A Postcard From: Sukhandeep Kaur ’19

Name: Sukhandeep Kaur
Class Year: 2019
Major: Economics
Hometown: Faridkot, Punjab (India)

Internship Placement: Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR), Philadelphia
Job Title: Sexual Assault Counselor/Crisis Intern

What’s happening at your internship?

WOAR has three different departments: Crisis and Counseling Office, Education Office and Community Outreach Office. I interned at the Crisis Office and primarily handled the Hotline calls. WOAR hotline is a 24-hour service and victim survivors call in for various reasons: Seeking phone counseling, scheduling intake appointments to meet with therapists, sharing their often difficult stories with a trained professional, looking for referrals and resources like medical exams, legal services or shelters and navigating traumatic (and sometimes suicidal) experiences. As an advocate, I make sure that I am present, listening, believing and supporting the callers with their needs. It is often challenging to hit the balance of being emotionally present and yet be effectively resourceful, and that is where the skillsets that I have acquired over time at my internship come in.

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

There are certainly numerous subtle skillsets that I have honed during my internship, which I have yet to discover for myself. The most evident ones, though, include effective communication, counseling, compassionate presence and holistic perspective. I have learnt to be present in the moment when I am taking a call, and not constantly thinking about what my response is going to be. This helps me get a much better understanding of the situation the caller is in, and inherently improves the quality of my response. I have also strengthened the ability to communicate my needs to my supervisors, and in fact that has played a role in strengthening our bonds. Also, I no longer hesitate asking a fellow intern or supervisor about information that I am unaware of but may benefit the caller. The need to be a good presenter has taken the form of the desire to be a resourceful counselor. Not to mention how drastically the internship has refined my counseling skills. I can handle the “tougher” calls in a calmer way now and can help the caller deescalate and be in a position to make best choices for themselves.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I see value in trauma informed counseling services to support victim/survivors navigate their experiences. I wanted to play my tiny part in this initiative and that is precisely the reason why I applied.

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

In my opinion, the biggest challenge for me was to keep myself sensitive to people’s stories. And quite frankly, it is sometimes hard to do that when you are also the one trying to find them resources. Emotional breakdown is not on the table for you! And often times, I saw my defense mechanism kick in when someone disclosed their experience. I guess, that is in certain sense being professional but at the same time I found it almost painful that I could not feel the gravity of each individual’s story.


A Postcard From: Esther Kim ’20

Name: Esther Kim
Class Year: 2020
Major: Psychology
Hometown: Gwangju, South Korea and Singapore
Internship Placement: Lewis Katz, Temple University School of Medicine; Shriners Pediatrics Hospital Research Center
Location: Philadelphia

How did you get connected?

I have a friend who used to work at the same lab a few years ago. He got me connected to the PI and they agreed to give a place for me to work for the summer.

What’s happening at your internship? What are you doing there?

There are many different projects going on the lab but their main focus of research is on gene therapy for spinal cord injury. It is a wet lab and there’s cool equipment I did not get to see in school labs. At this point (still the first half of the internship), I don’t hold a very important position in the lab, but I am helping here and there. A lot of the lab work consists of animal testing, so they require new lab workers a few weeks of training and lectures. There are lots of online courses and orientations to attend. It seemed more complicated than I thought. It was a good experience to witness that a lot of work and training is put into labs with animal testing.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I am a pre-med student, and eventually, I want to go to medical school. Not all doctors get heavily involved in medical research, but I wanted to discover if I liked it or not, and if I want to consider the research field as a possible career choice at all. After all, as a psychology student, getting involved in medical research is not easy. So when the opportunity came, I grabbed it. I think it’s important to try different things and find out what your interests are; you will never know until you try them!

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

Both yes and no. I knew that it was a wet lab so there were going to be the “typical” wet lab procedures that we do in school science labs. There are, however, differences. The lab is in a more professional setting and things are stricter and they take everything seriously and professionally. It made me nervous that if I messed up something, it would affect their research. I think there is a considerable responsibility to handling things in the lab even if it is a small thing because every work contributes to the research they are doing. I still have to do more training and learn, but eventually, I hope I get to handle more things. Also, I discovered that I do not hate research! I always had the idea that I would hate to be in the lab working alone all day, but it was rather therapeutic to concentrate and work on the samples.

A Postcard From: Anuoluwapo Atte ’19

This summer, I am interning at an organization called Galaei.

Galaei is a queer, Latinx social justice organization that works to empower the community through grassroots organizing, sexual empowerment services, and leadership and economic development. Galaei has three major programs currently running. The first is the Testing Program, which offers free and confidential HIV and STI testing, prevention services and referral to treatments, and sexual health services and counseling. The second is the Youth Program, which offers empowerment and leadership services for youth ages 13-24, as well as opening the office for drop-ins on weekday afternoons, where queer youth can come in and be social in a safe and affirming space. The third is the Trans Equity Project, which focuses on providing support for all individuals who do not identify as cisgender. They provide sexual health counseling, mentorship with transitioning, help with name changes and referrals for housing services, and legal advocacy. Galaei also offers cultural literacy trainings for other organizations on how to provide affirming services for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Working at Galaei this summer has been a very educational and humbling experience. Since my major concentration in the International Studies department is Global Social Justice, it is important that my work in the social justice field doesn’t only focus on dismantling systems of oppression, but on simultaneously providing opportunities and services to uplift communities that are regularly marginalized. As an organizational intern, my job involves all the programs in the organization and providing any support necessary to do the work that our community needs. I answer calls, create documentation and promotional material, help manage the organization’s social media profiles, and oversee youth drop-ins in the afternoons. I have participated in tabling and outreach for the organization, as well as hosting gatherings. One of such gatherings was a vigil for the second anniversary of the Pulse shooting, the names of whose victims are on the wall of our reception area.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the job has been working with the youth. One of my tasks in the past month was to organize and facilitate a workshop for them, and I was able to have a fruitful, engaging discussion with them about Intersectional Theory and its application in activist spaces.

For an organization focused on queer communities, June was a very busy month for us. We attended the Pride Month Flag Raising Ceremony at City Hall. Our major focus for the month, though, was organizing the longest running gay prom, the 23rd Philadelphia Alternative Prom, whose theme this year was “Purple Rain.” My fellow intern Auri and I were put in charge of budgeting, ordering and putting together decor and centerpieces, checking out the event venue, and creating and distributing tickets to some organizations in Philly that we partner with, such as The Attic and Taller Puertorriqueño. The event turned out to be a success, with many youth in attendance.

Working at this organization has been a way for me to learn more about social justice work while simultaneously giving back to a community that needs support now more than ever. It has also helped me to develop some unexpected but necessary skills, such as event planning, social media management, digital design, marketing and communication in a professional setting.

Atte Anuoluwapo Atte Anuoluwapo Galaei Sign


A Postcard From: Amaka Eze ’19

My summer working at the African American Museum in Philadelphia has proven eye-opening in all respects. Coming into this internship I had very little understanding of what the daily-doings of a public programmer were, let alone those of an entire museum staff. Since these murky beginnings I have developed a strong relationship to my work and colleagues, and further, feel prepared to engage in the work of museum studies in the future.

My initial objectives for this internship were:

  1. Contextualization: working with colleagues to think about how to narrow in on a specific exhibition, understanding thematic content and subsequent complimentary programming
  2. Learning marketing languages: social media promotion, incorporating institutional values into promotional material, and paying attention to specific audience contexts
  3. Learning the nuances of AAMP as an institution

I’ve stayed strongly to my objectives and thus far have exercised all of these new skills. For example:

  1. I create all content for the AAMP social media accounts and work collaboratively on e-newletters.
  2. I meet and collaborate with artists, the director of curatorial services and fellow programming colleagues.
  3. I have become comfortable and confident in my knowledge of AAMP as an institution.

Given all of these amazing opportunities, I can’t help but be surprised by just how hands-on my time at AAMP has been. My supervisor and colleagues are extremely supportive and have given me lots of creative responsibility. For instance, as we plan for the upcoming fall/winter exhibition, I have been integral in the conceptualization and planning of five public programming events. My opinion and creative expertise has been respected and encouraged, and I see my work being taken seriously by my colleagues.

Thinking towards the future, I hope to continue my work in black cultural spaces, and specifically, the intersection of black creative and activist spaces. I think that I work very well in an arts-oriented environment, as it has afforded me a more dynamic daily schedule than most office jobs, and through this, have further honed my workshopping and collaborative capacities. My supervisor has become a mentoring figure and is helping me to think towards the future in regards to another possible position with AAMP during the year.

As mentioned previously re: learning objectives, I have learned a lot about the inner-workings of this particular institution and I think that is the most valuable lesson thus far. Museums seem like such enigmas, and the day-to-day tasks feel hard to grasp based on elaborate, perfectly-executed exhibitions; however, getting to know the roles and responsibilities for myself and my colleagues has granted me with the opportunity to even further develop my team-building skills.

Academically speaking, I am definitely interested in pursuing more museum studies courses now that I have had this experience. As a Philosophy major and Africana minor, I have spent my time at Bryn Mawr honing my critical thinking and writing skills, working to think across contexts and through thick, philosophical questions. Entering this position, I wondered how much of these skills would be of use to me in the realm of programming; however, I realize now how crucial it is to have these kinds of awarenesses when working at a creative institution which aims to reflect and cater to the black community of Philadelphia.

Learning the inner-workings of this institution has made me even more open to considering the idea of a career in museums/cultural institutions outside of academia, and I hope to continue building these relationships and exploring academically the different possibilities for a career in museums and curatorial work.

A Postcard From: Rachel Sadaty Ellerson ’19

Name: Rachel Sadaty Ellerson
Class Year: 2019
Major: Anthropology
Hometown: Port Washington, N.Y.

Internship Placement: Transylvania Bioarchaeology
Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

The word Transylvania is almost synonymous with bloodthirsty vampires who live in dark, shadowy castles. Most people don’t associate Transylvania with archaeological excavation in fact, most people don’t even realize that Translyvania exists outside of the world of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But for the past five weeks, I’ve been working at an archaeological excavation just outside of the second-largest city in Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca, and no, we aren’t digging up vampires (although there are excavations in Eastern Europe analyzing so called “vampire burials”).

The site we’re excavating, known as Jucu, is a cemetery, and technically we are conducting a rescue excavation. The land is currently being developed into a solar land farm, but portions of the area have been protected to allow for the recovery of individuals in the cemetery. Transylvania Bioarchaeology, or TBA, the organization helming the excavation, has been working at Jucu for the past seven to eight years with the goal of recovering as many individuals as possible, analyzing their remains, and then sharing what they learn with the larger bioarchaelogical and Transylvanian community. TBA is also an educational field school so that people like me with little to no experience in bioarchaeology can learn about the field while simultaneously assisting with their excavation.

That’s the main reason why I applied to this particular field school to both learn about bioarchaeology and gain practical experience in the field. As an anthropology major (with a focus in Biological Anthropology) I am deeply passionate about osteological analysis, which is just a fancy way of saying “I like bones.” Through this school, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about osteology (the study of bones) and the actual excavation process. Contrary to popular belief, archaeologists do not simply run into ancient temples and search for treasure whilst escaping deadly traps. The reality of archaeology is less sexy. It involves digging holes with pick axes in 80 degree weather. It is constantly being covered in sweat and a lot  a lot of dirt. It is methodical work that requires extensive skills and knowledge. Although archaeology is quite exciting, it is not almost-being-hit-by-a-large-boulder exciting.

That being said, there were plenty of things about archaeology that took me by surprise. For instance, once you start to see bone, no matter how small the fragment, you can’t use metal tools, you have to use wood or plastic. When I learned this, I expected my instructors to pull out some fancy, high-tech wooden tools. I’m not sure why I expected a “high-tech” wooden tool, but as you can imagine I was quite surprised when my instructors pulled out a box full of chopsticks and plastic utensils. That seemed far too rudimentary a tool to use in an archaeological venture. Frequently, however, the simplest solutions are the best and chopsticks ended up being a favorite tool to use when conducting fine excavation.

Working with human remains can be challenging. There are many ethical questions to consider before embarking on an excavation and the actual excavation of skeletons can be quite difficult, particularly at this site. The individuals at Jucu didn’t have the best preservation, so when I first attempted to remove an individual from their burial, I was stunned and frustrated by how unintentionally destructive the process is. Although we tried to be careful, the bones were so fragile that they fell apart in our hands as we took them out. I ended up accidentally exploding part of the pelvis, which as you can imagine was very upsetting. Even though it isn’t intentional, it feels disrespectful to damage someone’s skeleton. As all archaeologists say, this is a destructive science, but with that destruction (intentional or not) comes much to learn.

A Postcard From: Meredith Xu

I’m doing my summer research at Center for Nanoscale Materials under the support of Prof. Xuemei May Cheng at the Physics department at Bryn Mawr College.

My major task is to do magnetic vortex disks fabrication. It’s of great interest due to its biomedical applications, such as targeted cancer destruction.

Students should talk to Professor Xuemei Cheng if they are interested. It’s a valuable experience for both physics major and bio major students!

Center for Nanoscale Materials Patents

A Postcard From: Leslie Goloh ’19

Name: Leslie Goloh ‘19
Class Year: 2019
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Accra, Ghana
Internship Placement: Canaday Library
Job Title: Information Security Program Intern
Location: Bryn Mawr College

What’s happening at your Internship?

As an Information Security Intern, I’ve been working on two different projects where I develop and redesign learning materials for Information Security Practices. This includes tech documentations, videos and Infographics. The clients for the projects are Bryn Mawr’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Bryn Mawr’s Information Security Program. Together with my internship partner, I meet with the clients on a biweekly bases to discuss the requirements of the various tools we’ve been working on, and to get feedback from them. I also investigate different software such as Infographic and video makers, to find good ones that have more functionality and can do more work.

While the main work is really to make these tools, there is a research phase to collect all information on the topics. During the biweekly meetings with the clients, we discuss the information and decide on what is necessary for students or faculty to know, and discard the ones that might be overwhelming and not crucial.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I’ve always been interested in cybersecurity as a potential career field. I applied to this internship to learn more about information security and explore the depth of my interest. Additionally, through my experience as a Digital Curriculum Intern with LITS last year, I knew that I would probably be developing learning materials for Bryn Mawr’s Information Security Program. So, I considered this an opportunity to develop and expand my creativity as well as strengthen my digital competencies.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part has definitely been developing Infographics and animated videos! Given the nature of my internship and the overall goal of my projects (which is to educate students on the best Information Security practices), I have spent a significant amount of time brainstorming different ways of presenting information to a student audience. Naturally, it’s exciting to play around with color schemes, animations, effects, pictures etc. But it’s also fun to consider real-world issues that affect the learning experience. This includes accessibility, cognitive load and cultural relevance. In designing these tools, I’ve had to think a lot about these issues and set standard requirements that need to be met for them to be successful. Doing that hasn’t necessarily been easy but it has been fun and fulfilling.

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

Logistics management is not easy! To be more specific, organizing people, times, and venues for events and projects is not easy. For one of the Information Security Internship (InfoSec) projects, my partner and I needed to include external parties, i.e. other students involved in other internships on campus. Coordinating times for everyone to meet was a bit of a struggle because there weren’t a lot of commonalties. As a result, there was a lot of back and forth emails between us but thankfully, we successfully pulled it off. The real takeaway here is a newfound appreciation for the people working behind the scenes to organize the wonderful events we have here on campus.

Leslie Goloh

Figure 1: Top left: Image of the title of a video on Secure Deletion of Files. Bottom Right: Image of the title of an Infographic on Password Managers.


A Postcard From: Yesenia Mendez ’21

Name: Yesenia Mendez
Class Year: 2021
Major: Economics (intended)
Hometown: Houston

Internship Placement: BrightSphere Investment Group, plc
Job Title: Finance and Accounting Intern
Location: Boston

Yesenia Mendez

What’s happening at your internship?

From Houston to Boston, this summer has proven to be full of difficulties and excitement. BrightSphere Investment Group (BSIG) is a global asset management company with a diverse group of investment management firms that provides investment management services internationally. As an intern at BSIG, I was challenged intellectually and socially. During my internship, I worked with the Finance Team on the Securities and Exchange Commission Quarterly Report by finding support for each number mentioned and calculating and recalculating consolidated statements and financial statements. Other duties included updating bank statements, organizing data for asset value reports and benefit liability reports. Before my internship at BSIG, I had no idea how to do any of these things. My biggest fear was failing at the work I was assigned because I had not taken a finance or accounting class. However, I quickly realized that regardless of my major or background, most of the knowledge in finance and accounting is learned in the job and through experiences.

In addition, I had the opportunity to get resume feedback and do mock interviews with different employees across all departments. By doing this, BrightSphere prepares its interns for any future internships or jobs. Along with this, I had lunches with all the departments, including the CEO and the rest of the executive team, to learn about their jobs and experiences. I feel very fortunate to have been part of this because it really helped me understand how corporations work, what they are looking for when hiring, and how I can improve my skills in order to reach my career goals.

Why did you apply for this internship?

After being involved in Redefine Her Street, VITA, and taking classes like Money and Banking with Professor Margaret Clarke, I knew I wanted to explore the financial sector. Because I was a freshman, it was really difficult for me to find any internships. However, I came across this internship through POSSE and was not hesitant to apply.


Was there anything special about how you found this internship?

One of the greatest lessons I learned this summer is how the culture of a company should affect where I want to work. Instead of using charities as a marketing strategy, BSIG truly cares about others, and they constantly motivate its employees to do community service. This summer, I volunteered with BSIG at the Greater Boston Food Bank, St. Francis House Shooze Cruise, and Cradles to Crayons Backpack-A-Thon. Giving back is something that its really close to me and being part of a space and culture that encourages this was wonderful.

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

It wasn’t hard to fall in love with Boston but living on my own in an unknown city with no one I knew was hard. Having to cook for myself and managing money after paying bills and rent made me appreciate home, family, and friends at a much bigger scale. However, homesickness did not stop me from exploring museums, restaurants, and historical attractions. This new type of independence that I gained this summer helped me mature and allowed me to see the world outside Houston and Bryn Mawr.

Yesenia Mendez by ocean

A Postcard From: Tori Dang ’19

This summer, I am doing a 10-week research project on magnetism at Colorado State University. Colorado is a great place to be for the summer. I spent my weekdays learning about research techniques, making magnetic samples, doing simulations and reading papers, and my weekends outdoors in the nearby Rocky mountains, or simply relaxing near campus.

The big goal of this project is to study Dzyaloshiiski-Moriya interaction and skyrmions in nano magnetic structures, which are important to future spintronics devices. What I am doing specifically, is to make a waveguide on top of the nano discs, so that we can apply a magnetic field when sending a current through. This is done through several steps: spin coating the sample with photoresist which, as its name implies, is sensitive to UV light; developing the sample with AZ developer; pattern the sample using a laser writer; and metal deposition through sputtering; and finally, developing the sample that is now coated with metal so that excessive metals are peeled off. We have tried some different approaches to try to optimize the results. Besides, I am also trying to do micro magnetic simulations to better foresee the outcomes, and hopefully successfully getting some experimental data.

This is my first time doing research, and so far (about half way through), and I am really glad that I had this opportunity as I am enjoying it even more than I thought I would. As a rising junior majoring in physics at Bryn Mawr, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after graduation. This research experience has given me a good introduction to life as a graduate student, and I am now more optimistic than ever about applying/going to a graduate program in physics following Bryn Mawr. Many courses I’ve taken are very theoretical, and I’ve been seeing many familiar concepts when doing research. I think the courses I’ve taken at Bryn Mawr have prepared me well for related research.

On weekends, I love to venture out with friends to nearby national parks and mountains. As I mentioned, Colorado is a great place to be for the summer with nice weather, interesting landscapes and good views. And Fort Collins (the city where CSU is in) specially offers a nice combination of city vibes and nature. While situated pretty close to Denver, there are the Rocky Mountains and many peaceful trails to hike on within a reasonable distance as well. I am looking forward to the rest of my summer here!

Tori Dang at Mount Evans

Mount Evans

A Postcard From: Jenisha Stapleton ’20

As an Undergraduate Summer Research Fellow at Fox Chase Cancer Center, I have been conducting epidemiological research in the Cancer Prevention and Control Program. I work specifically in a lab that conducts research that aims to better understand cancer disparities in populations of African ancestry. The principal investigator (my supervisor) is a cancer epidemiologist and specializes in the molecular and social epidemiology of cancers in the African diaspora. Together we designed the summer research project that I am currently undertaking. The goal is to assess the differences in cancer risk factors, risk behaviors and health-seeking patterns among the three black sub-groups of the African diaspora (U.S., African, and Caribbean origins) living in the Philadelphia County compared to those of their native countries using methods in statistical analysis, namely meta-analyses. Thus far, I have spent the majority of my time locating and abstracting data necessary for performing the meta-analysis. While I was initially overwhelmed with the amount of data I had to carefully examine, my commitment to the study has sustained through these tedious moments. My next step is to access the Philadelphia dataset and abstract the relevant data for comparative analysis. In addition to my primary project, I am also gaining exposure to epidemiology study designs and applications. I have been able to assist with recruiting and enrolling participants and collecting biospecimens for other objectives in the lab.

I was inspired to apply for this opportunity based on an experience last summer.  With support from the LILAC STEM in Society Fellowship, I returned home to intern with the Epidemiology Division of the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Health. I experienced how epidemiology is applied and how it informs public health strategies and communication.  After having conversations with my supervisor, an epidemiologist who had an extensive research background, my interest in participating in epidemiological or public health research was adequately stimulated. As a biology major, I was disappointed to learn that the department did not offer opportunities to engage in epidemiology. This, coupled with my desire to conduct research in this area, sufficiently motivated me to actively seek out this researcher, which resulted in this opportunity.

It has been a great learning experience! I am gaining skills in statistical analysis and exposure to study design which provides real world context of content taught in the Experimental Design and Statistics course I intend to take in the spring. In addition to learning and growing, I am grateful for the opportunity to receive mentorship and network with my supervisor and the lab staff. Their journeys to epidemiology and public health have informed my personal career path and have further influenced my decision to pursue research opportunities and also a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology.

Jenisha Stapleton