Get a GRIP

J. Michael DeAngelis, Digital Resources Manager

Looking for a summer internship or research placement?  Interested in going abroad during your time at Penn?  Find out how you can do both through Penn Abroad’s Global Research & Internship Program (GRIP)!  We have 200 internship and research opportunities available in a variety of career fields and locations.  All placements come with guaranteed funding!

The deadline to apply is January 6th, but all students must attend an advising session held by Penn Abroad before the end of the semester.  You can read more about GRIP and available Summer 2019 placements, as well as sign up for your advising session, on the website or by emailing  Deadlines are approaching, so act soon!

Memorable Summer in Sydney

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 Nicole Posadas, COL ’20

This summer I was fortunate to fly over to Sydney, Australia, to partake in an eight-week internship program coordinated by the University of Sydney. For eight weeks, I was a marketing and research intern for Smart Approved WaterMark, a company that focuses on certifying water efficient products and services in Australia. Although considered a non-profit organization, the company’s ultimate mission is to encourage people and communities to change their behavior with respect to water use and water efficiency in order to promote a more sustainable future.

I was drawn to an internship with Smart Approved WaterMark because I wanted to learn more about how water efficiency corresponds to greater corporate responsibility. My supervisor created the role of a marketing and research intern because he requesting assistance on enhancing the company’s social media performance as well as discovering new channels for funding and collaborations. One of my main goals as an intern was thus to increase Smart Approved WaterMark’s social media following and brand awareness by increasing its outreach on various platforms. Additionally, I was aiming to work as a consultant for the company to advise them on the best way to attract customers to buy current Smart Approved WaterMark products and to encourage new certification applications.

            My role as an intern was quite extensive. It included scheduling social media posts that would post automatically over a two-month period, establishing new social media promotions and campaigns, as well as joining pre-existing campaigns, writing newsletter entries that would be sent to nearly 3000 subscribers, and planning the successful application of a Smart Water Award. My duties also entailed organizing renewal reports, updating the company’s website, composing a detailed social media analysis and plan, creating two promotional videos, and organizing the company’s consumer and stakeholder contact lists. Additionally, I would sit in on meetings with a virtual reality programmer to add input for creating a virtual water-efficient home simulation model.

As a whole, my internship experience in Sydney was entirely invaluable and challenged me in ways I would not have imagined. While my internship aligned directly with my academic studies focused on environmental science and my interests in conservation and consumer awareness, it allowed me to explore a new intersection: that of sustainability and business. This rare opportunity not only introduced me to a new working culture, but also introduced me to a new way of understanding an industry and the process in which products are labeled and advertised for various functions. This international working experience has also introduced me to analyzing public perceptions of sustainability and the best way to tailor messages in order to promote more environmentally conscious actions.

I truly could not be more thankful for the Career Services’ Grant, which offered me the chance to intern abroad with financial comfort. This grant not only supplemented how I paid for transportation and groceries, but also provided me mental ease as I focused entirely on my internship in such an economically diverse city. I am certain that this summer I spent in Sydney will be a memory I will carry with me for the rest of life.

CS Radio Episode 007: Career Fair Prep

episode 7

Radio.  CS Radio.

Welcome to Episode 007!  J. Michael and A. Mylène are shaken, but not stirred as they cover career fair preparation in advance of Thursday’s International Opportunities Fair.  College assistant Alyssa Perkins-Chatterton stops by to talk about the work that goes into organizing a career fair, as well as to share some of the feedback she receives every year from the employers who attend.   If you plan on coming to the fair this week, this is a must listen episode!

All that, plus the usual rundown of Career Services events and Michael taking every opportunity he has to mention James Bond.  Enjoy!

An Taisce

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 the summer.  You can read the entire series here. This entry is by Agatha Leach, LPS, Masters of Environmental Studies, ’16

This summer I received a fantastic opportunity to work with An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland, a charity that preserves and protects Ireland’s natural and built heritage. As a graduate student in the Masters of Environmental Studies program, I have been fortunate to combine my academic interests in land preservation and resource management with my abiding interest in Irish history. Though a small island, Ireland’s tremendous natural beauty has supported a green tourism sector critical to the nation’s overall economy. Despite the heady beauty of the place, aspects of Ireland’s environmental policies and standards poorly address issues of pressing environmental concern. Ireland’s large and poorly regulated transport and agriculture sectors have spurred a long list of issues, including dismal municipal water quality, polluted rivers, high greenhouse gas emissions, and a precipitous decline in biodiversity across all habitats and biomes. For Ireland, whose largest economic sectors are agriculture and tourism, the importance of addressing these issues is apparent. Nevertheless, a general public apathy towards the environment and an overwhelming tendency to produce Irish solutions to Irish problems has created a vicarious situation. In the absence of meaningful government interest in the environment, several key charities and organizations, such as An Taisce, have taken a leading role in protecting Ireland’s natural heritage.

Image 1
Cutting turf in the traditional way. Glenties, Co. Donegal, August 2015.

The research I undertook with An Taisce largely concerned the protection and stewardship of peatlands, a unique habitat environmentally and historically particular to Irish experience. Irish peatlands have traditionally been used for a variety of purposes, including domestic and commercial sources of indigenous fuel, agriculture, and forestry. However, 99% of actively growing raised bogs in Ireland have been destroyed and the remaining sites face increasing threat. The outright destruction of bogs particularly afflicts Counties Westmeath, Offaly, Leitrim, and Donegal, where the increasing turf extraction remains the largest unregulated land use in Ireland. Commercial turf extraction in Ireland falls under the purview of Bord na Móna, a semi-state organization charged with the extraction and maintenance of peatlands in Ireland. The environmental damage resulting from turf extraction is tremendous, and when completed through commercial techniques, proves irreversible. Water-storage capacity both locally and regionally can be reduced and this draining releases nutrients, heavy metals, sediments, and dissolved organic carbon into surrounding watersheds and soil. Effectively, draining bogs destroys pristine habitat for threatened bird and mammal species as well as increasing global greenhouse gas emissions.

Industrial peat excavation. Bog of Allen, Co. Kildare, July 2015.
Industrial peat excavation. Bog of Allen, Co. Kildare, July 2015.

In my experience, I see the protection of Irish peatlands facing two challenges. First, public backlash against peatland protection remains vehemently rooted in a tradition of hand-cutting turf from local bogs. Second, the availability of a massively cheap, indigenous fuel in an otherwise fossil fuel-poor nation leads to government sympathy towards turf extraction. In understanding these factors, it becomes clear that the battle to protect peatlands in the long run must address both obstacles to be successful. My work with An Taisce concerned the monitoring of peatlands through satellite imagery to determine bogs under active excavation, the extent of the excavation, and whether these sites currently hold legal planning permission to conduct such activities. The results suggested that the extent of extraction on a majority of sites required special planning permission from local authorities as well as multiple environmental impact assessments (EIAs), surveys commonly required in the case of any large-scale land development. As the majority of peat extraction continues without any regulation or permission, I was able to witness several situations capturing the utter disregard for Irish cultural and natural heritage that pervades this issue. One such case involved peat excavation from a bog in County Westmeath by a private company without planning permission, EIA, or any other license. It emerged that the excavation unearthed a bog road, or togher, dating from 1200-800 BC, a significant archaeological discovery to both Irish and European culture. Despite many attempts over the course of the year by various organizations across Ireland to halt excavation in order to preserve the togher, the company continued to act outside the authority of critical planning regulation and so destroyed the artifact without fear or repercussion. image 3 The experience with An Taisce so strengthened my passion for environmental stewardship, not only in seeing firsthand the blatant destruction of cultural heritage, but also by working with those who serve to protect natural habitats. This opportunity was only possible due to a grant provided through Career Services at Penn, and I am deeply thankful for the help they provided throughout the summer.

It’s All About the “Grits”

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 the summer.  You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Ping Nguyen

My professors often say that the most significant life lessons are not learned in a classroom setting, but they are deeply rooted in life experiences of others. In a social work classroom, one of my professors introduced to me the idea of “grits” by a fellow Penn professor Angela Duckworth. Duckworth defines “grits” as a combination of passion and resilience expressed over a period of time. A person is “gritty” when they can bounce back from failures, continue to strive hard for their dreams, and sustain this attitude over an extended period of time.  I never truly grasp the sagacity of Professor Duckworth’s concept of “grits” until I met a cohort of low-income, single Vietnamese mothers.

nguyen1As an intern for Children of Vietnam, one of my roles is to write narratives about the beneficiaries of the organization. As such, I got to travel to many low-income Vietnamese mothers’ house to interview them about their life stories and the challenges they encounter. As a low-income student in United States, I can understand what poverty looks like in America. However, I cannot imagine living in the conditions that these women were living under. Some women started their days at 4:00 am; some walked 3 hours under the scorching sun to get to work and must take the same journey home; some had to tend over their disabled children while working on the land. All never understood what it was like to have a day off or what a “good life” is like, yet none has ever given nguyen2up. These Vietnamese mothers truly believe that they can have better lives for themselves and for their children if they continue to work hard and if they do not give up . When asked about happiness, they say that they find happiness in a little things – being able to have rice on the table, to be able to purchase new clothes for their children even if it is once a year, or simply to have the strength to continue the next day labor. Although some days are harder than others, these are the little things that keep them going everyday. I have never witnessed such resiliency, love and passion towards life until I met these women.

nguyen3One of my life greatest privileges is having the opportunity to meet these women. They have enriched my life with many lessons. Although I love touching the soil of my ancestors, eating the food of my childhood, and breathing the air of my people, the profound lesson of traveling is more witnessing breathtaking sites or cuddling in happiness. The truth is that there is more to life than happiness. Happiness can play a critical part in one’s life and everyone deserves to feel happy. But it cannot be the ultimate prize. The lesson here is to be “gritty” in life and to truly live a meaningful life – to feel the ups and the downs, to pursue our passion regardless of obstacles, and to flow with the ripples of time.

nguyen4At the University of Pennsylvania, I often complain about the workload, the internship, the balancing of life in general….also known as “the ultimate struggle bus” and at times, I want to throw in my towels and call it a day. Yet having witnessed the struggles of others and how they dealt with their struggles, I learn on how to embrace my own “struggle bus,” enjoy the ride, and steer my life towards the direction of my choosing. Most importantly, I must not give up! Without a doubt, I was one of the most fortunate students at University of Pennsylvania to be given this opportunity.