Joyous Winter Break!

Career Services will be closed from 3pm on Friday, December 21st until 9am on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019.

We wish you a safe and happy winter break.  Congratulations on making it through another year! Thank you for being such a bright part of the Penn community – whether you are a current student, alumni, staff, faculty, employer partner or simply a friend.

Everyone at Career Services looks forward to working with you again in 2019!

Mazzoni 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 Wesley Neal, COL ’20

Mazzoni Center is a hugely important service provider to LGBT community members in the city of Philadelphia. Whether it is medical care, legal services, or counseling, Mazzoni Center represents the safety and positive experiences that are often denied to members of the LGBT community when they are seeking services. In addition to these services, Mazzoni Center has a growing Education Department, which “has a vision to inspire acceptance, inclusion, affirmation and integration of LGBTQ people in all spaces.” The Education Department offers both professional development and youth education.

It is in the Education Department that I spent my summer internship developing my understanding of the practice of LGBT inclusion education, and of LGBT inclusive education. One one hand, Professional Development trainings represent contact with medical and behavioral health providers and the potential to work collaboratively with these providers to improve the experiences of their LGBT clients. In my position I was able to lend my personal experience with medical providers as a tool to create impactful trainings by serving as a reader for medical education curriculums a fellow intern in the department, who is a medical student, was developing.

On the other hand, youth education serves as an opportunity to provide a more general education in a way that doesn’t alienate LGBT members of the classroom. Mazzoni provides education on sexual health to high school age youth in Philadelphia. The opportunity arises to provide sexual health education that doesn’t gender body parts and takes space to discuss what safe sex looks like across relationship types. In my role I helped to develop the visual aids for these high school programs, making them visually entertaining to encourage youth participation. Translating the concepts that needed communication into interactive activities served to solidify my understanding of how providing these LGBT inclusive lessons and materials impacts the education of all youth in a way that benefits LGBT students.

Perhaps the most transformative experience of the summer was the opportunity to take part in the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference, which is a program the Mazzoni Center puts on each year. The conference both serves as a professional development space through its Professional Development Tracks aimed at behavioral health, medical, legal, and education professionals, and a community space through the General Track which has sessions relevant to members of the transgender community. After spending part of the early summer helping the Professional Development Coordinator contact Professional Development presenters about providing the information necessary for credentialing and ensuring the proper presentation information was displayed on the website, I was excited to see the conference come to fruition. As an intern, I was able to attend portions of the Professional Track aimed at legal professionals, which was beneficial to my development as a pre-law student. One of the sessions, titled “Movement Lawyering: Tools for Survival and Success” proved especially interesting, as it covered lawyering in relation to social justice for transgender individuals, something I hope to focus on in my future career. As a result of both the conference and my overall experience at Mazzoni Center, I am prepared with a wealth of knowledge which will serve me well in both my legal future and as a student who often finds himself serving in an education role through LGBT related leadership positions. I have emerged more knowledgeable and more confident utilizing my knowledge, and came out of the summer with a continued school year internship position with the Education Department.


Character Strengths

By Jamie Grant, Senior Associate Director, C’98 GEd’99

I recently attended a professional development session in which we discussed the impact of positive psychology and the importance of finding opportunities in life that play to our strengths, impacting our performance and job satisfaction in addition to the way we manage life issues.  Through completing a free online – and quick – assessment of “character strengths” through the VIA Institute on Character as recommended by our instructor, (, I learned a bit more about myself, and I have taken just about every career-related assessment out there!   It also helped me to understand why working in Career Services has always felt like a rewarding and just-about-perfect fit for me.

I work with many students as they begin the career exploration process, and some who are literally deciding on an offer that day.  Many of the same types of questions come up for both types of advising appointments – students wonder where they fit, what kind of work might be best for them, where are they going to be “happy” and how to get that job.  It’s incredibly difficult to evaluate your potential for strong performance AND satisfaction with your work by reading a job description, or even going through a rigorous interviewing process during which you get to ask all of your questions!  Hopefully, by exploring things like your “character strengths” and getting a grasp on when you are most likely to feel engaged and fulfilled professionally and personally, you may get a strong(er) sense as to what types of roles, organizations and career paths are ultimately your ideal fit.

And as always, please don’t hesitate to connect with an advisor here in Career Services to discuss this process or any other career related questions or concerns on your mind!   Warmest wishes for a restful and deservedly long winter break to all of our current students!

MilkCrate: Building Culture and Creating Impact

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 Katherine Ku, WH & COL ’20

Even before I started my internship at MilkCrate, I knew I would easily connect to the company’s culture. Though I never imagined myself working at a startup, I always knew I had a passion for social impact and entrepreneurship. After meeting MilkCrate’s client success manager and product manager, I immediately connected to the two women and the company’s mission.

As a tech startup, MilkCrate creates white-labeled apps that tracks and encourages user engagement for mission-driven organizations from Wharton Sustainability to the Philadelphia Cultural Alliance to Balance, a gym in Chestnut Hill. I began my client success and business development during a time of transition for MilkCrate, during which the company was expanding to industries including eco-tourism, nonprofits, and education. As such, I had the opportunity to grow with the company and speak firsthand with new clients, understanding their needs and visions.

Specifically, I resonated most with the mission of a client, Balance Chestnut Hill, who is attempting to create an app targeting young female athletes that will offer resources including training tips, guidance on healthy eating, game-day visualization, meditation, self-care, and more. As a member of Balance’s target audience, I was able to offer insight into content users would find valuable. Aside from communicating with clients, I even learned to code using JSON, designing and producing functional app mock-ups for clients.

Beyond the concreteness of client interactions however, I realized something that truly makes MilkCrate special: its culture permeates through every meeting, every team member, and every interaction in the office. The MilkCrate office practices what it preaches, with a compost bin the corner of the office and many staff members bringing lunches from home in glass Tupperware. Between walks to the nearby Whole Foods, a kombucha happy hour, and participating in a plastic-free challenge, MilkCrate’s emphasis on collaboration and sustainability permeates every aspect of the company.

Even just in a summer, I feel that I have not only gained valuable friends and mentors in my CEO and coworkers, but also that I have left a lasting impact on a company that continues to grow as it works with companies that are changing the world. This experience has confirmed my interest in social impact and corporate social responsibility as well as demonstrated to me the importance of a strong corporate culture that ties the entire team together. Without a doubt, this summer has been a memorable and impactful one.

American Society of Magazines Editors

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 Emily Cieslak, COL ’19

When I first read the description of the American Society of Magazines Editors summer internship program, I thought it sounded absolutely perfect. I came to Penn wanting to be a magazine journalist, and through the program I could intern at one of the nation’s top magazines as well as participate in career networking and development. When I learned I got accepted into the program and would work at The Knot, I felt like my Devil Wears Prada-inspired dreams were coming true. I was moving to New York City to intern at the top wedding website. Yet a part of me was nervous. I am moving to New York City. How am I going to afford rent, food, the subway? Thankfully, I was able to earn funding from Career Services to make this not merely a dream but a reality.

I am not exaggerating when I say XO Group might be the kindest company I will ever work for. As the parent company of The Knot, The Bump, and The Nest (plus other brands), they truly embody their mission to guide their users through life’s largest milestones. This mission seeps into the company culture and office, where every desk is out in the open, weekly happy hours bring different departments together, and no one is too busy to ask out for coffee. Seriously. I grabbed coffee with the CEO during my last week.

I also loved what I was doing. As the digital editorial intern, I worked with The Knot’s team of editors to pitch and write my own stories, as well as layout content on their website. Within a week, I had my own byline. The Knot is an innovator in media, and I relished not only learning so much about the wedding industry but also witnessing how the company adapts to the constantly changing tech and social media landscape. XO Group tries their hardest to ensure interns learn. As part of the program, we attended weekly speaker series, tackled problems in a final presentation, and visited the New York Stock Exchange and Kleinfeld Bridal.

Likewise, ASME provided the structure so I was not just another intern and this was not just another internship. The program kicked off with an orientation where they brought in leaders from different magazines to prepare us for the summer in the city. Each following week, we visited a different magazine and had lunch with their editors. I know the connections I made, both at the various publications and among my fellow interns, will aid me for the rest of my career.

I walk away from this summer with such an enlightened concept of what it means to work for a magazine and what the future of journalism holds. More importantly, The Knot showed me how much media can benefit and change readers’ lives, and that the need to create this meaningful content is always out there. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn this all first hand, and to now have the resources to carve out a career that is just as impactful.