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.

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

Rose Arasa ’22: LITS, Bryn Mawr College

Name: Rose Arasa
Class Year: 2022
Major: Undeclared-Computer Science
Hometown: Kisii, Kenya

Internship Organization: Library and Information Technology Services
Job Title: Intern
Location: Bryn Mawr College

What’s happening at your internship?

We are working on a language revitalization project whereby we are using digital software to create a language learning tool for educational purposes and also contribute to the revitalization of the Indigenous language that we are currently working on. My duties involve troubleshooting and fixing some errors in the Drupal site of the language in an attempt to make the files usable for the development of the interactive site for learning the language. I am also working on some backend web development in HTML and CSS to customize the views of the site to meet the client’s needs.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied to this internship because I wanted to expand my knowledge in the different digital and technical skills that were related to my field of study: computer science. I had also anticipated to learn new technology and apply it at the same time; therefore, this internship was a great opportunity for me to accomplish that.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship has been learning and using the Drupal site to create the language learning tool. With the mentorship from my client’s professional team, we have been able to get some tasks done as we prepare to launch the site in August at the end of our internship. I was also prompted to learn web-based programming languages that I have used in some tasks of my project and that was a good learning experience. Discovering the interdisciplinary elements of this project has also been my favorite part as I develop both my digital scholarship skills and leadership skills while working in a team.

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

I am learning to develop competency in human interface design for the online learning system.

Through this work, I will develop competency in human interface design for an online language-learning system, using the Drupal content management to link rich multimedia objects. As a computer science major and a person interested in working in this field, the exposure to user experience early in my career will be essential to making decisions about the skills that I want to be really proficient in which will be more aligned with my career interests and focus on developing them.

Exposure to design thinking, as my team and I test different interactivity to different approaches to programming interactivity, will go a long way in helping me create digital solutions to problems based on the needs of the client and considering the different factors and experiences that make their digital experience unique. Troubleshooting experience will definitely be helpful in my student career in the computer science field since I have definitely learned the importance of isolating problems and breaking them down to run diagnostics and identify a problem to come up with solutions. Since we have worked with a large number of digital files in the database, I have learned the importance of keeping the integrity of the client’s work secure as they need it. Lastly, the skills learned in algorithmic coding while making changes to the backend of the site are also key to my career as a student in my field of interest.

Umme Tanjuma Haque ’21: LITS, Bryn Mawr College

Name: Umme Tanjuma Haque
Class Year: 2021
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Dhaka, Bangladesh

Internship Organization: LITS
Job Title: LITS intern
Location: Bryn Mawr College

What’s happening at your internship?

The LITS internship has two major projects this summer. I am part of the Fact Book project, which is essentially about digitizing Bryn Mawr’s fact books from 1983 to 2003. I am working with Jasmine Bao (another LITS intern) and Lindsey Palumbo (Associate Director of Institutional Research), with the guidance of Jennifer Spohrer. The project essentially started off with us (the interns) scanning the physical fact books into PDFs and running OCR in Adobe to recognize text. This was followed by us selecting data categories that interested us, so that we could collect data pertaining to that category in Excel; for example — race/ethnicity data over the years. The next step is to learn how to manipulate pivot tables for the data so that we can make graphs or analyze the data. Lindsey will be helping us with that!

Why did you apply for this internship?

Since I am an international student, I wanted to find something that interested me on-campus. The LITS internship was the right fit for applying because the interns have the chance initially to prefer certain areas of technology like web design, data analysis, coding, etc. According to that, the interns are placed into one of the many projects under LITS internship. It felt like the right place for me to work over the summer since I wanted to gain more knowledge about new technological tools, in general. Also, I know the staff from before and I really wanted to work with them!

What is most rewarding about your internship?

I have some deep interest in learning about institutions that have rich histories like Bryn Mawr and this internship gave me the right opportunity to do just that. With fact books ranging from 1983 to 2003, which have information about student enrollment, tuition, major information etc., one can really take a look at what Bryn Mawr was and has become over the years. Even the choice of fonts or the way they represent the data is very interesting because that changed over the years, which made us wonder why. All these things are beyond the more tangible technological skills since these hone one’s critical thinking skills.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

For the LITS internship, you get assigned a project and that did not happen until we approached the starting date of the internship. I was expecting to be put into a coding heavy environment since I am a CS major, but having put into a project that looks into data and its analysis from scratch was an interesting change, of course, and a nice surprise too. Also, this project is heavily dependent on how we choose to lead it so it is quite amazing that we have a significant say in how the project will look at the end. I was not expecting the project to be something that surpassed this summer, but it is a long-term project. I had very low knowledge of handling data and this project has given me the chance to explore that at a pace I appreciate.

Zijia Zhuang ’21: Penguin Random House China

Name: Zijia Zhuang
Class Year: 2021
Major: Comparative Literature
Hometown: Beijing, China

Internship Organization: Penguin Random House China
Job Title: Editorial Assistant
Location: Beijing, China


What’s happening at your internship?

I am paid to read books at my internship! One of the most important tasks that I was given is to proofread translated texts, so I need to read the original English text with the Chinese translated text together to see if there is anything wrong about the translation. I also got the chance to read chapters of books sent by copyright companies and discussed with my supervisor whether we should buy the book. I helped editors to research authors, their books, book covers, and copyright information. Recently I am working on a project to discover famous Western sci-fi authors who are not well-introduced into the Chinese market.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied believing this would be the perfect job, combining my fondness for reading and writing with introducing good books to many others. I have dreamed of becoming an editor since junior high school. As I grew to be a selective reader, I paid more attention to publishing companies. Time after time, I found myself attracted by the high-quality design and contents of books that all have a little orange penguin logo on their covers. I cannot think of a better place to start my career in the publishing industry other than Penguin Random House China.

Was there anything special about how you found this internship?

I always admired Penguin Random House, but I never knew there were internship opportunities offered by Penguin China. Last summer, a friend of mine who is a senior in our school learned that I’m interested in going into the publishing field, so she told me that a recently graduated alumna, Rita (’18), was working for Penguin China, and she gave me her contact. From Rita, I learned about what it is like to be a Penguin intern, and how to apply to be an intern. I was so excited to hear about everything. I waited almost a year and it was finally my time to apply for the internship! In my interview, I was not upset to learn that the Penguin staff members still remembered Rita and they liked her a lot, as she seemed to have a great time when she told me about the internship. Luckily, I got admitted too. I started the internship with one thought: I have to work hard enough to keep up that good image of Bryn Mawr College students!

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

Before I began my internship, I thought that editors only deal with books. But I was soon assigned tasks by my supervisor to help her with the 2020 Penguin China original calendar. On each day of that calendar, there will be an introduction of an author and a quote from his or her book that Penguin once published, with an illustration of the Penguin cover of that book. My task was to find the quotes and the copyright information of the book cover. It was a very time-consuming job to search the information I needed, and I had to admit that I found little value from doing that job at first — I preferred proofreading! At least I was reading something! But soon I realized that while it seemed tedious, I could still learn something from this task: I got to know more about those world-famous authors and finding inspiring quotes from the internet. I also got to learn about the copyright information of books, and the connections between each different Penguin series. From that point, I decided to keep a positive attitude with whatever tasks I am going to have. I also learned from this unexpected experience that editors also need to do a lot of work that is not related to books!

Tessa Pham ’20: Cogo Labs

Name: Tessa Pham
Class Year: 2020
Major: Computer Science, Linguistics
Hometown: Hanoi, Vietnam

Internship Organization: Cogo Labs
Job Title: Software Engineering Intern
Location: Cambridge, Mass.

What’s happening at your internship?

I am wrapping up my remaining projects as we move into the last week of the internship. My work mainly includes maintaining, upgrading, and developing new features for internal tools that the platform team supports. Our company also hosted a hackathon exclusively for all the interns last week, and I, with two other teammates, worked on an app that reports on query traffic, which can be useful for data analysts. This product is in fact among the ones I hope to finish up and officially roll out before leaving.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I was fascinated by the model of the company and it seemed to be a great environment for working, learning, and connecting with like-minded people.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

The intern hackathon. It was a very short hackathon, lasting only from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but we all got to collaborate with interns on other teams to work on ideas that would be beneficial to the company.

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

Being the only female engineer on the team. It was a bit difficult for me at first to find common ground to connect with other team members. It really helped that everyone was super welcoming, approachable, and willing to help.

María del Pilar Ferreira Romero ’21: Fundación Tierra de Esperanza

Name: María del Pilar Ferreira Romero
Class Year: 2021
Major: International Studies
Hometown: Lambaré, Paraguay

Internship Organization: Fundación Tierra de Esperanza
Job Title: Intern at Dirección de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación
Location: Concepción, Chile.

María del Pilar Ferreira Romero

What’s happening at your internship?

I am an intern at the Dirección de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación (DIDI), or Research Development and Innovation Direction in English. This department of Fundacion Tierra de Esperanza is in charge of managing and sharing data. As an intern, I am working on creating a systematization guideline that will allow the Fundación to keep a record of all the experiences from their projects. In this way, good practices that worked for one project could be applied to other projects.

Additionally, I am also learning about the different projects that the Fundación has in four main areas: Education, Substance Abuse, Juvenile Justice, and Human Rights. The work the Fundacion does in Chile is impressive and I am eager to keep learning in the weeks that I have left!

Why did you apply for this internship?

One day, I received an email with a new internship that was going to take place in Chile with an organization that works with children. It was a pilot program created by the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research and Fundación Tierra de Esperanza for undergraduates and graduates students. When I read about the work that the Fundación does in Chile, I knew that it would be the place where I could learn about the use of data for the creation of programs that address pressing issues in society. Furthermore, this pilot program appeared as a unique opportunity to work in a city and a country that would challenge me and expose me to different realities in the international context.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part so far has been the people at the Fundacion. Everyone received me with arms wide open and with a desire to teach and share with me all the knowledge they have. They have been extremely helpful during my immersion into the Fundacion to understand the acronyms, programs, and many other things. Moreover, they are also showing me the best of Chile. Everyone at the Fundación tells me what I have to visit, what dishes I have to try, and have even invited me to some cultural events in the cosmopolitan city that Concepción is. They have all been really friendly and accessible to teach me things that I have to learn, and to make sure that I have the very best time here in Chile.





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

Living in a new city has been fun and entertaining. I am living in a hotel, which means that I have all the commodities that it offers and can eat out almost every day. Concepción is a walkable city, and my hotel is in downtown. Therefore, I can walk almost everywhere.
The city of Concepcion has many museums, theaters, and other cultural places that I have yet to visit. There is so much history in this city and I am learning something every day. There are so many places to know here in Concepcion, and in the surrounding cities. Furthermore, the landscapes that it offers are also delightful. During my time here, I have seen some marvelous sunsets that decorate the beautiful hills that Concepcion has. I am excited to keep exploring and learning more about this historical city!