Edith Lorna Jepkirui ’21: To Our Children’s Future With Health and Together for West Philadelphia

Name: Edith Lorna Jepkirui
Class Year: 2021
Major: Mathematics
Hometown: Eldoret, Kenya

Internship Organization: To Our Children’s Future With Health (TOCFWH) and Together for West Philadelphia
Job Title: Student intern
Location: Saint Joseph’s University and Overbrook High School (West Philadelphia)

Going into the summer, I knew that I wanted to do an internship related to social justice. More specifically, I wanted to work with African and Caribbean immigrant populations. I had been involved in a lot of social justice-related activities on campus and I was looking to get a feel of social justice work outside campus, with a population that I cared about. Midway through contacting the organizations that I was interested in working with, I was introduced to Dr. Robin Foster-Drain. Dr. Foster-Drain was putting together a research project on West Philadelphia involving students from colleges in the area including the University of Pennsylvania, Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Cheyney. The students would conduct a literature review on West Philadelphia. Despite the project being heavily related to public health, I became interested in it.

Together with Nisha, a second-year student at PCOM, I spent every Monday and Wednesday at Saint Joseph’s University researching the 19131 zip code of West Philadelphia. We collected census data, tracked changes in demographics, looked at social determinants of health, and studied the history of the community. We wrote about our findings in a 2-to-3-page writeup that we submitted every Friday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we reported to our community immersion sites, where we were supposed to interact with the community and get a firsthand impression of our zip codes. I was placed at Overbrook High School, where I was a math tutor for the To Our Children’s Future With Health’s Workforce Readiness program for high school students. The Workforce Readiness Program is an after-school initiative by Dr. Foster-Drain’s community-based organization (TOCFWH), which focuses on teaching career and workforce development, customer service and sales, electrical, IT and math and literacy. On Fridays, we went to Lankenau Hospital for our reflection sessions. Dr.  Foster-Drain brought in different speakers working in public health-related fields every Friday. Overall, Together for West Philadelphia had about 15 students in different zip codes in West Philadelphia conducting research and interacting with the community. The result of the project would be a document that the community would be proud to read.

There are several things that I enjoyed about this internship. First, my research partner and I were at different educational levels, yet we worked together and complemented each other’s strengths perfectly. Nisha was a medical student and she was very comfortable with anything public health related, while I am a math major who was comfortable around demographic statistics and census data. I also enjoyed working with the Workforce Readiness Program at Overbrook High School as a math tutor. My math sessions were meant to supplement the electrical class lessons as well as to make math more practical and real-life. I worked with two students at a time for 30-to-45 minutes. During my first week at the program, I handed out diagnostic tests that I had tailored to different ability levels. I then intentionally designed unconventional math sessions where we did math readings, a math budget project, and interactive math games. I wanted the math classes to be a welcome break from the electrical class. The students in my class would make very random comments about their experience, or lack thereof, with money. We talked about taxes, credit card debt, student loans, choosing a living space, and the gender wage gap, among other money-related topics. The resources that I put together for the mathematics sessions this summer will be used during TOCFWH’s after-school program during the school year.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, I went to talks by guest speakers, invited to Overbrook High School by Ms. Intisar, who was one of the camp counselors. The speakers were self-made entrepreneurs and business owners from 19131. My greatest take away from those afternoon sessions was that despite the cards that the speakers had been dealt with in life, they still worked hard to make something of themselves. It did not matter whether someone they loved was killed or whether their parents were on drugs. The afternoon talks felt like conversations with an older brother or sister who understood the enormous potential that all the high school kids had. I appreciated how invested the staff at Overbrook High School was in the students’ success in life.

Elizabeth Todd ’21: The Global Fund for Children

Name: Elizabeth Todd
Class Year: 2021
Major: Anthropology
Hometown: Columbus, Ga.

Internship Organization: The Global Fund for Children
Job Title: Programs Intern
Location: Washington, D.C.

What’s happening at your internship?

I’ve done a multitude of different projects, but am currently finishing up the East Africa Scoping document that I have been working on all summer. I’ve helped write a youth advocacy strategy, made recommendations for partner selections, and helped craft guidelines for the Youth Leadership Council, as well as participated in SWOT analyses and training for OCA and ONA.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I wanted to get a different perspective on nonprofit work that was separate from my hands-on work. Working at an INGO that primarily functions as a funding body was an experience I was specifically interested in. I also wanted an office experiment to test out whether I can flourish in that kind of environment. I have a passion for nonprofit work, and this opportunity jumped out at me immediately.

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

Surviving the 9-5 workday was something I wanted to learn how to navigate, and testing out what worked and was doesn’t for myself is a skill that I really hoped I could cultivate. Honing my research skills will continue to serve me in my academic career as well as in my professional path. A large majority of my work has been writing, which I have historically considered one of my strengths. I have learned a new way to structure reports, and learned how to construct different types of resources, which has also been valuable. I have always been interested in grant making, so gaining a greater familiarity with that software and how it functions quashed a longtime curiosity of mine.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

This experience was not at all what I expected it to be, but in a good way. I expected to get coffee, make copies, and do all the grunt work that no one else wanted, which is the exact opposite of how my summer has gone. Starting with my first project, I was directly integrated into decision-making processes and got to familiarize myself with new grant making software. I had much more freedom and autonomy surrounding my work than I was expecting. This company also functions in an open office setup, which contributed to a really relaxed feel to the workday that I was not expecting. I’ve worked on a variety of different assignments in more than one focus area, which I did not expect to be privy to. The people that work here have been intensely welcoming, and while I didn’t expect the staff of a nonprofit to be cold, I didn’t expect how open and friendly everyone would be.

Lipi Paladugu ’21: Smashing Graphics Game Studios

Name: Lipi Paladugu
Class Year: 2021
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Edison, N.J.

Internship Organization: Smashing Graphics Game Studios
Job Title: VR/Game Programming Intern
Location: East Brunswick, N.J.

Hey Bryn Mawr! This summer I’ve had the opportunity to work at Smashing Graphics Game Studios in East Brunswick, N.J., as a VR/Game Programming intern.

SGGS is a small company that builds video games and creates comics books. My role in the company was not completely decided before I started. Instead, I got to build my own internship by working closely with my boss. In the end, we decided to use my strengths and interests to initiate a new project that would further the company and my own skills. The core of my project includes creating an interactive app that customers can use to read the company’s comic books. I’ve been able to use coding skills I’ve learned in Bryn Mawr and have gotten a chance to experience the gaming industry.

One of the main reasons I chose this internship was because I wanted a chance to enter the game development field. When I applied, I wasn’t sure how it would work out since I didn’t have prior gaming experience, but I decided there was no harm in trying, and it paid off.

My favorite part of this internship is the fact that I get to work so closely with my boss, who is also the CEO. One of the advantages I’ve had working in this environment is that I always get attention and guidance when I need it. I’ve had a lot of flexibility with developing my internship into the best experience it can be for me. This also allows me to build my network for future internship opportunities because I know that I can always turn to someone with more experience to help me, even with other jobs. The work I do makes me feel rewarded because I know that what I create will be used directly by the company and customers even after I’m gone. In the classroom, I don’t usually get to dedicate time to such large-scale projects, but working toward one goal and on one project has given me invaluable real life and real work experience. I look forward to taking what I learned in this internship back to the classroom!

Julia Weakley ’21: The Franklin Institute

Name: Julia Weakley
Class Year: 2021
Major: Computer Science and Mathematics
Hometown: Rye, N.Y.

Internship Organization: The Franklin Institute
Job Title: Professional Development Intern
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

The Franklin Institute is a science museum in Philadelphia. At The Franklin Institute, I worked with the Professional Development team; they run professional development sessions for educators, administrators, and corporate groups to help advance their learning experiences in the sciences. I had the opportunity to sit in on a few of their programs, such as Master Educator and Understanding the Brain, and found them very interesting. Both programs focused on the brain and how we learn. The information presented made me think about the difference between how information was presented to me in elementary and highs school versus how it is presented to me now in college.
As an intern, I helped the Professional Development team in the organization and management of GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) Science in the Summer™ programming, Professional Development events, and Master Educator programming. I learned many skills involving the organization and management of data through the registration system for GSK Science in the Summer™.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied to work at The Franklin Institute because I was interested in working at an institution that promotes STEM learning. As a STEM major, I appreciated The Franklin Institution for promoting science learning through interactive exhibits. I had visited the museum before my internship and loved the experience. When I saw the internship posting I felt I had to apply and be a part of such an institution. I am really happy that I had the opportunity to work at the Institute; I loved the experience.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of the internship was sitting in on the Understanding the Brain professional development session. In this session, there was a lot of information presented on the brain and how the brain learns. You learn best when a majority of the different parts of the brain are activated. It is a myth that you use only part of the brain. The truth is you use all parts, just not all at once. The session made me think about how I am learning, how I could incorporate my new knowledge about how the brain works into my study practices, and how I can engage all parts of the brain when I learn.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding aspect of my internship was watching the program run, and watching the responses the team got from the audience and participants. One of my jobs was to collect data from the evaluations that participants filled out at the end of each session. I enjoyed reading comments about how the information they learned was beneficial, and that the presenter did a really good job, since I know the amount of work that went into preparing for each program.

Jing Lin ’21: Summerbridge Hong Kong

Name: Jing Lin
Class Year: 2021
Major: Psychology
Hometown: Beijing

Internship Organization: Summerbridge Hong Kong
Job Title: Student Teacher
Location: Hong Kong

What’s happening at your internship?

I am working at Summerbridge Hong Kong this summer. The main job for me is to teach secondary school students English. Students may come from underprivileged families, and they are eager to learn more about English.

My typical day starts around 8 a.m, when I, along with the other student teachers, get to the school at which we are teaching. Around 8:30, we great the students from the bus pick-up location. The students are coming from different local schools. They have advanced through the competitive selection process to be part of the Summerbridge.

Then all the teachers and students gather in the Hall to start our day with the All Site Meeting (ASM). During ASM, students and teachers perform a short skit in which we introduce the Word of The Day. Then students go back to their classroom with their first-period teachers. A typical classroom has 8-10 students and one teacher. We have 100 students and 20 teachers this summer at the school I am teaching. Every teacher is responsible for teaching two period in the morning, and there are four period in total in the morning. I am teaching Psychology in Daily Life, which I introduce the concept of experiments, the different stages of sleeping, and some part of cultural psychology. In the afternoon, we have different electives for students to choose. I am teaching Arts and Crafts with another teacher. During the craft class, we built art projects together.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I love teaching and I love children! Also, I am attracted to the model of SB, which is Students-Teaching-Students. All the student teachers are coming from different parts of the world. They are either in college or in high school. As student teachers, we are encouraged to develop our own special courses which we are passionate about.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

During lunch time, I have the opportunity to get to know my students better. During lunch, all the students and teachers gather at the Hall room. I usually go talk to different students every day. During lunch time, my students are also more relaxed, and they are more willing to talk to me about themselves

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

Three adjectives: rewarding, hardworking, enthusiastic
Three nouns: fun, teaching, interaction

I think this internship requires me to put lots of effort in, including developing lesson plans based on my students’ need and interests. It is also rewarding because I enjoy seeing my students having fun in my class. It’s fun to teach at SB surrounded with enthusiastic peers and students.

Joan Ndichu ’21: Grid Alternatives

Name: Joan Ndichu
Class Year: 2021
Major: Economics and Mathematics
Hometown: Nairobi

Internship Organization: Grid Alternatives
Job Title: Outreach team intern
Location: Washington, D.C.

What’s happening at your internship?

I am currently interning at Grid Alternatives, a nonprofit solar panel installer that provides solar at no cost to low-income households. I am currently under the outreach department, where I work with the data collected. I go to client visits where I help them in the application process, explaining to them how the system works and how much they will save after they switch to using solar energy. My colleagues are very friendly, and I am learning so much about how solar panels work and how much energy is saved using solar. I also work with the engineering team, where I have learned about the design and the math involved in coming up and installing the panels.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I have always wanted to work with nonprofits and being an Economics and Mathematics major, Grid Alternatives was the best place for me. Grid works with mostly low-income households in D.C., and hence engages with the community. I am very passionate about community development and reaching out to people living in marginalized communities and helping them invest in the resources they have. Also, being a math major, I love working with engineering-elated work that involve applying the mathematics I have learned and putting it into practice. Grid Alternatives was a combination of both, and thus was the best fit for me, and everyday as I work here and learn more about the organization and its client, I realize how much grid fits my passion and interest.

Was there anything special about how you found this internship?

I found my internship through a summer program I am also doing this summer. The program is called Bridge DC and it involves learning about injustice issues in our communities, mostly the D.C. area. We learn about the people affected by systemic injustices by living around the neighborhood and learning their stories. Afterwards, we get to learn how we can apply our skills to helping develop our communities and building up just systems that provide fair services to all. Hence, it is through the program that I learned about Grid Alternatives.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part will definitely be when I went for an actual solar panel installation and the engineers guided me through the whole process until we finished the installation. I have never been on a roof before, working; it was an amazing experience. It was also nice working with the team and them sharing their past experiences in the work. At the end, we got a chance to interact with the owner of the house, and seeing the smiles on the older couple’s faces after we were finished the installation was more than precious.

Jia Wei ’21: Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

Name: Jia Wei
Class Year: 2021
Major: Cities and French
Hometown: Beijing, China

Internship Organization: Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
Job Title: Project Assistant
Location: Beijing, China

What’s happening at your internship?

We are preparing for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics!

I am mostly doing translation of the latest version of the Functional Area Operation Plan and assisting project managers doing work related to City Operations.

Why did you apply for this internship?

Beijing is the only city to hold both Summer and Winter Olympics. It is an occasion to be cherished by every Chinese citizen. As for me, I love the feeling of a team working together for a common goal. On the other hand, the functional area of City Operations is also related to what I study, so there was no reason for me to hesitate.

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

Translation is hard. Translating between Chinese and English is even harder. Difference in syntax and cultural background means difference in use of language, so it is necessary to reorganize sentence structures. Sometimes, a word in Chinese has multiple meanings, so I have to think about it and find one that fits the context. It is common that series of verbs are put in a single sentence, so finding ways to express the meaning while maintaining the originality of the text is another hard task.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The internship itself. The fact that I got the chance to participate in the preparation of a leading international event held in my hometown is so special and still unbelievable.

Janina Calle ’21: ACLU of Pennsylvania

Name: Janina Calle
Class Year: 2021
Major: International Studies
Hometown: Trenton, N.J.

Internship Organization: ACLU-PA
Job Title: Legal Intake Intern/Immigration Intern
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

For the past few months I have been able to do both collaborative and meaningful work with community members and the staff at the ACLU of Pennsylvania. My work has consisted of reviewing intake that is sent to us either through letters, voicemails, or e-complaints, as well as working with Vanessa, the immigration fellow. As an intake intern, I have been able to review complaints that have been submitted to us from a plethora of people facing various issues. I have been trained to provide the best referrals for those cases in which we are unable to support. There have been a few complaints that have come my way that have led to further investigation given their high priority in regard to civil issues being violated. With Vanessa, I have done a lot more personal work that involves speaking with predominately Spanish-speaking people to receive their report on what occurred during police or even ICE interactions in the state of Pennsylvania. In addition, this summer a suit has been released against the Pennsylvania State Police for illegally enforcing immigration law, which has given me a glimpse into how the ACLU-PA uses its resources to gather information and ultimately decide which cases to take on. During the press release for the suit against the state police, I was able to travel to Harrisburg to further assist Vanessa and hear some of the clients on the case talk about their experience.

Why did you apply for this internship?

The opportunity to work with the ACLU presented itself through the Career & Civic Engagement Center as one of the organizations they were collaborating with. Given that I was already working with the ACLU-PA during the spring semester through my praxis course with Professor Martin, which focused on promoting change through service, it seemed fitting to continue my work with them. The amazing team I was able to meet and work with during that spring semester, also made it easy for me to choose working with them this summer.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship has been able to see how different departments within the ACLU-PA office work separately and together at the same time. With such a large national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, I have learned that each affiliate focuses on issues that their state is dealing with, which ultimately allows each office to cater to its community. In addition, because I was able to work with the legal fellow I was able to do work surrounding some cases that involved Spanish-speaking clients who faced some discrimination from a government agency, either a police department, ICE or sometimes both. This specific interaction and work was most impactful for me because I felt like I was working to abet issues that my parents could’ve also been faced with.

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

One of the major skills I was forced to reinforce in my daily work consisted of effectively communicating with not only my supervisors but with other interns as well. During the moments I was doing intake work, it was vital to inform the other interns about whose case I was reviewing, since we were all working under the same database. In addition, I learned to seek out their help when I had a question or was stuck with providing a referral. Without this skill, there would have definitely been double the work to do.

Liz Kunkel ’21: Constituent Services Intern for State Rep. Wendy Ullman

Name: Liz Kunkel
Class Year: 2021
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Upper Black Eddy. Pa.

Internship Organization: State Rep. Wendy Ullman
Job Title: Constituent Services Intern
Location: Doylestown, Pa.

Meeting with a constituent at Community Day

As a constituent services intern in state Rep. Wendy Ullman’s district office, much of my day-to-day responsibilities include handling constituent casework. Because of the broad range of needs and concerns of our community, these responsibilities can include conducting legislative research, connecting with local nonprofits, and acting as a liaison between the constituent and state agencies. One of the challenges of this position is that each case is unique, meaning that each new constituent contact requires a certain level of problem solving and creativity.

In addition, I have done a lot of community outreach, trying to inform constituents about state services, along with the help we can offer. This includes writing letters, drafting articles, and helping to plan events. One of my biggest projects has been coordinating vendors for a community day the representative hosted this August. This project helped me to gain a lot of organizing and communication skills. I really enjoyed having a large project in which I could see all of my work come to fruition.

Me and State Rep. Wendy Ullman at the Community Day.

I decided to apply for this internship for two reasons: my interest in politics and the proximity to my community. I have always believed that legislation is one of the most effective ways to bring change, so I was excited to receive the opportunity to facilitate community participation in that process. The benefit of working at this level of government is that I experience a lot of direct contact with the community.

As part of my internship, I get to attend events held by nonprofits and talk to the people there about what their needs and concerns are. I attended and participated in Bucks Knocks Out Hunger, a large fundraiser to fight food insecurity, and packed food that would later be distributed to those in need. I also had the privilege to attend a naturalization ceremony at Penn Manor and meet with the League of Women Voters, which was registering the newly naturalized citizens to vote.

One of the most rewarding parts of my internship is getting to handle my own casework. One of the most challenging things is telling a constituent that we do not have an answer or cannot help them the way they need us to. I learn a lot through trying to help other people, and it is fulfilling when you find them an answer or solution. Because of the breadth of assistance we provide, I am constantly learning new things as I handle constituent concerns. Tackling these cases has helped me develop the problem solving and executive skills necessary to thrive in the workplace and at Bryn Mawr.

Viktoriia Borodina ’21: Deutsche Bank

Name: Viktoriia Borodina
Class Year: 2021
Major: Biology and Economics
Hometown: Novosibirsk, Russia

Internship Organization: Deutsche Bank
Job Title: Global Markets Summer Analyst
Location: New York City

What’s happening at your internship?

The Global Markets division is also known as Sales & Trading. Along with other sophomore interns, I have been assigned to two rotations across S&T — specifically, Asset-Backed Securities (Lender Finance) and Emerging Markets Trading & Structuring.

I was able to get involved with multiple projects for both of my rotations, getting to participate in all stages of credit structuring. For the Lender Finance group, for example, I was involved in deals with credit funds with up to U.S. $50 billion Assets Under Management. I worked with various credit models, composed internal credit memos and prepared marketing material for potential buyers of Deutsche Bank’s loans/facilities. For the Emerging Markets Trading & Structuring, I have sat on the trading floor for two weeks, learning about the various products offered by the trading desk — such as Latin American FX, Rates, and Credit.


Why did you apply for this internship?

This summer I was fortunate to be selected for the dbAchieve internship designed specifically for sophomores of diverse backgrounds. I have applied because I am interested in pursuing a career in finance and was looking for an opportunity to define and narrow down my interests. I was further fascinated by the global nature of Deutsche Bank (DB) and wanted to experience what it’s like being a part of a multinational bank.


What has been your favorite part of this internship?

Being able to meet and get to know inspiring people throughout DB. I made sure that I networked extensively during my time here, both with people in my rotations and outside. Shadowing traders/salespeople was very insightful — I got to see what goes into their everyday trade decisions, and how exactly the markets work.

Talking to people has also helped me define my own interests, as I learned that I am more interested in project-based work compared to short day-to-day transactions.

I have greatly enjoyed working with my teams as well. Everyone was willing to help me learn and succeed at the internship. I was able to eventually comprehend some of the nuances of working on credit structuring and live deals, adding value to my team by working on some parts of their projects.

Living in a new city?

New York City is a fascinating place to spend a summer. There is just so much to do and explore. Although I have lived in big cities my entire life, I was impressed by how much is going on in NYC daily. Despite being busy during the week, I took full advantage of living in the city on the weekends – from exploring museums to local coffee shops, I was able to get a taste of what it’s like to live in New York (and I loved it!).