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: 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: Carolyn Messer ’19

Being a queer teenager in Texoma, a region that consists of Northern Texas and Southern Oklahoma, was an isolating experience. In the eyes of the majority of Texoma residents, homophobia was just a normal cultural value and anybody who was open about being a member of the LGBTQ+ community was ostracized. After leaving such a toxic environment, I never expected that I would be able to return and find support and community.

However, with my summer internship at The Opal Center, support and community are exactly what I have found.

The Opal Center is an organization I never expected would exist in Wichita Falls. It provides much-needed resources to the LGBTQ+ community in Texoma, currently offering free counseling sessions and biweekly Trans/Nonbinary and LGBQ support groups. Upon learning that this organization existed in an area where it was so desperately needed, I knew I needed to do what I could to support them.

As an intern at an organization that is not even a year old, my responsibilities have been varied and in no short supply. I have done everything from designing brochures to searching for grants to tabling at a fundraising event to things as mundane as making copies of keys. So much of what is important to The Opal Center at this stage is simply doing everything I can to make sure it stays running, both mechanically and financially.

In addition to day-to-day maintenance and fundraising for The Opal Center, a major component of my internship has been outreach, and one of the most interesting forms of outreach we are working on is Out Loud Magazine. Out Loud Magazine is a LGBTQ+ magazine with a special focus on writing and art by LGBTQ+ people that is set to publish its first issue later this month. The magazine is run by the director of The Opal Center, who hopes that its connection to the Center will provide publicity for the services we provide to Texoma’s LGBTQ+ community.

One of the articles I wrote for the magazine was about the Metropolitan Community Church in Wichita Falls, a church founded by and for members of the LGBTQ+ community. The process of writing this article has been the highlight of my internship experience so far. I visited the church for a Sunday morning service, nervous about previous experiences with homophobic churches in the area. However, the Metropolitan Community Church’s mission of “exuberant inclusivity” characterized the service, and the morning was a warm and welcoming experience. I felt safe and supported in a space used to practice a religion all too often manipulated for hateful purposes. I saw queer and transgender people able to openly worship a God that I had been told my entire life hated me, because now they were in a church that affirmed God’s unconditional love for them. Furthermore, I was amazed by the community I saw in the church, with queer and transgender people coming together and loving each other. This was all so far from the rejection and isolation I once thought was the only way LGBTQ+ individuals could live in Texoma. Maybe it was possible for LGBTQ+ people to find community and support in Texoma too.

I left the Metropolitan Community Church that day with a sense of hope. This region might not be universally supportive, but that doesn’t mean that LGBTQ+ people are totally alone. The mission of The Opal Center, to support queer and transgender people and to connect them with others who share their experiences, seemed more important and achievable to me than ever.

With this sense of hope and purpose in mind, there are several projects I am excited to work on going forward. Starting in late July, I will be running The Opal Center’s biweekly LGBQ support group. Additionally, in the next few weeks I will be meeting with one of The Opal Center’s board members to learn about grant writing and begin to secure more funding for the Opal Center. I am so excited to take on these new tasks, as well as anything else that may come my way, because in doing so I am able to help foster a stronger LGBTQ+ community in Texoma and work toward an atmosphere of inclusion and safety that I would have loved when I was younger.

A Postcard From: Sierra Norman ’19

Thanks to the generous funding from Bryn Mawr College, I have had the opportunity this summer to participate in an internship at The Children’s Center, located in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sierra Norman standing outside of The Children's Center

The Children’s Center is a private, not-for-profit mental health clinic with a mission to provide “comprehensive mental health care to enhance the emotional well-being of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families.”  It is the largest agency of its kind and provides care to over 2,000 families a year, helping children under the age of seven to improve in managing their feelings, learning to play, making friends, and succeeding in school and at home. They provide affordable services and subsidize families in need with charitable funds.

The Children’s Center is a partner of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and provides evidence-based treatment to children and families exposed to traumatic events. Dr. Douglas Goldsmith is the executive director of The Children’s Center and has created widespread impact on the clinical application of attachment theory, to help heal parent-child relationships. He is nationally and internationally recognized as an expert in the field of attachment and trauma therapy.

My role at The Children’s Center is in their Therapeutic Preschool. The Children’s Center’s Therapeutic Preschool is intended for children who are struggling to succeed in childcare or preschool settings. It provides group therapy, in addition to individual therapy, to support improvement for specific behavioral goals. This program provides intensive, daily treatment, where the children can gain skills necessary to succeed in school, such as learning to listen to adults, manage their emotions, and play with peers. Class sizes are limited to nine students who have a wide range of emotional and behavioral health diagnoses (i.e. autism, hyperactivity, depression, and aggression) and traumatic experiences (i.e. domestic violence, abuse and/or neglect, refugee from war-torn countries, and parent(s) in the military that returned with PTSD).

I assist the therapeutic specialists in the morning with a class of 3-4 year olds and in the afternoon with a class of 4-5 year olds. I am able to be a part of the group therapy and assist in evaluating the student’s progress towards their individual goals. While I am not able to share specifics on my experience here, for confidentiality reasons, I can say that it has made a lasting impact on my life!

Helping others, especially children, has always been very important to me. I have dedicated time for over 10 years to serving my community through various projects impacting children. My long history of involvement with youth has provided me with unique experiences and allowed me to interact one-on-one with children from a variety of different backgrounds and situations. My time at The Children Center is further enriching my experiences and has only strengthened my desire to pursue a career as a pediatric psychiatrist.

A Postcard From: Shelby Hoogland ’19

When I first moved back to Mystic, Conn., I already had a preconceived notion of what my summer was going to look like after having spent the past semester with the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program. My best friend from the program was going to be my roommate, I would be living in the same student houses, and I would be working with the same professors who had traveled with me from sailing offshore in the Caribbean Sea aboard the S/V Corwith Cramer to hearing how climate change is affecting the lives and the history of the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians.

If you know nothing about Williams-Mystic, know that the 30 other people that you get thrown together with, students and faculty, for a semester will become your family. Having already had these important connections with Dr. Tim Pusack, my former marine ecology professor and current research mentor, and with Dr. Rachel Scudder, my former oceanography professor and another current research mentor, made me more confident that this would be the summer where I grow into my new position in life as a field ecologist and as a research scientist.

Shelby Hoogland in field

Carcinus maenas, European Shore Crab: invasive species to the Long Island Sound.

Invasive species pose one of the largest threats to biodiversity worldwide. Additionally, this group of organisms can alter an ecosystem’s characteristics and local populations of native species. These alterations can have negative impacts on local industries like commercial fishing and tourism which directly impact local economies. C. maenas is an introduced crab species originally from coastal Europe that was potentially brought over in the fouling or bored into a wooden ship in the 1800s. The area that I have been studying is Avery Point, Conn., on the University of Connecticut-Avery Point’s campus. Although there are many different crabs that are found in this rocky intertidal ecosystem, the shoreline is dominated by C. maenas. It can be assumed that it is outcompeting native populations of crabs and other invasive species of crabs. In the lab, I am subjecting the crabs to temperatures between 12 dC and 31 dC to mimic the rising temperatures that will be present during the coming years due to climate change. I am measuring their stress responses as a direct representation of how much they are eating daily.

My research has brought me to some really cool places. I mean, how often can someone say that they get to go to the beach for their job? However, more importantly, it has taught me the importance of studying climate change. And it has given me important insight into the lack of knowledge about how climate change will affect vital ecosystems. Looking forward to the future, the uncertainty is high as to what our climate will be like. Additionally, we don’t exactly know how it is going to influence local economies. Funding climate change research is important so that we can better prepare our communities in the face of future disasters.

A Postcard From: Anna Huang ’19

This summer, I participated in the Clinical and Translational Science Award Internship program at the University of Pennsylvania, and I was matched to a lab studying the lipid metabolism and cardiovascular disease. My experiments use both GC-MS and mathematical model so that I could use skills and knowledge from both my chemistry and mathematics major. Basically, I am assessing the effects of a new drug on lowering lipid levels in patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, which means those patients have unusually high LDL-cholesterol level compared to normal person due to a rare genetic disease, and they do not respond to regular drugs to lower plasma lipid level like statins. Along the process, I understood more about how the education from BMC empowers me in the outside world.

I definitely benefited from the training for research I got in Bryn Mawr College. Back at Bryn Mawr College, I have been working with Dr. Monica Chander for almost two years. I think her strict requirements and guidance prepared me much better than other students from big universities. I am more confident in planning my experiments independently, conducting experiments efficiently and not making basic mistakes. Due to such efficiency and carefulness, I actually got three projects along my internship instead of the originally planned one from my mentors in UPenn.

Also, the close contact with professors in BMC helped me to understand more about establishing and maintaining the mentorship. One important thing I found in this internship is that a good mentorship is more precious than anything else. Before the internship started, I emphasized to my program director that the specific topic of the research is not very important to me at all but a good mentor matters. A good mentor can open the possibility of hundreds of fields to you. And luckily, as I required, my program director got me two really good mentors, who are willing to and feel the need to spend time with me. They respect my time and try to maximize my gaining. They do not only guide me in the lab, but also give advise my future and career goal. The atmosphere in Bryn Mawr teaches me not to be afraid of asking for support and opportunities. This is really useful in a big place like UPenn where there are a lot of opportunities around and you can only ask to grab them by yourself. With this in mind and good mentors, you can really get access to a lot of things. One of the mentors introduces me to some other clinicians and let me shadow the clinical part of the research so that I can understand the whole picture of translational research. The other mentor found me some more projects that I can work on and introduces me to know about other people’s research in the lab. My life is much more colorful than I expected it to be and I enjoy it a lot.

I still have a month left for this internship and I believe that I will enjoy it. I hope what I gained from this summer will accompany me for the rest of the college life.

A Postcard from: Amanda Santiago ’19

Name: Amanda Santiago
Class Year: 2019

Internship Placement: Camp Voyager YMCA Summer Camp
Location: Dover, Del.

Over the past six weeks I have been a camp counselor at Camp Voyager, one of my local YMCA summer camps, in Dover, Del. The YMCA summer camps are a great place for children to spend their summers because they can participate in the following activities:

  • Swimming lessons twice a week
  • Daily swim time
  • A daily lunch and snack
  • Science and nature classes, arts and crafts, and archery lessons
  • Performing arts classes
  • Weekly trips
  • An opportunity to socialize and interact with children in their age groups

I have to admit, it has not been easy; it has taken a lot of adjusting to a brand-new environment. I have worked in school settings before, but never with 150 kids at once. Just as when I arrived at Bryn Mawr, when I arrived to my first day of camp, I was surrounded with a bunch of people from different places with whom I would be working with on a daily basis.

At the beginning, I found it very hard to find a way to fit myself into the children’s lives in order to both implement camp rules and curriculum and make my own observations for my research. A lot of the children at camp come from “unconventional” families, and they have many trust issues with authority figures, and they saw me as another person who wanted them to follow the rules. In the long run, I had to wait for the kids to open up to me. This allowed me to see the importance that camp has for these children. I thought of it as a place parents could leave their kids for the day while they went to work; however, for a good number of the children at camp, it was much more than that: they saw camp as a place where they were safe during the day, a place where they could be children, and not have to worry about issues at home, as well as a place where they didn’t have to think about their next meal.

At camp, all campers are given a free lunch and snack in the afternoon provided by the state of Delaware. They are allowed to take any leftovers home with them. After a couple of conversations with some of the children at camp, I learned that lunch at camp was the only meal they would have until dinner because their parents didn’t have time to prepare breakfast for them or didn’t have the items to make them something. These conversations broke my heart because as a child I was always very blessed to have every meal every day, but for these children, food wasn’t a daily privilege.

This has impassioned me even more to want to purse a career as a social worker. A lot of the campers need help in small ways: they need someone to listen to them and talk to them, and they need help with bigger issues, like needing someone to fight for them, so that their basic needs are met every day. The YMCA is a nonprofit organization that could use a lot more help than what they are given now. Camps could use a breakfast program and a copious amount of materials to better provide for other children. Please consider looking up your local YMCA and finding a way that you can help make a difference in a child’s life.

A Postcard From: Amy Young ’19

Internship Placement: Philadelphia VIP

If someone asked me to describe my childhood, I would say that philanthropy was at the heart of it. Whether I was offering my time through community service or giving monetary donations to charities that my church supported, I was always encouraged to give what I had. As well as being involved in the church, and charitable organizations like Girl Scouts and the National Honor Society, by the time I was 18, I had lived in 10 different places, spanning states, countries, and continents. This particular aspect of my childhood exposed me to an array of cultures, governments, and economic structures; therefore, I learned at an early age that need was everywhere. It did not take long for me to understand why generosity was so important.

However, during my sophomore year at Bryn Mawr College, my understanding of philanthropy changed. I can recall the excitement hanging in the air that fall semester. All around me, women were lively and carefree; we made fun of the ridiculous things we heard on Fox News and we were eager for the moment we could finally exclaim that this country was being headed by a woman. Finally, America was progressing. Yet, as much as I remember that fleeting, hopeful sentiment, what overshadows it is the shock, despair, and fear that my community and I felt the early morning of Nov. 9, 2016. What unfolded in the following months was a change in my spirit. Suddenly, I was being forced to come to terms with the kind of dismal future that my mother and her family would face as immigrants from Ecuador. I would be forced to watch as my white, wealthy father would continue to prosper while my low-income mother, with whom I had never lived, would potentially lose everything for which she had worked incredibly hard.

What was happening? How did this happen? Why was there so much selfishness and hatred?

I had so many questions. I cried for days and I prayed for weeks. I brooded with anger and I protested when I could. I disowned my religion and devoted myself to compassion, truth, and education. I was not going to sit by and do nothing as the lives of millions of people were now in the hands of a spray-tanned, narcissistic demagogue.

Queue Philadelphia VIP. When I began looking for summer internships, prioritizing a philanthropic cause, I noticed this nonprofit. Their slogan is “since 1981, the hub of pro bono legal services in Philadelphia” and their mission is preventing homelessness, stabilizing families, preserving income, and promoting community economic development for families and individuals who are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. I was determined to be a part of that cause and I am proud to say that I now am. While I am gaining valuable knowledge and skills at VIP, I love being able to fundraise for, plan events for, and market an organization with such a morally upright purpose. Everyday, I witness a group of inspiring people fight against powerful corporations, laws, and individuals to maintain access to justice; no matter how discouraging this world can be, my coworkers’ persistence teaches me about not just generosity, but perseverance.

Through politics, faith, and the recognition and valuation of my heritage, I have come to realize that philanthropy is not just a moral obligation of mine, it is my purpose.

A Postcard from: Aldercy Lam ’19

Every morning, I am encouraged to take a moment to think about how I am feeling, why I feel that way, and what I can do to feel my best. Whether it be working out, getting another hour of sleep, or getting a meal with friends before going into the office, this internship is untraditional in the best sense possible. I stumbled upon this organization while I was searching for an internship to do this summer, however, I didn’t expect that I would get way more than a position to put on my resume.

Laptop computer on desk

In the past, I’ve had amazing experiences with nonprofit organizations before, I did things that I loved and I met a lot of people, but in this position I was able to combine my knack for nonprofit work with a special focus on my own growth. My experience this summer has been incredibly transformative. As a rising senior, I’ve been able to appreciate and fully take advantage of the professional and personal growth opportunities this internship has provided me with.

This organization I am working with is called Calm Clarity. It is a social enterprise with a nonprofit side. The founder, who is my supervisor for the summer, uses this organization to teach people about the benefits of mindfulness and how we can utilize being mindful to overcome obstacles in our lives. After quitting a successful role in consulting, she went through a long journey of spiritual awakening, and brought back the idea of Calm Clarity to share with as many people as possible. In addition to founding this organization, she recently published a book in the spring about her story and her teachings.

I feel extremely lucky because I’ve not only attended a Calm Clarity retreat and read the book, but I’ve also been able to gain so much wisdom from the guidance of my supervisor. It’s been inspirational to work with someone successful who comes from a background that is similar to mine. It isn’t often that I meet a Vietnamese-Chinese woman who has made it out of the low-income neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

The work I’ve been doing this summer is focused on the nonprofit side of the organization. Besides from marketing these Mindfulness retreats to professionals, Calm Clarity has a College Scholars Program where they invite first-generation and low-income college students to attend at no cost. As a College Scholar myself, I’ve been working on reviewing and expanding the program by interviewing past college scholars, going through feedback surveys, and getting in contact with universities that may want to collaborate with Calm Clarity. Additionally, I’ve been figuring out ways to improve the social media use of Calm Clarity in order to support College Scholar Alumni and target more students to join. If you’re reading this, follow Calm Clarity on Instagram and Twitter! I promise there will be more content soon. Another exciting project I’m working on is figuring out how to bring Calm Clarity on campus, so be on the lookout for mindfulness clubs and flyers on campus!

A Postcard From: Junyan Duan ’19

Name: Junyan Duan
Class Year: 2019
Major: Mathematics
Hometown: Nanjing, China

Internship Placement: SMALL Undergraduate Research Project at Williams College
Job Title: Student Researcher
Location: Williamstown, Mass.

Williams College campus

Williams College campus

What is happening at your internship?

SMALL at Williams College is a 10-week program that provides research opportunities for undergraduates in math-related fields. Together with three other undergraduate students, I’m working on two mathematical ecology projects: One focuses on the spread and control of white nose syndrome in bats and the other focuses on ecosystem federalism.

Caused by a fungus called P. destructans, white nose syndrome (WNS) constantly wakes up hibernating bats, and this leads to drastic depletion in fat storage and then starvation-related death before spring. WNS was first detected in New York in 2006 and has spread out in the U.S. Because the rate of disease-induced mortality is so high, ecologists predict that some bat species will go extinct by 2023. As it’s not reasonable to do large-scale experiments on those bats, using mathematical models to simulate the situation is a better choice. We have updated the model and tested several potential control methods suggested by biologists and ecologists according to their data collected in labs.

For the ecosystem federalism project, we focus mainly on disease outbreaks. We developed SIR models to study disease dynamics and to see how different levels of government influence the outcome.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because of my passion for both biology and mathematics. At the end of my sophomore year, I settled my mind to focus on applied math, especially mathematical biology, which is the overlap of the two fields. After going through a list of REU programs, I applied to several that offered research opportunities in mathematical biology (or mathematical ecology).

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

Williamstown is surrounded by mountains and the closest airport is in Albany, which is about 30 miles away. Williamstown is small but filled with fun activities in the summer. Williams College Museum of Art offers free lecture series and music events in July and those talks are always fun and inspiring. Clark Art Institute is an art museum within walking distance and SMALL students often go there on weekends. MASS MOCA is another art museum nearby and it’s a good place to go to as well. Williamstown Theater Festival started around the beginning of July, and this year Matthew Broderick came and performed in one of the comedies.

Williams College Shop

Williams College Shop

SMALL students also organize fun activities such as hiking, movie nights, ballroom dance and game nights.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

Besides what I do every day, such as researching, developing models and analyzing results, going to science lunch and talks as well as math department tea events and talks is my favorite part of this internship. The talks expand my knowledge not only math, but also in various fields such as material science and ornithology. Tea and lunch events allow me to communicate with professors and students and learn more about other students’ research.