A Postcard From: Aubrey Shiffner ’19

Name: Aubrey Shiffner
Class Year: 2019
Major: History
Hometown: South Brunswick, N.J.

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

I’m spending my summer working in the museum of the American Philosophical Society. APS was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin “for promoting useful knowledge” and it’s considered the oldest learned society in the U.S. Its main function is to promote scholarship in a variety of different disciplines, and it offers research grants and fellowships in the APS library. The museum connects to the Independence National Historical Park complex and puts on a yearly exhibition drawing primarily from the extensive APS collections in early American history, history of science, and Native American history.

My job for the summer is to work with the museum’s two Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellows and another BMC intern to research next year’s exhibit, which will be about mapping the early United States. It’s a mix of primary and secondary source research; most days, we work on secondary reading in the museum offices in the morning and then head to the reading room at the library after lunch. Usually, each of us works on an individual person or topic, using our preliminary research at the office to look for important related material in the library collections. Because we’re ultimately working on an exhibition, we have to consider both the visual interest of a book or item and its condition, as well as the information inside it.

Sometimes we have multiple copies of the same item and we need to pull all of them to look for differences like coloring or annotations and to see which one is in the best condition for display. On Thursday mornings, we also take field trips to other nearby museums and historical sites, which allows us to see and think about the ways that other institutions display information and what stories they are trying to tell, with the added bonus of seeing local attractions that I’ve ironically never been to, even though I live in the area.

Working at the APS has been a great experience for me, in ways that I did not expect going in. I was originally planning to go to law school after BMC and I started off applying to legal internships, but I got an email about the APS internship and it sounded so interesting that I decided to apply anyway. The thing that has always interested me the most about history is the artifacts and material culture of the past, and I love museums, so the prospect of actually working on an exhibit was too good to pass up. And as much as I would love to live in the stacks of the APS Library, the main thing I’ve realized this summer is that it really is about the objects for me. Doing archival research had a bit of a learning curve, and I feel like I’m just starting to get the hang of things after seven weeks, but I really prefer the moment when I unbox a 200-year-old book (a lot of them are in boxes for preservation purposes), and get to handle it and take it in as an object, to the part where I have to actually start reading the text.

It was a struggle for me at first, because I felt like I really didn’t know what I was doing, and on top of that, I found out I didn’t really like what I was doing. But I did love the library, and the maps (especially the ones with color and interesting cartouches), and the physical books I got to look at, even if I didn’t quite know what to do with them. Then we took a field trip to the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, where one of the important maps for the exhibit is being treated. I had actually been interested in conservation for a long time, but I looked at the admission requirements for master’s programs a few times and thought that I would never be able to finish them all during undergrad (it turns out most people don’t), so I never seriously pursued it. But as we were leaving the Conservation Center, I mentioned my interest to the library’s head of conservation, who also came with us, and even though I also mentioned that I’m already a rising senior and hadn’t done most of the requirements, she was still very encouraging. I ended up having lunch with her the next week, and then with the assistant conservator the week after, and I have a meeting planned for September with another conservator they connected me to.

Ironically, now that I know I won’t become a curator, I’m starting to enjoy the research a lot more, and I’m becoming a little more comfortable with it. I haven’t completely ruled out law school, but I think I want to try to pursue the conservation path a little more seriously before I completely give up on history. Overall, this internship has been a really valuable learning experience. And even though I will use the research skills I’ve been learning throughout senior year, I actually learned a lot more about my own interests by pursuing something I thought I would like, only to find out that it really isn’t for me.

Photos courtesy of the American Philosophical Society.

A Postcard From: Sydney Millar ’19

This summer I participated in the Summer of Service program provided by the LILAC office (The Leadership, Innovation, and Liberal Arts Center at Bryn Mawr). My field placement was at the Slought Foundation in West Philly, which is a nonprofit organization that aims to create dialogue surrounding cultural and sociopolitical change both locally and globally. The foundation displays work from artists from both Philadelphia and around the world, in addition to producing their own publications. The founder of the organization has also launched several other initiatives that are connected to the foundation, such as the Health Ecologies Lab, which focuses on the impact of social systems on the health of individuals and communities.

Before I began working at Slought, I was daunted by the idea of joining their team as my potential responsibilities at the center did not seem very straightforward. After about three days at Slought I realized why. Slought does not function in the same way that most nonprofits do in that the organization’s work comes in the form of long-term and usually unrelated projects, which causes the focus and needs of the organization to constantly be in flux. The nonprofit also supports a extremely small staff. There were only four people working there during the summer including myself, and many were traveling while I was at the center.

The bulk of my work at the center focused on two long-term projects. The first project I began work on was titled On the Other Side of Elsewhere, a two-year long cultural exchange that engages civic institutions in the former Eastern bloc. When I began work on the project, during the first week of my internship, my supervisor was traveling and I was introduced to the center by a research fellow. We worked in close collaboration for the first week of my internship and were able to compile a 12-page bibliography for the project. Though it might sound strange, I am glad that my first introduction to Slought was in the absence of Aaron, the founder of the organization. Working with Tung, the research fellow, afforded me the opportunity to become comfortable with the work that the center does before the beginning of my hectic schedule that accompanied Aaron’s return.

When Aaron returned to Slought we immediately began work on the second project I assisted with at the foundation. The project was titled Photographic Memory, which was an exhibition of archival imagery by Maurice Sorrell, the first Black member of the White House Photographers Association. Some of my fondest memories from working at Slought were made while developing this project. One of the highlights of the project was having the opportunity to work with Stephanie Renee, the curator of the exhibit and Sorrel’s niece. Hearing her discuss the images we displayed added a completely new dimension to the exhibition, as she had personal connections with some of the subjects of the photographs. After returning home from the experience I constantly think back to my time there, and how much I will miss all those I was able to connect with during my time there. Going forward I hope to continue to volunteer at the center when needed and encourage other Bryn Mawr students to take advantage of the wide array of programming that Slought offers during the year.


A Postcard From: Ralitsa Mihaylova ’21

Name: Ralitsa Mihaylova
Class Year: 2021
Major: Physics, Math
Hometown: Bunde, The Netherlands

Internship Placement: Bishop Lab, Photonics Center
Job Title: Research summer intern
Location: Boston University

Hi there! My name is Ralitsa and I’m a rising sophomore, planning to be a physics and mathematics major. Over the course of this summer, I had the honor of joining the Bishop lab at Boston University’s Photonics Center in one of their projects––namely, building a magnetometer to be used under the newly-awarded Cell-Met NSF grant.

Now what does this all mean? And what role did it exactly play? Professor Bishop was one of the few professors amongst many partner schools who received the above-mentioned grant, which has the objective of being able to make personalized heart tissue within the next 10 years. Cell-Met plans on doing this by relying on two key inventions: the first being the 2009 Nobel Prize in biology which found that one could take any cell from your body––be it a skin cell or a lung cell, for example––and “reprogram” it to become a stem cell again (meaning it can become any type of cell). The second imperative finding used in Cell-Met is the use of millimeter scale “pools” with two little pillars in them, in which these newly-programed stem cells can become not only the cell that the lab desires them to be, but also make them form a uniform tissue.

This personalized tissue, which in our research is predominantly heart tissue, has a promising future in treating the leading cause of death for Americans: heart disease. My very small role in this was building the apparatus necessary to understand the behavior of these new heart cells, called a magnetometer. A magnetometer is a device which measures the magnetic field surrounding it with a certain resolution. Although in the Cell-Met grant the definite setup is yet to be determined, the use of magnets and magnetic fields to characterize these cells and tissues is indispensable––which is where my device came in. My task for the summer was to make a magnetometer through the modification of an accelerometer––a device that measures acceleration––by using micro-gluing techniques to make a tripod of micron-sized spheres and then deposit a magnet on top of it. In essence, the magnet will react to a surrounding magnetic field, making the already constructed accelerometer sense the magnet’s responding movement, which makes the device read out a value that can be used to understand the behavior of said magnetic field.

Looking back upon this experience, it gave me more than I could have hoped for when I was deciding to apply. Back in spring semester, the opportunity seemed appealing as I had a rising interest in engineering and the idea of seeing physics being applied in other fields was something I just hadn’t had much experience in before. But, now, I realize it gave me much more than just a summer filled with engineering and biological applications––from learning more about different applications of magnetometers and other micro-electromechanical devices, to challenging my own critical thinking with every sub-project I undertook––it gave me a feeling of being part of a bigger cause that could really do something incredible.


A Postcard From: Amelia Marren ’19

Name: Amelia Marren
Class Year: 2019
Major: Growth and Structure of Cities
Hometown: Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Internship Placement: School District of Philadelphia: Office of Environmental Management and Services
Job Title: GreenFutures Intern
Location: Philadelphia

This summer I took the opportunity for self-exploration. With a year left at Bryn Mawr, it’s crucial to take every opportunity to find my career path. This summer at the School District of Philadelphia I got to pursue my passions in a different facet that I have never explored before. Last summer, this passion was formed while performing environmental stewardship in Philadelphia parks. I fell in love with the field and Philadelphia, but this summer I wanted to try something a little less dirty, quite literally. That’s why I took the job as a GreenFutures Intern at the School District of Philadelphia.

GreenFutures is the School District’s five-year sustainability plan under five areas of focus: Education for Sustainability, Consumption and Waste, Energy and Efficiencies, School Greenscapes, and Healthy Schools, Healthy Living. It was the office job that I was always looking for, because I got to delve into my passion for urban environmentalism while focusing my efforts on the most impressionable age group in Philadelphia. The effects of the GreenFutures plan expand way beyond the School District of Philadelphia and its students; it sets a precedent throughout Philadelphia and the world. Moreover, my experience with GreenFutures has placed an everlasting impressive influence on me and my future.

Working at the School District this summer gave me the freedom to explore my interests. My supervisor gave me reign to do the things I wanted to do. My main task throughout the summer was mapping school greenscapes. Greenscapes are pieces of green infrastructure that serve an educational purpose, whether it be education for sustainability or a math lesson. It was thrilling getting back to using GIS, but the most rewarding part was figuring out how to make my efforts benefit all. I made an interface that would be most advantageous to display information to the public and most conducive for others to work on the map after me. I also got to engage in stimulating work by doing blog posts, contributing to the GreenFutures Progress Report, and assisting in promotion of upcoming events for GreenFutures.

Though the desk work was insightful, I really enjoyed when I got to leave my cubicle and sit in on meetings or go to events. Children really are the future, and the School District must be engaged in most of the city’s sustainability efforts because that is the city’s future. Through those meetings, I got to learn about valuable sustainability efforts throughout Philadelphia. Furthermore, I was able to network with an array people employed by various City of Philadelphia departments, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, the EPA, Penn State, Fairmount Water Works, and more. Some of the most fun I had was going on little “field trips.” On my first day, I got to meet the whole Eagles team at playground build at Hackett Elementary. Later, I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to preview a professional development event that will be held there on Education for Sustainability and Climate Change. Lastly, I took the opportunity to work with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for their Green City Teachers program. In this program I got to build a school garden from scratch, but most importantly I learned a garden’s importance in a school setting, and that has encouraged me to write my senior thesis about that topic.

By the end of the summer, I had some really valuable experiences. I got to network throughout Philadelphia, learn so much, improve my technical skills, and find a thesis topic. All around it was an A+ summer at the School District, and for my time in my life, it was exactly what I needed. I have seen many sides of environmentalism in Philadelphia, and it makes me excited to see where my life will go and where I can apply the valuable knowledge I learned this summer.


A Postcard From: Maryam Jahanbin ’19

Amal Means Hope

This summer I have had the incredible opportunity to intern at the Amal Association for Women’s Empowerment in Marrakech, Morocco. This organization is dedicated to bettering the lives of disadvantaged women in the city, training them in cooking and catering to receive jobs and reach a point of self-sustainability.

The way in which Amal Association undertakes this process of empowerment is astoundingly wholesome, expanding the parameters of disadvantagement and betterment as they grow as an NGO. While they are fairly new — founded and run almost entirely by women — their impact is strong and lasting.

Amal seeks to find these women of various disadvantaged statuses, including low to no income single mothers, widows, rape victims, and ex-prostitutes, as well as women with disabilities — focusing at the moment with the deaf and mute community, and the down syndrome community. These listed traits are obvious factors that cause hardship in finding work, in supporting oneself, in supporting a family. For this reason, Amal was born.

As I entered into Amal and all the realities of this association, I couldn’t be more impressed. My role has been quite flexible — editing and writing various documents for media and a future cookbook, helping in the kitchen when there’s a big event, and helping with cooking classes (which are open to anyone). I have had the chance to learn a little bit about the different parts of this horizontally organized workplace, where administration can be found in the kitchens at times and kitchen staff can be found in the offices at times. As I had the chance to move fluidly through these different sections in my work, I witnessed the process of empowerment as it manifests. The women who were selected to take part in the Amal training program at the time were in the middle of this process, and I met these incredible ladies as they made their way to departure into the workforce. From the start of my time until the end, the change and growth in these women was palpable, as they gained confidence in their own abilities and learned to trust themselves as beings in our multifaceted dimensions. It was a constant reminder for me too, and for everyone surrounding and supporting this endeavor, to trust and enjoy oneself as one exists in such an environment.

Everyday at work — after Ramadan was over — we ate lunch all together. The Moroccan style of dining calls only for one big dish of food per table, where we all squished and huddled around a round table, reaching to the middle to dip bread or spoon into succulent remains of the day. I loved this part of the day, and will always have a place in my heart for Amal.

A Postcard From: Margaret Gorman ’19

Name: Margaret Gorman
Class Year: 2019
Major: Classics and Political Science
Hometown: Arlington, Va.

Internship Placement: D.C. Office of Congressman Lou Correa
Job Title: Intern
Location: Washington, D.C.

What’s happening at your internship?

Congressman Correa represents the 46th district of California. The 46th district includes parts of Anaheim and Orange County — it’s also where Disneyland is! Congressman Correa is a freshman and a Democrat, passionate about veterans’ issues and immigration reform. Recently, he has been speaking out against the Trump Administration’s immigration policies, organizing two special orders on the House Floor to oppose the separation of children from their families. My duties at the office include communicating with constituents, attending hearings and briefings, and giving tours of the U.S. Capitol.

When the House is in session, every day is fast-paced, with lots of tasks to complete and lots of opportunities to attend different events. I really loved getting to watch a vote from the House Gallery — the room is filled with so much energy when all of the Congresspeople are on the floor, talking to one another and casting their votes. When the House is not in session, it’s very quiet at the office, and the other interns and I mostly work on scheduling and giving tours for constituents.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I am considering a career in government, so I wanted to gain a better understanding of how our government works and what jobs on Capitol Hill are like. As a political science major, I was also interested in seeing the practical applications of the concepts and theories that I have studied for the past few years.

How did you hear about this internship?

Because I knew that I wanted to intern in a congressional office, I met with a coworker of my mom’s who used to work for a Senator. She gave me some great information about what congressional internships are like, and also introduced me to Laurie Saroff, a BMC alum and Representative Correa’s Chief of Staff!

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

In any given week, I will be asked by staff in the office to attend a number of hearings or briefings and write memos about them. They can be things that I’m really interested in, like an informational briefing on gun safety legislation or a press conference of the pro-choice caucus, or they can be things that I’ve never thought about before, like a briefing on Temporary Protected Status for Yemen and Somalia or a hearing about cell site simulator threats. I love learning about an issue that I’ve never even thought about before and then condensing the most important information about it into a small piece of writing. It’s a great writing exercise, and I come out of it really understanding something new. It’s also a great way to understand what is being done at the Congressional level around all of these issues — what legislation has been proposed, and what organizations support it for what reasons.

Just this past week, I was able to attend a briefing held by the National Audubon Society, where I got to take this amazing selfie with a great horned owl named Oden. I also learned about the effects that climate change is having on birds in National Parks!

A Postcard From: Guanhua Li ’20

Name: Guanhua Li
Class Year: 2020
Major: Sociology
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.

 Internship Placement: NGO Good Neighbors International – Chile
Job Title: Research Assistant
Location: Santiago, Chile

Why did you apply for this internship?

I became interested in volunteering at an international NGO after taking “The Logic and Politics of Global Health” course at Haverford as part of my Bi-Co Health Studies minor. I wanted to work in an NGO that focuses on children advocacy, takes an interdisciplinary approach, and uses community-based engagement intervention. Good Neighbors Chile promotes child equity by working with economically disadvantaged and indigenous communities. My role as an intern would allow me to analyze social environments and issues of inequality — themes we often learn about at Bryn Mawr. I would also have the opportunity to learn how NGOs function abroad and provide services to address sociological disparities.

What’s happening at your internship? 

I have been involved in several ongoing projects. The first one is to improve Good Neighbors’ social media platforms. I select potential photos for campaigns, website, Facebook, and Twitter. I am researching social media trends in Chile for new suggestions to increase likes, comments, and followers. Some plans include integrating WhatsApp (Chile’s most popular platform) to directly communicate with donors and establishing a more user-friendly online donation page. The second project is helping Good Neighbors transition to using a new business platform called Salesforce. Until now, most donors’ data were kept on paper. Having an Excel spreadsheet database will make it easier to keep track of donor continuity and improve financial management. The third project is to translate children’s letters from Spanish to English. Since most sponsors are international, English is used as the main language of communication before it is further translated to other languages.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part is visiting children in Pudahuel to assist with the letter writing process. Whenever I visit Sun’s School, I always feel energized from interacting with the local community. The visits give me an opportunity to connect faces with the letters I have been translating in the office. I enjoy visiting classrooms from second to sixth grade students, seeing the beautiful pictures they draw, and reading the paragraphs they write about their family, friends, pets, and sports. In addition, I enjoy how easy it is to have conversations in Spanish because children are very receptive and curious. They are always asking us about differences between Chile and the United States.

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

My internship program is through IES Abroad in Santiago, Chile. We work at our internship sites during the day and take seminar and Spanish classes at night. On the weekends, we attend class field trips and explore Chile with friends. IES has done a terrific job matching us with host families. My host mom Sofia is super kind and her dog Leon is the sweetest. He always greets me by the door whenever I arrive home and by the balcony whenever I leave for work. My neighborhood Providencia is tranquil and only 15 minutes away from downtown. Aside from loving the scenic mountains in the background, I am visiting parks and climbing hills such as San Cristóbal and Santa Lucía. Another personal favorite is visiting the Feria Artesanal (hands craft markets) with my friends to see the beautiful artwork. Museums are usually free admission and the Costañera and MallPlazas provide convenient shopping in one central area. Most of all, I value the opportunity to practice Spanish and become more confident using it in everyday situations.

Guanhua Li group picture Skyline Guanhua Li Internship

A Postcard From: Hanxiao Lu ’20

This summer, I interned at the investment banking division of the CCB principal Capital Management Co., Ltd. The company is located in Beijing, the capital of China. So far, I have been working here for seven weeks, and I can feel that my vision about financial industry and my future career life are already renewed.

Beijing is a very overwhelming city. To work and to live here requires a very high cost for housing. There are overwhelmingly many people on the morning subway. However, by overwhelming I do not mean it in a totally negative way. There is also a kind of hope that provides overwhelming power among the people here to face the struggles in their life.

Not sure if Beijing is the right city for me yet, but I am already attracted by the challenging and enriching tasks in the financial industry. In the department I am interning at, we are focusing on one investment banking product, which is called asset-back securitization. The asset-back securitization is a security that pools the asset into financial instruments, which allows them to be sold to general investors. The pools of underlying assets can be common payments from credit cards, auto loans, and mortgage loans, etc.

The project I am involved is with China Construction Seventh Engineering Division Corporation Ltd. We are going to create an asset pool of 900,000,000 RMB and make them to be securities. During this project, I have the opportunity to learn and actually calculate some significant data, audit the financial statements, edit and proofread the contracts, etc. As I get to understand the whole process of issuing and selling the securities, I become more aware of the importance of some mathematical tools that I learned back to school. This insight is very inspiring for a mathematics major like myself.

In addition, I also learn some skills that are not typically taught in a liberal arts college. For instance, to set up charts with a number of data and calculate the number we desire, we need to be able to manage to use Excel and to convey the data we get, we need to use PowerPoint. It is definitely a different scenario from making a chart and PowerPoint for a class project at school. To improve the efficiency, I need to learn and memorize many shortcuts on the Excel and for data visualization, I need to make the PowerPoint concise, clear and beautiful. Another very important lesson I learned throughout this internship is the necessity of communication skills, which I take as the most important skills in many career fields. Specifically in the financial industry, since the ability to master Excel can be cultivated through practice, the ability to communicate with other become the point to differentiate yourself from others. In a project, we do not only need to communicate with our teammates, but also our clients and many other agencies. The ability to convey the information as well as maintain a friendly relationship is crucial for the success of a project.

I already have taken many helpful lessons and experiences from this internship. And I am very thankful for everyone who has offered me help during this internship.

A Postcard From: Manal Hussain ’20

Name: Manal Hussain
Class Year: 2020
Major: International Studies
Hometown: Flemington, N.J.

Internship Placement:  Nationalities Service Center (NSC)
Job Title: Family Strengthening Program (FSP) Intern
Location: Philadelphia


This summer I interned at the Nationalities Service Center in the Family Strengthening Program and Health Access Team under the Health and Wellness department. I applied for this internship through Bryn Mawr’s Summer of Service (SOS) Program (check it out, it’s a good deal!) after hearing about past SOS students’ experiences at NSC. NSC is a nonprofit organization which provides direct services to immigrant and refugees. The FSP program is a part of a Randomized Control Trial funded by the U.S Department of Health and Wellness Office of Family Assistance. NSC is collaborating with the U.S Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) for this program. FSP provides participants with case management and a series of workshops which teach skills in relationship enhancement, conflict and stress management, and financial management. A few of my tasks and projects included:

  • Case manage Spanish speaking clients
  • Assist clients in scheduling appointments, completing research surveys and needs assessments.
  • Create new and improved FSP referral forms, brochures, and workshop PowerPoints
  • Interpret Spanish
  • Escort clients to doctor’s appointments
  • Assist in completing client health forms

My Experience:

This summer has been unexpectedly insightful and rewarding, leading to one of the best experiences I have had. Besides working in center city, at NSC I found myself in the perfectly fast-paced environment surrounded by incredible people. From my supervisor to my fellow interns to my favorite clients, everyone pushed me to not only perform to the best of my abilities but also to become a better version of myself. Everyone at the organization is there for one purpose: to help and better the lives of immigrants and refugees. Immigrants and refugees are one of the most important populations in America and they deserve an equal chance to opportunity and to achieve self-sufficiency. Seeing and interacting with passionate coworkers and dedicated clients is what made me look forward to coming in every day.

 A Cool Event:

  • Helped volunteer at NSC’s World Refugee Day event at City Hall!

Main Takeaways:

  • For someone who tries to keep in touch with the world news specifically about refugee conflicts, I figured out pretty quickly that I know nothing. At NSC, I met clients who
    • are from countries I never even knew had an ongoing conflict,
    • spoke languages U.S interpretation and language lines don’t provide access to and
    •  belong to a growing community that exists in Philly.

Not only did I realize Philly is home to immigrants/refugees from all around the world not just from the few countries U.S media manages to mention but also that those who know this are usually the ones who are working to help them. It was a much-needed reality check.

  • Nonprofit work deserves more recognition and definitely a lot more money
  • Immigrant and refugee narratives are crucial in bettering global health and healthcare in America
  • My perspective of struggle and resilience have evolved.
  • I have rekindled a passion and motivation to pursue a career that serves humanity; what could honestly be more important?

Hussain intern group photo Internship office Hussain and Nationalities Service Center sign

A Postcard From: Destiny Lamar ’20

Name: Destiny Lamar
Class Year: 2020
Major: English/ Child & Family Studies Minor
Hometown: Bronx, N.Y.

Internship Placement: Puentes De Salud
Job Title: Teacher/Leader
Location: Southwark School

At Puentes we focused on what it means to be a superhero. Each week had a different theme:

  • Social justice superheroes
  • Art superheroes
  • Animal superheroes
  • Migrant Superheroes
  • STEM superheroes
  • Kid superheroes

In order for the children to interpret superheroes separately from the ones they see on TV; we asked them to list the traits that make up a superhero, list ways to make a change, and list the reasons we migrate so that they can apply their own perspective to each story we read and be able to view the “heroes without capes” including themselves. After getting to know all of our children, my group members and I were able to adjust some of the activities in the curriculum to their standards. We realized that we have a lot of visual learners and, therefore, had find an activity that went hand in hand with the story but also gives them freedom for creative expression. Literacy was a challenge for the group as a whole and most of the students individually so a lot of the work we came up with was being comfortable speaking in both English and Spanish.

I applied to this internship after learning that Puentes de Salud is an education and wellness program for children of South Philadelphia’s Latino community that are experiencing academic, cultural, and social challenges in the public school system. I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and practice speaking Spanish while also being exposed to the significance of balancing health and education for children and myself. I wanted to be apart of a greater outcome and assist the children with being comfortable in their own skin inside and outside of the classroom.

The most important skills that I’ve learned are problem solving and being attentive. Being that my group members and I were the first to teach first graders, there was a lot of trial and error. It was difficult to come up with a curriculum for each day due to our different teaching styles and the different learning syles of the students. I learned how to be on my toes and always be prepared for any outcome. This was my first experience working with children who have difficulties expressing themselves and who have a lot of things going on at home that affect them daily. I had to pay close attention to body language, tone, behaviors, etc., which was harder than I thought it’d be. I learned a lot about myself through the process as well as getting a better understanding on the students’ perspective and where their frustrations come from with being bilingual and in a school with minimum resources.

The biggest challenge that I’ve faced in my internship is speaking up for myself. In the beginning I found that I was being very passive despite my previous experiences with children and doubting myself and my capabilities. However, I knew that I had something to contribute to this experience so I eventually shook off my self doubts and spoke up to use my experiences to help others. It was an empowering experience and I look forward to taking this mentality back to campus to continue empowering myself.

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