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.

Lyncy Nyandoche ’21: Finance Intern, American Express

Name: Lyncy Nyandoche
Class Year: 2021
Major: Economics and Mathematics
Hometown: Homabay, Kenya

Internship Organization: American Express
Job Title: Finance Intern — Corporate Planning and Analysis
Location: New York City

Choosing the American Express Internship meant foregoing an opportunity to head back home to Kenya to work with a startup to improve farmers’ productivity and increase their financial awareness. I was motivated by the eventual long-term benefits of gaining technical, communication and leadership skills and creating a network that would enable me to have an even bigger impact in the future. Besides, this internship was a stepping stone in helping me decide what careers in finance I am interested in pursuing. This was my first corporate America experience! I didn’t know what to expect and I was nervous about my performance, on top of my non-finance academic background. Through my experience at school, I decided to put into practice the pre-internship orientation training held by the Career & Civic Engagement Center.

After a fun day with my team.

After a fun day with my team.

At the beginning of June, I joined the Corporate Planning and Analysis team at American Express during the month-end results reporting and the long-term planning period; which is one of the most work-intensive periods of the team. I had to dive deep into understanding the reports that my team was working on, which consisted of researching, asking questions and completing assignments from the talent acquisition team. I was assigned a project to create a forecasting model for Charge Accounts Receivable (A/R) of Commercial Cards. This model would provide a more accurate forecast of the Commercial Charge Cards A/R, thus facilitating better risk provision on the Profit & Loss Statement. During my time at Amex, the most challenging aspect of my internship was my project, since I didn’t have any experience in either financial modeling or statistical forecasting. Thinking about how much I had to do independently was nerve-wracking, but it motivated me to put on my heels and step into any challenge courageously. I embraced Amex’s Blue Box value of teamwork by collaborating with my direct team and other teams with subject matter expertise to successfully deliver. I largely attest my success to the incredible support of my team, who were so welcoming since day one.

1 On a photoshoot with the sophomore interns

On a photoshoot with the sophomore interns.

The most surprising aspect of my internship was the level of Amex’s commitment to diversity alongside wholesome personal development. I never thought that I would find a financial services company that committed so many resources to personal growth and cared that their employees have a work-life balance. Every colleague is supportive of one another and there is great mobility within the teams and divisions. There are very few days that I remember spending wholly at my desk. I had company-wide educational events, executive speaker series and/or coffee chats that occupied my time.

There were so many equally rewarding aspects of my internship that I can only speak to a few. After my presentation, my model attracted attention from the parallel team on Consumer Services; in which they wanted to adapt my model. Aside from my work, I had the opportunity to meet and interact with senior leadership over executive speaker series and other networking events. For example, during a breakfast event, I realized that I was seated next to the CFO! Above all these, I created a professional network and gained friends through several fun activities with my fellow interns. Courtesy of this Amex network, I spent weekends with the sophomore interns exploring and going on many adventures in the wonderful city of New York. These among other experiences led to my decision to spend another summer at American Express.

I’ll cherish my first experience in the corporate world, but most of all thank you Amex for introducing me to my new best friends!

Ruth Mullin ’21: LITS, Bryn Mawr College

Name: Ruth Mullin
Class Year: 2021
Major: Mathematics
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minn.

Internship Organization: LITS
Job Title: Summer digital intern
Location: Canaday Library

This summer I’m working with LITS as one of the digital interns. There are five of us, and we’re split between two projects. The project I’m working on involves building a language-learning website with the goal of revitalizing an indigenous language. There are no native speakers of the language left, which presents some challenges, but luckily, we have access to hours of field tapes and a 700-page text that form the foundation of the website. I’m working on two out of the three sub-projects. The first one is focused on the actual development and design of the website. For the second one, we’re figuring out ways to make supplemental media like vocabulary slides using JavaScript libraries. The entire project has already been going on for decades, so we are doing as much as we can to help this summer, but the website won’t be complete for many years to come!

I first found this job when I was browsing Handshake. As I read the description, I was immediately intrigued by the technological and creative aspects of the internship. I’m majoring in math, and I’m always looking for ways to combine that with some of my other interests (such as web design, data handling, art, and my computer science minor) and explore how they work together. I thought this would be a great opportunity to explore some things outside my major to get some ideas about what I might want to do in the future. I’ve also been surprised by how applicable some lessons I’ve learned in classes have been!

I didn’t know a lot about the project I would be working on before I started my internship this summer, but I did expect to be working closely with the project sponsors and designing the face of the website. This was true in some ways, but I was surprised by a lot of aspects of the project. I definitely am working with the project sponsors, but there is a lot of physical distance between us, which was unexpected! One person is at Swarthmore College, a few are in New York, and one is even in California. The distance has been a challenge in some ways, but to get around it we have weekly phone meetings and occasional trips to Swarthmore. Also, everyone is very accessible by email and quick to answer questions. Another unexpected thing was how much of the project would involve actual coding. Of course, I knew there would be some HTML and CSS work, but it turns out that my sub-projects also require things like PHP and a JavaScript library called D3.

With all the unexpected things I’ve encountered during this internship, I’ve had to learn to adapt very quickly. One of the ways I’ve adapted to the surprise elements is to practice being a self-motivated learner and teaching myself new skills and coding languages. From the very beginning of the internship, we were kind of given the tools to learn and then sent off to figure things out. I like this way of learning, even if sometimes it’s hard to stay on track. Additionally, there are so many people in LITS that I know I can ask for help! I know that being able to learn on my own and find resources will be very important in the future; during my time at Bryn Mawr and after.

Another skill I’ve been learning about is project management. During my first week, we had a project management workshop which has been helpful. The project I’m working on is often very open-ended and it requires a lot of planning on my part. This skill can translate to almost any situation, which makes it extra valuable.

Ruth McLeod ’19: Youth Engineering and Science

Name: Ruth McLeod
Class Year: 2019
Major: Mathematics
Hometown: Boston, Mass.

Internship Organization: Youth Engineering and Science
Job Title: Assistant to the Director
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

There is a lot that is going on. I get to work at 7 a.m., get breakfast ready and let the interns and teachers in the building. At 8 a.m. we have our morning meeting where we discuss what worked, what did not, the highlights, and things we learnt the day before. We also give out a Hot Shot award to someone that really impressed us and a Flexy award to someone who was flexible or willing to go above and beyond.

After the morning meeting we break up into the teaching teams. I supervise members from the team that are a part of the lunch crew and help the prepare their materials for the day. By 9 a.m. most teams are out to the recreational centers teaching their lessons. I stay at base camp and prep the materials that the teams will be using in the next day’s lesson. I also do a daily inventory for the director so that we know if we need more food or materials and we don’t run out.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I wanted a behind-the-scenes perspective on what goes into creating, executing and teaching lessons. Since I want to be a high school math teacher, I think it is important to know what I will have to do in the future and start developing the skills needed to perform those tasks.

Was there anything special about how you found this internship?

Yes. I found this internship through my math professor, Victor Donnay who is a part of the Noyce Scholarship Program, which helped funded the organization that I interned with. My position was unique because it was only created because the director’s husband was not available for the entire summer and they needed someone to fill his role.

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

I have learned how to be a part of a team even if I am not on the frontline. At first it was OK being behind the scenes but as the teams got to experience what it was like to teach the lessons it became harder. As someone who loves to teach and wants to teach, I was incredibly jealous of some of the other interns. I realized later that it might have been a blessing in disguise because teaching is not easy and is very stressful. I came to accept that although I did not teach this summer, I learned a lot about teaching.

Odinaka Oranekwu ’20: Generation Teach

Name: Odinaka Oranekwu
Class Year: 2020
Major: Mathematics
Hometown: Lynn, Mass.

Internship Organization: Generation Teach
Job Title: Teaching Fellow
Location: Roslindale, Mass.

What’s happening at your internship?

My internship is a teaching preparation program that targets Boston Public Schools students who are primarily black and brown students who are more prone to being subjected to the summer slide. I was a lead math teacher for fifth grade students who are currently enrolled in BPS. I taught two sections of about 10 students each. I also taught an elective of basketball. I taught two sections of basketball of about 17 students each from fifth through eighth grade. I was also a club leader of about 25 students varying from fifth through eighth. As a club leader, we organized free time to wind down the school/camp day and give students the opportunity to make connections with the other kids.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I wanted to do something that impacts a group of people. Being an underprivileged black girl from Boston, I understand the worth and value of a black/brown teacher in my life trajectory. I wanted the opportunity to be that for kids. Additionally, as I’ve changed my major to mathematics this past school year, I’ve been curious as to what I’d want to do with a mathematics degree. Teaching has crossed my mind several times and I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to decide if I could possibly make a career in education.

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

Adjectives: Challenging, Fulfilling, Growth
Nouns: Mentorship, Network, Dedication

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding aspect of my internship was the kids. The kids honestly made the hard days easier. The relationships I built with a lot of the kids really will stick with me for a while. I knew I enjoyed being with the kids, but when I received notes and artwork from my students my heart nearly exploded. There is no greater feeling than knowing you’re making an impact in someone’s life, and that is what I felt throughout the summer.

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.

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.

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.