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.

Vinty (Liwen) Guo ’20: LITS at Bryn Mawr College

Name: Vinty (Liwen) Guo
Class Year: 2020
Major: Computer Science and Math
Hometown: Guangzhou, China

Internship Organization: LITS at BMC
Job Title: Digital Technology Intern
Location: Canaday Library

What’s happening at your internship?

My internship job involves an indigenous language revitalization project and my part of the job is to help customize the views of its language learning Drupal website, debug the PHP codes used in the website, and analyze the language text data in R in order to visualize the patterns/trends of the data. So, basically, I’m on the technical support side to move this project forward. And obviously, most of my work is done on a computer.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I heard about this internship from an upperclass student who was in the same position as I am right now in the previous year and I got curious. Therefore, I collected some information about the LITS internship program and realized that LITS interns usually receive tasks from alumni, faculty, and staff members within the Tri-Co. And, they often engage in clients’ projects, helping their “clients” move the project forward by applying what they have learned at school to the workplace. I was intrigued by the idea of a group of people helping the clients in need with the projects that they value and have put so much effort in.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship has always been the interaction with my colleagues, clients, advisors and my supervisors who have been kindly trying their best to help me. For the project that we interns have been working on, communication involving scholars and technicians across the country plays an important role throughout the entire process. We have weekly check-in meetings, teleconference with our technician based in California and client based in New York City, and have taken several trips to Swarthmore College to meet with a linguistics professor for his expertise in analyzing language. This diverse working environment has been motivating and keeping me excited about my work.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding part about my internship is that my client, a linguistics scholar, is satisfied with and excited about the result of our work. This gives me the feeling that what we have done and what we are doing right now is important and meaningful to some people, and they will use the tool that we engaged in building for educational purposes. When our client said that he had been waiting for this moment for almost 20 years, it feels extremely rewarding.

Kameice Francis ’20: Phuhlisani NPC

Name: Kameice Francis
Class Year: 2020
Major: International Studies and Growth and Structure of Cities
Hometown: St. Thomas, Jamaica

Internship Organization: Phuhlisani NPC
Job Title: Research Intern
Location: Cape Town, South Africa

What’s happening at your internship?

This week I finished profiling researchers for Phuhlisani’s website, knowledgebase.land. Based on a list of of organizations that I was given on my first day, I profiled research institutes and Non-governmental organizations that specialize in rural and urban land issues in South Africa. This was done via a Google Form. I also provided links to full-text research studies that covered different aspects of the land issues including masters and doctoral theses, research reports and policy briefs that were available from the organizations. I have started transferring data from the spreadsheet that I created with organizational profiles to Trello so that the information is accessible to the public until Phuhlisani is able to add it to their website.


Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I am interested in urban and regional planning and this internship has exposed me to a new area of that field. I also had never traveled to South Africa and I was excited to be able to travel to another part of the world. I also got the opportunity to speak to my supervisor before applying and I really enjoyed the conversation and I wanted to learn more about his field of expertise.

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

I have really been enjoying living in another city. It’s been a little colder than I had expected but I have learned to adjust. I have also been able to try a myriad of new foods and visited many new places. I particularly like walking around Cape Town and trying to discover as many places as possible.

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

Nouns: Passion, Adventure, Confusion

Adjectives: Eye-Opening, Frustrating, Heart-Warming

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.

Ines Uwase ’20: Darby Creek Valley Association

Name: Ines Uwase
Class Year: 2020
Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Kigali, Rwanda

Internship Organization: Darby Creek Valley Association
Job Title: Data Management Intern
Location: Philadelphia (They do not have an office so I work on campus.)

What’s happening at your internship?

I work from campus or anywhere else that’s convenient since DCVA does not have an office. I work with the director, Susan Miller, to enter the required data to manage the organization and plan fundraising. I also carry out research about the species the organization helps to protect and design charts to visualize the information for the general public. I also had the wonderful opportunity to shadow professionals at the Stroud Water Research Center.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship to work for an organization that serves a purpose that I strongly believe in. DCVA helps protect the watershed in the Eastern Delaware county and I wanted to actively help them achieve their mission, or have the pleasure learning how such an organization operates.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship has been shadowing the Stroud Water Research Center and learning an immense deal from Matt, who graciously let us shadow him. I had the opportunity to work hands on and learn to examine the water quality, calculate water velocity, etc. This opportunity also gave me an idea of what exactly I want to do in this field.

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

I started this internship with the idea that I would only learn about environment-related work; however, I have also learned how to work in a different work environment and employer. Working on campus has taught me how to be disciplined and follow a strict schedule to get work done.

Xenia Kibbelaar ’20: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Name: Xenia Kibbelaar
Class Year: 2020
Major: History
Hometown: Curaçao

Internship Organization: Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Job Title: Volunteer
Location: Philadelphia


I am a volunteer at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Center City, Philadelphia. For the 10 weeks that I am there, I have been working on a database project called the Encounters Database Project. This project consists of transcribing 19th century records and creating electronic versions of such records. The electronic versions will then be accessible online for the public to use. The records that I have been working with are those from am organization called Orphan Aid Society. The Orphan Aid Society was founded in 1814 and lasted until its merging with Elwyn School in 1965. This organization would take care of orphans or those that were fatherless. I worked on various records from 1846 to 1928.

I applied for this internship because I was interested in the Encounters Database project. I also wanted to learn more about archival work. Furthermore, I thought it would be interesting to spend the summer learning a little bit about the history of Pennsylvania, where I have been living for the past three years.

There are many skills that I am using and also learning at the same time. For instance, one of the biggest skills that I’m learning is how to read the handwriting. The handwriting from the 19th century is a lot different from the handwriting of today. So, at times, it can quite difficult to understand what was written. Besides the differences in how the letters are written, some entries can be so faded that they are hard to read. Thus, at times the entries are like a puzzle, you have to figure out what fits together and what doesn’t. Another skill that I’m learning is how to transcribe all the information found into the computer and how to organize all that information in a way that is accessible for people to use. Another skill that is incredibly important is patience. When working with a volume that’s hundreds of pages and covers several years, it is important to know that you will not finish it in days, but rather in weeks. I learned that with the first volume that I worked on that took me two to three weeks to complete. It is also the type of work where with time, you can see the results.

The most rewarding thing about the internship is seeing all the work that I have done. Knowing that I have done something that can help people have access to a small part of history that may have been inaccessible before is very rewarding.


Zhi Zheng ’20: ChangJiang Securities

Name: Zhi Zheng
Class Year: 2020
Major: Mathematics
Hometown: Wuhan, China

Internship Organization: ChangJiang Securities
Job Title: investment management internship
Location: Wuhan, China

What’s happening at your internship?

This summer, I work as an intern at a securities company in Wuhan, China.
As a math major, I was assigned to the investment management department, where they need people to analyze data.

Why did you apply for this internship?

This company is a very famous securities company in China. As a math student minoring in economics, I feel like the financial industry is the right place for me. So I decide to apply for the role at a securities company, which I think would be helpful for my later career choice.

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

Communication plays a very critical role in investment management, especially when you negotiate with your clients. After participating in several meetings with my supervisor, I realized how people talk is much more complicated than I thought, such as how to persuade your colleagues and supervisor to support your strategy, how to negotiate with clients to make a win-win deal. Speaking is another kind of art; sometimes the way you express your statements can decide the outcome of the whole thing.

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

Our job is to find the potential companies which will be listed in the future and decide to invest a certain amount of money to help them speed-to-market. It is a challenge for me because as an analyzer, you not only need to understand data, but you also have to know quite well the industry to which your target company belongs. So for the first two weeks of the internship, I started studying the laser industry, reading numerous economic reports every week, and writing an industrial summary to my team. Thanks to the economics classes I took at Bryn Mawr, this work was not as hard as I thought.

After we got to know enough about the domestic laser industry, we started looking for some local laser companies which will be listed soon. This is a long process. Right now, our team is still working on it, and we have a list of potential companies which satisfy our requirements. Next step, our team will have a direct meeting with each company to further discuss our investment.

Zainab Batool ’21: Software Engineer Intern, Fidelity Investments

Name: Zainab Batool
Class Year: 2021
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Karachi, Pakistan

Internship Organization: Fidelity Investments
Job Title: Software Engineer Intern
Location: Merrimack, N.H.

What’s happening at your internship?

At my internship at Fidelity Investments I am working as an Android Platform developer on the mobile team. One of the most interesting aspects of my internship is that I get to not only experience the technical part of a software engineer’s job but also see the other aspects involved in building an application, such as design and research! Since I am working in a financial company it is also interesting to observe the more “fintech” aspects that one would not typically see in a purely tech company.

The cool thing about Fidelity is that I am not limited to the team and group I am working with, but everyone is more than willing to have me observe the workings of multiple different teams. I have been able to observe the various roles one can take on as a software engineer or technology graduate such as mobile or web developer, test engineer or site reliability engineer, among others.

When I initially applied for this internship I wanted to explore the different directions that I could take for the rest of college and then post-graduation. As a potential double physics and computer science major, I had researched for physics last year but wasn’t completely sure if research was something I wanted to do as a career choice and wanted to explore more options. Coding and front-end development where you can see instant results of your efforts is something that gives me that “instant gratification,” fix and luckily I landed a spot as a mobile developer intern. Fidelity developers are primarily web developers so I ended up being extremely lucky to get this role.

Not just the work but my team and group have really welcoming work cultures to encourage a relaxed and collaborative work environment and are leaders within Fidelity in that sense, which has also been really fortunate for me to experience such freedom and support!

Last but not the least, I can say without any hesitation that the other interns at Fidelity that I have befriended this summer are a huge part of the success of this summer. From thinking that living in small ol’ Merrimack would be dull and slow to karaoke-ing, going to NYC or Boston, escape rooms and what not every weekend — who would have thought?! As there is just one week left for my internship to end I am genuinely sad to be leaving “Brian and the boys” who have been such great buddies these three months. I’ll miss them and Fidelity!