Synthia Feng ’20: Childhood Bilingualism Research Center

Name: Synthia Feng
Class Year: 2020
Major: Linguistics
Hometown: Changzhou, China

Internship Organization: Childhood Bilingualism Research Center
Job Title: Junior Research Assistant
Location: Hong Kong

Synthia Feng

What’s happening at your internship?

I am working as a junior research assistant at Childhood Bilingualism Research Center, which is affiliated under the Chinese University of Hong Kong. We are currently working on several projects at one time. In the past week, we have been doing intensive fieldwork at a local kindergarten, which offers bilingual curriculum, including Mandarin, Cantonese and English. We did CRVT (Cantonese Receptive Vocabulary Test), MRVT (Mandarin Vocab Test), PPVT (English Vocab Test) and WPPSI (working memory test) to Class 2019 (mainly kids of 6 years old). Later we shall input all results and compare them to the same group of children’s test results two years ago in order to monitor and analyze their progress in language learning. Also, we are preparing English educational materials for another projects that will look into the language learning process of children from low SES. We are making English educational videos for them to watch in a 10-month period and then we will test their English level both before and after this time period and evaluate their progress. Other than the two main projects, we are also transcribing adult-child interaction videos, which will later be added to the online corpus of the research center.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I was interested in close, hands-on experiences in a research setting outside of the classroom. I thought that it would be helpful for me to make decisions on my future career path, whether I would be interested enough to do academics and research or whether it would be better to get a job in a company.

Also, when I talked to my friend, Ariel, who interned there as well, she acknowledged that she had some really good experiences with all the people in the research center and she learned a lot from her time there. She especially addressed that this research center does provide tutorials of testing materials and equipment, which are very useful and I believe important to add on to my resume.

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

It has been pretty nice so far living in Hong Kong. I am renting an apartment with two other girls, who are doing master’s degrees in the Chinese University of Hong Kong and knows the city and the surroundings of the apartment pretty well already. So all I did is to ask, whenever I had questions about living here.

Public transportation in Hong Kong is definitely something I have to get used to, especially when the bus is more convenient than subway, but the amount of buses available here is ridiculous. The worst of all is that some small buses only stop whenever a passenger presses the “stop” button. For someone who is not familiar with that bus route, it is very inconvenient and scary because it is very likely that you get off earlier or later than necessary.

Shuning Wang ’20: Liaoning Longfeng Property and Assets Appraising Company

Name: Shuning Wang
Class Year: 2020
Major: Mathematics
Hometown: Shenyang, China

Internship Organization: Liaoning Longfeng Property and Assets Appraising Company
Job Title: Analyst Intern
Location: Shenyang Province, China

I applied for this internship at the beginning of my second semester of my junior year. I did so because I saw the importance of connecting myself to a real field where I can apply what I have learned inside the classroom. I always find learning mathematical theories fascinating but I am not satisfied with only gaining knowledge from textbooks. What would satisfy me more, I believe, is to produce something useful. For example, I will feel very rewarded if I can use my analytical skills to help a building a project, no matter in which field.

The internship that I am doing now is a great opportunity to practice my ideal plan for spending my summer. The company where I am interning is a property and assets appraising company, which requires lots of analytical skills. Very suitable for students who have interest in architectural engineering and mathematics. The company as a whole is working on three separate cases and I am being assigned to one, which deals with estimating the cost of a one building in an housing estate located in the same town. It may sound that our work is related to lots of tedious estimation of every single detail of the blueprint of the building. However, what we have done so far is visiting the building onsite and measuring some major dimensions of rooms. I was confused at the beginning about why we need to measure these dimensions, since dimensions are all labeled on the blueprint that are provided by the owner of the building. My manager told me that it is important to check whether the dimensions labeled on the blueprint are correct and whether materials being used is of the same quality listed on the blueprint. In order to be responsible and make sure that our final report is accurate, the very first step is to make sure that all data that we will be modeling on are accurate. Besides collecting data onsite, we also met and had a short conversation with the owner of the building who entrusted our company to do the work. We asked the owner why he needs this services and he introduced some nontechnical background to us. It was nice for us to know this information.

My daily work also involves attending meetings of our project team. During the meetings, I observed how experienced colleagues propose potential plans and how they report their working progress. It is, indeed, a great opportunity for me to learn how to behave professionally.

Aakriti Dhital ’21: Winrock International

Name: Aakriti Dhital
Class Year: 2021
Major: Economics, Math
Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal

Internship Organization: Winrock International
Job Title: Research Intern
Location: Lalitpur, Nepal

What’s happening at your internship?

I am working on a research paper that explores the incentives of energy loans through microfinance institutions in rural communities in Nepal. I am looking at the intersections between microfinance intuitions and clean energy usage.

Why did you apply for this internship?

Microfinance is a burgeoning industry and I wanted to explore the impacts of the energy loans that are being disbursed via microfinance institutions in Nepal. Applying for this internship gave me an opportunity to explore the industry on my own.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

As someone who has never had the opportunity to do research on their own, this internship has been a great learning opportunity in that regard. I have enjoyed the independence I have had to work on my project and speak to experts on the field. It also has been a wonderful chance to know more about the ins and outs of the microfinance industry itself.

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

My major challenge has been data collection for my research work. It was also a challenge for me to sift through the raw data set to flesh out relevant data. All in all, it’s been a great learning opportunity to talk to and network with people and share with them the work I’m trying to do.

Varuna Jasodanand ’20: Perelman School of Medicine

Name: Varuna Jasodanand
Class Year: 2020
Major: Psychology, Philosophy
Hometown: Curepipe, Mauritiues

Internship Organization: Perelman School of Medicine
Job Title: Research Fellow
Location: University of Pennsylvania


What’s happening at your internship?

We are conducting studies on patients and healthy controls, investigating the neural mechanisms underlying affective illnesses. We are researching the potential benefits of administering transcranial magnetic stimulation to targeted brain regions in alleviating negative symptoms.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I want to pursue a career in clinical neuroscience, and working at the center for neuromodulation of depression and stress provides me with a perfect idea of what working in this field actually is like.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

Bonding with everyone at the lab because they have all been so kind and helpful!

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

I am learning a lot about programming and data organization and management. These are very important for the field of clinical neuroscience because of how prevalent the use of neuroimaging methods are.

Anusha Narayan ’21: Nationalities Service Center

Name: Anusha Narayan
Class Year: 2021
Major: Public Health
Hometown: East Windsor, N.J.

Internship Organization: Nationalities Service Center
Job Title: Refugee Resettlement and Development Intern
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

I am a refugee resettlement, green card, and development intern at the Nationalities Service Center. My Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays consist of me meeting with clients, collecting documents, and escorting refugee clients to government agencies to apply for required documentations. I specifically work with utility transfers and school enrollment. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I work with the dDevelopment team and work on branding, programming, and prospect grants for the organization as a whole.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I really connected with the mission of the organization. Especially with the political climate today, I felt as though working with refugee populations was very important to my internal purpose. I also had a friend who interned at the organization last summer, and she shared with me how incredible her experience has been, so NSC was always my first choice when I found out I would be participating in Summer of Service this summer. Additionally, I myself am an immigrant and a woman of color, and I feel as though this organization’s work connected to my own identities and aligned with my own personal goals.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

Aside from the fact that I felt very connected to the mission of my organization, my favorite part of my internship that I did not expect to love so much has definitely been the other interns that I have met. They are such a diverse, incredible group of people. I have really been able to explore other college students’ perspectives outside of the Tri-Co. Connecting with the other interns at NSC has been one of my favorite everyday experiences at my internships. I have been able to create a community that I think I will continue to communicate and connect with even after my internship is completed.

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

Although I did not live in Philly, spending every day in Philadelphia has been incredible. I was very nervous about using public transport in the beginning of the internship. Because I grew up in the suburbs, I have never really had much exposure to cities. However, with my internship I have gotten so much more confident about being in the city and using public transportation, which has always been a big goal of mine. Although I did get lost and end up in the wrong place a few times, I felt like I grew a lot by learning to navigate parts of Philadelphia. Traveling the city has been intimidating for me during my time in college, but I am confident that now I will be much more comfortable doing so and utilizing Philadelphia in the remainder of my college experience.

Vinny Ong ’22: LITS, Bryn Mawr College

Name: Vinny Ong
Class Year: 2022
Major: Undeclared (but anticipating Linguistics major, math minor)
Hometown: Edison, N.J.

Internship Organization: LITS: Building Digital Resources for the Revitalization of an Endangered Indigenous Language
Job Title: Linguistics Intern
Location: Canaday Library

What’s happening at your internship?

There are three main tasks we’ve been assigned as a team: developing a website that makes learning materials and resources for the language more accessible for a specific community, creating morphology slides that showcases how words are formed linguistically, and creating a resource for our client so that they will be able to analyze texts with ease and gain statistical data to supplement their research. I am currently working on the latter two projects, so what that currently means for me is that I am learning how to make the morphological taxonomy we have created functional by using D3 to develop the animations. In terms of the last task, I am currently learning R to create the program our client wants for research purposes.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because linguistics is something that I am passionate about, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to explore different fields within it as I’d consider doing similar work post-grad. Additionally, this project allows me to become more aware of sociolinguistic issues, and to hands-on tackle linguistic discrimination, language endangerment, and provide some degree of social justice for the community we are working with (that has decided to remain confidential for various reasons) to the best of our abilities.

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

I’m learning a lot about coding and team building with other student interns, as well as with clients in a more professional setting. The programming aspect of the project has made me realize how important having computer science skills are because it can be involved in a bunch of other fields to some degree even if they might not seem that related at first glance. Team building and collaborating has been very important for me because I know that working on a team is something I would be doing for the rest of my life — whether that’s in work, schoolwork, or other extracurricular activities.

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

Ironically, what has been one of the most important skills I have been learning is simultaneously the biggest challenge I am currently still trying to overcome. I have had very minimal coding experiences in high school, so going into a project that is very reliant on digital skills and programming has been difficult for me. Fortunately we have been generously given time to learn programming languages like R independently, so that we can work on completing the tasks we have been assigned. It has been very rewarding to actively learn something like this and then apply it in a way that will benefit a community.

Princess Jefferson ’20: Superior Court of Fulton, Georgia

Name: Princess Jefferson
Class Year: 2020
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Houston, Texas

Internship Organization: Superior Court of Fulton
Job Title: Student Intern
Location: Atlanta, Ga.


9 a.m. — the elevator bell rings.

I step out of the elevator on the four floor and walk up to the buzzer to enter the chambers of the judge whom I intern for at the Superior Court of Fulton here in Atlanta, Georgia. “Bzzz,” it sounds as I ring in for entry. Almost immediately the cheery voice of Ms. Daniels, who is the judicial clerk, chimes, “Well good morning missy! Come on in.” And just like that I hear the oh-so-familiar click of the door unlocking, and I walk in.

I walk down the familiar hall to the office and I mentally prepare for what is awaiting me. After a few more steps, a few breaths in and out, I lightly tap the window to get Ms. Daniels’ attention, and enter after being buzzed in yet another door. Ms. Daniels and I exchange our usual cheery greetings and playful banter, until the judge emerges and likewise greets us. He lets me and the other interns know what is on the agenda for the day before he takes the bench. Depending on what type of trial or what the day holds, I had become accustomed to traveling throughout the court and into other judicial chambers to listen and observe trials.

“Today we have a rape case, think you might be interested?” the judge asked me. I said, “Why yes sir, let me grab my pen and pad.” In sum, this is a small view into my work at the court.

While in this chamber working with two other interns, I had gotten quite used to be the youngest, and seemingly most curious. The other two interns are both 3Ls in law school while I am just beginning my senior year in college, but the mixture of experience and inexperience between us have provided me with an eclectic perspective to my work at the court.

Something I have come to love the most is that every day, and every week, bring a different, learning setting. I have been privileged not only to work with my judge, but also with others judges, all the while learning of their governing style and technique. I often  feel like Michaela Pratt of the hit TV show How to Get Away with Murder. I have been assigned motions to write for the judge, rewriting and/or constructing templates for the Judge’s procedural work; observe and report back what happened in court that day, and researching necessary information pertinent to the case before the court that day. While no day at the court looks the same, my daily actions are quite routine, in sum, I am the up-and-coming professional Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating.


When I think back to why I applied for this job, I consider just how little credit I gave to the city of Atlanta. After being given the opportunity to study in this grand city for a semester at the elite Spelman College, and being able to take courses within their consortium, I fell in love with not only the opportunities that seemed to just bud like flowers in spring, but I also love the city; perhaps the two are intertwined. Nevertheless, it has been my passion to explore the avenues of criminal justice and education and this internship seemed like the best way to begin prodding that interest.

One thing that I have learned since being at this internship is that there is no one kind of job in law. There is so much that you can do with a JD, and for me, learning this was truly important. Financial and mental stability are anchors for me as I consider what I want to do as I approach my senior year in college, but also as I considered what I wanted and needed to learn from this internship. Living in Atlanta and getting to enjoy the beauty of this place help me see that I have done a disservice to my time in Philadelphia. This summer I was determined to get out and explore what was around me and right under my nose. When I return to Philadelphia, I want to continue may be of great benefit to me. Being in Atlanta and getting to see the beauty that I term as being right in my backyard has encouraged me to do the same when I return home.

This experience, in a few words or less, has been wonderful.


Vimbai Mawoneke ’21: MD Anderson Cancer Center

Name: Vimbai Mawoneke
Class Year: 2021
Major: Chemistry
Hometown: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Internship Organization: MD Anderson Cancer Center
Job Title: Research Trainee
Location: Houston, Texas


What’s happening at your internship?

I am working with the Department of Cancer Systems Imaging to study the metabolomics of Glioblastoma (brain cancer) in treated, untreated and normal brain cells. My role is to analyze Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectra of the brain samples then quantitatively and qualitatively use observations to make deductions on the behavior of cancerous cells.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because of two reasons.

1. After taking organic chemistry at Bryn Mawr, one topic that stuck with me from the class was that of spectroscopy. I view spectroscopy as the bridge between theory and practice for a chemist. Theory tells us of the interaction of molecules and helps in the prediction of reactions, but spectroscopy is to me the confirmation of the existence of the molecules that theory tells me of. In this internship we use nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to analyze samples.

2. I wanted a research experience outside of Bryn Mawr. In my freshman year I shadowed in the lab of Dr. Malachowski and I enjoyed the experience very much. My mind pondered on whether this was something I could do for the rest of my life — a 9 to 5 in the lab. I saw this internship as a window of opportunity to test this.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

My summer experience has been everything I expected it to be and more. My lab’s Principal Investigator/Mentor has gone the extra mile of setting up informational interviews with some of the faculty at MD Anderson and shadowing a neurosurgeon. Through these opportunities, I got to shadow in the operating room and clinic. I also learned more about the field of radio pharmaceuticals.

Vimbai Mawoneke

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship has been rooming with Bryn Mawr women. It feels like I am still at Bryn Mawr and I couldn’t be happier. My roommates and I were fortunate enough to gain summer housing from Hannah Curry McDougald ‘10, who is part of the Bryn Mawr Club of Houston through connection with Sarah Sarnelli, who is the president of the club. We get invited to events with other alumni and this I feel has expanded my network.


Vimbai Mawoneke

Sydney Kim ’20: Biology Research Intern, Merrimack College

Name: Sydney Kim
Class Year: 2020
Major: Biology
Hometown: Westford, Mass.

Internship Organization: Merrimack College
Job Title: Summer Research Intern
Location: North Andover, Mass.

What’s happening at your internship?

This summer I am a summer research intern at Merrimack College. I am working directly with Professor Michael Piatelli in the Biology department. Along with another student, we are working on research projects focused on bacterial growth and the effects antibiotics have on growth. More specifically, I will focus this summer on three projects. One will use microbiology lab techniques to identify the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and the minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) of four different bacterial strains: E. coli, S. marcescens, S. saprophyticus, and S. aureus) using the following antibiotics: ampicillin, tetracycline, and carbenicillin. The second project will focus on studying t-cell inflammatory responses to mitochondrial damage to elucidate potential correlations between damaged mitochondrial cells and diabetes. A third project that will be worked on throughout the summer is conducting smaller lab projects to help Professor Piatelli prepare his fall course syllabus.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I had the chance to work with Professor Piatelli last summer, as an unpaid intern. Professor Piatelli was a great teacher and I learned a lot of lab techniques that I had not yet been introduced to in classes at Bryn Mawr. When Professor Piatelli asked me back this summer, I agreed and this time received funding from The Center for Career & Civic Engagement. This summer, I wanted to continue adding to my repertoire of laboratory techniques. I was also really excited to work on projects involving bacteria and cell growth because I believed it would be beneficial for my future career pursuits in the medical field.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship specifically is that the working environment is very relaxed and focused on learning. We are able to accomplish tons of work in one day without the stress of deadlines and grades. I have also really enjoyed learning from Professor Piatelli. He thoroughly explains techniques, describing not just how to complete the steps of an experiment, but why we go through each step and where scientific error might occur. At the end of almost every experiment, when looking over results, Professor Piatelli asks us to critically analyze our results and identify potential sources of error which helps me gain a better understanding of the material.

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

I am learning a lot of new, valuable lab techniques in depth which I believe will help me in my future career endeavors and with my senior thesis research. Many of the experiments we are conducting and biological concepts Professor Piatelli explains parallel the outside studying I am doing for the MCAT. I also feel myself becoming more confident in a lab setting and I am excited to see what I have learned in my internship translate to my courses at Bryn Mawr and my future career.

Soaad Elbahwati ’21: CAIR-Philadelphia

Name: Soaad Elbahwati
Class Year: 2021
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Pottstown, Pa.

Internship Organization: CAIR-Philadelphia
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

I’m working with three other fellows in our civic engagement fellowship program at CAIR-Philadelphia. We all collaborate on projects and attend events hosted by other advocacy groups. Currently, we’re working on reports about Muslim students and education, focusing on their specific needs and issues that they face in school.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I have always wanted to work with CAIR ever since I learned about the organization in high school. CAIR is the biggest civil rights advocacy group for Muslims in the country and I wanted to be a part of that. As a Muslim woman who has experienced Islamophobia in many facets of my life, I felt it necessary to work for an organization that focuses on combating negative stereotypes of Islam and empowering Muslim-Americans. It’s important to me to do this work to make life better for future generations of Muslim-Americans.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of my internship so far is connecting with other Muslim college students and working together. Many of us have similar majors so we talk a lot about politics and global issues. I look forward to work everyday because I’m excited about our discussions. My internship has also shown me that my dream of running for public office doesn’t have to be just a dream and has given me the skills of outreach and community organizing that are very important for a public official to have.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding thing about my internship is feeling fulfilled in doing advocacy work for my religious community. It is extremely empowering to me to be working on the behalf of Muslims in Philadelphia. Every time I go to an advocacy event, like the Education Apartheid Day of Action in Harrisburg, I feel very powerful in my abilities as an activist and community member and it makes me look forward to the future as being a community leader someday.