A Postcard From: Cara Navarro ’20

Name: Cara Navarro
Class Year: 2020
Major: Growth and Structure of Cities
Hometown: Manila, Philippines
Internship Placement: Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
Job Title: Immigrant Leadership Outreach Specialist
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

I’m interning at the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, a nonprofit that helps immigrants integrate economically and socially into the Philadelphia area. Specifically, I am working with the Immigrant Leadership Institute (ILI): a five-month program that trains immigrants to become civic leaders within their communities. Participants learn about common barriers to integration that immigrants face, and then work in teams to plan events that address these barriers. Along the way, they learn skills that are useful in any context, such as leadership skills, relationship building, effective communication, and fundraising. The program also helps participants improve their English skills and become more familiar with American culture.

My responsibilities have been far more varied than my job title suggests. While I have worked on outreach-related tasks, such as redesigning the program brochure and online registration page, I also provide general support for Institute participants. In particular, I design a lot of event flyers and agendas. 

Why did you apply for this internship?

During my time at Bryn Mawr, I’ve become very interested in the dynamics of urban immigrant communities and their role within the city. I knew interning at the Welcoming Center would be a great way to learn more about this in relation to Philadelphia. I also admire the Immigrant Leadership Institute as a program — for one, it elevates immigrants’ voices, which often go unheard in decision-making processes. It’s also an innovative model for immigrant integration. When I learned about the program, I wanted to support it in any way that I could.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

Definitely working with the Immigrant Leadership Institute participants! They are incredibly intelligent, creative, and friendly people, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know them. The events they’ve organized as part of the program have also been a huge plus. In my Cities courses, I’ve read about the barriers that immigrants face, and hearing personal stories from the event organizers and guests has added a new dimension to my understanding of these issues. Moreover, I’ve met people who do important work for immigrants in Philadelphia.

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

I spend most weekends in Philly during the school year, but this is my first time living in the city on my own. I’ve definitely had my fair share of challenges; I’m still trying to strike the right balance between work, social life, general adult responsibilities, and sleep. But overall, I’m really enjoying the experience! I’ve explored different parts of the city, eaten an excessive amount of brunch food, and met some really cool people.

Cara Navarro

I’ve had to work late fairly often, but the program participants and the view from the conference room make it worth it.

A Postcard From: Jie Gao ’19

I feel so lucky that my first internship is in the Greenovation Hub (G:Hub).

The first reason is that this place resembles Bryn Mawr so much. As a small domestic environmental NGO, there are only seven of us in the office. My colleagues are all women, liberal, independent, brave and intelligent. During the lunch breaks, we often talk about a number of social and political topics, such as LGBTQ communities, institutional discrimination, gender inequality, etc. Although I have been discussing these subjects at Bryn Mawr in the context of the U.S., talking with my colleagues here based on their experiences in China enables me to compare the two different cultures and systems and reconsider some social norms and current trends. Sometimes we went really deep in a subject and may have some disagreements, but I am so glad that all of us can embrace different points of view and argue with logic instead of emotions. Having these lovely people as my colleagues really makes the entire working environment comfortable for me.

More than that, another main reason that I love working in the G:Hub is that there is no strict hierarchy existing among us. Certainly, there are some procedures of work that needs leaderships at different levels, but my supervisor, for example, is more like a tutor and a friend for me. She will not hesitate to praise me for the good quality of my work, and when I make mistakes or fall short in addressing the requirement of assignments, she always points to every detail and gives me suggestions for improvements.

I also appreciate her for listening to my advice and that she is willing to discuss things with me when we don’t agree with each other. For example, I’m writing an article to describe the impacts of climate change for an online lecture that we are preparing for. While she wants it to be quite serious with specific evidence like numbers and graphs and written in a formal way, I prefer making it fun enough so that readers will not be bored soon. I’m glad that we show respect to each other’s concerns and she doesn’t show any disdain for my ideas.

In addition, she is patient with me and shows a lot of caring when I talk about things happen in my life – even though sometimes I just complained about the terrible drivers on the street, she would still listen to my story and remind me to be taking care of myself.

Reviewing my past one-month-and-a-half long internship, I strongly feel that having a comfortable working environment is such an important thing. Moreover, although environmental NGOs in China still have a long way to go, I do consider coming back to this field after graduation to be one of my top choices.

A Postcard From: Jamila Ghazi ’20

Name: Jamila Ghazi
Class Year: 2020
Major: Economics and Political Science
Hometown: Rabat, Morocco
Job Title: Research assistant fellow
Location: Philadelphia

This summer, I had the opportunity to work with three faculty members on their respective book projects, each a part-time experience, amounting to a full-time job as a rising scholar. The projects I am working on are within my fields of interest as a double major in Economics and Political Science, and are each challenging and interesting in their own ways. Two of my advisors are Bryn Mawr professors, and the third is a Swarthmore faculty member. I had taken classes with each one of them and enjoyed their fields of expertise, and they were graceful in offering me the opportunity to work with them for the summer.

Whereas I work from the comfort of my home in the city, I am always working on new tasks, and my schedule never gets repetitive. The freedom and autonomy that these projects allow me in terms of how to approach the topics researched but also, how to interact with the materials, be it data or literature, has helped me a lot in my personal and intellectual growth  and for that I am forever grateful for this experience.

What I like most about my summer is the fact that the faculty members I am working with are highly invested in my growth and are providing me with so many tools and challenges to foster my learning. In the short run, my work definitely has informed my brainstorming for my thesis both in economics and political science, but it has furthermore strengthened my interest in pursuing a graduate degree after Bryn Mawr. I feel more empowered to do the work I really enjoy, and grow as a writer, thinker and speaker, thanks to the faculty’s support and the depth of the experiences I am able to avail myself of.

Other than research, living in Philadelphia has been great. This is my second summer spent doing research in the city, and I am absolutely in awe of this city’s beauty. My work requires a lot of reading and data construction, and I am always looking for excuses to have more coffee. My list of secret places to be productive and caffeinated has grown over the two years. Now, I am able to go two weeks without having to revisit the same coffee shop, and I consider that one of my biggest achievements.

As I walk around the city, I am always fortunate to see Bryn Mawr folks, current students and alumnae alike, and it is always a great pleasure to hear about their summer plans. I learnt a lot from the amazing things people are doing, and it is heartwarming to see everyone working towards the best versions of themselves, with so much integrity. My respect and appreciation for the epistemic circle that Bryn Mawr has introduced me to is indeed never-ending.

A Postcard From: Emily Oriel ’19

Internship Placement: Frudakis Studio

The most significant thing I’ve learned so far from my internship is that being a sculptor is a lot different than being a sculpture student. A lot different.

Emily Oriel and sculpture


The assignments don’t just appear as part of a course curriculum. The artists need to prove themselves every day and fight to get the work. There’s also all the mingling and interviews you should be doing to make sure you are “out there”. Finally, a huge component of being an independent artist is that you need to make your own schedule and be on top of it 24/7.

As part of my internship I am learning how to sculpt “the mask” — I am making my own self portrait in clay on top of a wooden surface that is serving as a frame and background. (The result could potentially be cast in bronze or any other medium later). This is a close study of the anatomy of the face as well as a way of learning figurative sculpture. The process of sculpting my own face teaches me a lot about myself and allows me to practice the skill of turning a 2-D mirror reflection or printed images into a 3-D product.

Sculpting in the studio also allows me to invest time in planning my upcoming senior thesis in sculpture and better understand how much effort and time the execution of certain ideas would require. I am witnessing the planning behind big projects the artist is considering and learning to pay attention to many details I was not aware of prior to the internship. Another aspect of learning (I did not expect) is the exposure to many different sculpting styles; I get to meet many artists that work with or are friends with Zenos Frudakis and each of them is an inspiration. I am seeing how artists never stop growing, criticizing each other, and asking one another for help and advice. The collaborations allow everyone to produce better work and avoid getting fixed on problems they encounter in the process.

The other part of my internship is to create a catalogue raisonne. I am documenting a comprehensive listing of all the art works produced by Zenos Frudakis in the past 40 years. This is an interesting project because the approach to gathering the information I seek needs to change all the time. I have used various methods to collect information about the works such as online searching, interviews, reviewing thank you letters, receipts, resumes the artist submitted over the years, and connecting with people who know the artist. I also utilized many of the resources the college offers such as the library databases, meeting with a librarian who specializes in art history (thank you Laura Surtees), and reviewing published Catalogs that feature similar works.

I am expecting my internship to continue to be fascinating and fulfilling and look forward to seeing my projects completed.

A Postcard From: Kinbrae Sperstad ’19

Name: Kinbrae Sperstad
Class Year: 2019
Major: Psychology

Internship Placement: Harmony Theater
Location: Philadelphia region

This summer, I’ve been working as a development intern for Harmony Theater Company, a theater group for adults with disabilities. Harmony puts on two shows a year, one in late November and another in mid-May, so there is no rehearsal during the summer. However, I got to meet a number of actors last week, when Harmony took a trip to the Phillies game for the Fourth of July! Harmony actors range in age from 18 to 80 and live in the five-county greater Philadelphia area. Currently, Harmony doesn’t have an office; shows and rehearsals are held in a local church, so I’ve been working remotely. I meet with Harmony’s executive director about once a week—usually we go to a coffee shop—to talk about my progress and what my next step will be. Most days, I end up working at Green Engine, a coffee shop in Haverford. I highly recommend their matcha latte and yogurt with granola!

Harmony Theater has been an organization for almost 20 years, but only became a nonprofit about five years ago. Harmony hopes, one day, to have its own space with an auditorium and a storefront, creating job opportunities for individuals with disabilities. For their entire existence, Harmony has been mostly supported through small donations from family members and businesses. In order to grow their program and make it more accessible to low-income individuals, Harmony needs to find funding from other sources. That’s where my internship comes in! I am working on finding potential funding sources, grant-makers, for Harmony. Thanks to a LILAC intensive I did over Spring Break 2017, and a mini internship I had with a Philadelphia nonprofit that spring, I have the skills needed to research and write grants for nonprofits.

Last Thursday, I went to the Free Library of Philadelphia to visit the Regional Foundation Center. The foundation center has access to specialized databases used to find and research grant-makers and determine those that would be a good match. I first visited the foundation center and had training on how to use some of its databases during the LILAC intensive I did during Spring Break 2017. Because the databases are very expensive and only accessible at the Free Library’s main location on the parkway, I now have spreadsheets of hundreds of potential funders for Harmony. My next step in the coming weeks will be to sift through the data I have in order to determine which grant-makers will be the best match for Harmony. Understanding which grants to apply for is essential, as it ensures an organization doesn’t waste time on applications it’s not a match for. While the skills I learned in the LILAC intensive are important for grant work, I am also using the skills I’ve gained in all of my Bryn Mawr education. As a psychology major, I’ve had a lot of experience writing academic papers and have learned to be accurate and concise in my writing. This is another essential skill for grant writing. I am glad to be able to, in this short period, help Harmony find grants in order to further its mission and impact!

A Postcard From: Paola Salas ’19

Name: Paola Salas
Class Year: 2019

Internship Placement: Massachusetts General Hospital’s Disparities Research Unit

This summer I am interning at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Disparities Research Unit. This research lab focuses on understanding health disparities and in developing interventions that could help address them. I am mainly working on their Positive Minds-Strong Bodies project, which is testing an intervention to the mental and physical health disparities among minority elders. This project offers a combination of counseling sessions with community health workers as well as physical exercise classes.

I heard about the disparities research unit through my scholarship foundation, Posse, last year. The associate director had reached out to the Posse career trainer and let her know that they were looking for qualified interns. It was the first time I had heard about a lab doing work specifically on disparities, which I think is so important. I wasn’t able to work for them that summer, but as soon as I returned from study abroad in the winter, I emailed the associate director about my interest and interviewed for the position that I now have.

When I first heard about the Positive Minds-Strong Bodies project, I was really excited because by recognizing that minority elders are at a disadvantage and making sure to offer services that are beneficial to them (in the appropriate languages, with culturally competent staff, tailored to their needs, etc.) this project is combining social justice concerns with health ones.

I was really excited to get to work on such a cool project, but at the same time I was nervous that the work I would do for it would be monotonous. I’ve interned at other research labs before and have always felt as if the work tends to be unfulfilling. However, as soon as I started working here, I immediately got trained to conduct the interviews with participants which is the number one task I wanted to get involved with. So far, I’ve conducted a handful of interviews in both English and Spanish and have really enjoyed being given the opportunity to interact with the population that we’re working with and to develop meaningful connections.

It’s gone so well that I’ve even begun to help out with a different project led by a colleague of my supervisor. This other project is being carried out by MGH and Brigham and Women’s Hospital and it focuses on the lack of medical compliance among HIV positive Latinx immigrants. This project offers an intervention with community health worker sessions as well as viewing a telenovela (that they developed themselves) with an HIV-positive main character. I’ve gotten to help them conduct their exit interviews and that has been another incredible experience.

What I find most valuable about this specific internship placement is that the people in this research lab seem to be truly invested in my learning. The principal investigator has bi-weekly meetings with all of the interns to discuss how our experiences are going and how we can maximize what we get out of the internship. Being that I am gearing up towards senior year, I am so grateful that I get to experience this kind of work and make these kinds of connections.

A Postcard From: Helen Harman ’20

Name: Helen Harman
Class Year: 2020
Major: Growth and Structure of Cities

Internship Placement: Johns Hopkins University, Department of Anthropology
Location: Baltimore

Hello from Baltimore! This summer I’ve been working as a research assistant for Professor Alessandro Angelini in the Anthropology department at Johns Hopkins University. He’s using the summer to start work on his book on play and imagination in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, so my job is helping him out with the research and proofreading process. As a Cities major with tentative thoughts of pursuing a career in academia, it’s been a great experience to be around the process behind the production of scholarly work. While fieldwork-based research and the academic publication process are new to me, a lot of the topics Professor Angelini is working with are covered in Gary McDonogh’s course on global suburbia, which I took this past spring (and which I highly recommend, even though it’s required for Cities majors anyway). I was driven to pursue research with Professor Angelini because I could see how much more there was to learn about the margins of cities, and wanted to take the opportunity to get a better sense of what working in academia is really like.

My first week here, I read drafts of some of his papers, which we discussed alongside reviews that other academics had written as feedback. After that, I spent a couple weeks researching more about community groups in Baltimore for when Professor Angelini teaches Urban Anthropology, while he got his notes together for the book. That project was a great opportunity for me to get more familiar with the city, since I’m a newcomer, and even brought me to city meetings where I met new folks that have been able to teach me more about Baltimore from their experience. Now, Professor Angelini and I are back to working on his book, so I’ve spent the past couple days tracking down potential sources from the Hopkins library catalog. Next week I’ll be skimming them for sections that might be particularly important. The source topics range from the cultural politics of children’s play to race in Brazil to the cultural history of walking.

What’s also been really pleasant about this work is the flexibility of it, in large part because the position didn’t officially exist until I contacted Professor Angelini and he invited me to help out. Because we had to figure out what exactly my job would be, we had a lot of flexibility in terms of defining what work I might find useful and what kind of work he would most benefit from (for example, my spending a week or so going through 70-plus books with my trusty Post-It tabs). It’s also meant that we can spend a large part of our meetings talking about books he found useful when he was an undergraduate, of which he’s lent me several already. It all ties back to cities, but in new ways that I haven’t come across in my classes before. This has been a great summer for learning in new ways and getting to be a part of more in-depth research.

A Postcard From: Sofia Colosimo ’19

Name: Sofia Colosimo
Class Year: 2019
Major: International Studies

Internship Placement: She’s the First
Job Title: Editorial and Fundraising Intern
Location: New York

This summer, I am working with a nonprofit organization called She’s the First as an Editorial and Fundraising Intern. She’s the First offers scholarships to girls in low-income countries who are the first in their family to attend high school. They are partnered with organizations in 11 different countries and work holistically to provide support with not only the cost of tuition, but other expenses like food, clothing, school supplies, and family needs to ensure that She’s the First scholars have everything they need to succeed academically. In addition to the Scholarship program, STF also has campus chapters at colleges in the U.S. (Bryn Mawr has a chapter!) and all over the world to help fundraise and increase awareness on issues that affect girls and women globally.

Working at STF has been a wonderful experience. The three other interns and I joined a small group of only six ladies who keep STF afloat all year round. It has been inspiring and refreshing to work for an organization founded and run by women and in an office of all women. The staff at STF does everything from the day-to-day minutiae in the office to huge efforts on the ground in the countries they’ve partnered with, and it has been great to see these processes first hand. This small office environment has given me the chance to do more hands-on work with donor communications, social media planning and posting, and even some writing!

The things that I’ve done so far at STF have definitely connected to the work that I do at school as a co-editor of *the college news*, Bryn Mawr’s feminist newspaper. In this role, my other co-editor and I spend a lot of time brainstorming interesting topics and molding impactful and engaging monthly issues that will both inform and entertain Bryn Mawr students. This past week, I curated an editorial calendar for one of STF’s new social media efforts: “Hers-days.” I researched interesting women from history who were “firsts” in their respective fields and turned their stories into a weekly segment that will be featured on STF’s Instagram. The series debuted at the beginning of this week when we featured Junko Tabei, the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest! Projects like this one have been so exciting for me because my supervisor gave me a lot of freedom and control over the programming for “Hers-days” and I felt a lot of ownership and pride when I saw the finished product.

I’ve had a great time at STF this summer. From living in New York, to working alongside such kind and accomplished women, to starting to feel more comfortable and capable in professional settings, this internship has offered me a lot of opportunities to grow and learn. STF is a really interesting and uniquely run organization and I’ve loved getting a peek inside how organizations like STF organize to make a lasting impact. I encourage Bryn Mawr students to check out the She’s the First campus chapter at BMC and get involved!

A Postcard From: Aurielle Hampton ’20

Name: Aurielle Hampton
Class Year: 2020
Major: Sociology

Internship Placement: Galaei
Location: Philadelphia

This summer I am interning at Galaei, a Queer Latinx Social Activist Organization and youth center in Philadelphia.

Most days, I watch the front desk, answer calls and direct people in the center. Since this is a queer center, June is our busiest month for the summer. We started the Month of Gay by attending a flag raising ceremony at City Hall. I watched the pride flag lift up to meet the U.S. flag with Anu, my intern partner, before we had to run back to the car. I also participate in tabling events across the city. My first one was at the LEAD conference at the administration building for the Philly school district. It was so cool to see kids, parents, principals, counselors, other queer organizations, and community members coming together to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community, and to educate each other about better ways to keep these kids safe in school mentally, emotionally, and physically.

The following weekend, I attended my second Pride. I didn’t do anything with my organization since Galaei does not officially support the Pride festivities in this city because of the police involvement. The next weekend I helped one of our testers at the Philly Aids Thrift Store. We do rapid HIV testing and STI testing at three different locations. First at Galaei Monday through Friday. On Tuesday Anu or I go with one of the testers to the Washington West Center in the Gayborhood to do tests there. The third location is the Philly Aids Thrift Store on the second floor. At every location I perform secretarial duties such as answering phones, giving people forms, and making copies for the testers.

The main event of June was the alternative prom. Galaei has hosted the longest-running gay prom. This was the 23rd anniversary and the theme was Purple Rain. I was put in charge of the budget report for prom, picking out decorations, and promoting it on social media. Also, Anu and I went out to organizations around the city such as the Attic and promoted the prom and gave them tickets to sell. The prom was amazing! Half of the tablecloths I ordered didn’t come in and part of my centerpiece also did not, but with the help of everyone, the prom was beautifully decorated.

Other than the prom budget, I also was in charge of the budget for the Essentials Closet, which is a closet of items that youth may need when transitioning homes or when they come to the center. This could be shampoo, laundry detergent or toothpaste. It took a few tries to get the budget right because it was smaller than what was needed, and it was the first time I had ever created a budget like that. The other main part of this internship is watching over youth drop-ins. Kids from the neighborhood can come in and hang out in the center from 3 p.m. until closing. We will host socials and workshops for them in July.

A Postcard From: Hope Jones ’20

Name: Hope Jones
Class Year: 2020
Major: History
Hometown: Salisbury, Md.
Internship Placement: The Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies and the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts
Job Title: Special Collections Intern
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship? 

I am working through the National Museum of American Jewish History’s internship program, with material from the Katz Center, but my desk is at the Kislak Center at Penn’s Van Pelt Library.

I am working with the Katz Center’s B.Z. Goldberg Collection. This collection has over 100 boxes and so far I have 20 of those boxes with me at the Kislak Center. B.Z. Goldberg was the son-in-law of Sholem Aleichem, a very famous Yiddish writer whose book Tevye the Milkman inspired the Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof. Goldberg himself was an editor at the American Yiddish newspaper Der Tog for decades. He also authored multiple books, some of which are available in Canaday Library.

At this time, I am responsible for reading through the boxes available, whose material is almost all in Yiddish. I translate the documents so that I am able to understand the topic of the article or which book the draft belongs to. Once I have gone through a folder, I type up information about the documents, and relocate the materials into larger folders and acid-free boxes. On each folder I have to write what language the documents are in, the contents of the documents, and the time period of when the documents were published or written. This work is very helpful to those at the Katz Center, as not many people know Yiddish enough to translate the material properly. This will help the Katz Center to continue processing the collection, and hopefully in the future, make it available online to the public.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied to this internship as a result of a newfound love for the Yiddish language and because it is exactly what I want to do post-graduation from Bryn Mawr. Since high school, I knew I wanted to work in a museum, either in the archives or special collections. This internship will help me gain vital knowledge on how to process a collection, and the levels of archival processing. As I am planning to minor in Jewish Studies at Penn, this material is perfect for me as it contains much information about Jews in America and around the world during the Cold War.  

What is most rewarding about your internship?

I think the most rewarding part is being able to immerse myself in a time where Yiddish was a prominent language. I am also gaining a lot of new Yiddish vocabulary and growing to appreciate the uniqueness of the language even more. I love to be able to handle drafts of B. . Goldberg’s books. There was a draft of the English version of Tevye the Milkman which I recently read, so it was a very exciting moment to find a typed draft of it in one of the folders.

A draft of “Tevye the Milkman”

A draft of Tevye the Milkman

I love that I am able to read the headlines in Yiddish for major events in history such as the Six Day War between Israel and Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Goldberg kept the newspapers for the day the war started and for the day the war ended. The newspapers also report on the presidential races and meetings with other foreign leaders, which I think is very interesting.

The newspaper is telling the end to the Six Day War and the number of casualties from the war.

The newspaper is telling the end to the Six Day War and the number of casualties from the war.