Emily Augenbraun ’20: Puentes de Salud

Name: Emily Augenbraun
Class Year: 2020
Major: Spanish
Hometown: Philadelphia

Internship Organization: Puentes de Salud
Job Title: “Puentes Hacia el Futuro” Summer Camp Volunteer Intern
Location: Andrew Jackson School, Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

For my internship this summer, I am one of the 15 volunteer interns for the “Puentes Hacia el Futuro” summer camp program. Puentes de Salud is a nonprofit organization that works with the growing Latinx community in South Philadelphia. Their summer camp program, “Puentes Hacia el Futuro,” is a four-week summer literacy program that specifically focuses on preventing the “summer slide” or summer reading setback. The students that are participating in this program are bilingual and mostly speak Spanish in their homes; however, the summer camp program encourages the use of both English and Spanish. Each week there is a designated theme; for example, week one was art and culture. The group of students that I am working with are a mixture of both rising fifth and sixth graders; however, there are also younger students participating in this program. Throughout the day, I am working in a team with three other volunteer interns in a classroom with nine students total. The day is split up into two parts, with the morning being mainly focused on reading and writing with the group of students, while in the afternoon there are other enrichment activities such as art, healthy living, and coding. The students also have weekly library trips and field trips every week on Thursdays that connect to the theme of the week. I have enjoyed learning about each individual student in this program while also getting to know my fellow interns!

Why did you apply for this internship?

Although I am from Philadelphia, when I initially found out about this internship I did not know much about the organization. Of course this led me to do some further research online, and I soon realized that Puentes de Salud was a quick bus ride away from where I live. Additionally, in researching the organization online, this internship sounded like the perfect fit for me as a current Spanish major. I’ve always been passionate about being able to foster a bilingual learning environment for children who speak both English and Spanish. I want children who are bilingual to realize that they have an incredible gift that they should take advantage of on a daily basis and this internship has allowed me to encourage this ,which has been extremely rewarding.

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

Because this is a teaching-based internship, I am learning many important skills about how to be flexible and adapt to different students’ needs and learning styles in the classroom. Additionally, I am learning to be patient with students who learn at a different pace than others. As a person who is interested in exploring a potential career path in the education field, this firsthand experience of working with students who have diverse backgrounds has given me the opportunity to expand my perspective on teaching. As an educator and role model to these students, I must recognize that each person is a unique learner and continue to encourage them no matter how difficult a task may seem.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

It has been truly amazing to watch all of these young students engage in the different activities that my fellow interns and I have led throughout the summer. Their enthusiasm and excitement is contagious! I love that I am a positive role model and someone that they can look up to when they come to camp each day. They are all so self-aware even at such a young age and have so much to offer in classroom conversations. They have shared stories about themselves and been extremely vulnerable about opening up to each other in the classroom about their own backgrounds and identities. For example, when my fellow interns and I led a group discussion on the different aspects of one’s identity this past week, all of the students were very respectful of each other’s feelings and not making judgements. I hope to be able to maintain the relationships that I have built with these students and I look forward to seeing them grow into strong individuals in the future.

Alyssa Lopez ’20: Inclusive Action for the City

Name: Alyssa Lopez
Class Year: 2020
Major: Growth & Structure of Cities and Spanish
Hometown: Los Angeles

Internship Organization: Inclusive Action for the City
Job Title: Policy and Economic Development Intern
Location: Los Angeles

What’s happening at your internship?

It varies! I am so grateful to not have jumped into a super structured internship placement because I am learning so much on the go and am constantly stimulated. About a month ago, Inclusive Action for the City underwent a name change (formerly Leadership for Urban Renewal), which was announced at our annual event (incredibly well attended by more than 300 people), while the team graciously answered around 500 of my burning questions and curiosities. I am primarily working on a couple ongoing research projects ranging from the costs of displacement/relocation (inclusive of eviction in some cases) for individuals in Los Angeles to investigating municipal initiatives to repurpose and revitalize urban vacant land across the country. The preliminary research that I am participating in is in collaboration with a couple other team members and will lead to publications on IAC’s Research Blog and other forms of long-term tactical research. The research that IAC conducts then informs their programming strategies and shapes the implementation of policy initiatives across multiple city-relate topic areas.
I am also helping out with some data collection and streamlining for Inclusive Action’s micro-loan program, Semi’a Fund. Semi’a aims to provide short-term healthy loans for individuals that are business owners and are likely to be at risk of predatory lending and are often not able to borrow through traditional means. The streamlining of this data will help better organize and prepare for more clients in the future and provides a structured representation often necessary for funding purposes/opportunities.

Although I get learn client stories and backgrounds through the Semi’a data, I am glad to say that I also have the opportunity to directly engage with the communities that Inclusive Action does this work for. Through my support of COMPRA (our healthy produce delivery service), I take clients’ orders and am able to hear out their concerns to in an effort to improve our service. I have recently also participated in our work with Best Start, an initiative that focuses on the bettering the lives of children (0-5 years old) in historically disenfranchised communities. I was able to participate a couple weeks ago by facilitating a parent conversation regarding the necessary educational tools/knowledge children need before entering formal education — it was challenging but also a lot of fun to learn so much from complete strangers!

Why did you apply for this internship?

Having previous experience interning within the nonprofit sector in L.A. and during the school year in Philadelphia, I was fairly confident of wanting to get some more hands-on work with a nonprofit this summer before entering my senior year. I had learned of Inclusive Action a couple years ago and was able to attend their annual event plus2, which is a convening of professionals, residents, and educators that work to better urban communities. This experience is one that had informed and guided my academic research and personal interests over the past year — so I thought it would be a great idea to work with the group of people that that pulls this and so much other work together. Inclusive Action, through economic development and community engagement, has actively worked to shape and better low-income communities of color across Los Angeles for the past 10 years. I wanted to support their projects to the best of my ability, but I mainly wanted to learn about what is missing in this field: what is the work that could get done if there were unlimited resources at Inclusive Action? Apart from the collaboration that IAC foments, what avenues of collaborative work should be present in cities? What figures of urban leadership are we missing? What existing work should be elevated?

These questions and many others are ones I get to participate in discussions about on the daily, and there is actual real work that the team at IAC leads to address these cornerstones of urban life, every day! I am incredibly grateful that I am able to marry my academic passions with my experience living in Los Angeles and nerd out about urban planning with my coworkers on the daily!

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

No … it is so much more! I was prepared to learn and be challenged and engage in mindful moments, but the past few months at Inclusive Action have been so stimulating and spurred motivation to think about my future in this sector and the many different paths that have led people to this work. I think because I have had a couple different internship placements in the past — I am in the habit of reflecting on my role within the organization that is guiding me. At Inclusive Action I feel comfortable sharing my concerns and recommendations on how to shape the work I am doing — the welcoming atmosphere and leadership has elevated the confidence I have with the work I produce and contributes to learning experience/process overall. I am extremely grateful to work with people that are very self-aware and that constantly question, in very thoughtful ways, how they are doing the work and how they can further be engaged.


Bethany Mathews ’20: 826DC

Name: Bethany Mathews
Class Year: 2020
Major: Spanish/Independent Creative Writing
Hometown: Bristow, Va.

Internship Organization: 826DC
Job Title: Educational Programming Intern
Location: Washington, D.C.

This summer, I am working with the writing-based arts non-profit 826DC. This organization covers everything from after-school tutoring programs to summer camp writing workshops to full-blown novel production courses. It is all free, and it is all for the youth of the D.C. area.

When I first came to Bryn Mawr, I had known my whole life that I wanted to study creative writing. What I didn’t know was that fulfilling my language requirement would lead to such a passion for studying the Spanish language that I would major in it as well. Of course, this area of focus led to the question, not just from parents and advisors, but from myself as well, “What do you plan on doing with this?” How would my majors prepare me for my future? I began thinking about the things that I enjoyed that were related to both of these fields, and it hit me like an epiphany that I wanted to use my creative writing to show the arts to youth that would need them, and that my knowledge in Spanish would help to bolster my desire to increase the accessibility of the arts.

In high school, I had to drive an hour each way to be able to study creative writing, and I feel very strongly that the arts are a life-changing tool that should be available to everyone. Thus, I sought out work with 826DC.

Since beginning my internship four weeks ago, I have created a library system for our students so that they can continue reading outside of our programs. I have taken stories from the margins of notebook paper and formed fully designed, printed, and bound books with my own two hands. I have gone out into the community and used my Spanish to explain our opportunities to people who may not have had the chance to know about them otherwise.

This week, I will get to bring printed books to the classrooms of second- and ninth-graders and celebrate their accomplishments with them. In a few weeks, I will lead workshops based in creative solutions to environmental issues with sixth-graders, both in English and Spanish. I am doing what I have always wanted to do. Nevertheless, it cannot be said that working in an area I am passionate about has not had its sacrifices. I have lived 30 minutes from D.C. the majority of my life, but between traffic and using public transport, my commute more often than not becomes a two-hour endeavor. On a larger scale, I know this is not going to be sustainable, and it is causing me to give greater thought to where I will live post-Bryn Mawr and how I will handle city life, as this is where most arts nonprofits are centered. But for now, for the next eight weeks or so, I am taking it as time to think, to read, to listen to news or podcasts and expand my mind. It’s a sacrifice that I’ve decided I’m OK with making for a summer of growth. I’ve wanted to work with 826DC since I found out about it over a year ago, and I’m here fostering creative thinking in youth of all backgrounds. I’m teaching them, and they’re teaching me.