working under Sydne Record and John Grady’s project on seedling dynamics. I chose this internship to get more of a feel for the ecological field that I was introduced to a few years ago, and to continue research in Sydne’s lab at Bryn Mawr. This is my second ecological summer research experience.

The aim of my project is to understand seedling population dynamics, with respect to abundance and growth rates, within Harvard Forest’s 35 hectre megaplot. Colleen (my research partner) and I have randomly set up fifty 1 m2 pvc plots across the megaplot, and have located, tagged and measured the height of all stems that have a diameter under 1 cm. In addition, we have measured diameters of certain species within and near our plot. Why 1 cm? Well, the megaplot was created in 2010 to start a long-term census of all trees over 1 cm. This 1 cm rule was likely done out of practicality, because the number of seedlings and trees that are under 1 cm are vastly greater than the number of established trees. In addition, the survivorship of seedlings is typically greatly reduced compared to their established counterparts. Hence, seedlings have been previously deemed unnecessary for study due to their high mortality and abundance.

The challenging highlights of this summer have been crawling through woody bush to reach potential plots and having daily battles with various insects. However, our data will be added to this previous dataset to understand more about forest composition, with this inclusion of data for more of the total forest population. In addition, our goal for the project is to study the idea of energy equivalence. This hypothesis states that body size does not determine how much total energy is used across different size classes of individuals.

This theory is interesting because it does not look at species specific differences, like herbivory vs carnivory. Body size relationships to energy use is the most important determining factor driving this hypothesis. How does one go about tackling such a theory? Well, we are measuring energy use as a function of growth, and will group our height and diameter data to create size classes for our communities. We are measuring the heights and diameters of our tagged seedlings for this initial census, and they will be measured again towards the end of the summer. This will allow us to understand how much energy these individuals are using. When the second set of measurements are in, we will compare the energy use (growth rate) between our size classes.

This summer was my first field experience in a forest. I have previous collected data on coral reefs and seabirds off an island, so it has been interesting working with organisms a little closer to my everyday life. Another interesting aspect of the summer has been discovering the various wildlife within the forest. We have seen things as small as red eft newts and as big as white-tailed deer, adding to the wonder and beauty of the forest, and the experience of the summer. I have also learned a great deal about the various plant life in the forest, like the tasty wild blueberries and beautiful striped maple. I plan on using this research and any further data for my senior thesis presentation in the spring.

A Postcard From: Nattalya Pacheco ’18

Name: Nattalya Pacheco
Class Year: 2018
Major: Sociology; Child and Family Studies minor
Hometown: Guaynabo, P.R.

Internship Placement: Puentes de Salud
Job Title: Puentes Hacia el Futuro Tutor
Location: Southwark School

What’s happening at your internship?

At my internship, I am one of 17 tutors working with Latinx children in South Philadelphia between the ages of 8 and 12. We guide the students through a summer bilingual literacy program. Our mornings include group read aloud and literacy focused small-group work. Our afternoons with the kids are filled with enrichment activities such as art, Scrabble, dance and healthy living lessons with nurse practitioners. Additionally, every Friday there is a field trip to a different location, such as Snipes Farm, Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Sciences, and others.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied to this internship because I really enjoy working with kids and I wanted to learn more about and work with the Latinx community in Philadelphia. Additionally, I loved the fact that Puentes is focusing on such an important factor such as language development and use among Latinx children living in the U.S.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

Honestly my favorite part is the kids. They bring this amazing energy with them and I love hearing everything they have to say and seeing how they balance two languages in their daily lives. They are extremely sweet and just wonderful to be around.

Can you give us three adjectives and three nouns that describe your internship experience?

Rewarding, challenging, fun. Team, home, energy.