Emma Ruth Burns ’21: Pennsylvania Innocence Project

Name: Emma Ruth Burns
Class Year: 2021
Major: History
Hometown: Provo, Utah

Internship Organization: Pennsylvania Innocence Project
Job Title: Legal Intern
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

This summer I have an internship with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. The Innocence Project is a nonprofit law firm that works to get those who have been wrongfully convicted exonerated. Usually these people are convicted of major crimes and have been in jail for around 15 or 20 years already, and the cases often take from five to 10 years from the time the Innocence Project first receives their petition to when they are fully exonerated.

I work as an assistant to the office manager and attorneys, filing files and stamping stamps, etc. Usually this only takes a couple minutes out of my day, though, and me and the other undergraduate interns switch off days. The rest of the time I spend either at the CJC retrieving and scanning court documents, in the office reading court transcripts to help one of the law school interns with her case, or working on special projects for our paralegal, Michelle.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship for a number of reasons. First off, I’ve been deciding whether or not I want to to to law school when I’m finished at Bryn Mawr and wanted to get a taste of what it’s like to work in a law office. I chose the Innocence Project because I truly respect the work that they do, I wanted to stay in the city this summer, and I liked the structure of their intern program.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The Innocence Project’s work is inherently rewarding. My favorite part of this internship is when exonerees come into the office. It is fascinating to hear their stories and really hits home that the work that we do is for individuals with lives and families. It is inspiring to see what they are doing now, many of them with skills and experience they gained while incarcerated.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

Last summer I worked as a research assistant, and while I loved the work and thought it was really interesting, I didn’t like that it was largely on my own. My internship at the Innocence Project is very social, which I didn’t expect. There are a number of other interns and there are always things going on downtown after we get out. It’s been an unexpected joy having coworkers who are so much fun!

Sean Keenan ’20: American Philosophical Society

Name: Sean Keenan
Class Year: 2020
Major: History
Hometown: Brielle, N.J.

Internship Organization: American Philosophical Society
Job Title: Museum Intern
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

This summer I’m helping to curate an exhibition on “Benjamin Franklin and Science” at the American Philosophical Society museum. My research focuses on his Maritime experiments, one of his many expansive interests as a natural philosopher. I also dabble into his writings on “elephant” bones, which were found in Ohio (what is now Big Bone Lick, Kentucky) and how these newly discovered Mammoths fit into these early age scientists’ knowledge over the world they live in. A lot of the work I do involves secondary research on Franklin and going into the APS archives to look over Franklin and his colleague’s correspondence in order to weave his story into an exhibition.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because of my desire to get to know the different aspects of the GLAM (Gallery, Library, Archive, and Museum) world. I have had prior experience working in archives and rare books but curating an exhibition in person was going to be a new experience for me. I figured that this would be an excellent opportunity to talk to professionals in the field and also understand the process of creating an exhibition.

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

One of the most important skills that I’m learning during my time at the APS involves the ability to go through a variety of primary sources and help determine which will be good for the exhibition. It’s about pairing the objects together in a way that makes sense for the exhibition and asking what type of story we want to tell about Franklin and his experimentation. Who were the people around him that were helping him? How much of his knowledge and labor that came from other people was acknowledged? What about his life inspired him to experiment and invent? This is my first time helping to put an exhibition together. These skills will be helpful to me as I figure out my place in the world after Bryn Mawr.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

I would have to say one of the most rewarding parts of my internship is the connections I am able to make with my coworkers and other GLAM workers in the field. Having this internship in Philadelphia has afforded me the confidence to talk to not only my coworkers, but others in the GLAM field about their experiences. As I enter my senior year, this advice becomes priceless in my search to find what I want to do after graduation. I feel very fortunate to have the people around me that I do. I get a lot of support from the staff at the APS and it’s one of the reasons I really have enjoyed my time here so much.

Laney Myers ’20: National Museum of Natural History

Name: Laney Myers
Class Year: 2020
Major: History
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Internship Organization: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Job Title: Archival Curatorship and Outreach Intern
Location: Washington, D.C.

archive photo

Outreach program displaying a Kiowa pictorial calendar by Silver Horn from the National Anthropological Archive.

What’s happening at your internship?

This summer I’ve been working at the National Anthropological Archives (NAA), assisting with an exhibition set to open at the National Museum of Natural History in February 2020, called Documenting Diversity: How Anthropologists Record Culture. The exhibit will be tiny, housed in just two cases on the ground floor of the Natural History Building. Nestled between an Info Desk and a huge display of taxidermied birds, the space is supposed to get 18 million visitors (or passers-by) per year.

The exhibit itself requires a lot of research, so I’ve been working my way through the archival materials we hope to feature, choosing documents and illustrations that are interesting and support the narrative we’re going for. The other part of my job is outreach — public programming in the museum’s education center (shown in picture!) and writing blog posts to roll out on the Smithsonian Libraries blog. I’m also helping out in the archives, learning a lot about reference and how archives work.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I was looking for experience in libraries and/or archives. This internship was perfect because of the focus on Native American history and the opportunity for reckoning with the legacies of colonialism in the archive.

Was there anything special about how you found this internship?

My internship is a LILAC Partnership that was arranged by Dr. Monique Scott in the Museum Studies Department!

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

There are several projects and programs dedicated to improving access to the archives for Indigenous communities, to whom the cultural objects in the collections belong. The Recovering Voices program seeks to address the loss of cultural knowledge and promote collaborative knowledge-production by inviting community groups to D.C. to research material objects and engage with the catalog. It feels like an important concrete step to repatriation, or at least making things stored in historically colonial collections beneficial to the groups to whom they belong.

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

It’s really empowering to be able to learn to work independently in an archives. Archives are notoriously confusing, opaque or intimidating places, which have a lot of rules that don’t always make sense, and which feel inaccessible and mysterious to the public, researchers and non-researchers alike. Working here has helped me realize that archivists are not barriers to knowledge, they’re the key!

Jordan Hussey ’20: Friends of Design Academy of Digital Arts

Name: Jordan Hussey
Class Year: 2020
Major: East Asian Languages and Cultures
Hometown: Lewisburg, Pa.

Internship Organization: Friends of Design Academy of Digital Arts
Job Title: Games Technology Assistant
Location: Cape Town, South Africa

What’s happening at your internship?

At the Academy, my main job is to help promote and market the student-made games, which can range from week-long projects to year-long projects developed in collaborations with some of the full-time instructors as well. For example, when I first started, the students in the Game Design and Development Course were just finishing up their collaborative projects where they had to complete a working game within one week’s time. Later on, I designed a webpage for them and created promotional content such as a gameplay trailer and screenshots. This page was shared all over the school’s social media platforms and received hundreds of views.
Right now I am assigned to work on a much larger project as the school is trying to start their own game development department where they will make games full-time with the assistance of students in the advanced courses. Since they have never had a marketing position for games, they are taking the opportunity to have me maintain a development blog to track their progress and spark interest in their work.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied to this internship because it was something that I had never envisioned myself doing, and I thought it might be the only opportunity in my life to experience South Africa. Also, the idea of working instead of studying abroad for two months appealed to me because you were able to have a look at what work culture was like and be completely immersed in it.

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

The city is more way more beautiful than I imagined, having lived in a place with no real mountains the majority of my life. The plants and animals here are incredibly diverse and completely different from back home. Although the weather is usually very warm, summertime here is actually wintertime, which means the average temperature ranges from 60 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. One thing that took me a very long time to get used to was keeping an eye out for danger and staying safe, as crimes, such as pickpocketing, are quite common so you always have to look out for your belongings and travel in groups. Usually the safest and most convenient way to get around is to use Uber, which is relatively inexpensive here in comparison to the U.S.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding thing about my internship is learning about an industry I was always interested in but never thought about pursuing a career in. Everyday I do hours of research about the video game industry, the game production cycle, and the resources necessary to make it all happen, which has given me a greater appreciation of the work those in my company are doing. Also, I have enjoyed seeing the students working on their own game projects as that was the first time I saw game development in action. Seeing them made me more motivated to do well in creating a webpage to show off their hard work on their projects, which can be played and downloaded by anyone now. Check out the link here if you’re interested.

Libby Otto ’20: Secular Coalition for America

Name: Libby Otto
Class Year: 2020
Major: Sociology
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.

Internship Organization: Secular Coalition for America
Job Title: Policy Intern
Location: Washington, D.C.

Debbie Allen and Libby Otto

When I first applied to the Secular Coalition, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was getting into. Secular Coalition for America is a nonprofit which represents 19 secular organizations around the nation, using both grassroots activism and direct lobbying to protect the rights of secular Americans and the separation of church and state. The opportunity was perfect — I had been looking for public policy and advocacy positions which would allow me to apply what I had been learning in my sociology courses to the real world. That being said, most of the other positions I was looking at had specific focus issues such as Immigration or Native American rights. While I knew Secular Coalition worked to ensure a separation of church and state, what exactly did that look like? Here’s what I found out:

Separation of church and state covers almost any issue you can think of.

Since starting the internship, I’ve gotten to work on issues ranging from reproductive rights to immigration, vaccinations to discrimination, to education and beyond. As my boss advised me, “if debate includes religious rhetoric, it’s an issue we handle.” As for what I do, it’s almost as varied. My main project combines all of these issues through the educational branch of the organization: throughout the summer I will be following the 2020 presidential election, creating profiles for the candidates and updating our constituency on their positions to help voters make informed decisions. Beyond just tracking the candidates, however, I also get the chance to engage with policy making more directly — experiences, I’ve realized, rooted in the location of Washington, D.C.

When I first thought about living in D.C., I was apprehensive. Going to school across the country from home, it always felt important to me to go back to Seattle over the summer. Although I have a wide range of friends and family living in Washington, D.C., and spend large amounts of time here, it still felt like a foreign experience. As I realized that the best opportunities for me were here, I became excited by the idea. Being in D.C., I have access to not only work-specific lobbying and coalition meetings with groups such as Planned Parenthood, but also incredible intern events. Over my summer, I will be attending weekly lunches (with free food I might add) dedicated to work on reproductive rights, multiple lobby days, and all of the protests and rallies the capital of the United States has to offer. In these spaces, I am able to learn skills that are both crucial for a future in public policy, such as coalition building, legislation tracking and memo writing, but also tools for my own political activism.

Although I’m just a few weeks into the summer, I can’t wait to see what comes next. Even when the work gets tiring or I’m saddened by something I see in the world, I can pinch myself and remember, I’m doing something to help and I couldn’t ask for more than that.

For more information on the work of the Secular Coalition for America, and Libby’s candidate tracker, visit Secular.org

Gwynne Dulaney ’20: Cosa Excavation Field School

Name: Gwynne Dulaney
Class Year: 2020
Major: Classical Culture and Society
Hometown: Roxbury, Conn.

Internship Organization: Cosa Excavation Field School
Job Title: Undergraduate participant
Location: Ansedonia, Tuscany, Italy

As a classics major, I have obviously always held an extreme fascination with Italy and its ancient history, particularly how that knowledge of practices and monuments made its way from the sites where they were documented to the texts that we read in class. Therefore, when my professor at my study abroad program this past fall encouraged me to apply to the archaeological field school in Tuscany that she would be overseeing this summer, I immediately applied. Furthermore, when I discovered this internship, there was a surprising aspect to it: I had heard that Bryn Mawr was somehow connected to Cosa, but imagine my surprise when I found out that the site was originally excavated by Bryn Mawr’s professor of Classics, Russell Scott. Professor Scott was critical in helping me to vouch for the program and find a way to turn a 4-week excavation into an 8-week internship.

In the three weeks that I have been at Cosa; we have uncovered five different parts of the bath complex. So far, I have loved every aspect of excavating, but I have to say that my favorite part is the thrill that you feel when you brush dirt off of an object and realize that you are touching something that someone painstakingly made thousands of years ago. For me, it was the small and completely whole terra-cotta jar stopper that I uncovered 20 minutes before quitting time. We have also found endless amounts of Roman glass, pottery vessels, and painted plaster along with the occasional bone hairpin, Roman coin, and even an imperial inscription. As we get ready to wrap up the excavation next week, I will begin to prepare for the next phase of my internship, where I will be helping with Cosa’s current project of digitizing its finds in the bath complex as well as helping the team prepare to publish its finds and data over the past few years.

One of my concerns with choosing to go on an excavation the summer before I graduated was whether this would be as productive of a use of my summer as having a traditional internship at a company or organization back in the states. As someone who is not completely sure what she wants to do after graduation, deciding to do something untraditional with her summer like digging in the dirt seemed risky. I can now say with confidence that based on the wide span of skills that I have acquired from this internship, I can use what I have learned here and apply it towards a wide variety of potential careers. I have gained immense skills in team leadership, critical thinking and data analysis. This may not be a traditional internship at a company I could work at after graduation, but I have learned more about the opportunities in my major and about myself than any other traditional internship that I have worked at in my life.

Aditi Parikh ’20: UC Berkeley Language and Cognitive Development Lab

Name: Aditi Parikh
Class Year: 2020
Major: Psychology
Hometown: Mumbai, India

Internship Organization: UC Berkeley Language and Cognitive Development Lab
Job Title: Research Intern
Location: Berkeley, Calif.

What’s happening at your internship?

Currently, we are in the last two weeks in my internship. The project I am working on involves learning about how children develop selective attention and the changes that their social environment plays on the way their brain develops. The project is exciting and it is interesting to interact with new people everyday and explore Berkeley and its surroundings!

Why did you apply for this internship?

As a psychology major, I am very interested in doing research and eventually grad school. This seemed like the perfect internship in that respect. It is also nice to experience being in a big college like Berkeley and work with people who have very similar interests as me. The lab also researches topics I care about such as looking at brain development for bilinguals and attention styles. The lab also has a very supportive and nurturing environment that encourages all its members to learn and succeed.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

The internship has been an eye-opening experience for me academically. Each week, we would have reading groups with all the members of the lab in which one of the grad students would pick out papers for everyone to read and discuss. The papers ranged from topics relating to the research being done by the lab to general ethical and novel debates that are ongoing in the field of research. This experience enabled me to learn about topics that are often not discussed in a typical classroom because its relevance to practical and real-life experiences. It was also interesting to hear the view points of people with different experience levels, such as professors who have spent years working in research, as well as interns who have barely spent any time working the lab environment. I am grateful to have had this wonderful experience

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

Adjectives: Interesting, dynamic, transformative
Nouns: cute kids, eye tracking, new horizons

Daphne Tsapalas ’20: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Name: Daphne Tsapalas
Class Year: Class of 2020
Major: Sociology
Hometown: New York, N.Y.

Internship Organization: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile; Faculty of Medicine; School of Nursing
Job Title: Research Intern
Location: Santiago, Chile


The banner reads: El primer día del orgullo fue un LEVANTAMIENTO. A 50 años de la revuelta de Stonewall a protesta mas necesaria que nunca. Translation: The first Pride was an UPRISING 50 years after the revolution of Stonewall protest is more necessary than ever.

This summer I am working at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile on a research project about efficacy of tools for the detection and confrontation of gender-based violence for healthcare professionals within Latin America and the Caribbean. This project has been incredibly interesting, as while learning about the processes of conducting research I am also learning about topics of importance and cultural attitudes within the region I am visiting.

I applied for this internship very last-minute but I am so glad I did as I have gained invaluable research and intercultural skills in Santiago that I will not soon forget. I applied to this position because I have found few research opportunities for sociology offered within Bryn Mawr and I wanted to gain experience in qualitative research before I graduated.


The banner says Transgrede el CIStema: Transgress/break the CIStem.

That being said, my favorite part of this internship has been being able to experience a research project from the inside. I am currently involved in the methodological collection of literature and data working on two projects, a scope review of gender-based violence protocols (or lack thereof) for healthcare professionals in LAC, and interviews, which we conduct and transcribe, with nursing students about their experiences learning about gender-based violence protocols within the healthcare curriculum when in university.

There have, of course, been things to adjust to in Santiago; it’s winter here, which is not nearly as brutal as Bryn Mawr winters but is still not the summer weather one might expect to have in June and July. Winter sunsets are very early so by the time you get home from work most days the sun has set and it’s night already! Nevertheless watching the Copa America in Chile, the solar eclipse, and seeing the places on Earth most similar to Mars certainly make up for the cold!

Living in a new city, especially Santiago, one of the largest cities in Latin America, has been a wonderful experience. Coming from a New York City context I feel right at home in this environment and though I have studied abroad in other cities (small and large) before, my experiences in Santiago have come the closest to New York life; the financial district here is even called Sanhattan.

Even though Santiago is far away from New York, there have been moments in which the two seem closely aligned. One such day, and my favorite day here so far, has been the Pride parade. Pride here is smaller than in New York but growing each year, and unlike Manhattan, here you actually get to march with the parade, which inevitably becomes a joyous mixture of singing and chanting, dancing and remembrance, which is especially important for many groups here whose visibility and sometimes acceptance is still relatively low. It was very interesting to experience this event in another country and it demonstrated that there are certain priorities shared throughout the world, even across international borders.

Hannah Soisson ’21: Montgomery County (Pa.) District Attorney’s Office

Name: Hannah Soisson
Class Year: 2021
Major: Political Science & History
Hometown: Montgomeryville, Pa.

Internship Organization: Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office
Job Title: DA Intern, Front Office
Location: Montgomery County Courthouse, Norristown, Pa.

Hannah Soisson

What’s happening at your internship?

The Montgomery County (Montco) District Attorney’s office is divided into many different divisions of specific issues and fields of work. Divisions include economic crime, narcotics, firearms, arson, and more. All 33 interns in the program are assigned to different divisions in which we remain all summer. I was assigned to work in the D.A.’s main office, where my  supervisors are D.A. Kevin Steele and First Assistant D.A. Ed McCann. I was able to write outlines of different statutes relative to the District Attorney, assist in the courtroom, witness court procedures, and even visit the Coroner’s Office and watch autopsies. Every day was different with a few long-term projects always to do.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I have the goal of attending law school and becoming a lawyer. I don’t yet know what type of law interests me. Because of this, I wanted to find an internship that could expose me to as many different types of law as possible. I believe my internship at the D.A.’s office did exactly that and also provided me with lifelong connections to my fellow interns, as well as supervisors.

Hannah Soisson

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

The biggest challenge I faced at my internship was having the least amount of experience compared to the other interns in the program. With just a little over 30 interns, there were only a handful of other undergrads. The vast majority are first- or second-year law students. At first, I felt very unprepared, having no educational background in law. I overcame this challenge by being very open-minded. I was very open to receiving help from older interns in law school and was eager to learn. Not only have I learned so much from these law students, but I was also able to establish friendships and connections.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding aspect of my internship was the exposure to such a diverse set of experiences. Working in the main office, my assigned tasks varied drastically throughout the weeks. From checking and citing legal handbooks all the way to assisting in a homicide trial, the breadth of experience I gained from my internship was more than I ever presumed. The internship program also had biweekly field trips, and such hands-on experience was enlightening as well. My favorite field trip was visiting the Coroner’s Office, where I was allowed to view an autopsy and learn about investigative tools used when deceased victims are involved, as well as how the Coroner’s Office functions within the D.A.’s office.  This experience was more than I could have ever hoped for when applying for summer internships, and I feel much more equipped and confident in tackling law school and having a promising career.

Cara Navarro ’20: Hanna Holborn Gray Undergraduate Research Fellow

Name: Cara Navarro
Class Year: 2020
Major: Growth and Structure of Cities
Hometown: Manila, Philippines

Internship Organization: Bryn Mawr College
Job Title: Hanna Holborn Gray Undergraduate Research Fellow
Location: Washington, D.C.

What’s happening at your internship?

I’m not exactly doing an internship — I’m a Hanna Holborn Gray Undergraduate Research Fellow. As part of the fellowship, I’m writing a paper on how Washington, D.C.-area Filipino restaurants relate to urban space and how that reflects Filipino-American identity construction. That involves looking at not only the restaurants themselves, but also their neighborhoods and the geographies of their customers and supply chains. It’s a lot to address, but I’m having fun doing it. I’ve been eating at Filipino restaurants and making field notes about my observations, interviewing restaurant owners, and reading academic literature to contextualize everything I’ve found.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied to the Hanna Holborn Gray program primarily because I’ll be writing my senior thesis this upcoming fall, and I wanted to go the extra mile for that in terms of research. As for why I chose my research topic, I wanted to explore questions of cultural identity and urban space—which I’ve been interested in since my first year—in a city I’d never lived in before. With its growing Filipino food scene, the D.C. area was a very good place to do it.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

I’ve lived in seven different cities so far, and through my research, I’m getting to know Washington, D.C., more quickly than I got to know any of them. I’m not just walking around different neighborhoods with friends in my free time, the way I would if I were interning or taking classes here. I’m spending all day immersing myself in the city and talking to new people. I really enjoy the process of discovering a new place, so I love that I’m doing it for work. Getting paid to eat at restaurants is also a sweet deal.

Crispy Chicken Adobo Bao from Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly in Rockville, MD.

Crispy Chicken Adobo Bao from Kuya Ja’s Lechon Belly in Rockville, MD.

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

As an independent researcher, I’m completely in charge of how I spend my time: I set my own tasks and schedule my own days. While it’s thrilling to be so in control of my day-to-day life, it’s sometimes difficult to stay self-motivated. However, I have structures in place to hold myself accountable. For one thing, there’s a deadline for the final research paper. I also email my advisor once a week, and I stay in contact with other Hanna Holborn Gray fellows.