A Postcard From: Lauren Phillips ’19

Precious artifacts of the Yupik people in Alaska have been revealed by rising temperatures and are now at risk. I am participating in the most remarkable archaeological field school at Nunalleq, a nearly 500 year old sod house of the Yupik people. Extraordinary artifacts, such as wooden masks, ornate ivory carvings, intricate tools, and woven grass objects have been found in unparalleled amounts and preservation due to the permafrost. However, melting permafrost and rising sea levels endanger artifacts from disintegration or washing away with the tide. At the Nunalleq Archaeological Field School, we are rushing to save the frozen, well-preserved artifacts from both weather and sea. Moreover, we are immersed in the living Yupik culture within the village, Quinhagak, as they host us during our excavation season.

The site is two houses on top of the other, one from c. 1670 and the bottom from c. 1540. Most likely, the same family continued to rebuild atop their ancestors’ house, as noted from the similarity of the family ownership marks on various artifacts. As Dr. Rick Knecht, head of the excavation and Bryn Mawr Ph.D. graduate, stated as he was examining a grass woven mat, “This grass was cut when Shakespeare walked the Earth.”

Some personal discoveries I made during the dig include a baleen woven mat, multiple wooden dolls, a toy boat, a mask attachment, an ulu handle and blade (found separately), and a bent-wood bowl. One of the village Elders, John Smith, visits the dig site and the lab daily and provides insights into the uncovered objects. John told us how grandfathers would carve little dolls to occupy their hands while telling stories. Whenever John holds carved tools, handles, objects, bowls, and jewelry, he tells us about how they’re made, what they were used for, and discusses the meaning behind the artifacts his ancestors created. His transference of knowledge is invaluable to the field school. My favorite find I uncovered so far is a beautifully carved ivory toggle shaped as the head of a smiling caribou from c. 1540. John carries on his family’s carving techniques by re-creating pieces from the Nunalleq site for us. He re-created a replica of the caribou toggle for me to wear, and told me about how precisely his ancestors carved the curvature of the toggle. He described the difficulty of re-creating the smiling caribou even with modern tools.

In addition to the amazing recovery of artifacts at Nunalleq, we’ve also taken part in the daily lives of Yupik people in Quinhagak. We go fishing for salmon all the time for dinner. Artists come in to show their art and compare it to the Nunalleq finds frequently. John tells us about his childhood and stories about the beings that lived with his ancestors and still live with us even as we dig. The painstaking and laborious work of excavation is outshined by the wondrous stories we are witnessing here. To learn more about the ongoing experience of field students, visit the Nunalleq Blog at https://nunalleq.wordpress.com/.

A Postcard From: Ankitha Kannad ’19

Name: Ankitha Kannad
Class Year: 2019
Major: Physics, Geology
Hometown: Bangalore, India

 Internship Placement: Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Job Title: Research Assistant
Location: Woods Hole, Mass.

What’s happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!

This summer, I am working with Dr. Gordon Zhang on the Polynyas in Coastal Antarctica (PICA) project. Polynyas are openings in the sea ice surrounding Antarctica that are formed by the action of strong winds from the land that push ice away from the coast and expose ocean water. Since they remain ice free throughout the year, polynyas are particularly productive regions for phytoplankton that like plants on land require sunlight to grow. Where there is abundant phytoplankton, other organisms follow. Hence, polynyas are also particularly important for the survival of many Antarctic species like the Emperor penguin.

There is a lot of variation in the ocean dynamics and the abundance of phytoplankton in different coastal polynyas around Antarctica. Dr. Zhang has some hypotheses to explain this variability and I spent the summer analyzing data of ocean conditions in several polynyas to see if my findings agree with them.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I have been interested in physics research that also has applications for another passion of mine, which is protecting natural environments and wildlife. I’m happy I could contribute in some part to understanding the Antarctic ecosystem better through the PICA project.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

A lot of great research happens at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. We often have several seminars and lectures every week by researchers studying everything from microbes living within the oceanic crust to origami microscopes. While my research itself has exposed me to a completely new field, it has also been exciting to learn about all the cool science happening today.

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

This summer has been full of new experiences for me, from going sailing for the first time to seeing bioluminescence in the beach closest to my home. Even though Woods Hole is a small town, there always seems to be something to explore and I’ve been lucky to have a great group of other summer students to do it with.

Map of Amundsen Sea

A Postcard From: Meagan Kearney ’21

Name: Meagan Kearney
Class Year: 2021
Major: Undecided
Hometown: Fairfax, Va.

Internship Placement: The Global Fund for Children
Job Title: Intern
Location: Washington D.C.

Kearney and Global Fund for Children signWhat’s happening at your internship?

At The Global Fund for Children (GFC), I have been involved in many of my coworkers’ projects and the wider GFC events. This includes facilitating large and small meetings, helping move to a new office, updating GFC’s alumni partner files and researching/analyzing Southeast Asia and creating a landscape analysis. Throughout my time at GFC, my coworkers heavily encouraged my participation in meetings. For example, recently GFC held a Theory of Change workshop to help update and streamline their model to have a more focused approach on youth. They would often ask for my opinions and experience.

Why did you apply for this internship?

Throughout my years abroad, I have been lucky to have experienced many diverse cultures and to be able to interact with children. I have volunteered to aid children in Japan, the U.S. and Ghana. While each country has their own distinctive culture, I realized that the needs of a child remains the same. I believe that every child has the right to feel loved, safe and empowered. I knew that LILAC offered wonderful opportunities and when I had read the description for GFC, I immediately knew that I had to apply. Even though I am still undecided in my major, my passion for helping children aligns exactly with GFC’s goal. I believe that my experience at GFC has encouraged and inspired me to pursue education.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship so far was being invited by our Vice President, Corey, to her house for dinner. I went with Ellen, another Bryn Mawr intern, and Lida, a fellow from Armenia. We were able to meet her son and a university student from Brazil who she is hosting for a year. It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know everyone better, and my admiration for my coworkers only increased after hearing their inspiring experiences. After the dinner, I realized that the stigma around being close with coworkers (especially if you’re an intern), should never mean that you should distance yourself from them.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding aspect about my internship is knowing that I am helping the GFC team. Even small tasks (such as organizing the supply area) were rewarding because I was able to help my coworkers work more efficiently (even if just a little bit) and with more ease. I particularly enjoyed facilitating their meetings because I was able to organize and facilitate their discussion to more effectively communicate their ideas. I knew that by helping the team, I was also indirectly helping the children that we work with around the world.

Internship Office Internship Office  Post-It Planning

A Postcard From: Kim Davis ’20

Kim Davis at computer

My name is Kim Davis and I’m currently a junior in the class of 2020! I got the opportunity to work for LITS this summer to help as an audio/video intern, and a lot of our content we’re planning, filming, and editing is centered around the Digital Competencies at Bryn Mawr, which I didn’t know about prior to this internship. It’s been amazing to work for LITS, and I have learned of so many resources that we have on campus that I never heard of before like Lynda.com and the digital competencies. I might sound like I’m promoting something, and I am a little bit, but these things have really upped the game for me! Having free access to Lynda.com through my brynmawr.edu email has given me access to video production courses that are hard to access on campus, and really helped me to get better at my craft. Through the digital competencies, I can now sell my skills like it’s nobody’s business. I don’t just edit videos, I am fluent in project management, collaborative communication, file management, and audiovisual analysis and production. Check out the digital competencies infographic and get familiar with the terms! Sell yourself and get those jobs!

On that note, I feel that this internship has been a very empowering experience. Not only has it helped me to realize that I am, indeed, a responsible adult who can have a job and responsibilities, but I’ve gotten to manage projects and take control of my own time and organize my time and deadlines. Palak Bhandari, Bryn Mawr College alum and intern supervisor, has been a really incredible mentor and a really great leader. Her and the entire team at Educational Technology in LITS have been so welcoming and warm, and I look forward to working with them all in future endeavors and would definitely recommend working with them.

I’m learning to network, to manage my own time, furthering my skills in film, getting better at project management, and the team I’m working with is very warm and welcoming too. I’m currently organizing a video series on developing audiovisual analytic and production skills (or video making and editing skills), so keep an eye out for that. Megan, our other audio video intern, is leading the SEPTA video project we have planned, and I’m excited to help edit that video because I know I needed some guidance to get over my anxiety of navigating SEPTA and Philadelphia. Stay tuned for that because we’re going to go in depth and explain all the confusing aspects of SEPTA that give you and I anxiety.

To wrap it all up, I am immensely grateful for this opportunity thanks to LILAC to work for LITS and with the team of people I work with. I feel very prepared to take on the job market and the next two years of college.

A Postcard From: Miciah Foster ’19

I’ve been blessed with the wonderful opportunity of working with the American Civil Liberties Union of PA this summer.

The ACLU is one of LILAC’s partner organizations, so I applied to the position through the school. The position is split between two essential departments of the ACLU: legal intake and policy/advocacy. I worked under the Senior Policy Advocate for reproductive freedom and LGBT+ issues. Through her mentorship, I have been introduced to many folks in the reproductive justice movement. I have attended coalition meetings, taken notes on webinars, participated in rallies, and crafted memos grounded in unsettlement of interlocking systems of oppression. I came to find that because no identity exists in a silo and no oppression exists in a silo, organizing could not exist in a silo either. Organizing happened in different spaces, but the majority of these spaces were shared, which allowed for an exchange of knowledge, ideas, and resources. This work was neverending—constant planning, constant reacting, constant re-evaluating, constant, constant, constant. But still, this work could be rewarding, or even affirming. And, in order to even reach this affirmation, I would need to rely on resources developed from collaborating with other folks and groups.

Fun Fact from the Summer: Group projects never end … but that also isn’t such a bad thing?

Some time ago, Arlie Hochschild coined the term emotional labor. Despite holding prior positions as a dining hall worker, a Community Diversity Assistant, and a camp counselor, only as a legal intake intern at the ACLU of Pa. did i feel the weight of such work. Legal Intake reviews potential cases for attorneys. For the ACLU, this is an essential process because, as I would mention to every complainant I interviewed on the phone, the ACLU has a small legal team with limited resources. This meant though someone might have a really urgent issue that fell within the civil liberties framework, the ACLU might not take up that case. For certain phone calls this fact was a blessing, while for others it was disheartening. I had to consistently put aside my personal feelings around issues that people raised, be it a traffic ticket, “reverse racism,” or wrongful termination. More importantly, I had to consistently put aside my personal feelings about who the folks were who called in, whether they were living in an alternate reality, extremely angry for how long it took for us to call them back, or emotionally distraught.

Fun Fact from the Summer: Phone operators are people!

When back at Bryn Mawr, I might be too busy with work, extracurriculars, and academics to catch SEPTA to and from the city during the week, but I will still be able to offer support to folks who are interested in working legal intake with the ACLU, which may be in the works (wink, wink). In terms of working with policy and advocacy, I will continue working with one of the organizations on the reproductive table next semester in a Praxis III independent study.

Fun Fact from the Summer (and beyond): the ACLU of PA will continue to advocate and litigate for change, and you can learn more about what this change is here.

We the People ACLU

A Postcard From: Cassidy Gruber Baruth ’19

Name: Cassidy Gruber Baruth
Class Year: 2019
Major: History/Spanish double major
Hometown: Madison, Wis.

Internship Placement: American Philosophical Society Museum
Job Title: Curatorial Intern
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

The American Philosophical Society is the oldest “learned society” for scientific knowledge in the United States. When it was founded in the mid-18th century (by Benjamin Franklin, among others!), science was referred to as “natural philosophy,” hence the name. Because of its long history, the APS has a massive collection of scientific materials and papers from everyone to Charles Darwin to Lewis and Clark. I work at the APS Museum, which draws from the APS collections to put on one annual exhibition, so that the general public can enjoy and learn from these objects, not just researchers. This summer, I have primarily been assisting the postdoctoral curatorial fellows with research for the upcoming 2019 exhibition. This research involves finding and reading a breadth of secondary sources, searching the library catalogues for objects that might be pertinent to the exhibition, and examining these objects with the curators to determine whether or not they fit with the themes of the exhibition.

Why did you apply for this internship?

Ever since the first semester of my freshman year, I’ve been fascinated with archival work, and the thrill that comes from spending time with objects that only a few ever see or touch. I’ve been working in Bryn Mawr’s Special Collections since the summer after my freshman year, and I’ve learned that the question of what gets preserved in an archive is not neutral—it is shaped by who/what is deemed important, and at what juncture in time, and by whom, issues which are themselves influenced by race, class, gender, sexuality, and a multitude of other factors.

Over time, I’ve become more interested in museums and public history writ large, which was why I applied to the APS internship. Part of this comes from a simple desire to have everyone experience the thrill of encountering an important historical object that only a few ever get to see, like the Lewis and Clark journals or a letter from Darwin. But the second part is that working here allows me the chance to think about objects that people might not consider important, that may have been adrift in the archives for a while, but which nevertheless tell a crucial piece of this country’s history which should not be forgotten. I’m fortunate enough to work with some incredibly thoughtful curatorial staff who are deeply attentive to narrative, and who find objects that will be powerful and interesting to a wide array of visitors.

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

I have been so impressed by the amount of work and the number of people who go into making an exhibition. Before I began working at the APS, I had only a vague idea of how many people it took to make an exhibit. It is not only the curators, who research the exhibit, and decide what will be displayed, but the librarians and archivists, who physically find the objects and provide background information; the conservators, who painstakingly clean and repair the objects; the education specialists, who design programs relevant to the exhibit so that more people may appreciate it; the graphic designers, who make posters and exhibition guides; the exhibition designers, who actually install everything; and the directors, who make sure the museum has funding, and more! I have an enormous appreciation for all the work that goes into creating an exhibit.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

I think the wonderful thing about this internship is that it is fulfilling in the short-term and the long-term. In the short-term, I get to view amazing objects nearly every day, and talk about them with people who are just as passionate (and far more knowledgeable) about them than I am. I am learning a tremendous amount about the way museums are structured, designing an exhibit, and working with a team. In the long-term, I’m so excited to see the final exhibit open in May 2019, and to be able to share everything we’ve found with my friends, family, and anyone who happens to walk into the APS on their way out of Independence Hall.

Map Ominous sky and building Doorway Book text

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.