The Turner Schulman Endowed Human Rights Internship Award

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 Caroline Scown, COL ’19, recipient of the Turner Schulman Human Rights Internship Award

I found the Youth Development Internship at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) office in Maryland after my spring “study abroad” in Washington D.C. sparked an interest in the Syrian civil war and world refugee crisis. The internship represented a perfect overlap between my passion for education and my newfound interest. Unfortunately, the position was unpaid and like many Penn students, I felt a tension between finding a financially stable position and pursuing non-profit work through an unpaid internship. The Turner Schulman Endowed Human Rights Internship Award was an incredibly welcome help in paying for rent, transportation, and daily expenses so I could pursue the IRC internship.

For the first month of the internship, I worked with my team to plan a summer school program for high school students from refugee families who had been recently resettled in the area. Given that many students who flee conflict experience traumatic gaps in their education, the program intended to help students shore up their academic foundations, gain confidence in a school setting, and better integrate into the local community. I was assigned with developing the curricular standards and learning goals for each of our math and English classes. It was an incredible opportunity to channel my personal passion for education and curriculum development through a well-established organization like the IRC, where I knew I would be impacting the lives of many students.

During that initial month we also visited each resettled family to recruit potential students in what were some of the most eye-opening experiences of the summer. Learning about families’ individual journeys to resettlement in the U.S. gave me a more nuanced and complex understanding of the broader world of conflict-driven displacement and refugee resettlement. I know that these stories will deepen my study of global conflict and resettlement at Penn.

The majority of the internship consisted of implementing the summer program alongside my IRC co-workers, volunteer teaching assistants, and local partners. Every day I taught and developed lesson plans for English and math classes. I taught extracurricular classes like Dance and Global Leadership, where I had the chance to share and exchange personal passions with my students. I also coordinated daily logistics and managed partnerships with local stakeholders like the county bus system, the Capital Area Food Bank, and our host high school.

As I start my senior year at Penn and begin to plan my career, this internship at the IRC will undoubtedly shape my path forward. I plan to pursue post-graduation opportunities that will allow me to connect with students and design curricula. I gained invaluable exposure to the key facets of running non-profit programming such as establishing and maintaining partnerships, navigating the bureaucracy and paperwork involved, and balancing idealistic aspirations with reality. I added another dimension to my academic understanding of human rights and refugee issues. Essentially, this summer has helped me narrow in on my career goals and has given me a greater handle on the experiences and skills I need to achieve them.

Feeling the Passion

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 Ha Tran, COL ’19.

Ha TranThis summer, I spent my time interning at a full-service advertisement agency in Washington, D.C. whose focus areas include political campaigns, issue communications, and corporate social impact. I was initially attracted to apply for GMMB because of their focus on creating positive social change and their long history of electing progressive candidates, including Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela. I was placed in the media team, and my most of my days were spent tracking competitive spending by (conservative) rival candidates across the country. My races were mostly gubernatorial races, but I also had some Senate races. It was illuminating to see how much the campaigns were spending on ads and helped me understand the scale on which political campaigns exist in America.

Compared to the last agency I was an intern for, GMMB felt huge. Two summer ago, I interned at a boutique digital marketing agency with around 10 employees. GMMB had over 200. I felt like a small fish in a big pond on my first day walking around unfamiliar faces, and it didn’t help that I started a week later than all the other interns. However, my nerves were quickly dispelled once I realized how warm and nice the office culture was. Everyone I met was incredibly helpful, and it didn’t take long for me to feel up to speed with training for my job. The larger size of GMMB also meant that my internship program had more structure to it. Interns had the pleasure of attending informational sessions that taught us how other teams within the agency functioned which broadened our understanding of how GMMB worked, along with informational lectures by public figures working in progressive spaces such as immigration reform and LGBT rights. We also worked a collective intern project which was to be presented to the whole company at the end of our internship, and it proved to be an invaluable experience. My team’s prompt was to create a campaign that would elect officials passionate about common sense gun reform in key swing states.

My favorite part of working at GMMB was meeting so many people who were passionate about their jobs. Though it wasn’t always clear how your work directly translated to positive change, I think that everyone at GMMB internalized the ethos of GMMB and that helped everyone feel the passion for their work. I want to thank Career Services for helping me pursue this opportunity! Their support helped me pay for housing and food during my time in D.C., and I was able to focus on my work without stressing about finances. Thank you helping develop my career!

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.