Spring 2019 in Career Services Starts With YOU!

We hope that you had a wonderful, relaxing, and restorative winter break. There is nothing like a new semester and a new year to get one thinking of all the possibilities that lie ahead. We also hope that you will include Career Services in your plans as you think about your future. We have lots in store for the Spring 2019 semester including a variety of career fairs which start next week! Check out our Creative Career Fair, Common Good Fair, a new Research Fair, the Spring Career + Internship Fair which spans a variety of industries, our Startup, VC and Data Analytics Fair, or the Penn Design Career Connection Day. Penn students are also invited to participate in several off-campus collaborative career fairs including the All Ivy Environmental & Sustainable Development Career Fair at Columbia and the Greater Philadelphia Teacher Job Fair held in Oaks, PA. Of course, while the volume tends to be lighter in the spring than in the fall, we still welcome employers to schedule on campus interviews in the spring as well as hold employer information sessions, all of which are listed on Handshake.

Do you have questions about how to prepare for career fairs? Create a resume? Wondering how to find a job in the entertainment industry or apply for a faculty position at a university? Apply to medical school? These are just some of the many topics covered in the workshops Career Services advisors will offer over the course of the semester. Explore the events calendar on our website to learn about all of our workshops or RSVP for them by logging into Handshake and clicking on the Events tab at the top.  While you are in Handshake don’t forget to sign up for our specialized industry-based CareerMail e-newsletters so that you will be sure to stay updated about information and events throughout the semester. (To sign up for CareerMail, click on your name in the top right corner of your Handshake homepage and fill out the career interests section.)  With the thousands of job and internship listings in Handshake, you are sure to find something of interest to apply to if you are seeking opportunities!

Finally, if you are just not quite sure where to start, that’s okay! Start by making an appointment to meet with a Career Services advisor. You can request appointments in Handshake by clicking on the Career Center tab at the top of the page. Appointments tend to fill up quickly at the beginning of the semester, but appointment times are added weekly so if you don’t see anything available when you first log in check back in a few days or stop by during our walk-in hours.

Here’s to a great spring semester!

Center for the Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 2018 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Sara Gormley, COL ’19

“Hola, are you Paula?” I asked the woman at the bottom of the airport escalator holding a sign with my name on it, as they do in all the movies. I had just disembarked my 10-hour flight down the Atlantic from Toronto to Buenos Aires. As one of four kids of a single father from a lower- (emphasis on the lower) middle class suburb of Philadelphia, I normally would not have been able to afford a flight of this nature, let alone accept an unpaid internship in Argentina. But here I was, asking, in my best Spanish, my would-be host mom if she were there to pick me up.

The following Monday I began my 8-week internship at the Center for the Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth (CIPPEC) as a Research Intern through Penn’s Think Tank Global Internship Program. Each day I was greeted with kindness, Argentine charm, and multiple kisses with multiple people. Customary right-cheeked muahs. For every person in a room. Whenever anyone came into the room for a meeting. To say hello. To offer a snack. What at first seemed comical to me because of the sheer length of time it took up (and because of my Western upbringing), this greeting soon became second nature. Truth be told, I’ve become fond of it – the kisses remove a barrier of personal space, dissolving social anxieties with it.

And yet, the workroom always felt professional and safe. I felt comfortable asking questions, albeit in imperfect Spanish, and expanding upon my work assignments according to my interests. After expressing my background in psychology as a major and as a research assistant in Philadelphia, my supervisor put me in contact with their Social Protection Team. Together we discussed the possibility of beginning a project on implicit bias in the Argentine workforce, particularly implicit gender bias. With my remaining time at CIPPEC, I was to write a literature review on this topic and potential interventions on corporate and policy scales, as a way to jumpstart the project.

Before starting my internship, I had thought that I would scrap my background in psychology and pursue a career in human rights, potentially at an international institute like CIPPEC. My time at CIPPEC has allowed me to explore a potential avenue to combine these two interests. In doing so, I realized that there is a space for psychological research in such institutions. Thanks to the funding I received from Penn’s Career Services, I was not only able to further define my career aspirations, but also have the summer of my life, as a low-income student.

Summer in Singapore

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 2018 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Stephanie H. Tran Rojas, NUR ’20

This summer I used the Career Services summer funding to work abroad in Singapore as Editorial Associate Intern with the Lien Centre for Social Innovation under the Lien Foundation. I worked out of Singapore Management University in the Central Business District and lived in the Little India districts of Singapore. I lived as a local during my time without holding back my desire for adventure. I can thank the generous funding from my donors for opening more educational and mind-opening opportunities without the constraints of financial barriers.

When not working, I constantly pushed myself by trying new foods and experiences. I have done a wide range of activities while in Singapore, including going for a weekend trip in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. When I went on my own mini-excursion to Johor Bahru, I truly put my sense of independence to the test. The first and most terrifying thing I did on that weekend getaway to Johor Bahru, Malaysia was go off-roading for the first time. I went with Tristan Park, an off-roading company that offers guided off-roading for riders on various trails in the farming outskirts of the city. Being someone who has not even really done sports, let alone extreme sports, the concept of going off-roading has always been interesting and exciting but unrealistic. However, with no obstacles realistically keeping me from trying this new activity, I knew I wanted to push myself into this scary unknown no matter what. I find that while traveling new, unusual opportunities become available and it’s a matter of courage and trust to take them.

When you have the security of funding behind you, it becomes easier to break out of your comfort zone. It is because I have the knowledge that I do not have to worry as such about limitations with external and, instead, instead focus on just experimenting fearlessly.

My first time really pushing the envelope was with Geylang Adventures, a local social enterprise exploring the often-misunderstood district. My intern coworkers and I received a night walking tour that lasted three and a half hours, and we saw the underbelly of the district from a local’s perspective. Our guide was a local graduate student who grew up in Geylang. He explained the history behind the current state of Geylang, from the impact of the historical Little India riot to the types of illegal activity conducted openly in the area. I saw it all, from the brothels in and out of the legalized red-light district to the subtle attributes of the environment purposely designed for either security, social, or business reasons.

To my surprise, the tour was completely safe and informal, without once causing tension with the locals. This openness allowed our tour group this unique learning opportunity. In attending this tour, I took a chance and put trust in my guides to keep our group safe. In the end, I walked away with a very comprehensive understanding of the hidden industries of the normally clean-cut country.

Each time, I was brave in chasing unprecedented opportunity because of numerous support from others that made my amazing experiences abroad possible. Without this help, I could not imagine as an unforgettable summer as I had.

A Summer at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 2018 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Vignesh Valliyur, COL ’20

This Summer, I worked as a legal intern at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Centre (LCAC), a non-profit organization that has provided legal representation to poor people charged with capital crimes in Louisiana for over twenty years. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity for it allowed me to develop an intimate understanding of the criminal justice system and play a role in combatting the death penalty nationwide.

After our arrival and introductory training, all the interns were assigned to case teams and were given duties. My tasks broadly fell under two categories – trial phase tasks and penalty phase tasks. A capital trial contains two phases. The first phase is the trial phase, during which the court will decide whether or not the defendant is guilty of the charges brought against them. And the second phase is the penalty phase, during which the court will determine the appropriate sentence to be delivered, should the jury return with a guilty verdict. All of my trial phase tasks, were aimed at preparing the client for trial. I scrutinized crime scene photos, evidence logs, crime lab reports, witness statements, social media information and more. I was also a part of all the team meetings and trial preparation discussions. During these sessions we went through all the evidence, and identified how each piece would impact the jury. All of my tasks pertaining to a potential penalty phase, were largely investigative in nature. The penalty phase is when attorneys are permitted to present mitigating evidence to show why the defendant should not receive the death penalty. In order to do so, the LCAC must go far beyond the immediate facts of the case. They must examine the lives of the defendant and their family for it is crucial to understand where they came from, what they have been through and the circumstances that shaped their lives. An investigation of a capital defendant’s life almost always reveals a history of trauma, and thus investigators are constantly on the lookout for signs of intellectual disability, mental illness, childhood trauma etc. For instance, in order to develop a robust understanding of a client’s intellectual disabilities, we go through the client’s educational records with a fine tooth comb. In order to document childhood abuse, we look through medical records and even absence from school and put together a timeline. While this investigative work can seem dull, the results may convince a jury to spare a defendant’s life. In this capacity, I went through a variety of documents and records, to piece together several elements of the client’s life. I requested records from different organizations that our clients interacted with, collected legal records from various courthouses throughout Louisiana and spoke in person with one of our clients. In addition to case related duties, I conducted some research on the Louisiana Board of Pardons and presented my findings to the office.

My time at the LCAC was a learning experience like no other for it exposed me to the nature of indigent defense, death penalty research, trial practices and much more. Furthermore, it truly galvanized my interest in criminal law and has made me seriously consider pursuing a career in criminal defense.

Nano Research at Penn

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 2018 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Angelia Kumirai, COL ’21

My summer was punctuated by milestones of personal achievement and growths. I travelled more than 4000 miles by road, I met people who I had not seen in ages but most of all- I advanced my knowledge and skills in the advanced bio-nanotechnological field.

Before I came to Penn, I wrote my common application essay on the impact that I wanted to make in the pharmacological field- using nanotechnology for more targeted dug delivery. I wrote that I would use the Penn education to advance my knowledge of nanotechnology, pharmacology and economics. So, you can just imagine the opportune enjoyment I had to be spending my freshman summer in the Dmochowski lab- a lab that specializes in the encapsulation of nanoparticles in protein cavities!

Funding from career services proved that for sure- Penn would help me aspire my dreams and take me a step closer towards what my aspirations are.

After two weeks in Zimbabwe, I flew back to Philadelphia to start research in the Chemistry department at Penn. I worked with an amazing graduate student- Josh, who introduced me to all the techniques that were essential to my time in the lab. We reported to Professor Dmochowski weekly, who mentored my progress and pushed me beyond what I thought were my limits.

This was a fulfilling position and learning experience because the lab work resonated so much with my career interests. I want to be a pharmacologist who develops nanomedicines for more efficient and accessible delivery. In the lab, we were researching on the best practices of encapsulating cargo into protein cavities. The materials that we had success loading into the protein cages were supercharged green fluorescent protein and gold nanoparticles.

We also collaborated with researchers from the medical school who grew antibodies around the gold nanoparticles and tried encapsulating them with protein cages. Manipulation of these developments in nanotechnology will lead to more efficient drug delivery, effective bio-targeting, proficient catalysis, milestones in nanoelectronics and many other applications in energy and cancer research. I felt so honored to be assisting in such useful and practical work that would advance helpful technology to the world.

I came into the lab wanting to increase my proficiency in essential lab techniques as well as to broaden my exposure and deepen my expertise in many common biochemical and biophysical methods. However, I got more from this experience. I developed a deep appreciation of chemistry research. This experience opened and captivated my mind in a way that has propelled me from a freshman with a dream to a sophomore with a clear vision of the path that she wants to take in her career.

I am deeply appreciative of the funding that I received from Career Services because without the funding, this would not have been possible.