CS Radio – Episode 46: “The Unexpected Question”

Michael and Mylène reflect on an interesting article about unexpected and challenging questions asked during real interviews from major companies. Play along as we go through some real brain scratchers that interviewees have been asked at places like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Uber and Trader Joe’s! We’ll give you our best answers and advice on how to handle these seemingly impossible questions and what employers are really looking for when they ask them. It’s one of our favorite episodes to date!


Show Notes

Tough Interview Questions
13 Crazy Interview Questions from Awesome Companies (The Muse)
Four Insanely Tough Interview Questions (And How to Nail Them) (The Muse)
Interview and Question Types (Career Services)

Theory and Practice Blend in Beijing

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 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 Yue Tang, MSEd, ’18

I spent my summer in Beijing with Pyker, an Education Technology company. Pyker develops an app for everyone to create one’s own animations within short period of time, aiming to provide access for people to express their ideas and creativity with ease and fun. My role in this internship started as a pedagogy consultant, then expanded to a practitioner, and gradually became a researcher who came to reflect on how to reach the “theory and practice blend”.

As an unprecedented product in the EdTech field so far, Pyker offered me the freedom to collect data, to assume, and to plan for each iteration as a curriculum designer to create K-12 animation courses. Resnick believes technology should offer us a low floor, a high ceiling and wide walls. Since Pyker had eliminated so many technical difficulties for people to make animations, the company prioritized my job, that was to lead children to take educational advantage of Pyker and drive things even further. Our team jumped out of the traditional animation teaching pattern, namely the technique-centered style, exploring how making animations might contribute to a child’s cognition and soft skill development. Our model attaches great importance to digital storytelling and creativity. For example, each lesson has a meaningful topic embedded in a well-plotted video made via the app (multifaceted thinking, communication, and etiquette, etc.), in which the storytelling session aims to promote logical thinking and the ability to collect and organize information; student will spend a great amount of time tinkering, pushing the boundary of their creativity, and converting oral stories into animations. It was a great opportunity to analyze the value of one EdTech product and to design a course for the product’s better application in education area.

Prior to this internship, I was worried about whether what I had learned from Penn would get along well with the Chinese market, but my internship in Pyker confirmed my belief that children should not be manipulated by technologies, instead, with their hands-on experience they should enjoy and benefit from their ownership. Another experience giving me the sense of achievement was to act as an animation teacher who could feel how students engaged into the class with the help of education technology. I really saw students carefully choose an appropriate scene, change the size of the characters, make them move successively, dub with dramatic and versatile voices, and confidently introduce their animations to the audience. Meanwhile, with my limited amount of knowledge in education technologies and Pyker’s platform, I managed to share my understandings of and confidence in tinkering and making equipped by technology with 200 middle school students. I passed along the message that things like robotics are not only for competitions, but also for inspiration, logic, culture, and self-expression. Most cheerfully, after testing several lessons in real classroom settings with children, I realized how much I enjoy using technology to enlighten students, witnessing their impressive progress them, and helping them utilize electronic devices wisely and positively.

I applied theories, practiced in real educational settings, and also tried to bridge these two. Now as a curriculum-designer-to-be, not only do I expect to enrich courses with scientific designs, but to inspire myself by getting closer to students.


This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 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 Kaliko Zabala-Moore, COL ’18

This summer I had the pleasure of interning in the marketing department of the Barnes Foundation. My main responsibilities revolved around managing the social channels of the Barnes Foundation. This included content scheduling, based on submitted content from the social media committee. At 9am my phone would buzz with an alert to schedule push out an Instagram post. A picture pops up of Moonrise Kingdom for an upcoming film feature at the Barnes Foundation. With the new release of the Instagram algorithm, it was more important than ever to understand our audience and get them engaged in the content.

One important lesion I learned was the importance of consistency. The new website launch in August brought about changes to the overall digital presence of the Barnes. I used my graphic design skills to create a consistent look throughout the social channels. The Barnes had a defined voice, which included the quality and tone of the images. Using these guidelines, I was able to create graphics and social media posts. The brand image was the constraints by which we can operate creatively.

Working with Joanne Perez, Director of Marketing and Social Media, was an incredible learning experience. She really gave me a lot of autonomy to craft projects around areas of marketing that I wished to explore. This lead to the creation of one of my research and development projects on student engagement. I had the opportunity to present my ideas to the Marketing Department and the Senior Vice President. The presentation was divided into short-term and long-term actionable. My long-term ideas revolved around creation. This included the development of a program for new student orientations at Philadelphia universities modeled after programs by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Penn Museum. I am looking forward to seeing the development of this program.

I learned a great deal from my time at the Barnes Foundation. My cubicle was lined with post-it notes of questions and new ideas. I wanted to understand the rationale behind a lot of decision making in marketing from the framing of the picture to the time that we post. But most of all my team taught me that you really have to become the brand you are trying to promote. It was an incredible experience to embody the brand and the mission of the Barnes Foundation. I will continue to be a walking advertisement with my Cezanne socks and Modigliani postcards. Later in life I hope to pursue a career in marketing for an organization like Barnes that I truly believe in. I want to thank everyone at the Barnes Foundation for guiding me through this learning experience.


This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 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 brief entry is by Akudo Ejelonu, MPU/MPES ’18

Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) is a global initiative that focus on improving people’s access to clean water and sanitation, particularly to the millions of the people in the developing world who lack it. There are strong linkages between access to WASH and gender equality. In many countries including Guatemala, women and children are disproportionately affected by a lack of access to WASH and shoulder the largest burden in water collection. Having access to safe clean water and sanitation system is an imprint on household demands and public spaces. The first purpose of the summer project was to evaluate the effectiveness of the pour flush latrines to address waterborne disease in the indigenous Maya community of Tzununá, Solola, Guatemala. The second purpose is to investigate community perception and education of WASH through photo-elicitation sharing to record the social, personal meanings and values of hygiene and sanitation. We surveyed households, interviewed residents, and observed practices to explore how social norms and other health behavioral models can affect or explain communities understanding of water, sanitation and hygiene. Through the work, I learned that women’s full participation in water and sanitation projects is strongly correlated with effectiveness and sustainability of WASH projects. Empowering women helps communities achieve their health and financial benefits.

CS Radio – Episode 45: “The Penn7”

Last year, Career Services developed “The Penn 7” career competencies. Being successful in your career is not necessarily specific to your choice of field of study or the grades you earn. Employers from a wide variety of industries, hiring for all different kinds of jobs, have been surveyed extensively in the past few years to determine what qualities contribute to the success of their employees. Drawing on that research, Career Services has developed a series of career competencies to help all candidates – undergraduates through postdoctoral fellows – identify areas of strength and potential growth that will contribute to productive, lifelong professional development. Achieving these Penn7 Competencies will help to maximize the potential number of career paths you may consider after leaving Penn, and increases the likelihood that you choose the path that is the best fit for your skills, interests, and career goals. Mylène guides us through these seven competencies, while Michael shares out the online platform, Portfolium, can help you highlight them to employers.


Show Notes

Downloadable PDF of the Penn7
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE): Career Competencies

Penn’s Portfolium Portal