Ryan Veterinary Hospital

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 Bianca Owusu, COL ’20

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to work in the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory of the Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. I had originally been looking for a research assistant position for the summer. However, I did not have any true laboratory experience or the proper training to work in a research setting at the time. The veterinary microbiology laboratory offered me the chance to learn the skills I would need to be successful in an investigative laboratory. Taking advantage of this opportunity allowed me to explore my potential career options.  Pursuing a career in research is something I have always wanted to do. Since I did not have any prior exposure to the different fields, I was not really sure what discipline I wanted to be a part of. Although I had worked in the microbiology section of the clinical diagnostic laboratory, I was exposed to the other disciplines. Since many of the samples required various tests from these other laboratories, collaborations were very frequent. The clinical pathology and cytology laboratory was responsible for conducting hematological and cytological analyses. The parasitology laboratory was tasked with the detection and the identification of parasites in the animals we received the samples from. Requests for biopsies and post mortem examinations were sent to the histopathology laboratory. Luckily, I got to experience a sampling of what each laboratory section had to offer while working at Ryan Veterinary Hospital this summer.

            There was a daily routine for the clinical microbiology laboratory. Each day, we would walk in and put on our lab coats. One of us would have to check the CRISPR in the fridge for any samples that had been placed there overnight. We would also do rounds and make sure that the laboratory was stocked with all the necessary materials and media. Batch numbers would be double checked to ensure that the media was in good condition. Next, we would read the plates and record the findings. After recording the findings, we would confirm the diagnosis through a VITEK machine. This summer experience also taught me a lot about the importance of organization in laboratory management. I was trained to use the hospital’s accessioning system. This was helpful in keeping track of all the tests the laboratory was running, printing notes, taking notes, and sending final reports to the veterinarians.

The funding I received from Career Services allowed me to learn so much about myself and the field I eventually want to go into. Working in the laboratory was a major hands on experience. I learned a lot by working under the guidance of the laboratory director and my more-experienced coworkers. In addition to learning about lab procedures and diagnostic test running, I learned what it meant to be a part of a dynamic team. It was an open environment in which questions were encouraged and mistakes were accepted as opportunities for learning. I am very grateful I got to be involved in an eye-opening experience.

Summer Nurse Extern at HUP

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 Hue Minh Truong, NUR ’19

Over the course of eight weeks this summer, I had the honor and privilege to work with the wonderful nurses, patients, and staff at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania as a student nurse extern. In addition to developing professional connections and building rapport with other nurses, I established incredible friendships with the patients who had been on the unit for a long time. One moment that really stayed with me happened on my last day. It was my first time caring for this patient, but everyone on the unit raved about what a sweetheart he was. Nothing particularly interesting happened that day and I went about my daily tasks: taking vitals, observing medication administration, and answering call lights. However, whenever I was in his room I would be at his bedside to talk to him, pretty much about anything and everything. About halfway through my shift, it felt like we were lifelong friends.

When it was time for me to head off the floor, I made my rounds, saying goodbye to my patients and thanking them for allowing me to care for them. When I got to him, we were both pretty emotional. He said something that made all the emotional exhaustion and frustration worth it: “I couldn’t have asked for a better nurse, and I wouldn’t have wanted any other nurse”. Reflecting back on that instant now, I’m tearing up a bit! I know that nursing isn’t about receiving praise, but this externship helped me understand just how difficult and taxing being a nurse actually is. I would come home after 12-hour shifts with aching feet and a heavy heart but seeing the difference a couple of jokes and heartfelt conversations made, forever changed the way I approach nursing. The examples my nurse preceptors set allowed me to experience the compassion, heart and love nurses put in the care they provide.

The VPUL Career Services Summer Funding gave me those friendships, connections and life-changing experiences. Without the generosity of the donors, my time in Philadelphia would have been marred with fears of financial constraints. More importantly, I wouldn’t have been able to allocate all of my focus on my time at HUP and to my patients. To the donors: thank you for the role that you played in helping me establish my identity as a future nurse. Words can’t properly describe how grateful I am for the opportunity and for the aid. This externship has been one of the most rewarding yet humbling experiences of my nursing career, and it wouldn’t have been possible with VPUL!


his 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 Susmita Roy, COL ’19/WH ’19

When I arrived this summer in New Brunswick, New Jersey, my first stop wasn’t the apartment, it was a hospital down the street, St. Peter’s. Why here? This is where my twin sister and I were born almost 22 years ago. As we entered the waiting room, my mom teared up a bit and kept telling me how our lives started here, and how 21 years later, life had brought me back here. I didn’t think too much of it as I had spent most of my life in Cleveland, Ohio, where I had moved when I was four and the place I called my hometown. By the end of the summer, I gained a new appreciation for this circle of life, being to learn more about my birthplace while also having a fantastic summer experience.

This summer, I had the immense pleasure of working at Johnson & Johnson for the Consumer Business Development group. There, I spent time in the Mergers & Acquisitions group and focused not only on ongoing deals, but also presenting my own material on possible strategic fits in different categories of skincare, over-the-counter, and in wound care.

To be able to present possible acquisition ideas to my managers, I first had to conduct research and become a mini-expert in each category. Therefore, for the first month of my internship, I mostly read up on trends in each category and sought to find out why they were doing as well as they were. It was fascinating to see how consumer behavior has transformed in the past couple of years and how big corporations like Johnson &Johnson are adapting in order to remain competitive in the field, especially with the rise of small businesses and startups. What especially has helped these small startups however, was the transparency they provided on how the product was created, something that is extremely valuable to consumers who are now educating themselves more than previous generations.

I, of course, hadn’t come to this conclusion by myself. My research, coupled with their strategic plan, provided me the foundation to succeed and be able to present the material in a successful fashion. Compiling what I had learned, I then did research on what companies could be of possible interest to J&J. One of the most impactful presentations I had was in the wound care sector, where I presented on possible natural wound care companies, who were leaders in innovation and transparent with what ingredients they used. One of the companies I found, actually made it to the next round of evaluation, something I was proud of. Overall, this summer was a fantastic experience because as a Biology and Healthcare management minor, I continue to find my place in the healthcare industry. With help from the funding, I was able to take a step in the right direction this summer and find something really exciting and engaging, with the hopes of making a positive impact

Not a House of Cards

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 Yuan Zou, COL ’19

In case you don’t know: DC summer internships are not just about building the “House of Cards.”

Summer is the busy time for crops to build their strength ahead of fall, and the past ten weeks in Washington DC was a growing season for me too. During this summer I worked at APIAVote, a national nonprofit that aims to promote voting and other forms of civic engagement in Asian American communities across the country. Without a doubt, the lessons that I learned from the internship are rich and impactful. Also, with the financial assistance from Penn Career service, I was able to embrace the rich cultural diversity exhibited in DC and the surrounding area.

The internship allowed me to observe the passionate and active aspects of life in DC that rarely gets outside appreciation. Initially, it was hard to transition my worldview out from the cynical perceptions that DC was a “House of Cards,” but my interaction with other activists and professionals changed my mindset. Along the way, I saw organizers, who would spend hours in calls to come up with strategies to engage with local communities, and activists who were willing to put their energy and sometimes their safety on the line to send messages to the administration. The commitment and effort of these real heroes behind the scenes helped make the world we live in a better place.

Moreover, different from my previous impressions that people in DC are always looking up in the sky, folks in the DC nonprofit/activism circle are often working on the niche but substantive issues. Several days before the end of my internship I went to a workshop that focused on explaining the consequences of including the citizenship question in the 2020 Census questionnaire forms. On the surface, asking Asian folks to check boxes stating whether they are American citizens seemed trivial and harmless. However, since a majority of Asians in this country are immigrants, and the U.S had a history of using census data against immigrant groups, including the citizenship question will deter Asian respondents from completing the questionnaires. Waking out of the session, I was surprised by the impact of this seemingly minor issue and felt a bit embarrassed for the reason that I did not have these facts in mind before the session. Nonetheless, on the way back to my office, I thought about the work that I do and realized: although my tasks centered around the simple theme of helping people to cast votes, the meaning behind was something bigger, something more impactful. Last (but not least), with the funding from Penn Career Service, I had the opportunity to engage with various cultures and people from different walks of life. Rising housing prices and gentrification have been an ongoing problem in the city for long, and without sufficient funding, summer in DC can easily translate into prolonged commutes. Luckily, the summer funding allows me to stay in downtown DC and have a chance to attend events, workshops, and conference without adding more burden to my schedule. Moreover, having the grant also empowers me to discover different communities and neighborhoods and interact with local folks. Their stories might not be as eye-catching as Smithsonian exhibitions, or congressional hearings are, but they give more textures and weights to my DC experience.

Managing Product at a Mission-Driven Startup

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 Carmen Lau, WH ’20

This summer at CariClub as a Product Management Intern was an exhilarating and fast-paced learning experience. CariClub is a B2B SaaS (business-to-business, software as a service) startup that connects young professionals with nonprofits to help them raise money, plan events, and further their impact. Our clients include Fortune 500 companies such as Deloitte, KKR, Morgan Stanley, and more.

My 11-week internship gave me a chance to leverage the fundamental business knowledge I learned in my first 2 years at Wharton and apply it to product strategy so that we can satisfy the needs of our company, customers, and nonprofit partners. I was given a lot of responsibility and autonomy as I oversaw a team of 5 designers and developers to make improvements to our platform and build out new features. I created guidelines for prioritizing product decisions and set and oversaw the execution of an 8-week product roadmap.

One of my main projects during the summer was leading the creation of the world’s first online associate board builder tool for nonprofits. An “associate board” is a group of young professionals who volunteer their time and skills to help a nonprofit. Since it is still a fairly new concept for nonprofits, we built a web application that asks questions about the size, mission, roles, and responsibilities of the board they want to make, then takes their responses to create a personalized charter. This will be critical in raising funding and scaling our service.

But business needs aside, when at a mission-driven company, you always have to think about your purpose and your “why”. So I set a mission statement for the team and wrote it on the whiteboard as a reminder: “Create a product so awesome that every time a user logs on, they become excited about the change they can create in the world.” This was my North Star throughout my internship, and reminded me of the team’s role in the company and the significance of our work. I really believe that our work is centered around helping nonprofits make a bigger impact on their communities, and what I wrote was later adopted as the official mission statement of the team.

Outside of working hours, I got to explore New York City and stayed at a hacker loft in Brooklyn, where I met people from around the world who were photographers, artists, musicians, programmers, travelers, and more. I read design and business books to further develop my skills and foundational knowledge. I was finding fulfillment in my work, and also the community around me in a wonderful city.

Thanks to the support of the summer funding award, I was able to have an incredibly fulfilling internship and summer. Raised by a single mother and the first person from my town to attend Penn, a summer like this for me to pursue my passions would not have been possible without financial assistance. I definitely want to continue working in the tech industry, and look forward to exploring more product-related roles in the future.