A Postcard From: Akili Davis ’20

Name: Akili Davis
Class Year: 2020
Major: Sociology
Hometown: Greenville, S.C.

Internship Placement: Till Arts Project
Job Title: Gallery Assistant
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

My role is really dependent on the day. My boss makes sure that I see all sides of the arts field, so they make sure to have me complete lots of different tasks! One of my favorite things to do is help artists set up their exhibits. A few weeks ago, I was able to help curate an interactive exhibit. I’ve also been networking around the city in meetings we set up so I could meet people in different areas of art in Philadelphia.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I love working in intimate spaces, and my internship site is a grassroots organization headed up by one person. My boss is a former Bryn Mawr McBride, and they are very knowledgeable about so many different fields. I was interested in working for them because they see things from a social science lens, just like me, because they were an anthropology major. I also wanted opportunities to meet people in the city because I am confident that I want to stay in Philadelphia after graduation.

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

I absolutely love Philadelphia. This was the first time I had actually lived in the city, and every moment of it was great. I love being in the center of everything that is happening, and West Philadelphia is such a cute neighborhood. There are always lots of people around, and I love exploring new neighborhoods I never had a chance to see while out at Bryn Mawr.

Can you give us three adjectives and three nouns that describe your internship experience?

Adjectives: Inquisitive, trying, joyful
Nouns: SEPTA, snacks, sewing machines!

A Postcard From: Viktoriia Borodina ’21


A typical FACS analysis procedure.

Name: Viktoriia Borodina
Class Year: 2021
Major: Biology (prospective)
Hometown: Novosibirsk, Russia

Internship Location: Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
Title: Research Intern
City: St. Louis, Mo.

This summer, I was privileged to be selected for the Leah Menshouse Springer Summer Opportunities Program that allows undergraduate students to pursue research in various biomedical fields. I was assigned to work at the Dr. Pachynski’s lab that is focused on cancer immunotherapy research.

As a part of the internship, I had a chance to develop and work on an independent research project which was also focused on cancer immunotherapy investigations. Specifically, I investigated whether the CMKLR1 receptor (chemokine-like receptor for which chemerin serves as a ligand) may be induced on T-cells and NK-depleted splenocytes in the presence of various factors present in the tumor microenvironment. The field of cancer immunotherapy has been rapidly developing in the past decade, as it allows to use patient’s own immune system to fight cancer.

Some of my daily responsibilities included obtaining splenocytes and isolating various immune cells from mice to plate in various factors, stain with fluorescent antibodies and analyze those cells later on.

I applied for this internship to gain first-hand research experience in the area of medical research. Further, I have worked on various immunology research projects in Spain before, and was thrilled to apply these skills to the oncology research.

My biggest challenge was working independently in the laboratory – while I had research experience before, I always had a research supervisor closely working with me. This time, however, I had a chance to develop and carry out a research project in a new area for me. While working with various reagents and equipment on my own was challenging at first, this experience had truly made me a better scientist.

Dr. Pachynski’s Lab group photo.

The skills I learned at the lab are much more universal than I have expected them to be. While I have learned the basic molecular biology and immunology laboratory techniques, there were many other skills that are easily applied outside of laboratory. I have frequently used data analysis software for large amounts of data, as well as enhanced my knowledge and proficiency in the Office apps and online research. Besides, developing a project allowed me to develop critical thinking, persistence and being comfortable with risk.

Working in a hood.

A Postcard From: Linghan Mei ’19

Name: Linghan Mei
Class Year: 2019
Major: Biology and German
Hometown: Urumqi, China

This summer I worked in a transporter biology lab at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. I applied to this internship because I had hoped to experience biomedical research in a slightly different capacity after working in the Brodfuehrer Lab in the Biology Department on campus for a whole year. It was a refreshing change of scenery living in the Midwest, and working in a large medical center provided me with excellent mentorship and opportunities to attend lectures given by top-notch clinicians and researchers.

Working in a lab where the mentors have less pedagogical responsibilities is interesting since everyone in the lab is fully devoted to pushing the research progress forward. This was initially challenging to me as the pace at work can seem very stressful, and it’s not uncommon to have a full house in lab even on weekends. Nevertheless, my mentors provided us a conducive environment for learning. My peers and I were required to present on our individual progress every week at lab meeting and participate in seminars given in the department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering. I was encouraged to question the approaches that we used in the project and think critically about the strengths and limitations of different approaches. I also attended weekly mini-lectures on physiology of the kidney and urinary system which gave me a taste of the density of lectures in graduate school.

What I enjoy the most was working with both young and experienced researchers with diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. I was drawn to engineering because of its ability to translate knowledge into solution and this process of translation takes expertise in almost all the fundamental sciences. The effective integration of different ways of thinking always proves to be the key to success.

The graduate school played an important role in supporting us by organizing various panels and networking events that connected us with clinicians, researchers, and graduate students of diverse backgrounds. As a rising senior, their great advice and fascinating stories helped me put things into perspective and feel more confident and assured about my career path.

A Postcard From: Sophie Webb ’19

Name: Sophie Webb
Class Year: 2019
Major: Sociology
Hometown: Durham, N.H.

Internship Placement: HeadCount
Title: Music and Politics Intern
Location: New York, N.Y.

My internship at HeadCount is a nice combination of work in the office and work in the field. HeadCount is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that sends volunteers to concerts, festivals, and community events. I spend Monday through Friday at the HeadCount office in midtown, and attend concerts on the weekends. Occasionally I go away for a long weekend to a music festival to register voters. I was able to attend the Bonnaroo music festival, the Peach Music Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, and the Lockn’ Music Festival.

At the field events, I spend my time engaging concert goers by registering them to vote or getting them signed up for election alerts. I’ve met a lot of cool people through this, both fellow volunteers, and people registering to vote! At the office, I process the voter registration forms and send them to the appropriate states, assist with artist relations, and basically do anything that is helpful!

I happened upon this internship randomly when I was searching for music industry internships online. When I read the description, I knew I immediately wanted to apply because it is a marriage of two of my passions, music and activism. The internship seemed like it would offer me the perfect mixture of fun and work, while allowing me the opportunity to engage in work that was meaningful.

My favorite part of the internship has been all the amazing people that I have met and gotten to work with. Everybody that I work with at HeadCount has been incredibly welcoming and kind. I felt respected as an important aspect of the team, even though I was just an intern. I feel like this summer has expanded my entire world, and it feels incredible to have so many new friends and connections.

Living in a large metropolitan area for the first time in my life was a bit nerve-wracking but ended up being amazing. It was really fun and empowering to learn my neighborhood and start to feel a little bit like a New Yorker! I got extremely lucky with my roommates and apartment, and that made all the difference! Getting to experience the city this summer has made me realize that living in the city after I graduate is something that I may be interested in pursuing.