A Postcard From: Allegra Wham ’19

Name: Allegra Wham
Class Year: 2019
Major: Sociology
Hometown: Arlington, Va.

Internship Placement: Pilot Light Chefs
Job Title: Public Health Intern
Location: Chicago

This summer, I lived and worked in Chicago! I interned at Pilot Light Chefs, a food education nonprofit. Pilot Light was founded by four Chicagoland chefs to bring food education to low-income schools in the South Side through everyday school subjects.

Traditionally, a chef volunteer comes in to a classroom in one of the 15 partner schools and helps teach a lesson that deals with food; these often have greater purposes, like teaching empathy. The lessons brought to the classrooms are created in a collaboration between teachers and chefs. I sat in on a couple of lesson planning days where teachers and chefs added to the lesson deck and it was amazing to see these two seemingly separate careers come together in one room. Moreover, the lessons are streamlined with Pilot Light’s Food Education Standards, which are the first of its kind. These standards help set the path for students to learn how food can create common threads between their classmates, family members, and someone walking by them on the street. These standards also show students how advocacy can play into their everyday lives; all of the lessons created include potential advocacy projects that students in different grade bands can do.

The 7 Food Education Standards are:

  • Food connects us to each other.
  • Foods have sources and origins.
  • Food and the environment are interconnected.
  • Food behaviors are influenced by external and internal factors.
  • Food impacts health.
  • We can make positive and informed food choices.
  • We can advocate for food choices and changes that impact ourselves, our communities, and our world.

I honestly didn’t know that much about food education going in and it was enlightening to read these standards (and their larger descriptions) on my first day of work.

This summer I was given many different tasks — I researched, wrote thank you notes to donors, designed materials to be handed out at different events, created decks for stakeholders, helped with the curriculum library, created packets to send to organizations for grants, and more. In addition, while I wasn’t able to see a lesson in a school, I did get to see (and participate in) a mini lesson three times a week for three weeks. PL had a first-time partnership with the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team. A PL teacher on her summer break would make rice bowls with campers from a different Chicago Parks Camp and I got to help! We would make these bowls with half of the campers for 40 minutes and then they would switch and “workout” in the Blackhawks’ practice arena training room. One of the best parts was introducing foods, many of which we take for granted, to these kids and seeing their faces. Many of the kids tried blueberries, raspberries, and broccoli for the first time. I feel really lucky to have worked at PL because I learned so much about food education, public health, and, though it sounds cliché, myself and what I want to potentially do after BMC.

My supervisor, and the Executive Director of PL, is actually a Bryn Mawr alum, which was really fun! I found out about PL through talking to her in the spring. It was really inspiring to work with her and see a strong and successful grad. I really enjoyed working in and learning about food education/public health and exploring Chicago!


A Postcard From: James Frazier ’19

Name: James Frazier
Class Year: 2019
Major: Anthropology
Hometown: Albuquerque, N.M.

Placement: Koobi Fora Field School
Location: East Turkana Basin, Kenya

I first learned of the Koobi Fora Field School through my anthropology professor, Maja Šešelj. Field school is … a strange thing. Broadly speaking, it is both study abroad and summer research, while still managing to be neither of those things exactly. I spent six weeks in Northern Kenya conducting a paleoecological research project. With the help of my mentor, Amanda McGrosky, I investigated how life history traits (such as reproductive strategies, life span, etc.) influenced changes in the abundance of species population during the early Paleolithic (approx. 2.6-1.8 million years ago). We will hopefully be presenting our findings at conferences this fall and next year. Since I know that paleoecology isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, in fact I knew nothing about it until field school, I’ll describe field school like this:

Imagine: 25 exhausted, jet lagged and eager students, enough scientists to start a small conference, and a support staff of the world’s most incredible mechanics and cooks that can work miracles with canned beans and rice. Now load them up into range rovers and a 16 seater, open air, ex-military Unimog and drive them up the length of Kenya.  Then send a few of them out into over 100-degree heat to walk around and collect fossils for days on end. Six weeks, 43 dik-diks, eight scorpions, 232 fossil collections, one research paper and a plan for the future later, send them all home covered in dirt. You better believe I am absolutely ready to do it again next year.

Students from Bryn Mawr have gone to the Koobi Fora Field School in the past so I was reassured about its academic rigor and I knew what an amazing experience it could be if I decided to attend; however, I also knew that my experience would inherently be different than theirs. I am a transgender man and the concerns I had about a summer spent with a small research team in an isolated region of Kenya aren’t ones shared by the average student. The research I conducted into the academics of the field schools I considered was only a small fraction of the work I did to make sure the program would be a place where I could be physically safe as well as supported. While trying to gather as much information as possible, I stumbled on an entire community of queer and trans* researchers and scientist willing to support and advise me, or put me in contact with others that might know more. Before I committed to the Koobi Fora Field School, I spoke with so many individuals who wanted nothing more than to see me succeed. Even if I had decided against going to field school, finding that community made all the work I had done worth it. I eagerly await the day I able to be a voice in that community and a support for others.

While I spent hours and days (and what sometimes felt like years) preparing for this field school, I had very little idea of what I would actually be doing when I got there. I knew the general idea of course: it’s a paleoanthropological field school in the East Turkana Basin in Northern Kenya and I’d be working on a research project with a mentor. As to how those vague ideas translated into reality, I had no clue. But I knew that with the preparation I had done, I’d be able to succeed no matter what situation I walked into. Though it wasn’t always easy, it was absolutely amazing.

One of the biggest surprises was that, while my primary interest is in biological anthropology and I plan to focus on human remains and fossil hominins, for field school I was assigned to a paleoecology project. Paleoecology is not a field I have ever explored, and at first I was concerned that my background would mean I wouldn’t be able to complete the project. Plus, since I plan on studying humans I was worried that a summer spent studying paleoecology might not be the most useful to me. That, however, was an oversimplification of the project. Yes, it was the summer of paleoecology, but it was also a time where I learned how to code, analyze data and present it to others in meaningful way. I got experience working in the field, building relationships and making connections with other researches. And it turns out, once I let myself be open to it, I actually love paleoecology and I may even be rethinking my career path.

The experiences I gained during field school, the relationships I’ve made and the conversations I’ve had, have already influenced not only my academic studies for the upcoming year, but how I am approaching my future. Each researcher focused on a different field of anthropology and geology and each person was deeply passionate about their work. The summer has taught me that I don’t need to settle, that there is still so much to learn, and so many areas to explore. I am working to find a career that will let me keep and use that passion every single day.

A Postcard From: Catherine Tsai ’20

Name: Catherine Tsai
Class Year: 2020
Major: Biology
Hometown: Wayne, N.J.

Internship Placement: University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
Job Title: Research Assistant
Location: Philadelphia

What’s happening at your internship?

I am working in a skin cancer biology lab in the dermatology department at the University of Pennsylvania’s school of medicine. I am currently working with another member of the lab to investigate the role of BTG2, a gene that might play tumor suppressing roles in cancer. The BTG2 gene has not been studied in skin or melanoma, and the mechanisms by which it suppresses tumors are relatively unknown. We are using our findings about the functional role of BTG2 that we collected from in vitro experiments to guide more medically relevant experiments in vivo using mouse models. I am also working on improving 3-dimensional human engineered skin tissue grafts so they can be grafted onto host mice. We plan on engineering the grafts so that some of them will either have BTG2 overexpressed or knocked down. Hopefully this will help us further define the roles for BTG2.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship in order to gain more research experience in the biomedical field. I am planning on either going to medical school or taking up a career in research. Dermatology is the field that I am interested in if I decide to go into either field, which is why I choose this particular lab.

Was there anything special about how you found this internship?

Last semester I had trouble finding research in the biomedical field, especially in an area as specific as dermatology. I didn’t think I’d go as far as contacting a lab outside of the Tri-Co to do off-campus research during the semester, but I’m very glad that I was able to join this lab, and that they are allowing me to work with them for the next couple of years.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship is being able to work in the lab day to day. Last semester, I was only able to come in about twice a week. It is much easier to stay up to date with everything that goes on in the lab now that I am here all the time. I have gotten to know the lab members a lot more, and have been able to get more involved in the projects that are going on.






A Postcard From: Shannan Stafford ’19

Name: Shannan Stafford
Class Year: 2019
Major: Political Science, Psychology; Minor: Education

Internship Placement: The Franklin Institute
Job Title: Museum Programs & Outreach Initiatives Intern/Science Education Intern
Location: Philadelphia

Hey y’all! It’s almost the end of the summer and I am happy to report that I have learned that working with museum programming is way more fun than I thought it would be. This summer I have been interning at The Franklin Institute, a science museum focused on inspiring people of all ages to learn more about science and technology. My main goal for this internship was to learn more about how STEM can be made more accessible for elementary and middle school kids and what that could look like in both formal and informal learning. I also wanted to learn more about the types of programs and events museums can offer that utilize their vast resources for underserved communities and what that process looks like from behind the scenes. To do this, I have been helping the professional development department plan and execute their various museum programming including Community Night, Science After Hours, Leap Into Science, and their various Professional Development courses for educators.

The Franklin was a great place to explore the uses of my major in Psychology and my minor in Education because many of the professional development courses as well as the curriculum development is centered around the science of learning and helping educators understand research on the brain in order to aid in teaching. This has allowed me to gain more hands-on experiences with the content that I have learned in my psychology courses, such as Human Cognition and the multitude of courses I have taken focusing on developmental psychology.

Surprisingly, the most applicable courses to my internship have been the education courses, such as Multicultural Education and Advocating Diversity in Higher Education, which allowed me to practice creative problem-solving and learn ways to make learning or teaching engaging and relevant. As a space that hosts people from a wide range of educational backgrounds, it was really cool to see how my coursework for my major could be applied to a job that I thought would require a lot more specific training.

While the job is awesome in its own right, the perks are just as great! Interning at The Franklin has also allowed me to visit all of the various museums Philadelphia has to offer all for free and participate in science events within the city. It has also created opportunities to network with people from a wide range of professions within the museum and discover what other careers the world has to offer. Being in this space has really helped make Philly feel more like a home and has truly opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. This summer has made me infinitely more hopeful about the future, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

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!