LAVA BEAR Conclusion

My internship has come to a close! Unlike in my other posts, I feel at a loss for words. This experience at Lava Bear was everything I had hoped it would be. In my exit interview, I pretty much delivered heaps upon heaps of effusive praise. Lava Bear is a great company – it was sheer serendipity that this place was perfect for me. The last few days have been rough, acclimating to the responsibilities of “real life” and accepting that my time in Los Angeles has come to a close (or at least a hiatus).

The viewof Lava Bear through the garage
The view of Lava Bear through the garage

Spending these last few days reflecting, I feel that I accomplished my many goals. I now know that I could happily live in LA. I now know that I could work in development. I now know that I could read scripts for a living. This summer was not necessarily revelatory (it was too lifelike for that) but it was an incredibly important step in my career. I now know that I want to learn more about film budgeting and the Massachusetts Film Commission (potential future internship site?). I have developed a deeper love of screenwriting that I cannot really expound upon; again, my confidentiality agreement heeds, but I must say that one of the highlights of my summer was sorting through tens of fascinating and individualistic scripts that I cannot tell you about.

I was just discussing with a friend whether I thought reading such a dense volume of scripts improved my writing. While I don’t think it stoked my creative side, I feel my analytical work will be much stronger now. My wit is definitely more acerbic, that’s for sure! I will definitely be able to apply these skills during my final year at Brandeis. On the way out, one of the higher-ups told me I should start a blog. What a thought! I discussed with my coworkers the possibility of moving out here; all of them seemed willing (even eager) to help me locate a job. Writing thank-you notes was easy. I feel blessed and happy that I was able to make this dream a reality (with the help of others). Moreover, I made contact with a bevy of independent artists in the community. The friends I have made in California have been wonderful. I feel satisfied with the networking I did, and furthermore, I believe I developed my skills in networking.

I walked past this street art every day on the day to work
I walked past this street art every day on the day to work

My thoughts on film have shifted, particularly my thoughts on screenwriting. I feel pretty confident that I could work various vocations, from a suit to a creative. Now I have this year to make some decisions about the niche I want to occupy. Thanks to the WOW, I feel certain that I could compete in this landscape. I encourage anyone looking to work in film to simply start networking immediately. Networking is vital and you cannot make film without the assistance of others. That is what I love about film art, that it requires collaboration. I took particular joy in showing the work of Brandeis Television, a club I’m on the E-board of, to my employers and artistic friends. This is also not a shill, but I strongly recommend taking advantage of the resources the Hiatt Career Center has to offer. I used Hiatt offices to conduct my multiple phone interviews, have my resume checked, and the advice of my Hiatt liaison has been vital throughout the process. Keep working, keep pushing, because really, what else is there to life besides kindness and art-making?

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog posts, my intermittent Carriemoments. Bonne chance, Brandesians and future WOW’ers!

-Alex Weick, Brandeis 2015

ioby Recap

After finishing my internship I feel a distinct sense of accomplishment in more ways than I imagined. As I have written in previous blogs, I have learned so much that I can take back to the class room. At Brandeis I have created an IIM around Urban Studies. Over the course of my internship I conducted over 40 interviews of community leaders that have used ioby to help create the change they want in their own neighborhoods. These interviews have given me insight into what needs community members have from their community. It also has shown me many different ways that people go about ensuring that their neighborhoods are healthy and vibrant. I have saved all of the research that I have done and may use it for a project some time this year.

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While I did expect to have an enriching academic experience, I also got to meet and work with talented and passionate people. It was really awesome working directly underneath the co-founders of the organization because I not only learned how the organization functions in the present but I also learned about how the organization has changed and grown. These relationships will definitely help me as I enter into the workforce.

I would definitely recommend this internship to anyone that is interested. While it was not a very established program like other internship opportunities, It did allow me to get real hands on experience. As a senior this internship has given me a better idea of what working a 9-5. It has also helped me narrow down what I want to be getting from a job that I might take after this school year. I think that it was really helpful to have personal interaction with the leaders of the organization. If anyone is looking into working for ioby I would recommend investing in relationships with the co-founders. They were not only hardworking but also very willing to talk about their experience. We discussed topics ranging from grad school to the process of starting a non-profit.

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I am so grateful that I have had this important opportunity. It has not only taught me so much but also made me feel productive throughout the summer. I hope to find a job next year that will be as rewarding as working for ioby this summer.

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Josh Berman ’15

Bridging my experience at Project Healthcare with my career path

 

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Project Healthcare volunteers bid farewell to Bellevue Hospital Center

As a project healthcare (PHC) volunteer, about 90 percent of my time was spent in the Emergency Department (ED), which consists of the Adult Emergency Services, the Pediatric Emergency Services, Psychiatric Emergency Services, Urgent Care, and the Emergency Ward or the Trauma ICU. In the ED, my responsibilities included, but were not limited to, doing EKGs, making stretchers, transporting patients, and being a patient advocate, which included making phone calls on behalf of patients and monitoring length of patient stay. I also had the incredible opportunity to observe surgeries in the OR and shadow doctors with various specialties. With the endless opportunities to learn and an unparallel experience for someone who wants to go into the medical field, I not only reached the goals I set for myself at the inception of PHC, but also surpass those goals and grow in ways that I couldn’t have possibly imagined.

In shadowing doctors ranging from neurologists, gynecologists, surgeons, internists, and many more, I achieved my career goal of learning the ins and outs of daily hospital operations and the day-to-day life of being a doctor. In observing procedures including lumbar punctures, sutures, a craniotomy, etc, I achieved my academic goal of paralleling my experience with courses I’ve taken or will take at Brandeis. Learning about the anatomy of the human body or the physiological ways in which parts of the body function is one thing, but actually witnessing doctors using this knowledge to save lives is something completely different.

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I and other PHC interns in front of the historic Bellevue Hospital gates

When I set my final goal, my personal goal, at the beginning of the program, I couldn’t have predicted how far I’d transcend that goal by simply being in the ED and interacting with patients. My personal goal was to improve my day-to-day interactions with people regardless of their mental health or medical status. With Bellevue’s diverse patient population ranging from homeless people and prisoners to people from all socio-economic backgrounds, I learned to become effective in communicating mainly by being attentive and learning how to listen without being dismissive of people’s ideas, thoughts and feelings. In retrospect, when I think about how, towards the end of PHC, I could simply walk into the ED and deduce from a look on a patient’s face, what his or her pain and/or comfort level was and help them get a nurse’s attention, I now know that I helped to make patients’ experience in the ED more pleasant.

My next steps, after PHC, are to continue to build on the skills I’ve developed and continue to stay on the path to becoming a physician. At Brandeis University, I will continue to take classes that will not only fulfill the pre-med requirements I need to complete before applying to medical school, but also give me more of an in-depth explanation and a comprehensive understanding of some of the procedures I was fortunate to observe over the summer. The human body is fascinating machinery and I still have a lot to learn about how that machine operates. I will also look for and take advantages of opportunities to gain more clinical experience in a hospital setting. To anyone who is interested in interning with Project Healthcare or anyone who wants to pursue a career in medicine, my advice is to seize every opportunity to learn, and remember that no question is a stupid question. Physicians aren’t the only people you can learn from; talk to nurses, physician assistants, patient care technicians, and anyone who is willing to teach you. You will get out of your internship almost as much as you put into it, so work hard, even when no one is looking, and take advantage of opportunities to network and gain advice from people in your field of interest.

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One of my final moments with other PHC interns at Bellevue Hospital.

See you later BR Guest

Having completed my internship and having time to reflect, I can see I have met all goals originally set at the beginning of this experience. As previously discussed in my blogs, the educational, workplace, and personal goals I set I have achieved. I learned how to apply my psychology and business knowledge to the world of Human Resources, was able to experience HR in full capacity, and lastly was able to learn about the restaurant industry from the corporate perspective. Moreover, I have learned and experienced more than I could even imagine. For example, through completing the internship project, I was able to learn all about my specific field as well as others in corporate and the restaurant industry in general. For the project, we had to create a new restaurant concept and create a PowerPoint (presented in front of the CEO), explaining all the steps it would take to open the restaurant. To get all the information, the other interns and I had to meet with many different directors and employees to learn every step in creating a restaurant. After completion, I truly understand the ins and outs of the restaurant industry and hospitality.

Interns restaurant pitch
Interns restaurant pitch
Mock Menu
Mock Menu
Timeline to opening day
Timeline to opening day

After learning so much already, I am hungry for more. I want to continue to learn about Human Resources and see what the field is like outside of the restaurant group. The restaurant industry is fast paced which includes a lot of turnover, so I am curious what Human Resources looks like from a different industry. Also, within BR Guest itself, I would want to experience a day-in-the-life of a Director of Operations (this is the person who directly oversees the restaurant). I loved the industry I was in and would love to explore more within the company.

For any student who is interested in an internship at BR Guest, I would advise them to DEFINITELY apply! My experience was amazing with this company and I hope to work with them again in the future. I would advise applicants to put yourself out there and to be passionate, open-minded, and eager to learn. For those students intrigued with the restaurant hospitality industry I would let them know that being personable is a must. You are meeting with people every day and must be comfortable with public speaking. You must be flexible due to the fast paced environment, something can come up at any second. The industry is a challenge but it is manageable.

I am so thankful for WOW letting me complete this experience because it helped me understand more about what I want to do in the future as well as more about myself. This is an experience I will never forget!

Farewell Blog

My internship finally came to an end. My main goal for this summer was to figure out whether I want to be in industry or academia. During the summer, I worked hard to figure this out by getting myself involved in data analysis, proposals, and business meetings. Since I only have one more year at Brandeis, I plan to build on this experience as much as I can. I now know that I plan to pursue my career in industry. I plan to use my network to explore the industry and figure out what I’m truly passionate about.

 

This internship taught me something I already knew, but never really paused to think about: Don’t waste your 20s making money, but find your passion and spend the rest of your life doing your passion. Now, I want to learn more about my passion. What is it about industry and science that I love? Where do I learn the most? What exactly keeps me up late at night and is this the reason I wake up 5 in the morning to get a head start? I want to spend the rest of my Brandeis experience figuring this out. I owe it to myself and owe it to myself to gain additional experience in what I’m passionate about.

 

For anyone interested in finding a career in industry with science, I have an advice for you: Dive head first and give it all you have. You won’t know if it’s for you unless you do. You have nothing to lose (e.g. no kids, no mortgage, no house, etc) so why not take the risk? If you’re interested in Innerscope Research, I have the same advice: Give it all you have. It is not the ONLY firm to work for that has uses science in industry however, it is a good one to give a try.

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Alicia Park, ’15

 

Last Week at the McAllister Lab

Another summer done at the McAllister Lab! My experience at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School was absolutely amazing, and this summer was the best out of all of my previous summers there. This summer, I practiced and learned many wet-lab techniques. Additionally, I  participated in multiple journal clubs where members of my lab met to discuss the results of other scientists that do work that is similar to ours. In these journal clubs, we analyzed their results with our lens, and I learned to start questioning the integrity of others’ results alongside my other lab members. I used to accept the data presented by peer-reviewed articles with a sort of blind faith, but I’ve been slowly learning how to question what I read because not all reviewers catch the holes in someone’s research.

2014 Summer Students of the McAllister Lab, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

After working alone all summer without a direct in-lab mentor, I can say that I am now very comfortable with the idea of planning my own experiments and days at work. With all the results that have been generated from the past and this current summer, I have been creating figures that will be used in our upcoming paper. Some of these figures include growth kinetics charts, incidence graphs, microscopy panels, and concentration graphs. I have also learned how to use CellProfiler, a cell image analysis software that was developed at the Broad Institute. It has been particularly helpful in analyzing the microscopy I have done all summer, and the best part is that I can use it to analyze my results at home even though I’m finished with my experiments now. Dr. McAllister and I have had multiple meetings together about how the paper will be laid out, and we are currently maintaining correspondence about its progress. I also am excited to say that some of my results from the summer were novel, so we are now trying to determine where the data will fit inside the paper. I presented my research to the rest of Brigham and Women’s Division of Hematology last Friday and I am relieved that the presentation went well.

Going forward, I plan to take all the skills that I learned from the McAllister Lab with me as I pursue other research endeavors. I have had the privilege of developing an in-depth understanding of research academia through this internship, and I believe that this understanding will be particularly useful in the fall semester when I start as an undergraduate research assistant at one of Brandeis’ neuroscience labs. I think for next summer, it would be interesting to try to find an internship in the field of industry, perhaps at a biotechnology company to see what it’s like to be on the for-profit side of biology instead of the non-profit side. For anyone who is interested in pursuing an internship in research academia, I would first suggest finding a special program for students that put them in mentored research environments. Many colleges and hospitals around the country have these summer research internships, and it is during these summers that students can form long-lasting career networks. After being in a research environment for a whole summer, there is a high possibility of returning for another summer if correspondence is maintained. For researching specifically under the Harvard Medical School umbrella of summer programs, this is a great resource. The program I was originally in (for the first two summers) was the CURE Program of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.

Overall, I had a wonderful summer. On our last day, Dr. McAllister participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with me and some of our other summer students. We all went out with a “splash” and it was a fun experience! Here is the link to our video: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: McAllister Lab

McAllister Lab and Mullaly Lab at the going-away party of our administrative assistant

Irene Wong, ’17

 

Completion of my NYCSCC Internship

The last day of my New York City Seminar and Conference Center (NYCSCC) internship is a bittersweet day for me. I am happy that I have learned so much at this internship but sad that I will not be working with my coworkers every day.

This summer, I have finished a Financial Analysis project from the very beginning to the very end. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was compiling data on an Excel spreadsheet. Since all of the data was in Excel, I have honed my Excel skills in the 10 weeks at this internship. I have encountered many roadblocks while doing the Financial Analysis project but the support of fellow interns and coworkers has led me to overcome these challenges. At the end of the internship, I presented the Financial Analysis project in a PowerPoint presentation to NYCSCC employees. Although I was nervous when presenting the project, another feeling overcame that: the feeling of accomplishment.

After this internship experience, I will take the analytical skills I honed and apply them to my Brandeis classes. During my junior and senior years at Brandeis, I will be taking Business and Economics classes and will need to use these skills in the class projects and papers.

Following this internship, I want to complete more internships that allow me to focus on developing my skills. While completing the Financial Analysis project, I realized that I am a process-oriented person and enjoy completing tasks from start to finish.

For those of you looking to intern at NYCSCC, I suggest that you attend the Winter NYC CIC fair because NYCSCC is usually at the fair. Before applying to the internship, you should look into the NYCSCC website to get an overview of what NYCSCC is. NYCSCC has internships in both marketing and finance. Having talked to the Marketing intern throughout my internship, I know there is so much you can learn in either area at this small business hospitality company. If you want to get an idea of what the benefits of interning at a small business are, you can check out my small company blog post.

For students interested in the small business hospitality field, make sure that you are a people person. In this field, employees are always dealing with clients and making sure that they are getting the best services possible. Therefore, you should be ready to do the same at this internship.

Interning at NYCSCC has been an enjoyable and memorable learning experience. I have built close connections with NYCSCC employees, and I will keep in touch with them even after the internship.

Me and my fellow interns at NYCSCC

 

Time is flying at Project Happiness!

Time is flying by here in California, and everyday includes a new adventure – whether at the office or just at home. I have familiarized myself with so much about Project Happiness, and every time I come into the office, I enjoy spending the day there more and more. Though my projects change daily, they all revolve around establishing a sustainable business model for the organization. Last week, I worked on the organization’s executive summary, revamping its old format and making it more reflective of our current goals and programs. At this point, very little supervision is required, as I have become very familiar with what we do and what our objectives are. Though it is very nice to have my supervisor a couple feet away for whenever I have questions, it’s also great to have so much independence and a chance to explore the best methods to complete my tasks.

I am so incredibly proud of how much I have come to love Project Happiness and their mission. Helping this wonderful organization has not only given me valuable job market skills, it has also shown me a more positive attitude towards life and its hardships. I hope to be able to carry those skills with me throughout my senior year of college and also the rest of my life. Everyone at the organization is so passionate about what we do, and they truly embody what we stand for.

This summer, I have been participating in an extremely positive work environment, meeting people of extremely diverse professional backgrounds and been allowed a great degree of freedom with my work techniques. I hope to carry all the important lessons I have learned this summer with me as I enter my senior year, start my post-graduation job search, and lead the clubs I participate in at Brandeis. I’m looking forward to the rest of my summer at Project Happiness and can’t wait to see what other skills I will acquire in the remaining few weeks.

The poster for the Project Happiness film, directed by our founder.
The poster for the Project Happiness film, directed by our founder.

 

– Genevieve Oliveira ’15

The Value of Interning at a Small Company

Small companies are great places for summer internships! My experience so far at NYCSCC will help explain why.

One of my WOW learning goals is to network at my internship. While interning at NYCSCC, I met a fellow Brandeis student, Corey Shapiro. Corey is a rising senior and is an intern at a small web development company, Hudson Horizons. When I asked him what his internship duties were, he excitedly explained them to me. One of the projects that he completed involved testing the mobile application of one of Hudson Horizon’s clients. Corey also did research online and found a few potential clients for Hudson Horizons. He said that although there are challenges, his supervisor and his mentor are always there to help him overcome them. When Corey spoke about this support at his internship site, I related it to the intimacy I feel and the guidance I receive at NYCSCC.

Due to the size of NYCSCC, I get to know all my coworkers and can truly collaborate as a team. Furthermore, I get to speak with one of the owners on a weekly basis and have picked up plenty of advice and knowledge based on his experiences. I expect to keep in touch with him and all my coworkers even after my internship ends.

In a small company, I have many internship responsibilities and projects. I have learned to “wear multiple hats” just because there are not enough people to fulfill all of the business functions. Not only am I exploring the company’s finances, I am also helping out in event operations and writing blog posts for the Flatiron Hot! News, a company partnership. As a result of doing a little bit of everything, I am gaining skills that I never thought I would gain this summer.

I have quickly learned that the challenges that small companies face are different from the ones that big companies face. Small companies do not have the same resources as big companies. As an intern, I can provide my coworkers with a fresh, outsider’s perspective.  I offer suggestions on what the company is doing well and what it could do better to maximize its resources.  I feel valuable.  I know that every suggestion I make and every project I do count. By the time my internship ends, I know that I will have an impact on this company.

Both Corey and my experiences show the benefits of interning at small companies. Even though not all small companies come to Brandeis to recruit students, these companies are always looking for interns throughout the year. There are so many opportunities for students to gain knowledge and develop skills at these companies. Students just have to be proactive and look for them.

– Tifani Ng ’16

Corey Shapiro’s internship site

Lava Bear MIDPOINT!

A few days ago we had a staff dinner on a rooftop overlooking Venice boardwalk at the Hotel Irwin. The sunset and vertical slope transformed what is otherwise a dingy, vulgar area into an aesthetic utopia. Enjoying the sunset with my kind coworkers was a joy as I scarfed down (too many) fish tacos. A good friend of mine was visiting and able to attend. A compatriot in weirdness, introducing him to my new professional sphere was exciting. I could see our occupational imaginations merge as my friend (and collaborator) imagined himself working in this lovely city. This is the compelling beauty of Los Angeles, as disparate, global peoples unify in a visual practice as commercial as it is creative. As a favorite song of mine echoed from the well-curated rooftop DJ setup, I celebrated friendship and work, entities slowly but surely melting into one.

20140717_194553My internship supervisor and I. Forgive the glasses, it’s that LA sun.

As a reminder, I am working as a general intern and script-reader at Lava Bear Films in Los Angeles. After many weeks, my experience of script-reading has remained consistent, but my skills have developed. Occasionally coverage can become an echo chamber, but it is comforting to know that my opinions often align with those of my more business-minded coworkers. It’s also fun how a bad script can be great fodder for nuanced (and gleefully literary) critique. I am sometimes reminded of my art-house preferences but I consider that par for the course. Fortunately, there has been an influx of engaging material and assignments in the last few weeks, so my writing has been more chipper. The only downside is that I’ve developed a slight reputation for a critical lens, but people have told me that they respect it.

In that vein, perhaps my most valuable learning experience occurred recently after reading a frustrating script. The plot, the characters, the tone all rubbed me the wrong way. Within 50 pages I knew had serious disdain for the work and I wrote accordingly scathing coverage. I ended up meeting with one of the head-honchos about my coverage; they had felt a kernel of worth was subsumed within the script’s cluster of issues, issues that dominated my personal opinion. Their critique of my coverage produced the most beneficial dialogue I’ve had here. They cited my disdain as valid, but also a factor that foreclosed subtlety when I relied on a negative approach. In retrospect, I completely agree with them. We also discussed generational preferences, a productive exchange for both parties. It was one of those utterly intimidating but beneficial experiences you fall into in life. I could feel my brain resetting as my perspective matured. That one conversation has led me to necessarily re-evaluate my coverage technique and criteria for script quality. I feel very fortunate that the people at Lava Bear take the time to engage me in this way.

For me, the highlight of each week (funny as I think the staff finds them mostly mundane) is the weekly Monday meeting. During them, we evaluate scripts read over the weekend. I can feel my presentation skills improve in these meetings. Pitching, something that terrified me before this summer, now feels accessible and natural. My analytical perception of scripts has shifted radically since I began. In the past I ha arbitrarily referenced box office and saleability, but I now feel genuinely informed. I’ve noticed that I now place a lot more value on concept. I often appreciate a script based on concept or core alone, whereas writing style and conventions usually reigned supreme in my old evaluations. This may come across as a subtle change, but it is paradigm-shifting for me, as a person who engages in critical analysis near-constantly. I look forward to exercising these skills in my filmic endeavors throughout senior year (and beyond!).

I am learning an immense amount, making a lot of progress on my goals. I cannot emphasize enough how expansive this experiential learning has been, compared to my classroom and self-taught knowledge. I’ve been taking meetings with many of my coworkers, more seriously discussing future career options. These choices are daunting (development or production, location, etc.) but these are the serious thoughts I came here to engage. Talking to different members of the staff has given me wide insight: young creative execs paint me pictures of career beginnings, financial overseers explain shareholder meetings and film slates, and industry vets teach me how best to evaluate talent. Comprehensive clarity about my career still eludes me, but I certainly feel much more informed. Witnessing the clockwork of film development has given me confidence that I could work in this field after graduating.

LB

LA has begun to feel less idyllic and more like a simple, exciting city that I am merely inhabiting. Thus I have accomplished my goal of vetting Los Angeles’ viability; thanks to the WOW, I know now that I could happily move here. Some of my lesser goals, of course, have been slightly neglected. Goals of networking have mutated, once I discovered that virtually all connections (beyond the office space) are valuable, but in different ways. I’ve been writing less recreationally, an expected fatigue after reading writing and then writing about writing, all day, every day. My thesis remains a radioactive, untouchable fellow, but that is the reality of a 9-5 job, again, precisely the real-world experience I came here to attain.

In addition to my experiences at Lava Bear, I’ve invested in the local performance art community, gone to a bevy of screenings, and become a regular at a few locales. I’ve not lost sight of fields close to my heart. I’ve even met a few minor idols of mine (I shall keep them anonymous, I don’t ingratiate and tell!). I love the community here. I love the artists, the filmmakers, the writers, the executives, the Lyft drivers, and the people who run the food trucks. Okay, I hate the people who run the 711 next to my apartment, but they also sell gummy sharks, and where else am I going to get them at 2 AM?!

Cheers,

Alex Weick

A little past halfway at HW

For almost two months, I have been interning at Healthy Waltham (HW) promoting healthy eating and learning how nonprofits work. At the onset, my role was mainly teaching children about nutrition and how to cook healthy food; however, most of my time thus far has focused on the inner workings of nonprofit organizations.

My first business card! Feeling official with Healthy Waltham.
My first business card! Feeling official with Healthy Waltham.

Aside from cooking, I wanted to learn more about the community side of public health, nonprofits, and what my own interests are in these areas. I never knew how planning, organizing, or funding worked for nonprofits before this internship. Every organization is different, but just learning one arrangement provides some background for understanding other types. At a Strategic Planning meeting with HW’s board members and staff, I saw how many disciplines come together to not only run HW, but numerous other health-related organizations. There were people from the city counsel, a school principal, and a registered nurse just to name a few of the people involved. Even more surprising to me, many board members and staff present belong to other health-focused groups.

I never imagined how much effort is needed to persuade the public to eat their greens.

I am happy to have learned so much about nonprofits, but so far I am most satisfied with the recent tabling event the Waltham Farmer’s Market. The cooking and nutrition class at the Chill Zone is more challenging than I remember. Frankly, my first class was disheartening. After a couple of those classes, I was anxious about the tabling event. Talking to people, friends or strangers, is difficult to me. Encouraging others to eat healthy foods has proven to be extra challenging. Plus, my mentor Chef Reva would not be there. All of these factors together left me worried and restless about the simple act of tabling.

Luckily, the event turned out better than expected. We gave free samples of Moroccan chard salad topped with roasted chickpeas. Not only were all samples and English recipe cards distributed, but almost everyone said they enjoyed the salad! Speaking with others went smoothly, and help from the other interns and staff made the day really enjoyable. I cannot wait to analyze the data to see if chard sales changed or if the HW website received more traffic after the farmer’s market.

 

L to R: Abbie, Manny, Yuki. Intern teamwork giving away free samples of Moroccan swiss chard salad with roasted chickpeas at Waltham Farmer’s Market. Photo by Maria DiMaggio

The most valuable skill I am developing here is group communication. Everyone says that communication skills are important, but I am now a believer. Knowing how to present ideas and instructions while keeping people engaged is necessary to accomplish any task. Group work with coworkers, some of whom work from various locations, adds a new challenge to traditional group dynamics.

The web of public health becomes clearer as I continue observing and working on various projects. I am unsure where I fit in the realm of public health, but I am looking forward to the rest of my time with HW. There is still much to do, and even more learn.

 

– Yuki Wiland ’15

Project Healthcare Volunteers Host a Health Fair at Bellevue

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Project Healthcare volunteers host a health fair at Bellevue Hospital Center

It is inevitable that without a medical degree, anyone in a hospital will come across terminology they may not understand or see a fascinating case but lack the proper terms to describe the case. Prior to the inception of Project Healthcare (PHC), my goal was to draw parallels between my experiences in the emergency department with courses I’ve taken or will take at Brandeis and become more familiar with medical terminology as well as some of the more common cases seen in the ED.

As we approach the end of the summer, I’m noticing that I have an easier time in the emergency department every shift. I have been keeping track of achieving my goals by always making sure that I have a pen and a paper readily available to take notes on cases and terms I come across. In addition to making sure to ask the doctors, I also do further research on the different diagnoses at home and make sure I have comprehensive understanding.

Me at Health fair
Presenting at the health fair at Bellevue Hospital Center

I am most proud of my recent participation in a health fair held in the lobby of Bellevue Hospital. In groups of 2 or 3, the PHC volunteers were given a health topic to present at the fair. We were responsible for contacting organizations and requesting materials to handout at the health fair, creating an interactive activity as well as completing a multimedia project based on our health topic. My group’s topic was Breast/Cervical Cancer

On the day of the health fair, which was held on July 8th 2014, many people ranging from cancer survivors, staff members from the oncology department at Bellevue, people diagnosed with human papillomavirus (or HPV, which has been shown to cause cervical cancer in women), and uninsured patients with health concerns stopped my group’s table. We provided people with information about the risk factors for breast and cervical cancer, the various tests and vaccinations available to reduce risks (i.e. Pap Smear, Gardasil, Mammograms, etc), and information on where people could go to get free screenings as well cancer services in NYC regardless of insurance status.

As a result of my involvement with Project Healthcare thus far, I have built on and improved my public speaking, organization and collaboration skills. These are skills that I’ve had a chance to put into practice through talking to patients in the emergency department, working with my group to prepare for the health fair, participating in clinical and public health research as well as interacting with doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. As I continue on my journey towards becoming a doctor, I will need to speak publically at conferences, organize well to balance my academics with my personal life, and collaborate with my colleagues in research and in patient care, thus I will continue to develop and implement these skills that I am gaining through Project Healthcare.

From left, Maria, Yoon Jon, and Me at the Health fair
(From left) Maria, Yoon Jon, and Me presenting on Breast/Cervical Cancer at the Bellevue health fair

Ama Darkwa, ’16

 

MORE THAN HALFWAY THROUGH MY TLHRC FELLOWSHIP… Time Flies

Wow… I am more than halfway through my internship experience and I haven’t even realized it! That goes to show how busy and engaged I have been in the work the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission is doing this summer. I can honestly say that this internship continues to surprise me because it is satisfying almost ever goal I listed on my WOW application. The one goal that I am most impressed with is the ability to do real work rather than just make copies and fetch coffee. With the TLHRC I am both pleasantly surprised and overwhelmed with the amount of work I have been allocated over the past few weeks. For you to understand what I mean I will first explain how the Commission operates. Unfortunately, Human Rights was unfunded during the budget cut, therefore the commission has no funding and has to rely on fellows to keep the commission running. Typically fellows will work for various durations, but the fellow with the year long commitment typically takes the leadership role on the Commission. Thus said, all 4 commission members are treated and respected as full time staffers. Surprisingly our government ID listed us as “Staff” and not “Intern”!!!

Being treated as a staff member is nice because you receive a lot of respect but that is not to say it doesn’t overwhelm you! Although I have been extremely busy, this fellowship has definitely taught me a lot. I found myself continuously challenging my education and awareness on international issues as well as human rights violations. Prior to my fellowship, I was unaware of the human rights crisis in Burma nor did I understand the affect a construction of a dam could cause to multiple nations such as Ethiopia and Kenya. In fact I didn’t even know where some of these countries were on a map! Yet now I am confident when discussing international issues with Congress members and Congressional staffers. It took a few embarrassing tries, but now I can officially say I got the hang of it.

Moreover, I believe I am building networking skills from this internship opportunity. Although I have not been able to benefit to the extent I hoped from networking, I have learned how to better communicate with organizations and individuals on a personal and business level. Through our countless meetings with international organizations and prominent individuals, I have learned to create intriguing questions, start conversations, and constructively figure out how to benefit both parties by taking action to achieve a common goal. Considering the fact that I am a rising junior, networking will definitely be a skill that I will utilize often. In addition, this experience will greatly contribute to my academics because I am starting to realize the correlation between politics and economics that will help me better understand how my IGS and Business major relate. Also, I have recently been in touch with Professor Rosenberger to see how I can apply this internship to my international requirement as well as potentially complete an independent study based off my work with the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.

Although I strive for my future career to be one in business, I am enjoying my experience in DC. The TLHRC has a way of maturing its staffers to become independent, hard working, and invested individuals to international human rights violations. I do admit that I am passionate about the work I am doing and I am very dedicated to serving the international community, however I still do not see myself doing this line of work in the future. Thus far I have made amazing connections to my co-workers as well as people I have encountered through meetings and events. For example, I met an Ethiopian woman in a meeting a long with many others that requested our commission to host a congressional briefing on the human rights crisis in Ethiopia. I quickly agreed to plan this briefing and I have developed great relationships to the panelists I have been working with, as well as Lulit, the women from the meeting. Currently, I am swamped with work trying to plan this briefing so I will update you soon! I hope you all are enjoying your summers just as much as I am enjoying mine. We are almost done so lets keep up the good work and I hope to hear about your experiences as well!

Image 1: My ID! Image 2: Meeting with Laos Officials  Image 3: My co-worker and I on the Capital Subway

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ISlide: The Midpoint

I’m halfway through my time as a summer intern for ISlide and I can’t believe it. It has been over a month and a half and it feels like just yesterday that I was heading back to Waltham on Friday afternoon after completing my first week. I have truly fallen in love with the company and the product and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here thus far. Working for ISlide has been everything I wanted it to be and more. I have learned skills in multiple different facets of the business world and have started to grasp what it takes to own and run a start-up company. I have been moving towards my learning goals and it’s exciting.

When I first stated my learning goals, I knew I wanted to gain knowledge of the business world and apply skills I had acquired in the classroom. I also wanted to learn more about the world of start-ups. So far I have been working mainly in sales and marketing, but I have had the opportunity to work with operations as well. As a small company, everyone needs to be able to step in and perform if one of the workers is out and I think that I have been able to do that well so far. The broadness of tasks that I have been trusted with has been amazing for getting closer to my learning goals. It has opened doors to how a real world company runs and works and how it does so smoothly. This is something that I never could have learned in a classroom. Our CEO, Justin Kittredge, has been awesome as well. He includes the interns in meetings and values their opinions which is something that you definitely won’t find in many other places. His motivation tactics, work ethic, and dedication to the grind and the company have rubbed off on me and have shown me what it really takes to be successful in an entrepreneurial venture. This is a picture that includes more information on the actual product that we are selling:

ISlide_Mantra_Shoe_Model-Flyer (1)

I have been moving towards my learning goals everyday, all while gaining valuable skills to go along with them.

I have learned a number of new skills while working with ISlide. I will start off in my position as a sales representative. I have learned new selling techniques that have made sealing the deal much easier. I have also learned how to identify more lucrative markets that would be interested in our product. This has done wonders for my ability to add accounts and to bring in customers. This is a link to one of our YouTube videos focusing on our customers and what they have done for ISlide so far. Lastly, I have gained numerous conversational and interpersonal skills. I am extremely comfortable on the phone and feel as though I do a great job in conversations with potential partners. This skill has also been built through working everyday with my co-workers. The interpersonal skills gained by conversing and collaborating with the sales force and other interns will serve me well in the classroom, in group projects, and in future careers. People skills are some of the most important talents to have while working in an office. I have realized what it takes to work as a team and I think that is vital to both the academic and the business world.

Everything that I have learned throughout the first half of the internship has allowed me to achieve a satisfying amount of success. I’m most proud of the fact that I sold more pairs than any one else did in the month of June. I was truly happy to be able to help the company and bring in revenue and I think that speaks to Justin’s motivation techniques. He is very positive and empowering and it felt great to be able to show him that what he was teaching us was working. This is a link to one of the biggest accounts that I have brought in.

The first half of this internship has been amazing. I have learned so much more than I thought I was going to and I have been given the opportunity to make my mark on the company which is all I could have asked for. I even got to meet Mickey Ward!

In a conversation with Justin earlier this week, he asked us what our biggest regret would be if we had to leave on that day. My response was that I would just regret not having more time – more time to learn from such a great mentor, more time to learn the ins and outs of a start-up, and more time to interact with the great people that work at this company. I will definitely be making the most of the rest of my time here at ISlide and I look forward to recapping all the knowledge I have gained!

Halfway Through the Summer at McLean Hospital

This summer has been full of exciting new research at the Behavioral Health Partial Program at McLean Hospital. I have accomplished a lot since the beginning of the summer. My main learning goals consisted of acquiring knowledge about the process behind writing a publishable research article, and I am certainly forming an understanding. I learned how to complete a full literature search and formed a database of all of the articles relevant to our research paper, which will address the predictors of suicidality in patients with psychosis. Based on past research, we chose what predictors to include in our model. Upon doing so, we assessed the chosen factors for significance and found those that relate to suicidal ideation. I learned about the statistics behind the analyses used in our study. Thus, I have already learned how to complete a literature search, hypothesize and formulate a model, and understand statistical analyses. Recently, I completed a rough draft of the introduction and methods section of the paper.

The building to the left is the BHP headquarters.  (http://cdasr.mclean.harvard.edu/index.php/participate/directions)
The building to the left is the BHP headquarters. (http://cdasr.mclean.harvard.edu/index.php/participate/directions)

These have not been the only projects I have completed. I am also working on completing a bigger literature search for a cognitive biased modification (CBM) experiment that is ongoing, along with nearly completing a visual timeline of BHP measures. I have read widely about CBM, and am continuing to learn more about the effect of this type of treatment on mental health. From the timeline of measures I learned and understood the current and past surveys administered at the BHP. This timeline will also provide comprehensive information about the surveys for other researchers who are using BHP data. The timeline will visually show how long certain surveys were administered to patients and how many patients have completed the surveys. Overall, I have learned a lot about forming a study, analyzing data, and writing drafts. I have also been involved with other studies within the BHP and have gotten the chance to help make data more organized for others to use.

My daily BHP materials.
My daily BHP materials.

I recognize my growth in research knowledge as I read studies for literature searches, which are becoming easier to complete. It has become easier to understand other papers’ rationale and methodology. When starting the rough draft of the paper, I found it easier to write than my past psychology papers.

I am most proud of the work I have completed on the suicidality and psychosis paper, and it is exciting for me to begin the process of drafting and re-writing. It took a lot of work to get everything completed and to begin writing. So far, I feel like I have gained a better understanding of the research process, which will be useful if I am involved in research in the future. I have also gained a sense of what research is like in a treatment setting, which has given me the opportunity to better understand the field I hope to pursue. Besides understanding, I have gained focus and persistence, along with skills in maneuvering SPSS, Excel, BHP databases, and online databases.

Lauryn Garner, ’15

A little more than halfway done interning with the Boston Public Health Commission

It is amazing how quickly this summer has gone by and that I am more than half way done interning with the Boston Public Health Commission.  BPHC’s inspections of Boston public schools is completed for now, so I have been shadowing health inspectors as they conduct inspections in small businesses such as nail and hair salons.  I also went to an emergency health hazard call at a restaurant in Mattapan where a sewage pipe burst in the basement of the building complex, which also affected a neighboring barbershop.  The restaurant’s permit for operation was suspended until the matter was cleared up and they passed a follow-up inspection.  I still find it  interesting to observe the protocol for each inspection, in different types of businesses, that the commission deals with on a day-to-day basis.

In addition to shadowing these inspections, a majority of my work this month was directed towards finding an affordable ventilation system for nail salons that meets the new regulation standards.  Recent regulations put into effect by the commission regarding ventilation in nail salons include an increased outdoor airflow rate and the banning of recycled air within the salons.  These requirements follow those set forth by the International Mechanical Code of 2009 http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/icod/imc/2009/icod_imc_2009_4_par015.htm and must be fulfilled by October of this year.  Most of the salons will have trouble meeting this deadline for financial reasons, as existing ventilation systems that fulfill the requirements are pricey.

Finding appropriate ventilation for the salons is difficult as well because specific requirements pose different challenges.  For example, the zero percent recycled air requirement will make it hard for salons to retain heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, so a system that can fulfill the need of exhausting air without losing heat is ideal, but expensive.  This is why the commission is working with students at Wentworth Institute of Technology on developing an affordable system.  I was tasked with trying to find a mechanical engineer who was familiar with the International Mechanical Code of 2009 and was interested in partnering with the Wentworth students on developing a system. However, none so far have shown a strong interest because the scope of the project is daunting, or because they are unfamiliar with the needs of the nail salons.

Lastly, I have continued to do educational outreach with nail salons and auto body shops through the commission’s Green and Clean program http://www.bphc.org/whatwedo/healthy-homes-environment/green-and-clean/Pages/Green-and-Clean.aspx.  This involves going out to new auto body shops throughout Boston to inform them about the program and its benefits, such as free advertising of your business on the commission’s website as being a “green” business.  If a business decides to sign on, then a follow-up walk through is conducted and if enough points are earned, then the business passes.  For auto body shops, points can be made for initiatives like recycling oil or windshield glass, in addition to using a water based primer instead of an oil based one.  Overall, my experience with the commission continues to be personally fulfilling as I feel that I am directly impacting the improvement of public health within the city of Boston, which is a fantastic feeling at the end of each day. I look forward to seeing what project I get involved in next.

IMG_0309IMG_0326To the left is a picture of a typical flammable storage container and it is required that all flammable or volatile chemicals be stored within one, such as the acetone seen in the picture in a nail salon.

To the right is a paint spraying room in an auto body shop.  One of the point based initiatives in the Green and Clean program is that all paint spraying conducted in an auto body shop must take place in one of these regulation spraying rooms with proper ventilation.

-Ben Krause ’15

BR Guest Midpoint

As I am passing the midpoint of this internship I find the event quite bittersweet. Although I am so grateful for all that I have learned and elated that this opportunity came into my life, I am sad to think it is coming to a close. Even though I still have weeks left at the office, I know that they will fly by and before I can blink, this experience will have ended.

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At the start of my internship I set certain goals for myself: academic, career, and personal. As the internship unfolds I can see my initial goals becoming fulfilled. Academically I wanted to apply my psychology and business knowledge to the world of Human Resources. I find on a daily basis I use the skill set I have learned from my courses at Brandeis. Whether conducting an interview and using knowledge from “Personality” to get a sense of a person in 20 minutes from body language and how they talk, from sitting in on a meeting with directors and understanding certain business concepts, my academic career has proven to be a tremendous aid in the corporate world. My career goals were to experience HR in full and to gain experience in the corporate world. As previously described, this internship provides a 360 degree view of all aspects of HR, and as I am progressing in this position, I find myself taking on more responsibilities. I am becoming a self sufficient employee and considered a full member of the Human Resources team.

Leading employees through paperwork at oreintation
Leading employees through paperwork at oreintation

As seen in the photos above, I have moved from simply assisting to leading employees through orientation. I am most proud of that I am learning so much and applying what I learned. I can do tasks myself and am trusted to carry out those important tasks. I am truly taking a leadership role in the internship and taking in and learning everything I possibly can.

As for the personal goals I set, since previously being a hostess I was excited to learn about the restaurant industry from the corporate perspective. Not only am I able to learn about this from a Human Resources stance but as a part of the internship project I get to learn about the restaurant industry from the view of all the departments. From marketing, purchasing, finance, to operations, through this project I am able to see exactly what is necessary to create a functioning and smooth running restaurant and corporation.

I am learning every single day and the skills I am developing I will carry out well after this internship ends. From fine tuning my skill set in Excel to learning other programs and techniques, I will continue to carry out and expand my knowledge throughout the school year. Additionally, this internship undoubtedly is creating a sort of discipline within me that I can apply to my future career at Brandeis. It will cause me to be more professional, more thoughtful, create a schedule, and handle certain tasks that I may have thought overwhelming in the past to something manageable. Commuting alone instills a discipline, getting up early every morning and having what feels like an entire day go by before you even set foot in the office at 9am. This along with all I am learning in the office are tools I will set up in my academic life to become more successful.

Midway through my internship at ioby

I am more than halfway through my internship and I have learned a lot, although sometimes in ways that I did not expect. When I came into my internship I thought that I would mostly learn about cities and the effects that local community projects have on a neighborhood. In my WOW application I wrote that I had a desire to learn about different projects through phone interviews. During my time at ioby I have been tasked with running a follow up survey to learn about the lasting impacts that ioby projects have had on their communities. These calls have been helpful in teaching me about different ideas that people have for their neighborhoods. Learning about creative small scale urban projects will help me continue my academic growth as I pursue my IIM in urban studies and possible career path in urban planning. In addition to this my phone conversations have allowed me to interact with a variety of people across the country that I would otherwise be unable to meet.

Reflecting back on when I started my internship, I initially thought that I had not gained any new skills but after giving it some thought I have realized that growth can sometimes be hard to detect. I feel that this internship has helped me become more comfortable cold calling people on the phone. I feel like I am part of my organization, a concept that takes some getting used to. This feeling of being part of an organization has made it a lot easier to speak for ioby (our policies, mission etc.). This process has been facilitated by attending weekly meetings with the full staff. During these meetings every person shares what they have done last week and what their plans are for the next week. In addition, we practice sharing stories of our project leaders. We have also had the opportunity to ask open questions to the co-founders of the organization.

While I have learned a great deal about urban projects, I did not expect to learn so much about non-profits as a whole. The organization that I am interning for, ioby, is a very small non-profit. At the headquarters there are only 3 full time staff members. I have had the awesome opportunity to work in the same room as everybody in the organization which has given me an interesting perspective as to the daily happenings of a nonprofit organization. I am glad that I have been able to learn so much through my internship and I look forward to learning more in the coming weeks. Bellow I have attached two pictures that are examples of projects that I have been able to learn about through my interviews.

 

Revamp and Rebuild raised money to rebuild a community garden

 

Prenatal Yoga en el Bronx offers bilingual prenatal fitness to low income communities in the Bronx

– Josh Berman ’15

McLab Midpoint

Five weeks after I started working again at the McAllister Lab of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, I am already halfway done with my internship! Since I started, I have been very busy running all different types of experiments. Some tasks that I have been busy doing are immunohistochemistry, protocol optimization, and tissue culture. There have definitely been obstacles along the way, including faulty reagents and cell line contamination, but I have been trying pace myself and take it all with a grain of salt.

After the first week, I started feeling comfortable with working more independently in the lab. I was stressed during that first week, but once I figured out what I needed to do, it felt just like it did last summer when I was working without my mentor. In the past few weeks, I have been planning experiments with my given timetable, and it’s not as scary as I initially thought it would be. Unfortunately, even when I plan well in advance for some experiments, I have stopped by the lab during weekends because of time-sensitive protocols. (The cells don’t take a break!) I have also been receiving a lot of guidance along the way from two other post-doctoral researchers and the current lab manager in terms of guiding me through procedures, so I am extremely grateful for their assistance.

At this moment, I am most proud of my ability to plan out my days so that each are very productive. When I was a summer student here during previous years, there were some occasions where I would have down-time. This summer, I have much less down-time because I am so busy running experiments. I feel that every day that I am here, I am making very good use of my time. With regard to project progression, I generated some data that was inconsistent with previous results. In a mouse experiment with old and young mice bearing breast cancer tumors, I previously found differences in the presence of a certain type of protein. However, this time around, I found that there was no difference. The data was unexpected, but it is very important for us to consider when the paper for the Aging Project gets written. I have been learning new lab skills, such as working with dilutions and graphing tumor kinetics data on Excel. I previously haven’t had much experience with generating figures from a data set, so I am now glad that I am able to do so. I have also learned the importance of analyzing data blindly – that is, reviewing qualitative data as objectively as possible by hiding the different cohorts there are in an experiment. As a future scientist, it will be very important for me to keep this in mind; it is best to generate and review data in this fashion because bias can easily skew interpretation.

Finally, in addition to everything I have been learning and experiencing in the lab, I have been having a great experience outside of all the benchwork. I am definitely building stronger networks by talking more to my other labmates and getting a chance to talk to those who are in other labs. In fact, I had the fortune of having a great conversation with a Brandeis 2012 alum who worked in one of the neighboring labs; he left the state for medical school the week afterwards. And lastly, each year the McAllister Lab has annual social events with the Dr. Robert Weinberg Lab of MIT’s Whitehead Institute, Dr. McAllister’s post-doctoral research affiliation. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Weinberg himself at both the annual Weinberg Picnic and Weinberg Beach Day.

Dr. Sandra McAllister Lab at the annual Dr. Robert Weinberg Picnic
McLab Members at the annual Weinberg Beach Day at Wingaersheek Beach (Gloucester, MA). We named our new friend McCrab!
McLab Members at the annual Weinberg Beach Day at Wingaersheek Beach (Gloucester, MA). We named our new friend McCrab!

Irene Wong, ’17

 

Midpoint at NYC Seminar and Conference Center

Wow. I am already at the midpoint of my internship at NYC Seminar and Conference Center (NYCSCC). My work at NYCSCC has definitely picked up its speed since my first week. I am exploring the finances of a company in a small business hospitality industry and have learned so much already.

I am proud of the Financial Analysis project that I am working on with a fellow intern. One of the project’s goals is to build a financial model that would tell a person how the company is doing financially based on certain factors. In order to complete this project, I am applying my Financial and Managerial Accounting knowledge to analyze the cash flow statements of the company. This is an exhilarating experience for me because I can actually apply the accounting material I have learned at Brandeis to analyze a company’s finances.

Another subdivision of the project is to evaluate the pricing of NYCSCC rooms based on the conclusions I have drawn from my financial analysis. Although I have not reached this point in the project yet, I am keeping this in mind as I am looking at the data I have compiled. I am happy about the progress that I am making so far in this project!

The majority of the work that I am doing for the projects requires the use of Excel. Becoming more familiar with Excel was one of my learning goals for this internship, and I am happy to say that I am building my Excel skills. Honing this skill will help me in future jobs since Excel is one of the most used business softwares among many companies.

Throughout this internship, I am building my analytical skills. When some of the data that I need for the project is missing, I have to figure out what the best method is to back into it, given the data that we have. Since I am dealing with a lot of financial data, I have to sort through it and decide what is relevant and what is not relevant when building the financial model. After compiling and analyzing this data, I draw conclusions to see if there are any noticeable trends or unusual occurrences. This step-by-step analytical skill is preparing me for future business and economics classes at Brandeis, where I envision myself doing projects that involve analytical thinking.

Teamwork is required for the work that I do. When I hit roadblocks in the project, I am grateful to be able to talk about them with a fellow intern, my mentor, and a company owner. They offer advice about ways to solve these challenges, and it feels great to be able to bounce ideas back and forth with each other. The collaboration involved in my intern work is preparing me for the real world. In any future career path that I embark on, I will always have to work in teams on company projects and be able to communicate ideas with other team members.

I am enjoying my experience at NYCSCC and am excited to continue my progress on the projects!

A NYCSCC room
A beautiful view of NYC from NYCSCC

 

Taking work ”home” – the best way possible!

When you leave home at 14 to go to a strange new country, things will most likely not always go according to plan. Whether that is following your heart instead of your brain, or just being too naive and trusting strangers more than you should, you are likely to eventually get yourself in some kind of trouble. The best part about it? It makes you pretty brave, and so incredibly resilient.

How does that relate to my summer internship, you ask? As my 6th year in the United States comes to a close, I find myself in the heart of Silicon Valley for a wonderful experience. I am currently interning at Project Happiness, a research-based nonprofit that empowers people of all ages and backgrounds to choose happier, more meaningful lives. They do so through creating an educational curriculum that is implemented in schools in over 85 countries, films, books and other outlets. Upon being offered this opportunity, I was extremely grateful that I would get to do something that is so dear to my heart – providing people around the world with resources that would lead them to live fulfilling lives – all while using the skills that I have learned in my Economics major.

 

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Since starting my internship two weeks ago, I have worked closely with the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. Part of what we do includes conducting business model analysis for internationally sold products, as well as researching grants and writing up proposals. Through websites like Foundation Directory Online, we have been compiling an extensive list of grants that will be chosen as part of the organization’s new fundraising strategies. Given the small, close-knit nature of the nonprofit, any work conducted is extremely valuable and has great impact on the organization’s future. I love knowing that every day, when I walk into work, I will be doing something that will be of such importance to a place I am already so passionate about! Another great part about interning at Project Happiness includes getting to participate in talks with consultants, partners and other professionals that conduct pro bono work for the organization.

Not only have the social and emotional learning principles that Project Happiness teaches affected me in my workplace, they have also come in handy since arriving in California. A while after arriving, I found out that my housing plans had fallen through and I had no place to go. Naturally, my brain went into flight or fight mode. After the initial nervous system response, I started using all the wonderful concepts I had learned at my workplace to put things into perspective and analyze the situation from a more rational and calm point of view. Eventually, things started coming together.

One of my favorite parts about Brandeis is staffing Alumni Reunion weekend, because I get to meet inspiring, kind, passionate people. This past alumni reunion, I met a couple from California that was on campus for their 50th class reunion. They gave me their contact information and said their doors were always open to the Brandeis family. When I called them and explained my situation, they did not hesitate to host me until I found somewhere to stay. Days like this really show you how amazing it is to be part of this wonderful home we call Brandeis!

This summer, I hope to learn extensively about nonprofit management and the different ways in which business models affect the success of a product. More importantly, I am looking forward to learning the intricacies of the professional world and teamwork. I cannot wait to see what this summer has in store, both on a professional and personal level. Bring it on, California!

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First Week at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

Dear all,

I hope you are enjoying your summer adventures! My summer has just begun in our amazing capital. This summer I am interning at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington DC. I applied to this internship because its mission is to promote, defend and advocate for internationally recognized human rights norms. As a Brandeis Bridges Fellow, I am very passionate about international human rights due to the many violations I have witnessed during my recent trip to Israel. Moreover as a Brandeis student, I am proud to work for the TLHRC because this commission was created in honor of the founding Congressional Human Rights Caucus Co-Chairman Tom Lantos, a Holocaust Survivor, who dedicated his congressional career to achieving human rights globally. The TLHRC now works to encourage members of congress to actively engage in human rights matters and to advocate on behalf of individuals or groups of people internationally whose human rights are violated or are in danger of being violated.
In addition to all of the TLHRC’s great work I believe its work is unique because it is a bipartisan commission. This summer I will be working on the Democratic Staff but I still have the opportunity to work very closely with the Republican Staff. The two co-chairmen who are very different individuals but can relate when it comes to their passion for human rights are Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA) and Representative Frank R. Wolf (R-VA). I actually found this internship because of Congressman McGovern. Last summer and the fall after my high school graduation I interned for the Congressman’s Worcester and Leominster district offices. Through this internship experience I gained incredible connections to his staff who then helped me find this internship within a few weeks.
Being in DC for the summer is something that is not new to me because growing up I spent a lot of time visiting my cousin in Maryland. However, this time when I got to DC everything just felt different. This time I felt like I wanted to go home and be back in the care of my mom after a long, rigorous year at Brandeis. I think at first I was just nervous to be an “adult” away from home and on my own but surprisingly working at the commission did not intimidate me or scare me.
The first day of my internship was interesting but a mess on my part. I woke up at 6 AM to be sure I was as ready as I could be for our 9 AM meeting time. This is where reading emails correctly comes in handy because we were actually instructed to meet our boss at 10 AM outside of the Ford House Office Building. This is unfortunate because I was looking for the office inside the Ford House Office Building since 8:45. Thank God for smart phones because I was able to re-read the email and wait at the correct spot at 10 AM with my fellow interns. Meeting the other two interns was nice, but this is when I started to get nervous.
I quickly discovered I was the youngest fellow the commission would have and that my fellow interns were both Rangal Fellows with years of international experiences. The Rangal fellowship is a fellowship through the State Department that basically sets each fellow up to become a diplomat. Stan is a recent graduate from Northeastern, and Sara has been working internationally on refugee cases for the past six years. I was glad to know there would be other people sharing the same experience with me this summer regardless of the different stages of our lives.
After getting to know Sara and Stan we soon had our internship orientation. Through this orientation I learned that we would have a unique opportunity because we would be treated as fellows not interns. The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission is a bi-partisan and unfunded commission under the Foreign Affairs Committee. This Commission is unfunded due to the budget cut on human rights so it is crucial that the Commission has fellows in order to keep running. Typically TLHRC fellows will stay up to a period of six months with one lead fellow and three other fellows. Thus said, we were expected to quickly jump into work and pick up on what the other fellows left behind.
At first this was difficult because I did not know what I was supposed to do and I felt like wasn’t doing enough. However, by the third day I found myself to be very busy and the day seemed to go by much faster. The one thing I did find difficult was getting used to the 9-5 life in a cubicle. I just kept thinking to myself, “How do people do this for their whole life?” Thankfully at the Commission it is not that bad because we have 2-3 meetings a day, but it will still be a challenge for me to get used to. From this week I have learned a lot about my studies, and myself; but I have also realized that I am not exactly sure if this is the right career path for me. But on the bright side I was able to see Nancy Pelosi at a reception on Tiananmen Square ☺
If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission please visit our webpage. Also if you would like to read up on any of our current briefings or hearings please look into our hearings and briefings tab. One that I suggest you check out is our briefing on the Human Rights and the Escalation of Violence in Sudan . We have many more briefings and hearings coming up this month on the Humanitarian crisis in Iraq, Human Rights violations in Burma, and Human Rights in Haiti. I will keep you posted on both my experience and what I am working on.

 

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My First Week at Boston Children’s Hospital

After spending my last summer swamped in organic chemistry, I decided I needed a summer to test my Brandeis education in the medical world. Having gained a great deal of experience in a lab setting already, I was very interested in expanding that knowledge into a clinical setting. Through my participation in a research trial on female athletes, I had the pleasure of meeting my current supervisor, a physician and clinical researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital. She offered me a position as a research intern, helping to continue the work being done towards preventing injuries in female athletes.

 

Ranked as one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country, Boston Children’s Hospital has a long-standing history of advancing medicine into the future. Their values include excellence, sensitivity, leadership, and community with a mission of providing quality care, progression in research, and teaching future leaders in pediatric care. Boston Children’s Hospital is not-for-profit so all resources go towards fulfilling and maintaining the values and mission of the hospital. Children’s also is home to the world’s largest research enterprise as leaders in uncovering the cause of diseases from autism to juvenile leukemia. I will be stationed at the Waltham campus with some work being conducted in Boston.

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Along with my supervisor, I also get to work with another sports medicine physician who does a great deal of work with the Boston Ballet and has a strong interest in conducting more research on dancers and the injuries they sustain. With the guidance of both doctors I have begun working on a patient survey that will be used in the hospital to help find patients with high risks for injury. I have also begun the process of gaining International Review Board approval to perform a retrospective chart review on dancers to see if a specific BMI correlates to certain injuries.

 

All of the research I will get to do this summer will help improve the knowledge of the Female Athlete Triad. The Female Athlete Triad is a syndrome that affects the health of active women and girls who participate in sports. The triad is comprised of three distinct and interrelated conditions: Energy Deficiency with or without Disordered Eating/Eating Disorder, Menstrual Problems and weak bones. Many female athletes are affected by this syndrome but the extent to which it affects each individual ranges along a continuum of severity. Menstrual problems include irregular or missed periods. Bone problems can include stress fractures and reduced bone density for an individual’s age and activity level. Being affected by any aspect of the Triad can have detrimental effects on the health of female athletes, so when an athlete presents with multiple afflictions it is important to treat them quickly. Luckily those affected by the Female Athlete Triad can turn their health around by supplying their bodies with enough calories to fuel them while in motion and at rest. However, many female athletes participate in sports where physical aesthetics are a large factor in the competition or are so driven to win that they disregard the potential harm they place on their bodies. For these athletes it is important to introduce guidelines at a young age to prevent and insure that their bodies will never suffer the consequences of the Triad.

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Over the course of the summer I hope to familiarize myself with clinical research. So far I have gotten to see many different angles of the medical field as I am continuously surrounded with doctors, physician assistants, nurses and researchers all working together in different ways to improve the lives of the people they serve. I also hope to take away information that I could use to directly impact my peers in the athletic community, as preventing injury is one of the most important aspects of being an athlete.

BR Guest Hospitality: A “Taste” of Human Resources

BR Guest Hospitality

After finishing my first few weeks at BR Guest Hospitality, I can already determine that Human Resources, as well as the working in a company in the restaurant business was a perfect fit.
First off, how I secured my internship, looking back, is now somewhat humorous. One of my many responsibilities as an HR intern is posting open positions within the company, selecting, interviewing, and finally choosing candidates. Therefore seeing the process from the other side of the table (literally and figuratively) is an opportunity not many procure.
I first found my internship online through a job website. After applying online for the position of HR Intern, I received an email from the corporate recruiter for a phone interview. While on the phone interview I was asked to come into the corporate office for a second interview as well as a “meet and greet” with the Human Resources team. In February, I visited the corporate office and interviewed in person. Lastly, within a few weeks, I was offered the position.
Immediately after meeting the team and hearing more about the position and company, I knew this is how I wanted to spend my summer. Being the only intern in HR gives me the opportunity to learn all the ins and outs of the position. After being a part of the team for a few weeks, I look back and am thrilled that I found this internship.

BR Guest Hospitality, is a restaurant hospitality group that has over 25 restaurants spanning across four states (New York, New Jersey, Florida, Nevada). The corporate headquarters is located in New York on 315 Park Avenue South. Living in New Jersey, I chose to commute to work every day. Learning how to commute is also a great tool that I am learning during this internship. Navigating through the city, learning the subway systems, deciphering port authority, all are things I do everyday. At first, I probably looked like a tourist wandering through the streets of New York, following signs and asking locals where certain places are located. Now, I feel as though I can be considered a local. I laugh looking back at how scared I was to go into the city alone, because now, only after a few weeks, it seems so simple.

As a Human Resources intern I get to see all aspects of HR from recruiting, payroll, new hire orientation, incident reports, terminations, investigations, hiring, open calls, etc. Being the only intern hired for Human Resources provides me with a chance to see HR from all possible sides. The HR team is quite small, amounting to only 4 people: the HR team consists of my manager, two assistants, and myself. Due to the fact that we are a small team we all share a lot of work and are very close. From my very first day they were extremely inviting, welcoming, friendly, and have taught me so much. Getting to be a member of such a remarkable HR team, makes this internship one of a kind. I am a true member of the staff in that I am given responsibilities that a full time staff member would have to complete. I help each member of my team with their day to day tasks as well as having overarching tasks myself. For example, each week we have new hire orientation located at our restaurant, Blue Water Grill.

BLue Water Grill is located in Union Square, it is also the location for our weekly orientations
Blue Water Grill is located in Union Square, it is also the location for our weekly orientations

At orientation, at first, I was solely responsible for helping in organizing paperwork, checking IDs, etc. However, now, I help lead the orientation with my other team members. By the end of my internship, I will lead an entire orientation by myself.

I have learned so much already and cannot wait to gain more knowledge about the field of HR as well as being a restaurant hospitality group. I am learning every day and expect to keep learning. This internship was a way for me to test the waters in the field of HR, and already I can see that this may be a serious career path for me in the future.

 

This is our Blue Fin Restaurant, one of our largest properties, located in Times Square.
This is our Blue Fin Restaurant, one of our largest properties, located in Times Square.

LAVA BEAR Week One!

This is Alex Weick touching down from Lava Bear Films in Los Angeles! More specifically Culver City: the film company where I am working this summer is couched in a creative adaptive reuse project, a “campus,” where the plants are deep green and the food trucks are sumptuous. Lava Bear Films is a production and film financing company.

I have various internship responsibilities, but my predominant obligation is to do Script Coverage. Coverage is when you write a synopsis of a script and give your feedback, suggesting whether it be produced, pursued, or thrown in the trash. The ideal is to separate the wheat from the chaff so that higher-ups don’t have to bother with the subpar work agents submit. I pride myself on being both a benevolent giver of constructive criticism and a vicious critic who eviscerates soulful, sentimental work, thus the work is apt. You would be shocked at the amount of typos professional screenwriters submit; rest assured, I believe I could definitely forge a career in this.

I wish I could tell you all more about what I’ve been reading, but it’s all top-secret! I had to sign a waiver and everything! Although part of me wishes I could share, feeling privy to the internal machinations of the film industry is an exciting feeling that I actually relish. This sensation of exclusivity, seeing the gears which modulate Hollywood and the star machine…it is fascinating and inspiring for someone who loves film deeply.

I located my internship through a friend, but I earned the job through my coverage. I encourage people to locate studios which produce work they really appreciate. Be persistent and responsible in your application process. If you want a career in entertainment, there aren’t any other options than to pull out the stops, locate the work you enjoy and find the people facilitating it.

The first week was interesting. Day one I was excited, I can be a tiny bit nervous when I’m excited about an opportunity. Fortunately, it all worked out beautifully. The staff is lovely, diverse, intimately sized (my mentoring is dedicated, hands-on), and my supervisor is wonderful. She’s helpful, she answers all my questions, and is eminently concerned that I am learning and growing during this process. AND she has fabulous music taste!

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My humble intern hideaway

I’ve learned a fair amount about how business deals are made (hint: lots of discussion) and I’ve re-learnt a cursory life lesson: the necessity of brevity. I, of course, am the queen of redundancy and tangents, but I’ve managed to become more succinct in the coverage I’ve completed so far. You simply can’t afford to babble when there are more important goals to accomplish. Moreover, I think it will help me when I’m trying to produce creative projects and understand how to better pitch and sell stories.

My overarching goals are manifold. First and foremost, I want to further understand what professional niche I intend to occupy. One can only get a limited idea of what a film-career might look if they rely on screenwriting books and hearsay. Being present is vital: seeing who pulls what weight or how I might someday take on responsibilities. Furthermore, I want to build a network in the area. My coworkers have been very supportive about the prospect of a future career here.

Another goal was to figure if I could imagine living in L.A., and let me tell you, I definitely could! The greenery and weather are glorious, the clubs are exponentially better than any in Boston, and the food is delicious (albeit expensive, but c’mon, it’s L.A.!). It feels incredible to be in a community of artists and people who appreciate art. I feel so whole being around tenacious and creatively engaged citizens, even tangentially and indirectly. I could do without the overabundance of fedoras (which are apparently in style here?) but eh, you take the good with the bad.

My final purpose was to do research that will inform my thesis and future writing and certainly, this all will. The density of scripts I’m reading and the coverage I’m writing are improving my writing, particularly my ability to balance literary economies of purpose, production and expression. In the middle of week one, I had a brain surge that revolutionized my thesis. I feel very in touch with my creative soul in The City of Angels.

I even got to go to Lava Bear’s first film premiere! The Rover, starring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson, is excellent. Go see it! The movie’s harsh realism was right up my alley. I feel so fortunate to have located a production studio that supports independent, innovative, alternative talent. Also: I made eye contact with Zac Efron at the premiere. It’s puerile of me, but I could have burst into tears. I looked right into the abyss and it inexplicably stared back, filled with promise and potentialities of realizing dreams. I feel confident this is where I should be and fortunate that the WOW has helped make it happen.

So long, WOW’ers and readers. I will return soon to regale you with stories of my travails, and ideally, more celebrity sightings.

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Outside the Lava Bear office

Alex Weick — Brandeis University 2015

My Work at the Behavioral Health Partial Program

The Behavioral Health Partial (BHP) Program is a treatment center at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, for those battling a wide range of mental health issues, varying from mood and anxiety disorders to thought and personality disorders. Using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), the BHP offers group and individual therapy sessions to reduce patient’s symptoms and improve their functioning. On average, patients attend this day program for around 7-10 days and are often transitioning from inpatient care to outpatient treatment.

 The BHP conducts extensive research in order to study different mental illnesses and the effects of CBT and DBT. Each day, patients complete self-report questionnaires. This data is then used to assess treatment outcome, symptom severity, and many other factors. These questionnaires, along with clinical assessments, are essential for research at the BHP. Currently, I am helping with many research projects, including improving research databases and co-writing a research paper.

http://www.mclean.harvard.edu/news/staff/
http://www.mclean.harvard.edu/news/staff/

I secured this internship a year ago, spending only two months at the BHP last summer and mainly working on a treatment fidelity project. This summer, however, I am co-writing a research article that explores the predictors of suicidality in those with psychosis.  Currently, I am working on completing the literature search that will provide the background information for the article. I am researching the suicidality predictors that researchers have used in the past. From this, we can choose a number of predictors from our database to form our own model. These predictors will then be assessed for significance to see if they are notably correlated with suicidality in patients with psychosis. These predictors are taken mostly from clinical assessments and self-report surveys.

I am also working on a visual timeline that displays all of the measures ever administered at the BHP. In order to do so, I have to navigate the BHP database to find the dates of when these measures were administered and terminated. I am also involved with running depressed subjects in a cognitive biased modification (CBM) experiment. It is our hope that this CBM task will improve the automatic negative thoughts that often accompany depression. With this internship, I am gaining experience in a clinical setting by interacting with patients and clinicians.

In the first week, I have been working closely with the research coordinator and a post-doctoral fellow. I have learned how to navigate SPSS, databases, E-prime, and Excel while also learning how to begin a research project and complete a literature search. I am excited to continue with these projects and I am learning something new every day. I am hoping to deepen my understanding of the research methods used in psychology as well as experiencing the implications of such research in a clinical setting.

-Lauryn Garner, ’15

Week One at Healthy Waltham: What I’m Doing and How

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At Healthy Waltham, everyone is passionate about eating healthy, delicious food, and helping others live well. The staff and my fellow intern are inviting, enthusiastic, and a bit on the “crunchy” side– which for me is perfect. Already, the amount of work that goes into a community organization surprises me, and it is only my first week!

Healthy Waltham is a 501 C nonprofit organization that aims to promote healthy living in the Waltham community. It originally started as a coalition to organize various existing health-orientated groups; now Healthy Waltham has several of its own projects aimed at health promotion and childhood obesity prevention. Learning Gardens with local schools and housing developments, cooking classes, and the recent River Fest are just some of the activities in which Healthy Waltham is involved. Brandeis students often intern or volunteer with Healthy Waltham, such as the Veggie Buddies club through Waltham Group.

My role as an intern at Healthy Waltham mainly revolves around recipe development, nutrition, and teaching healthy cooking to kids, teens, and adults. During the Fall 2013 semester, I volunteered with Healthy Waltham and the Chill Zone to teach middle school students how to make healthy snacks. The internship is basically a continuation and expansion of my volunteer role. Another major goal of my internship is to make the cooking classes sustainable with future interns.

In addition to the cooking classes, I am helping with internship development, grant writing, and communications as well.  After becoming more familiar with the needs and specific goals of Healthy Waltham, hopefully I can contribute fresh ideas that will help the group move forwards.

How did you get involved with Healthy Waltham, you ask? Last summer, I met Judy Fallows at a farmer’s market. After talking for a while, she mentioned that she had been looking for someone to give cooking lessons at the Chill Zone for years. The classes started the following fall and Judy was so pleased with the program that she suggested the World of Work (WOW) fellowship for when I returned from abroad. I wanted to learn more about the community side of health care and to make the cooking class sustainable, so I accepted her offer.

The first week went well and I had more fun than I expected! The people at Healthy Waltham become more inspiring as I learn more about them because they are all so passionate and have done amazing things. From helping Reva Haselkorn, the chef instructor, with her cooking class at Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center, I learned so much about how to teach others that I wish I knew in the fall! Another highlight of the week was taking the ServSafe certification course so I can handle food with the public more safely.

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During the rest of the summer, I hope to learn how to encourage others to make long-term changes to their lifestyle and to learn how to earn a grant. No matter what I do in the future, I want to help people improve their health on their own. Since I am considering research as a career, knowing how to win a grant may be necessary. Although I expect to learn about certain things, the most valuable lessons I learn during this internship will come unexpected.

– Yuki Wiland, ’15

From Healthier Schools to Green Products: The Boston Public Health Commission

I am interning with the Boston Public Health Commission, the nation’s oldest health department, which operates as an independent public agency providing a broad range of health programs and services.  Public service and access to quality healthcare are the foundations of their mission, which is to protect, promote, and preserve the health and well-being of all Boston residents, particularly the most vulnerable.  The Commission oversees about 1,200 employees and maintains its mission through more than 40 programs grouped into six bureaus: Child, Adolescent & Family Health; Community Health Initiatives; Homeless Services; Infectious Disease; Addictions Prevention, Treatment & Recovery Support Services; and Emergency Medical Services.  I work under the Environmental Health Division within the Infectious Disease Bureau.  My responsibilities as an intern this summer are most heavily focused on the Environmental Health Division’s Safe Shops program as part of their Healthy Homes and Environment initiative.

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Me holding a photoionization detector to measure VOC’s and a Q-Trak to read CO2 levels within a middle school.

 I first encountered the Boston Public Health Commission through the Health and Justice, Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS) this past fall.  I shadowed health inspectors in nail salons and attended the Commission’s Healthy Cosmetology Committee meetings to discuss recent regulations being passed regarding the salons.  I quickly grew an interest in their mission to improve public health within Boston as it very much related to the work I was doing in JBS and decided to contact my current supervisor to negotiate my spring internship.  The work we completed in our JBS resulted in the completion of an indoor air quality study within several nail salons throughout Boston to measure levels of toxic volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde and toluene.  Beginning my internship and continuing it over the summer was therefore a very natural transition from JBS, as I am conducting indoor air quality testing and educational outreach with several of the same nail salons.

Although I am acquainted with my workplace through my spring internship, this first week was still very much a new experience.  I think that the most profound difference between the summer and spring was not having fellow Brandeis students working with me.  This change initially seemed like a negative one as each day felt extremely long – alone in my cubical or in the field by myself – as I had no one to talk to at work besides the occasional questions I would ask my supervisor.  However, I now view it as a positive one, as it has forced me not only to reach out and talk to people around the office, but it also drove me to put myself out there and show initiative.  For instance, I became friendly with the woman that sits next to me through frequent conversation and now asked her if I could shadow her on a lead based paint inspection in two weeks, which I am excited to attend.  I also got to go on two indoor air quality inspections in a middle school in Dorchester and another in Brighton, to measure levels of carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter.

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Example of a “greener” auto body shop paper towel.

The bulk of the work I completed this week was directed at the creation of a price comparison sheet to compare the prices of various paper products like toilet paper through a sampling of prices from different stores such as Shaw’s Supermarket and Whole Foods in order to show small businesses that “greener” recycled products are often not much more expensive than mainstream brands and sometimes even cheaper.

I have high expectations for my internship this summer and plan to go on several more health inspections, dealing with a range of environmental hazards from asbestos to measuring levels of volatile organic compounds within auto body shops.  Furthermore, I expect to gain further insight into the public health regulatory process, learning not only how and why these regulations are coming into existence, but also how they can effectively be enforced.

– Benjamin Krause, ’15

ISlide USA: The Beginning of the Journey

This summer I will be working for a start-up, athletic footwear company called ISlide USA. Located in Norwood, MA, ISlide specializes in premium, highly customizable slides (athletic flip flops) that are allowing the business to grow every day. There is nothing like our product on the market today and consumers are starting to realize this.

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I located this internship through our baseball team’s Facebook group. The company reached out to our athletic department and our captain put the information in our group. I thought it sounded very interesting, so I went in for an interview and received the position. ISlide has created and sold slides to celebrities and athletes such as Tom Brady, Floyd Mayweather, 2 Chainz, Riff Raff, and many others (view company website). We also have distributed them to the University of New Mexico, Northeastern University, and Southern New Hampshire University. During my internship I will be working mainly on sales, marketing, and generating interest for the company. However, I have been assured that if I find myself interested in any other aspect of the business I can be given the opportunity to learn it and work within it. With the unique corporate structure of ISlide, I will be working directly under CEO Justin Kittredge and the Sales Director which is an amazing opportunity. The company is still in the early stages so the interns here are given responsibilities and access to things that many college students are not. I loved my first week and I am excited to see the person I become by the end of the summer.

Waking up last Monday for my first day of work was nerve-racking. I arrived to the address with no issues, got out of my car, put my back pack on, and headed up the stairs. ISlide USA is located on the fourth floor of an old mill. What is inside is amazing. Worn wood floors and brick walls house the business. Boston sports heroes such as Larry Bird, Bobby Orr, Pedro Martinez, and Mickey Ward are painted on the white wood walls seen throughout the floor plan. There are boxes filled with slides stacked everywhere and a Pop-a-shot basketball game located in the corner. It is truly the most unique business office I have ever seen. While some may think that this space would distract the employees of the company, it actually does the opposite. When it comes right down to it, the mill has a way of bringing all of the members of ISlide closer as well as acting as a highly functional facility. We love this place and are proud to call it home.

After the whirlwind that occurs when meeting everyone and receiving your assignments, Justin told me that I needed to take a song and remix it to make the theme about slides. I was confused but the distraction made the transition much easier. I settled on remixing Sweet Caroline and had to sing my version of the song in front of everyone. It was embarrassing but I got it done; it felt like I had completed a right of passage. After that I got into my job, doing sales. I learned the ropes from my co-workers and began creating my database and contact list. Over the week my lists grew and my email’s sent folder swelled. Finally, towards the end of the week, I made my first sale. Everyone was excited for me and I was pumped. It felt great to do something that helped the company.

So far, I could not be happier with my decision to accept an internship with ISlide. I have only been here for a week and I already feel a true connection with the company, which is rare to find with an internship position. I come to work at 8:30 in the morning and don’t leave until 5:30 but the days don’t feel long, I am still having fun. Going forward my goal is to gain as much knowledge as I can. I want to use this experience to learn about two things I find very interesting, business and entrepreneurship.

ioby: In Our Backyard

This summer I am working in Brooklyn, NY for a small non-profit called ioby. ioby stands for “in our backyard” and it works to help support local community projects across the country. ioby is an online crowd resourcing platform  that allows people to post, organize and fund-raise for project proposals made to improve a community. Many people that use ioby do not have experience fundraising or community organizing. Because of this, ioby offers trainings on grassroots fundraising and organizing in order to help everyone achieve their goal. The idea behind this organization is that people know what their communities need most. Often times city planners or people in positions of power have set ideas on what a good community looks like. ioby is different because we try to empower people to achieve their own vision of a vibrant community.  Check out this video to learn more.

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ioby logo

I found the organization through a colleague that I worked with at the New York City Council, last summer. Earlier this year I sent him an email asking whether he knew about any organizations that were active around issues of public space and urban issues. I also told him that I am involved with organizing on campus at Brandeis and would be interested in exploring that field as well. My colleague knows the co-founder of the organization sent me some information and put me in touch. I browsed through the website and decided that I was interested in working for this organization. From there I sent a cover letter and resume and went through a phone interview. I was thrilled when offered the internship.

So far I am two weeks into my internship and I have done a number of different tasks. Because this organization is so small (3 full time staff and 5 part time staff), I will be doing a little bit of everything. One project that I have already completed is researching and outlining blog posts for 3 different topics that relate to many proposed projects from our website. These topics are food education, art in tactical urbanism and women of color in biking. ioby is planning on hosting webinars around all three topics to dig into the topics that our project leaders find interesting. These webinars will also provide people with information on how to successfully complete projects that fall within these 3 subject areas. In addition to the research, I am helping out with the logistics of the organization. I have been helping with book keeping to make sure that the organization’s finances are all in order for auditing. The biggest project that I will be taking on this summer will be running a phone survey of all of the people that have used our website in order to improve the organization as well as understand the long term impacts that our organization has had. Right now I am waiting for finalization of the questions before beginning the calls.

This summer I am looking forward to running this survey and improving my data analysis skills. In addition to this I am looking forward to learning more about how a small non-profit operates. I am really happy to be working with ioby. So far my interactions with my co-workers have been great and I am looking forward to the rest of the summer.

-Josh Berman ’15

First week at Innerscope Research

My first week at Innerscope Research is finally over and I already feel at home. I first heard about the company through personal research. When I heard a representative was speaking at a conference at Harvard, I immediately registered. From that point on, I kept in contact and reached out to current employees as well. I was passionate about what they did and wanted to get involved in any shape or form. In the spring, I applied for an internship and was able to secure a position for the summer! I didn’t expect to get one since it is a small company. However, things worked out and my first week is already over.

Innerscope Research

I walked into the place on a Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. I sat on a couch as I waited for the Internship Director to come by. I was welcomed with a big smile and a somewhat awkward handshake. The office is on the second floor of a building and is split into two office spaces. On one side of the building is the Media Lab where participants come in for experiments. Opposite of the Media Lab are the office rooms and conferences. Of course, they also reserved an area for the interns! I have my own desk and work computer (still figuring out how to use). Everyone welcomed me into the company and went out of their way to introduce themselves to me at my desk. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting everyone to be so kind and genuine. After a few days, I was already able to joke around with some of the Analysts, Project Manager, and the CEO (we’re buds now)!

From this summer internship, I hope to learn from the Analysts and Project Managers. A decent amount of employees have their Ph.D and I plan on figuring out whether graduate school will be in my future path as well. Innerscope’s purpose is what I have always wanted to do. By the end of the summer, I hope to figure out whether or not this is the place for me.
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Innerscope Research is a market research company that uses neuroscience tools to answer clients’ questions on marketing. Their methodologies include eye-tracking, facial coding, and biometrics. Eye-tracking is used to locate where the consumers are looking at within an ad/commercial. Facial coding is used with cameras to study facial muscle movements that correlate with certain emotions. As for biometrics, Innerscope specifically uses GSR ( galvanic skin response) to focus on sweat glands and a heart monitor. With these tools, Innerscope is able to study how consumers react to ads. For instance, does the Twix commercial make a consumer engaged and focused? Are the consumers focusing on the characters during the PopTart commercial? Exploring with consumer neuroscience depends on the clients and what they’re looking for. Innerscope Research’s main goal is to analyze consumer’s non-conscious behavior to improve marketing/advertising worldwide. Sounds cool? Trust me, it’s even cooler from behind-the-scenes…As an intern, my main responsibility is to help and support projects through data entry/analysis, client reports, and data mining. I work closely with a Senior Analyst who is also the Internship Director. With him, I will be exposed to the different departments within the company including Sales, Marketing, and Finance. There is also an Internship project that I was assigned with the other intern. Luckily, this isn’t due until the end of the summer.

They also keep their twitter up-to-date!

 

 

– Alicia Park, ‘ 15

 

Back at McLab

This summer, I have the pleasure of working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the lab of Dr. Sandra McAllister. The McAllister Lab studies breast cancer as a systemic disease, and our research focuses on identifying systemic factors that contribute to tumor progression and finding ways to interdict their function. Located in the Longwood Medical Area of Boston, MA, our lab is housed in the Karp Research Building.

This is actually my third summer at the McAllister Lab, as I interned here previously after my junior and senior years of high school. For those two prior years, I was at the lab under the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center CURE Program. I have continuously maintained dialogue with Dr. McAllister throughout the academic years, and she welcomed me to return to the lab when I had asked if I could return for another summer.

During my very first summer at the McAllister Lab (after junior year of high school), my mentor and I started a project called the Aging Project. In the Aging Project, we are studying the effect of age on triple-negative breast cancer. We have a cohort of young mice and old mice, inject them with human triple-negative breast cancer cell lines, and allow the tumors to grow. The project has been ongoing since its initiation two years ago, so I will once again contribute to its progress. Initially, I was working side-by-side with my mentor throughout my first and second summers. However, he left to pursue graduate school in the middle of the second summer; I ended up working alone for the last two weeks, but with assistance from other post-doctoral researchers in the lab if it was necessary. This summer, I am yet again without a direct mentor. Fortunately, I am still receiving guidance from my principal investigator on the project, and the other post-docs in the lab are also willing to assist me on protocols I am unfamiliar with. In terms of research related responsibilities this summer, I will be doing a lot of immunostaining, tissue culture, gene expression analysis, and literature searches. Other responsibilities concern general upkeep of the lab, such as updating and maintaining cell line and histology databases, restocking supplies, and organization. I will additionally attend weekly meetings with Dr. McAllister and the lab, departmental floor meetings, seminars, and journal clubs.

My first week consisted of catching up on meetings with my principal investigator, as well as planning the experiments that I will be doing. Planning experiments on my own is a new challenge for me, as I am used to having my previous mentor tell me what to do and guide me through each protocol. I feel overwhelmed and stressed about what I have to get done on the Aging Project, but I have confidence that I will be supported by other members of the lab if I need anything. There are also new members of the lab that I have not seen during previous summers, such as new post-docs and summer students, so I hope that I can become well-acquainted with them as well. This summer, I hope to build on my current knowledge of the McAllister Lab’s research and learn how to conduct myself independently in a research setting. I definitely miss having my mentor’s direct guidance, but I am looking forward to growing as a scientist.

– Irene Wong, ’17

Presenting the Aging Project at the New England Science Symposium, April 2014
Presenting the Aging Project at the New England Science Symposium, April 2014
Dr. Sandra S. McAllister Lab, Summer 2013

First Week at NYC Seminar and Conference Center

“Next stop is 23rd Street. Stand clear of the closing doors!” says the subway announcer.  I gather my belongings, knowing that I have to get off at the next stop. When the M train stops at the 23rd Street platform, the doors open and hordes of people get off the train with me. I quickly make my way to exit because, knowing NYC, a line to exit the subway station will always form, and I definitely do not want to get caught up in that in my morning commute. After I exit the station, I catch myself walking quickly to NYC Seminar and Conference Center (NYCSCC) to keep up with the fast-paced pedestrian speed of those around me.

NYC Seminar and Conference Center
NYC Seminar and Conference Center

This summer, I am interning at NYCSCC, located in the Flatiron District of New York City. It is a small business that hosts corporate and business clients’ meetings, seminars, and professional development events. Its clients range from people in the non-profits to financial services, both domestic and international. NYCSCC’s mission is to provide seminar and conference space for companies and groups to use while being budget-friendly. NYCSCC offers facilities that are up-to-date, tech support throughout events, and catering and amenities services for its business clients.

As a Finance intern, my responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

1) Collaborating with NYCSCC employees to complete tasks essential to the business’s functions

2) Collaborating with other NYCSCC interns on various projects ranging from inventory management to brand analysis

3) Focusing on Financial Analysis projects to improve small business financial operations

  •         Forecast recommendations for where the business’s budget should be spent to grow the business
  •         Analyze financial statements of a company in previous years, traffic on website, and all other data to draw correlations and conclusions on NYCSCC’s profitability

I found out about the internship through attending the NYC CIC career fair, January 2014. I am interested in accounting and financial work, and I immediately applied for this opportunity after speaking to a NYCSCC employee at the fair. After successfully navigating the interview and speaking with my future supervisor about my responsibilities as an intern, she offered and I accepted the internship. Since I wanted to stay in my home city of NYC over the summer while pursuing my interests through an internship, being a Finance intern satisfied my internship search.

My first week at NYCSCC was great. I met the other summer interns at the company and got the chance to know them better over lunches and group projects. All the interns were friendly and were willing to help each other out in any way possible. On the first day of the internship, all the interns were given a tour that was similar to what potential clients would see when they request a NYCSCC tour. NYCSCC rents out a couple of floors in the building. Throughout the tour, we learned about the building’s history and were provided with interesting anecdotes of the rooms. After the tour ended, I had a better understanding of the different rooms that clients could book, depending on if they were looking to host a social or a professional event.

In the following couple of days, all of the interns and I worked on projects that involved looking into different aspects of the company and providing suggestions for improvement. In order to evaluate how NYCSCC is performing, I looked into data that other conference centers have put on their websites and compared them to NYCSCC’s data.

While working on the projects, I learned that small business hospitality companies, such as NYCSCC, recently began to gain business again after the 2007-2008 financial crisis. According to Trends in the Conference Center Industry 2013, the reason that NYCSCC follows the economic trend is that this company falls into the category of a luxury good. When the economy is not performing well, small business hospitality companies take a dip in profits as well. People are less willing to spend money to book a space at a conference center when they can perhaps save some money and hold it at their own company’s space.

 

Photo Courtesy of www.nycseminarcenter.com

For the rest of the summer, I expect to handle and complete more finance and accounting projects for the company. In addition, I expect to observe multiple NYCSCC events and see how event managers take charge from the beginning to the end of the event.

 

Looking Back and Forward – Weizmann Institute Internship Midpoint Review

I checked my calendar yesterday, and was surprised to see that I am already halfway through my internship!  It seems like I just started, and I am still getting used to the lab and the team.  But now that I have paused to look back at what I’ve learned, I realize how much I have accomplished in the past month.  I am progressing on a research project that I designed with Dr. Fisher and Dr. Segal on a potential Alzheimer’s drug.  I have been using the confocal microscope independently to test the drug on cultured neurons, and to measure its interaction with other chemicals.  I am now beginning a new project, taking high-resolution 3D images of neurons to measure growth after protein transfection.

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Flying over Israel in a two-seater plane with my supervisor!

Flying over Israel in a two-seater plane with my PI!

I have listed my original goals here so I can reflect on my progress so far:

1) To attend lectures and conferences hosted at the Weizmann Institute, which will encompass various scientific topics

In my second week here, I attended a lecture by Prof. David Wallach from the Department of Organic Chemistry.  I learned about the sustainability of today’s energy sources and the Weizmann Institute’s cutting-edge research on energy sources for the future.  The institute has a solar tower that contains a field of 64 mirrors, each approximately the size of a tennis court. Each mirror tracks the movement of the sun independently and reflects its light onto one target mirror to accumulate all the energy.  The downside of solar energy is that it cannot be stored, so Weizmann researchers are currently researching storable and sustainable energy options for the future.

The second lecture I attended was by Prof. Tony Futerman from the Department of Biological chemistry Department on “Sphingolipids in health and disease.”  The cell membrane is majorly made up of one kind of molecule, the phospholipid. Prof. Futterman has found that there are actually hundreds of thousands of different phopholipid structures within the membrane.  There are more variations of phospholipids than there are genes in our cells! Prof. Futterman is researching the significance of this variation and how mutations can affect or cause diseases such as Gaucher disease and Tay-Sachs disease.

2)    To gain insight into the connections between molecular studies and mainstream medical treatments

Within the Alzheimer’s disease research, I have worked directly with a drug that could be used in the future in clinical care.  Dr. Fisher and I have discussed the process of designing a drug, testing it in the laboratory, and bringing it into clinical trials.  I am hopeful that I have played a helpful role in the research of this drug, and that it will be successful in the long run.

3)    To improve my research skills and learn more about research on an international scale

The Segal lab currently has scientists from Israel, Russia, Armenia, and Germany, and is always welcoming new post-docs, masters students and summer interns from all over the world. I see the scientists around me working on their projects, and at our Sunday morning lab meetings (yes, in Israel we have to work on Sundays) I get to hear about their progress. This past Sunday morning I heard about one researcher’s work on seizure prevention. This is really science in the making, and it is so cool to be right here watching it happen.

I am most proud of my ability to adapt to the new research setting.  I was briefly taught how to use the confocal microscope, and was then left to use it on my own.  I was originally nervous working on my own – there’s a lot to remember to keep the (expensive!) microscope clean and functional.  Also, this was my first time working with a computer-based microscope, and so I had to master the complex computer system. But I’ve learned to be very careful, reviewing steps in my head before doing them, and so far so good!  This is definitely a skill that I will be able to take with me for the rest of my life. Learning to master skills quickly through attention to detail and patience is very important in medical training.  And with the constantly changing medical technologies, I will continue to practice this throughout my career.

– Shani Weiner

Remaining days of my summer internship

My summer internship at IDG Ventures Vietnam was a wonderful experience. I really wish that I could extend my summer internship here into the Fall; however, I need to return to the States and finish my last year of undergraduate study. By this time, I have developed a clearer sense of what I want to do in the future, and private equity is definitely something I want to pursue in my professional career.

During the final two weeks of my internship, I mainly worked on finishing up my white paper described in previous blogs. As my summer break came to an end, I was also busy making some travel plans to make the most out of the remaining days of summer, therefore making it harder for me to finish the paper on time. However, I brought up this problem to my supervisor and he gladly allowed me more time and also guided me to add some finishing touches to my research. My final presentation was scheduled on August 11th, which is also my last day of work. I was quite nervous for this last task; but I told myself that I have been working hard all summer. I collaborated with my teammate to touch carefully on Industry background, competitor analysis and business models of social networks in Vietnam. We also pointed out characteristics that are specific to Vietnam, which the managers found interesting and noteworthy. In the end, they asked us some follow-up questions and encouraged that we would keep in touch frequently with them on the situation of the project regarding new changes in regulation in the coming years. I am obviously glad about this chance as it seems like a great opportunity to maintain and extend my professional network.

Looking back over two months working at IDG, I felt I am truly blessed to work with hardworking individuals in a top private equity firm in Vietnam. Every analyst and associate here possess certain qualities in analytical and verbal that I really want to master, and this is definitely something I want to accomplish over my last year at Brandeis. I look forward to take more challenging courses at IBS and engage in more social activities on campus this year. I hope to make the most out of my last semesters here before joining the workforce in the coming year.

For students who are looking to work in private equity or venture capital

1)   Be close to your professors and start looking for your ideal internships as early as possible.

2)   It is ideal to have passion for a certain or multiple industries, since as an analyst you would have to pitch a lot of ideas to managers. Read more about private equity here

3)   Work on your analytical, research and presentation skills

In short, I think that venture capital is an option that many people consider thanks to its balanced lifestyle and work hours. I am thankful for the opportunity to intern here at IDG Ventures Vietnam and I strongly believe it will lay down a strong foundation for my future steps.

– Nam Pham ’14

 

Moving Cl-Osa to the US and Brandeis

The most beautiful Pacific sunset I've ever seen! From Osa's Conservation Center.
The most beautiful Pacific sunset I’ve ever seen! From Osa’s Conservation Center.

As I reflect on my internship with Osa Conservation, I really appreciate so much the skills I learned throughout the summer. I measured and gathered data from a total of about 1,250 trees with a great field team in about the span of 1 month, which was intense but very satisfactory at the end. I learned how the entire research process works from start to finish: project idea; design; budget; preparation; daily fieldwork; team management; data entry, compilation, and analysis; and preparation and technique standardization for replacement researchers. I also learned more about the levels of taxonomic classifications for plants, as well as specific Latin names from the local set of tropical trees. I learned about the collaboration that goes on among various NGOs with similar interests to pursue projects that could not otherwise get done with the limited resources from a single NGO, which is very important for NGO development. Given that Osa Conservation has former workers from Conservation International, it has developed this successful model of NGO growth, development, and empowerment.

Being back on campus, I hope to build off of this experience by continuing my focused pursuit of as many environmental-science concepts as I can learn while at Brandeis, as well as wherever I decide to go after graduation. My time abroad has motivated me to make the effort to promote my Environmental Studies minor into a major; as a senior it may not be possible at this point but I will certainly do everything I can to make it so! I will also continue to promote environmentalism alongside the student community on campus through Students for Environmental Action. After Brandeis, I hope to continue studying similar interests like plant ecology and forestry in graduate school, perhaps alongside a professor at Lehigh whom I met at the research station where I was staying.

While the data collection for this project is part of a multi-year effort, in the future I do hope to take on the many other challenges that climate change issues currently pose to the natural world. I feel that I have yet to learn about the multitude of issues that deal specifically with climate change, but as of now I know that I am interested in detailing the potential of sustainable ways of life—a very important way being organic agriculture—to mitigate climate change. Essentially, my most fundamental goal in my work life is to best prove (using science, I believe) how putting all of our ideas about sustainability into practice can actually give the results that today’s, future, and older generations (often filled with skeptics) need to start pushing for and adopting a new ideal of societal development and advancement. I am at the stage where I want to learn about how the most successful existing models of sustainability work (which seem rare and found all over the world and require travel). Later I aim to reach a stage where I alone have the capacity and know-how to establish these models in places that need them. The real beauty about practical sustainability models is that most of the world needs them—they truly transcend boundaries of old divisions like “first” and “third” worlds.

Advice that I would give to a student interested in working with Osa Conservation: make sure you know what you want from the internship and why you are going to Osa Conservation’s wildlife refuge. I say this in a down-to-earth way because the organization does not have many personnel, which means that everyone will always be busy because there is so much more to do than there are workers. This means that while you will have a supervisor and/or mentors, they will not be with you for much of the day. So, set your schedule, be your own boss, take advantage of opportunities as they come, and you should get everything you want from your experience and more!

Advice that I would give to a student interested in working in conservation biology and related fields: you are striving to set world trends of development. World sustainability systems are not yet entirely structurally stable, so it may be hard to make a living, especially financially. So, be prepared to let your life and work be driven by passion and love! Also be sure to make the most of funding, grant, and scholarship opportunities.

Thank you to everyone who helped me make this experience a reality!

 

Nicholas Medina ’14

Osa's biological research station
Osa’s biological research station
A rare sight: a Green marine turtle in the process of laying her eggs! Seen during a night patrol.
A rare sight: a Green marine turtle in the process of laying her eggs! Seen during a night patrol.
A beautiful view I will miss.
A beautiful view I will miss.

 

 

Things I Learned at The Energy Foundation

I still cannot believe that it is already the end of my internship at the Energy Foundation, and that the new semester at Brandeis is in front of me. I still remember when I entered the door of my office, I had a lot of uncertainty about what this experience would be like. I expected to know about how NGOs work in China, learn more analytical skills, and improve my writing through research, and those wishes all got fulfilled in the projects I joined! I also learned many unexpected things, such as how environmental theories can possibly be used to meet the strict government requirements, and how sustainability is closely connected with other subjects such as urban planning and transportation. I am very impressed by the passion of my colleagues and I got to know their stories, some of them even left some privileged institutions or high-earning jobs to join this organization to make a real difference in the environment of China.

Besides general office duties, I mainly joined three projects throughout this summer. In the beginning, I did not jump into a project immediately, instead, to get familiar to our organization and the City Group, I read a lot of documentation in our library, and helped with office duties such as creating charts, translating, and writing summaries. After a few days, I was desperate to join a real project. After one staff meeting, another intern and I stayed and asked the program director whether there was any projects that we can join. He was a bit shocked and then smiled (I guess he was shocked because most interns just do what is assigned rather than ask to join.) He replied, “yes, we have 60 projects going on around China and we definitely need people to help.” What I learned here is that I need to communicate what I want to do, because it could turn out to be a perfect match.

Then I started my first project, the Jinan Urban Planning Project. Our goal was to apply dense street in the new city area and to provide the Jinan government technology and policy support. One challenging task I got was to summarize two, 250-page MIT research papers down to only 5 pages, focusing on methods and policy. I struggled to choose the most important and related context from tons of seemingly related materials. But after I made it, I could read papers and get their theses much  faster.

After the Jinan Project, I joined the Beijing Low-carbon Transportation Project. We collaborated with Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning and Design on a research project aiming to build a low carbon strategy and integrate it into Beijing’s upcoming comprehensive plan. My duties included doing research on literature reviews, analyzing international low carbon transportation development principles and strategies, and drafting out a case study summary report. This project included both teamwork cooperation and independent research, my time management improved to accommodate to this multi-tasked project. I also had a chance to work with government and see how governors and scientists negotiate and make decisions together.

The last project I did was assisting in statistical analysis to build a model explaining how residents’ social-economic, demographic characteristics, and communities’ spatial structures could influence residents’ travel behavior hence resulting in different patterns of carbon emissions in Beijing. I also completed the preliminary statistics processing and analysis. This project focused on data analyzing; we used mainly LEAP, STAT, Excel to find what were the most essential variables that shaped residents’ behavior. I also used a cross-list skill, the statistics software STATA, that I learned from my economics class.

Working in the Energy Foundation was like a test my knowledge learned in Brandeis and how it could be applied in real work. So far the most important skills I learned at Brandeis to help me this summer were reading and writing, conducting research independently, teamwork, discussion, sustainable cities factors, Excel and STATA learned from financial accounting and econometrics classes, among others. This internship focused me more around the sustainability field so I can better choose classes and experiences when I get back to Brandeis.

For students who are also in working in the environmental field or any NGOs, here are my suggestions:

1)   Be close to your professors and start looking for your ideal internships as early as possible.

2)   Try different NGOs in different fields, and different sizes. It might be easier for you to figure out in which environment you shine more.

3)   Connect with your colleagues, ask them for advice for your future and listen to their stories.

4)   Last but not least, do your work, learn fast, and love what you do.

Reflecting on A Summer Well-Spent

Getting up to the office everyday was no small feat!

Heading into the summer, I knew that this internship would be critical for me for so many reasons — since this would be my final year at Brandeis, I knew that this could very well be my last opportunity to get my feet wet before diving right into the legal field after graduation.  Fortunately, now that the experience has come to an end, I can safely say that my time at the U.S. Attorney’s Office was a tremendous and rewarding experience that I will never forget.

I remember my first day at the office ten short weeks ago- how I needed to write myself a note in the morning so I remembered how to get into the building and up to the 6th floor (navigating the building isn’t as easy as it sounds!)  It took some time, as it always does, but with every passing week, I found myself growing more and more accustomed to my surroundings, and to my everyday tasks at the office.  After a while, I no longer needed assistance from my supervisor before beginning a new project like redacting personal information of witnesses, plaintiffs or defendants from documents for trial, or sifting through witness testimony and highlighting important points for the Assistant U.S. Attorney to use during summation.  That wasn’t the case during the first week when I needed the assistance of my Paralegal Specialist advisor to show me how to use the scanning machine or create exhibit lists — and for someone who doesn’t like asking for help, that really took me out of my comfort zone.  Nevertheless, by the end of my internship, I was the one answering others’ questions, and not asking them myself, which was fine by me.

When the summer began, and even as far back as when I applied for this internship last winter, I identified my primary learning goal as preparation for entry-level employment following graduation.  As I reflect back on my summer internship, I am happy to report that I have met my goal — I have developed tangible skills which will be applicable in every future job or academic setting that I find myself in.  I have improved my ability to synthesize information, read analytically, highlight the important points in a vast collection of documents, and of course, perform research, which will be pretty much all I do if and when I pursue a law degree.

Besides this, I have made some excellent contacts at my internship, including my co-interns, supervisors and others who I interacted with on a daily basis (including this fellow below).

On the 10th floor every afternoon, I would take time to visit a mother hawk and her newborn babies (who may be difficult to see in this picture!)

I’d like to think that every experience you have in life is defined by who you meet, and as Dan Gilbert concludes in my favorite book, Stumbling on Happiness, the best way to predict how you will feel in a given future situation is to listen to others who have been there before.  Over the course of the past ten weeks, I have gotten some priceless guidance from the aforementioned people (not hawks) about my impending job search, from how to tackle interviews to how to address potential employers in an email.

But above all else, what I got out of my summer internship was positive reinforcement from people who have been working in this field for decades that I was in the right place.  And really, that is all I could have ever asked for- confirmation of what I already suspected: I am right for this, and this is right for me.

To those out there who are interested in interning in the legal field or with the Department of Justice, I would strongly recommend that you DO something at your internship.  Do not just sit around idly watching jury trials (although once in a while those are great to observe).  There is always something you can be doing, and if there isn’t, don’t be afraid to ask for an assignment.  Everything you do will be a learning experience- you just have to do them first.

– Ricky Rosen ’14

One tick, two tick, three tick…Lyme!

Hi all,

I must say it’s been quite a busy summer. Almost all my time has been divided between fieldwork, reading journal articles and writing research proposals. I still find it amazing that I have actually met or indirectly know a majority of the scientists that wrote these articles.  The articles have been very helpful in getting a background in tick based research and different lab methods I could use for analyzing the ticks after I have finished collecting them in early August.

I must apologize though; I realized I never explained how we actually collect ticks during my last post. It is actually a pretty simple method; once all of the equipment is made it take only five steps to collect ticks. First, you take the flannel flag (A) and drag it behind you as you walk through the forest for 30 seconds. This time equates for approximately 15 meters. Once this is completed, you hold onto the upper corner of the flag to avoid getting any ticks on you. While holding the flag, you scan both sides and count all of the ticks on the flag; this is critical since it is more important to get a tick count than actually collecting the ticks. For the third step, you take the very fine tip tweezers (B), be careful not to poke yourself…it hurts, and you take each tick off and place it into a humidified vial (C). Next you record the total number of ticks collected during that sweep on an index card. After you have completed this process 25 times, you put a fine mesh (D) to allow airflow into the vials while being stored in a refrigerator.  It’s really incredible, using this technique over the last two months Professor Olson and I have collected over 1,100 ticks!

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While I have had to deal with countless mosquito bites and fortunately only one tick bite, the real challenge has been learning how to apply the knowledge from my readings to writing memos. Through this summer I have had to write a memo to the Town of Weston describing the general concept behind the research. While this memo was easy to write, I really had to work on making a comprehensive research proposal/memo for the Town of Dover’s Lyme Disease Committee. Professor Olson and I have been working to create another long-term project that utilizes deer exclosures to analyze the effects of the absence of deer in an area. While this project started with an exclosure that was maybe 30 square meters, over the last few weeks it has expanded to potentially have several 5 acres exclosures. It has been both fascinating and rewarding seeing how this project has expanded and changed over the last few weeks.

Through this experience I have refined my ability to justify research while gaining support for it. This will be invaluable in the future since I will need to prepare many research proposals.

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I hope everyone’s summer is going well,

– Adam Krebs ’14

Saying Goodbye to the Women’s Center for Wellness

Although it seems as though my first day as an intern was just yesterday, in reality I have already completed 9 weeks at Women’s Center for Wellness! It is truly unreal to think about how quickly my time here flew by. On my first day, I was very shy and somewhat overwhelmed by the new environment. In fact, it seemed as though everyone was speaking another language – there were so many medical terms and abbreviations flying around that I had to wonder how I would ever understand what was going on around me.  Well, as it turned out, my wonderful mentors soon helped me learn all about breast health, anatomy, and the systems in place that ensure women get the best care possible. To me, this was one of the most rewarding aspects of my internship; I am glad that I was able to learn so much about women’s health in such a short time. For example, I learned how to read the radiologist’s reports and decipher the corresponding BI-RADS codes to gain valuable insight into a patient’s case. I also feel as though I’ve learned how to quickly make a connection with a patient, so that they have a pleasant experience getting their mammogram. Because so many patients dread going in to see a doctor, I think learning how to provide the best personal experience possible will serve me well in my future as a medical professional.

This experience has taught me so much, and I hope to use my new knowledge to educate people about the misconceptions surrounding breast health, anatomy, and mammograms. It turns out that there is a lot of misinformation or questionable information surrounding these topics. With my first-hand experience, perhaps I can take an active role in Brandeis’s student activities by joining a club that can help me spread awareness.

Now that I have learned so much in this field, I would really like to continue working in women’s health. Although my time at Women’s Center for Wellness taught me a lot, I’m sure I have much more to learn. For example, I would love to learn more about how radiologists spot worrisome inconsistencies on patient’s mammograms, especially when the area of interest may be no more than a pinprick in size. It constantly amazes me that they can save someone’s life simply by looking very closely at an image. I am also eager to begin researching a related topic that has piqued my interest. I was recently informed that in 2009 the United States Preventative Task Force issued a statement claiming women should begin getting their yearly mammograms at age 50, not 40. There has been much disagreement and criticism surrounding this statement, and it has caused a decline in women under 50 getting mammograms. Unfortunately, Connecticut has the second highest rate of breast cancer in the country, so this relatively new statement may be hurting women who are walking around with undiagnosed breast cancer. This fall, I plan on performing in-depth research on this issue, and I’m sure I will learn even more about breast health in the process.

If I were to give a student seeking an internship at this organization any advice, I would tell them to be open to and actively seek out new perspectives and opportunities. I think my experience was enhanced by the fact that I tried to get to know as many people in my organization as possible, regardless of occupation. I quickly found that every position, no matter how far out of my range of interests it seemed at first, helped me develop a better idea of how a medical organization functions, what problems it encounters, and what solutions are sought. This is information that can help anyone in the medical field be a better, more valuable worker regardless of the area of specialization. Furthermore, anyone working in this field must always remember that the focus is on the patient, and therefore it is important to be as kind, compassionate, and smiling as possible. I believe that this advice can really be applied to any facility in the industry. No matter how you happen to be feeling that day, someone is relying on you to make their experience pleasant! A positive attitude is truly a great asset in this field, and I think I did a good job of conveying my positive attitude as an intern. While I am sad to be leaving the Women’s Center so soon, I feel proud to have met so many amazing people and am glad that I have had a lasting impact on them, as well!

Concluding Thoughts

As my internship comes to a close, I really cannot believe that it is over. This was by far one of the best internship experiences that I have had. This summer gave me the opportunity to take all my past academic and work experiences and blend them into the career that worked for me.

Toward the middle to end of my internship I really learned about the art of blogging with Word Press. I scanned the internet for up and coming innovations in the sustainability world and wrote about them for LAGI’s blog. This was a really wonderful opportunity for me to see the new amazing inventions coming from engineers, artists, and architects and I loved being all the more educated about this business. My blogs have since been published to the internet and can be found here.

My dedication to LAGI’s Twitter and Facebook accounts had an overall large impact and increase in LAGI’s social media reach. During the first week of my internship LAGI had around 450 Twitter followers—they currently now have 668 followers (that’s over 215 followers added!) and the Facebook likes went from about 1,100 to 1,219 (over 115 added!). As someone who didn’t even have a Twitter account about a year ago, I cannot believe how much I adapted to the platform—it  has become very intuitive—and I also learned so much more about the importance and impact of social media from my experience at LAGI.

During the denouement of my internship, me and my supervisor discussed the future of LAGI in the form of a 3-year plan. We brainstormed what LAGI would need to satisfy to bring its major projects for the near future into fruition. I couldn’t believe how much LAGI had to juggle in the coming 3 years: my supervisor already knew the locations of LAGI’s future sustainability competitions, and my supervisor is already flying to Copenhagen for LAGI’s 2014 competition in the fall. They also had a handful of local projects going on, including ongoing collaborations with both national and Pittsburgh-based artists to revitalize low income urban towns. It was a privilege for me to see the planning and components that go into the progression of an organization—and it taught me how important it is to be organized and to stay on top of the game at all times in order to not only manifest one’s own goals, but to maintain positive professional relationships with business partners (this last component can make or break a project–in most cases).

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Image courtesy of LAGI at www.lagi.org

If I were to pick a major lesson that this summer’s internship taught me, it would be to never sacrifice your dreams just because you, or others around you, may think it’s not feasible to pursue your chosen field. This could be from the job’s societal stereotype/prestige, the starting salary it yields, and so on. My supervisor told me that most people start non-profits because they love the work they do—money is not the initial motivation to begin non-profit work. And to be honest, the supervisor that I had this summer was the happiest and most motivated supervisor that I have ever worked for. It is hard sometimes to defy the wants of others in order to pursue your own dream, but I really believe that if one is willing to put in some extra effort or time, the sense of satisfaction that it gives is worth it in the end.

I really did not want to leave my internship, it so resonated with my career interests and I knew that I wanted to pursue this field in my present and future. That’s why I was thrilled when my supervisor offered that I could help her with the planning of a major project happening next summer throughout the year, meaning that I could still be connected to this world of work even though I would be in a different state. This really makes me grateful for the internet—I can’t imagine correspondence without it!

I am so happy that this will be the field I pursue–both academically (through Brandeis’ IGS and Environmental Studies programs) and work-related through my internships and employment opportunities. It makes me very excited as I anticipate a very rewarding future ahead!

I want to thank my supervisors, Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry, for offering their guidance, wisdom, and this wonderful internship experience.

I also want to thank the Hiatt Career Center, and the WOW Program, for giving me consistent assistance if I had questions, for providing me the funding to pursue this opportunity, and for adding the enriching component of an online blog so I could organize my insights and see the fruition of my peers’.

Thank you very much! I wish everyone a wonderful, and productive, remainder to their internship experiences!

sustainable landscapes

 

–Karrah Beck ’15

How Times (and Scarlet Macaws, Hummingbirds, and Toucans) Fly By at UTC/GMT -6 hours!

Fer de Lance: one of the deadliest snakes of the region! Surprising encounter after a peaceful weekend afternoon of fishing.
Fer de Lance: one of the deadliest snakes of the region! A surprising encounter after a peaceful weekend afternoon of fishing.
Bombacopsis quinata: our daily spiky field companion...the project site is an entire 20-year-old in-grown plantation.
Bombacopsis quinata: our daily spiky field companion…the project site is an entire 20-year-old in-grown plantation of it.

 

“¡Pura vida!” again from a piece of conserved Osa rainforest! New wildlife I’ve observed: many scarlet macaw pairs, a bicolored coral snake (the most deadly snake of the region), 2 deadly Fer-de-lances (the third-deadliest snake of the region), a boa at the beach, a 3-toed sloth neighbor, several toucans, a tamandua anteater, and many toad and froggy evening visitors!

As I reflect on my summer goals with Osa Conservation with daily journal entries (as per advice from Adrian Forsyth: Osa Conservation Secretary, co-founder of Osa Conservation, president of Amazon Conservation Association, vice-president of Blue Moon Fund programs, and renown natural history writer), I realize that some of them have been met, others in the process, and others have pleasantly hit me hard without notice.

Environmental science research: I entered with a general goal of learning more about how to conduct professional-level environmental research, and I knew it would be the easiest goal to reach this summer given the nature of my work. I believe I have up to this point surpassed this by designing a carbon-monitoring system from scratch using literature review, so that the project design complies with many of the most up-to-date recommendations from the international carbon-research community and will serve as creditable and practical data for Osa Conservation’s land regeneration and reforestation projects in the near future. It has been and continues to be a blast going into the field everyday and getting pretty close to being eaten alive by mosquitoes.

Local environmental advocacy: To respond to a very helpful comment I received on my first blog post, I am doing my entire internship here at Osa in Spanish, including speaking with my Costa Rican supervisor. It is tremendous practice and further helps me learn the lingo and vocabulary associated with nature and the environment so I can better communicate with the people surrounding me here. As of now, I have gotten the chance to explain my project and advocate carbon to other interns and the international Board of Directors in English and the workers and staff—with whom I interact most of the time—in Spanish. As a result of my own initiative, I am in the middle of contributing a bilingual post titled “¿Por qué carbono?” (Why Carbon?) to Osa Conservation’s public online blog (found HERE), which will update local and international readers on my thoughts and experiences here so far. I am also scheduling and will be practicing a general talk about Osa Conservation that is often and will be given at nearby farms and hotels in Puerto Jiménez for the same purpose on a smaller but more important scale. I hope to continue taking advantage of the ways that Osa Conservation promotes their organization and conservation as much as I can, especially touching on climate change. Costa Rica wonderfully seems to inherently value conservation, but I have heard no talk about climate change since I have been here. Climate change is the primary reason for tracking and paying attention to carbon, but perhaps motivations for monitoring carbon here may be more economic. Either way, I will be sure to address this in my blog post…and maybe the Princeton intern who recently told my supervisor, a staff member, and an intern that I am no less than obsessed with carbon.

Envisioning for a non-profit: I have been fortunate enough to live where the Executive Director—a former employee of Conservation International—lives on his days off from meetings and errands in San José. In this time I have regularly sat in on his conversations with guests and have listened to him describe Osa Conservation’s current projects and his plans for the new piece of land that was purchased 2 weeks ago with grants from funders like the Blue Moon Foundation and a loan: restored-forest and sapling monitoring, invasive species removal, active planting and experimental reforestation, building a school for organic and sustainable agriculture for local farmers, and a great deal others. Many of these projects are joint efforts with other highly relevant and quality environmental institutions like EARTH University: a wonderful university focused specifically on agricultural sciences (website HERE). By integrating myself fully in Osa’s professional and philosophical atmosphere, I have very fortunately learned a great deal about what it takes to move a non-profit forward and into which aspects of conservation to mentally branch in today’s modern environmentalist world. This axis of learning has been a beautiful one on which I hope to turn for the rest of my life.

Right now, I am probably most proud of 2 things: having learned to differentiate among many local plant families and genera, and my ability to coordinate a 4-person field-research team on 2 different projects in both English and Spanish everyday. An Earth and Environmental Sciences professor from Lehigh University actually has a somewhat similar project monitoring the survival rates of common local reforestation plant species in the same 20-hectare lot on which my project lies. Every summer (or winter, here) he sends 3 students to work on this project. However, for maximum efficiency managing all other 15+ land-stewardship projects, my supervisor asked me to take responsibility for completing both projects. As it turns out, this was a great idea. I am building my leadership and organizational skills, we are moving faster than ever on both projects, and everyone has more field buddies with whom to learn, laugh, and sing!

The research, networking, and advocacy skills that I am building by interning with Osa Conservation are undoubtedly super relevant and easily transferrable to my pursuit of environmental academia, career plans in environmental research and conservation, and on-campus involvements with groups like SEA.

Sending good vibes back to EST and every other time zone around the world!

Nick Medina ’14

A helmeted iguana (Corytophanes cristatus): another surprise to our tree-measuring adventures!
A helmeted iguana (Corytophanes cristatus): another surprise to our tree-measuring adventures!
Our energy levels after a long day in the field!
Our energy levels after a long day in the field!

Six Weeks Later: Hitting A Home Run at My Internship

Federal Court Building, Central Islip, NY (http://aedesign.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/court-1.jpg)

The past six weeks have flown by!  It feels like my program just started, yet, this time next month, everyone will be back at their respective colleges or law schools and the program will be over.  I almost wish that I could slow time down (for some parts of the internship; I am in no hurry to slow down the copy machine- it is slow enough as it is!) because I am really enjoying my time at the US Attorney’s Office – except for the part where I have to wear a suit to work everyday in 95 degree heat!

Before the summer began, my primary goal was to prepare myself for an entry-level position in the legal field when I graduate next year — that’s the goal of any internship I suppose: job preparation.  And while I have gained exposure to legal motions and briefs, and drafted several responses myself, most of the learning that I will take away from this experience will be from observing the Assistant US Attorneys and their routines.  From the outside looking in, being a lawyer calls to mind images of attorneys  experiencing thrilling arguments with their opposing counsel in a courtroom and feeling the euphoria of having their objection sustained – people expect attorneys to spend most of their time standing in front of a jury, and dazzling them with their rhetoric, like on TV shows such as CSI.  In reality, though, what I’ve found is that most of the attorneys I work with spend 90 percent of their time behind their desk preparing for cases that may never make it to trial.

Nevertheless, the office keeps its interns busy — half of the time I enter the office in the morning expecting to work on one project, and finish the day not having done a thing for that project because I was assigned three other priority cases to work on.  Lucky for me, we record all of our assignments on a daily log, which serves as a helpful reminder for what projects we’ve finished and what we still need to do.

I split my time between researching cases in the library, organizing exhibits for trial into binders and boxes in the office and observing or assisting trials in courtrooms.

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Researching cases in the library; one of my fellow interns gave me his old LSAT book (on my right) to help me prepare for the exam when I take it in the fall!

So far, the most fun that I’ve had has been getting to know my fellow interns, most of whom have taken me under their wing and given me tons of advice for law school.  I’m going to miss our lunchtime arguments about which superhero movie series was the best or which team will win the World Series this year.  Just this afternoon, we all played softball against the clerk’s office — it was the Assistant US Attorneys and their paralegals and interns against the judges, court martials and their interns.  Unfortunately, we didn’t stand a chance – nobody expected that federal judges could hit 300 foot fly balls!

As one last note: something that I’ve learned about the legal field in the last six weeks is that detail matters.  If the font on the cover page of the exhibit binders is not the same size for all 4 sets, they need to be redone; you need to cite the jurisdiction for any case that you include in a legal brief, not just the name and the year; and most of all, always remind your superiors to “shake it off” after they strike out at the plate.

– Ricky Rosen ’14

Midpoint Reflection

My internship has been going well. I have grown accustomed to the working environment and my coworkers, and my work processes have begun to speed up. With a reminder from the WOW advisor, I just realized that this is already the midpoint of my internship, how time flies! It took me some days to get into this “working beat”, so now I want to cherish the time left, keeping this “beat”, and contributing as much as possible in the second half of my internship.

The Jinan urban planning projects I had been previously working on got delayed due to some political reasons. I feel it is a pity that we cannot continue this project since we have done a lot of research on papers, reports, and international examples. Then I was assigned to the Beijing urban planning and transportation group. We have regular meetings with Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning & Design to discuss transportation policy every two weeks. Our organization provided the government technology and policy support, and our goal is to assist the government to write a new Beijing Transportation Guide. Three other interns and I are working on one chapter of the guide called “International Transportation Examples.” I am mainly researching the transportation of the following cities: Hong Kong, Portland, Los Angeles, and Copenhagen. I learned a lot in this research process, both from how successful transportation projects in those cities have guided people to live a lower carbon life and how unsuccessful urban planning can result in inconvenient transportation to citizens. Also once the roads and the transportation systems are built, it is very hard to change it later on. So the best way would be doing the right things from the very beginning. I read a lot of papers and reports in the past three weeks, both about real policy and academic theories, and I realize how different they are and how hard it is to make theories a reality by making policy and working in the real world.

This project is a perfect match to my academic learning goal. It enhances my research abilities through reading many papers and reports and summarizing them for government use. Reading is the easy part!  However, it sometimes gets ambiguous which parts of the material are related to my research topic and which parts I should just ignore. This project trained me to find the key points among tons of materials in a short time, and this will also help me build stronger academic reading and writing skills, and at the same time, will be good preparation for graduate school in the future.

Second, the “International Transportation Examples” chapter we are working on will be discussed in our following meetings with Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning and Design, which makes me feel proud that I am doing a “real” project and that my research results will directly reach policy makers, and hopefully contribute to the Beijing Transportation Guideline. I am proud that my supervisor is very satisfied with the Hong Kong transportation report I just finished; he said it is a very mature report and it could be used directly in the Beijing Transportation Guideline. He also used my report as a good example for other interns. Through writing reports for government, I realized how important it is to strictly follow the structure requirement and rules. Details such as words count, type setting, and page design, if done incorrectly, can all lead to the need for revision.

Third, from this internship, I did not only gain working and research experience, but also expanded my network and learned about how an NGO works in China. I think a successful NGO in China needs to maintain a good relationship with the government because we need their support and approval to get projects done. Many of my friendly colleagues are experts in different fields, such as transportation, urban planning, LEAP modeling, statistics, computer science, etc. Also, I am very lucky to be in the same office with the program director, who is in charge of hiring new staff and conducting interviews. Sometimes she evaluates candidates and shares with me what characteristics of candidates she is looking for. For example, she weighs candidates’ working experience, the ability to get work done, and responsibility more than whether their major and degree match the position. And she prefers candidates who are willing to be devoted to work without excuses to those who have many “personal” requirements and whose personality stands out too much or does not fit the organization culture. It really opened my eyes and influenced me about what kind of staff is preferable from the boss’s view.

In the second half of my internship, I hope I can do more research and have a better understanding about the relationship between urban planning, transportation and low carbon city construction. Since I also have strong interest in analyzing data, I hope that I can diversify my working fields and join other groups which will focus on data analysis and do more technical work so that I can gain both research and technical working experience from this internship. Again, thanks for the support from WOW to make this great opportunity come true to me.

– Yifan Wang ’14

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This is my office table, where I did most of my research.
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Our action plan is on the wall of our meeting room, very clear to both staffs and visitors

Halfway through my internship

At this point, I have completed six weeks of my internship with IDG Ventures Vietnam. This has been a long journey, and I feel grateful for this opportunity. I am privileged to work for one of the top venture capital companies in Vietnam and have learned so much from this internship. People at work are very friendly and understanding: they made me feel comfortable and offered me helpful advice on the job. My research about how better to incorporate social networking into our business model is nearly complete. I have developed a comprehensive understanding of social network sites in the world, their business drivers, revenue models, cost structure, and organizational framework. My business writing skill has improved a lot, and I have nearly mastered XLSTAT-PRO and STATA for data researching purposes. My supervisor frequently checks in on me and provides critical feedback on my work so that I learn as much as I can from my job. He was pleased with my progress and confident that I would finish this research before the end of my internship period.

operahouse
IDG building located in the centre of Hanoi capital

Last week I had a chance to join on a CEO meeting with Vat Gia, a small IDG portfolio company that has been growing tremendously over the last few years. Although it was just founded two years ago, Vat Gia has emerged as one of the leading online marketplaces in Vietnam. Its mission is to follow eBay’s model, with much attention and resources on providing pleasing purchasing environment platforms  for buyers and sellers. During the meeting, my manager requested updates from the company’s CEO, assessed the working condition and reviewed the annual goals. As the administrative assistant, I took notes and wrote a memo of the meeting afterward. Based on my notes and analysis, the CEO will have more ideas about future contact and potential next steps with this portfolio company. I really enjoyed the trip because I was exposed to a real business situation and learn about professional etiquette and communication techniques. I also told the start-up CEO about my research and he was very excited and willing to help me improve the research. After the trip, I grew a few good contacts in the technology industry.

vatgia web intf
Vat Gia web interface, similar to eBay

Besides working on the research and joining business meetings, my daily tasks also consist of assisting IDG analysts and associates with handling phone calls, scheduling meetings, and organizing electronic files. You might say these seem like boring tasks that no intern likes to do during any internship; however, by doing this, I have greatly enhanced my communication skills in the office. Although I have heard about this a lot, knowing how to communicate with other employees and managers is highly critical in today’s work environment. When I come back to Brandeis in the Fall, I will fully utilize these skills to network with alumni and reach out to potential employers during full-time job recruiting season. Besides, familiarizing with work environment also allows me to quickly adjust to a new workplace and deal with pressure in the work environment.

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I look forward to finishing up my internship and please let me know which part of my internship you want to know more about! I hope you all are having a great summer before returning to campus in the Fall!

Looking to the Future: Sustainability and Green Energy

Now that I am at the midpoint of my internship, I am sure that I want to pursue sustainability and green energy in my future career. I have seen how valuable this discipline is, and how much it is needed on a national and international scale.

From the start of my internship until now, I have been researching for the follow-up publication of LAGI’s [Land Art Generator Initiative] Field Guide to Renewable Energy Technologies (linked here is LAGI’s already published guide). Through this research, I have learned not only about the many renewable energy projects that are currently happening across the world, but so too I have studied the art of grant writing, and the process of finding and applying for grants. With the application of these funds, LAGI and similar non-profits have helped multiple communities save money with energy management, make towns cleaner and healthier to live in through the implementation of green technologies, and have added additional comfort and beauty to urban surroundings. With the experience I have gained, I have begun learning about how I can help the world in tangible ways through the use of visuality and environmentalism. Growing up wanting to pursue the arts, I was often told that specializing in any career related to the creative process was a waste of my time and money. Going into art was never something that my inner circle wanted for me–mostly because they wanted me to be financially secure. But I now have seen, firsthand, how useful, important, and present art is in our daily lives.

One aspect that I have noticed is that design and visuality influence the happiness and overall mental health of workers, especially those who spend the entirety of their days enclosed in small offices. During my time working in a cubicle, I remember feeling so isolated from the outside. I would’ve given anything to have seen the blue of the sky or the green vitality of the trees and grass from my tiny office window; many of my coworkers felt the same. I have realized that even though some businesses need to conduct work in offices, that doesn’t mean that their employees need to be isolated and withdrawn from nature. Quite the contrary, a recent trip I took to the Phipps Conservatory proved that cubicles don’t have to be disconnected at all.

flowers

The Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA has recently constructed a revolutionary green building that creates more energy than it uses, saving energy for the city of Pittsburgh as a whole. This building is called the Center for Sustainable Landscapes. Its entire office space utilizes natural sunlight from glass windows; the internal temperature is stabilized from the condition of the outside heat, and plants are placed in nearly every corner of the building, adding another source of life to the indoor space. I have never felt so comfortable in an office space; this building was also generating energy for other Pittsburghians, too. I was truly amazed.

The skills that I have learned in my current internship have laid the groundwork for developing more advanced research skills for non-profits who utilize grant writing, and if I happen to work for a company engaged in international business, I can also mention that I have first hand experience understanding the difficulties the company faces going green (such as funding and grants, managing public space vs. private space rights, navigating internal politics, or overcoming the NIMBY point-of-view (Not In My Backyard: those who are opposed to renewable structures because they take up too much of the natural landscape).

This internship experience has helped me in decide what graduate degrees to consider and what additional minor/major I want to declare. By going into environmental studies and green energy, not only is this field of work helping societal and global concerns, but it is also fascinating and gets right to the heart of urban maintenance and development.

With this career I have the possibility of seeing the fruits of my labors, and seeing the people that I am helping through making their lives more convenient and healthy.

 

me at work
–Karrah Beck ’15

Observe, Learn, and then Create!

Working

Hi everyone! Hopefully all of you are enjoying your summer and internship as I am.
The past 4 weeks have been more about learning and observing the new workplace and technology. I am becoming  increasingly comfortable with my co-workers; we spend more time together, and have longer conversations. Because I am better able to understand our technology, I have the ability to ask more interesting questions, which create substantial conversations. This differs from the beginning, because then, I used to almost always ask descriptive questions, such as, what does this mean? and how does this work?. That didn’t allow for much conversation.

This is the cover page I made with Photoshop for our Online Video Industry overview.

Through the daily work I am doing here I am improving my research, presentation, and networking skills, which will certainly be helpful in school, and future activities. I know I improving because my research is more specific to the needs of the staff. After 4 weeks I had plenty of opportunities to learn what they look for and care about, so I am able to tailor my research reports accordingly. I am learning how to filter the information and decide what is most important spending time on. I am becoming more fluent when speaking about most online video technology. Also, I am able to better understand the industry news, and as proof, I am becoming very good at writing weekly reports, based on the industry news.
Though doing all these tasks may sound boring, it’s actually very exciting because I have the opportunity to make the blueprint. For example, there wasn’t an official weekly report, so I took the initiative to create a template, with a front-page cover. It’s motivating when you know everyone in the company, and outside the company (partners, allies) will see your work. It makes you feel part of the company.
However, I think the most important skill I am improving is being comfortable learning a completely new business/industry than the ones I have been taught in college. I consider myself lucky that I have the opportunity to study and work within the industry of big data analytics, and the online video players, because I am learning it will become one of the most important industries that will power all businesses.
While doing work for IRIS.TV, I often read technology news articles who advise all media and entertainment companies that the 2 most necessary things they need to do are 1) to acquire more content, and 2) work on improving the viewers’ experience, which is exactly what IRIS.TV does through its analytics and recommendation programs. It’s very exciting to be part of a company that is one of the leading forces of an industry that is only now starting to mature. It makes me feel like the opportunities are endless.
In conclusion, if the first 4 weeks have been about observing and learning, I plan to make the next 4-5 weeks about taking the initiative and creating. I am most proud of my progress in studying and understanding the technologies employed by our company, and that of our competitors. I can finally begin to understand our company’s strategy and why our CEO takes certain decisions. I believe that in time, if I keep observing, I will also be able to make viable strategies that will lead to our company’s success. It’s time to be more proactive and create!

Paul Vancea ’14

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My fellow Interns and the Platform Developer
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The workplace with some of my co-workers

The Weizmann Institute of Science is one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research centers.  The Institute’s mission is to educate young scientists by integrating them into the research world.  Their Feinberg Graduate School hosts approximately 1,000 graduate students each year from around the world.  The Institute’s labs are wide ranging in the sciences, with scientists working on projects including combating heart disease, cancer, and world hunger.  The Institute also conducts programs for elementary and high school students to work alongside scientists and learn about science careers.  The Weizmann Institute of Science fosters creative collaboration, intellectual curiosity, and equal opportunities in scientific research.

The Weizmann Institute of Science - www.weizmann.ac.il
The Weizmann Institute of Science – www.weizmann.ac.il

During my summer internship at the Weizmann Institute of Science, I will work in the Segal Neuroscience Laboratory, alongside Dr. Menahem Segal as well as his graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.  The work in Dr. Segal’s laboratory is focused on the neuronal basis of long-term memory in the brain.  This work relates to investigating decay of memory systems in the brain, such as Alzheimer’s Disease and mental retardation.  I will assist with several studies investigating the cellular basis of neural plasticity.  I will use live imaging of cultured neurons in a confocal microscope, transfect various plasmids into neurons and test the effects on cell morphology.  I will help assess the results of the studies using various imaging and analysis methods.

During my first week, I learned to use the confocal microscope in order to assess neuronal firing patterns. This microscope has a tiny laser that continually scans the cultured neurons, so I can watch neurons firing in real-time. Once I became acquainted with the microscope and its accompanying computer system, Dr. Segal set me up with Dr. Fisher, a visiting professor, to begin tests on a drug that could be used to reverse the causes of Alzheimer’s Disease. Dr. Fisher believes his drug can target amyloid plaques, tau hyperphosphrylation, and mitochondrial death.

Check out this great video to understand how these cause Alzheimer’s Disease: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjgBnx1jVIU.

We apply the drug to hippocampus neurons from mice, and observe any changes in firing patterns. Each time the neurons on the screen light up, Dr. Fisher and I jump in our seats, excited to witness this amazing molecular event. With so much unknown about the workings of the brain, it is incredible to be able to watch the most basic principle of the nervous system at work.

An abstract summarizing Dr. Fisher’s can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15989509.

Working on the Confocal Microscope in the Segal Laboratory
Working on the Confocal Microscope in the Segal Laboratory

Dr. Fisher has developed hundreds of drugs in his career, with one currently in use for treatment of Sjögren’s syndrome.  While working with the confocal microscope one day, I asked him about the process of designing a drug, testing it in laboratories, and eventually bringing it into clinical trials. Though lab research can often seem like a tedious endeavor, following a drug from discovery of its molecular mechanisms through clinical success must be an incredible experience.

My goal this summer is to have an active role in the Segal laboratory and find a way to make a difference in these experiments, ultimately improving quality of life for people with Alzeimer’s disease.

– Shoshana Weiner ’14

Finding Artistic Power at LAGI

Hello Everyone! This was my first week working at the Land Art Generator Initiative [LAGI], and already I have learned so much about urban processes and the teamwork required in making urban spaces healthy and successful. A city is really a living, breathing organism. It is shaped by the inhabitants, growing and changing with the times and through the culture of the area. For some, it is a place where good times can be found through public musuems, parks, restaurants, and entertainment. For others, like those who work at LAGI, it is a place of endless possibility where opportunities to support the livelihood of social justice can be found through creative and inventive means.

LAGI

LAGI is located in Pittsburgh, PA in an urban town called Lawrenceville. I’ve known about LAGI since last year, and was able to secure a position for this summer. I found LAGI through searching the internet, as I knew that I was interested in both art and urban development–and LAGI offers the best of both.

Upon first receiving this internship, I knew that LAGI worked to aid energy consumption and the beautification of cities (including those in Copenhagen, Dubai, New York, and Pittsburgh) but there was also more to their business that I had missed. A huge part of LAGI’s work is holding competitions where artists, architects, and engineers are encouraged to collaborate on building artistic and functional energy efficient structures. Though these collaborations are for potential projects and winning does not guarantee that the rendered plans will be constructed, these collaborations are creating something very powerful. They encourage creativity and inspire teams to be imaginative when they are not permitted to so otherwise. My supervisor, Elizabeth Monoian, shared that the competitions they hold give participants a creative freedom, for in their normal day-to-day responsibilities they normally are too busy with client obligations to utilize their more unique approaches to architectural design. She stated that the art form she has seen being born, as a result of collaboration between disciplines, is rapidly developing and may change the face of art as we know it.

This type of art practice, comes from the methods of Land Art or Eco-Art. This discipline has a wide range, but it can either use the natural world as a material, or speak about environmental issues through creative expression. At first I thought that all projects of Land Art would be healthy and conducive to the environment, but Elizabeth told me that this was not the case. Land Art can be as equally destructive to the natural world as it can be helpful. That is why when entering LAGI’s competitions, the pieces submitted must be helpful to the environment, and not cut down trees or damage the environment to come to fruition.

I was unaware of this practice of art.   Throughout my artistic education, I learned about aesthetic mediums (paint, pencils, pastels) and the various types of canvases I could use, or the wonders of digital manipulation and graphics. Land Art so speaks to me on a personal level, because it gives art a purpose it has never really been assigned before. It makes art useful in everyday life and current global issues, which is exactly what I’ve been struggling to find in my career. As an interdisplinary major (IGS) with an undeclared minor (I really think its going to be environmental studies now), I really did not have a great idea of where I would end up. All I knew was that I was a social justice advocate who loved the arts since birth.  I wanted to make that a reality in my adult life. Now, happily, I think that that dream will be possible.

During the first two days of my internship, I researched grants that LAGI could apply for, and  looked for current “happenings” of the surrounding communities and possible future reconstructions. I am very happy that next week I will begin to learn the art of grant writing, which will be a useful skill when I start looking for careers post-college.

The last day of my first work week I helped set up an art gallery opening in mid-June. One of the exhibits is LAGI’s work, and there are other land artists featured as well. From abstract pieces to city planning architectural sketches, everything surrounding the gallery was pro-environment and pro-urbanism, and I felt very much at home.

 

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I am very excited to see where this internship will take me as LAGI furthers their creative powers and efforts. I am so happy to just be learning about this relatively unknown art form, and I seem to be finding myself as I reawaken, and respect, the creative artist within me.

 

–Karrah Beck ’15

 

 

A Day in the Life (of an Intern!)

I have officially spent five weeks interning at Women’s Center for Wellness, which means I’m a little over halfway done! It’s amazing to think how quickly my time here has flown by. I have had so many interesting learning experiences during my short time here. I’ve observed a stereotactic biopsy, a breast ultrasound, mammograms, and worked closely with our resident nurse practitioner, who provides preventative care for under-insured or uninsured women in the Connecticut area. I love meeting new patients and knowing that I am helping in whatever way I can to ensure they maintain or improve their health. When I submitted my WOW application, I had one reasonable but very important goal to attain during my internship: I wanted to learn how to confidently interact with patients, which is a skill that is vastly underrated by many healthcare providers. No matter how skilled a healthcare provider is, a patient will never be satisfied if they feel that they weren’t treated well. So for the past five weeks, I have worked hard to learn how to interact with patients in a way that is professional and informative, yet also comforting and personal. I feel that this is a skill that will help me throughout my career, and I think I’ve made a lot of progress on this goal. At the beginning of my internship, I was quite shy, but now I am confidently working with patients. Although it is not entirely scientific, I can usually gauge my growth in this area by how easily I can accomplish certain tasks, such as accommodating a patient with special needs. At this point, working with patients has become almost second nature to me!

The work station – lots of monitors and notes!

I am also learning a lot about the field I am in (specifically breast health and imaging) and the way my organization operates. I think one of the most telling signs that I am becoming a valuable part of the organization is when I am able to help a radiology technician figure out what happened with a particular patient or how a case was resolved. I am proud of this because it shows me that I can integrate all the things I’ve learned here in a way that helps both the patient and the technicians, rather than only understanding bits and pieces of what goes on around me. It’s very exciting to know that I am learning more and more as I gradually become immersed in the organization.

Checking to see if any patients have arrived

 

I hope that my increased awareness of the biology behind breast cancer will help me in my academic career where it pertains to hard science. Seeing cancer firsthand is much different than reading about it in textbooks, because I get to see all the other ways it can affect an individual. I am also lucky to have a firsthand perspective of the American health care system and how it can affect an organization such as Women’s Center for Wellness. I feel that I am supplementing what I learned in my HSSP courses with real-life experience. I am also slowly gaining the skills to be a successful health care provider by learning how to interact with patients and seeing how various procedures are performed.  Now, I can only hope that my remaining few weeks with Women’s Center for Wellness will be just as educational as the first five!

Life in the Middle of Osa’s Rainforests

¡Pura vida a todos! “Pura vida” literally means “pure life”, but what a wonderful sign it is that it is also a very common greeting here, unique to Costa Rica! It is actually more than just “hello”: it can also mean “goodbye”, “OK”, “cool”, “all right”, “I’m fine, thank you”, and a whole slew of other things! It is also true that everyone here is super nice and loves de-stressing, but before all this ad-libbing about Costa Rican life, here is the most important baseline information about my summer:

Osa Conservation (Conservación Osa) is a non-profit organization that protects and promotes the immense biodiversity on the Osa Peninsula: home to >50% of all of Costa Rica’s living species and therefore 2.5% of the planet’s biodiversity (all of Costa Rica has 5%). The peninsula originated as a separate large island in the Pacific but merged with Central America about 2 million years ago, which explains Osa’s tremendous biodiversity. Living things are known to evolve faster on islands—a likelihood that resulted in a vast number of endemic species and very unique tropical ecosystems found nowhere else in our solar system. In short, Osa is truly and absolutely a stellar physical environment. Learn more about the organization HERE.

I live 24/7 at the Greg Gund Conservation Center: a research station situated in the middle of protected secondary rainforest, several of Osa Conservation’s reforestation plantations, and adjacent to Corcovado National Park. Despite living among jaguars, pumas, and ocelots, to my surprise everyone here sleeps very soundly with their doors and windows completely open. But actually to my surprise—I had no idea about this norm until after waking up from a nap my first afternoon upon arrival with my eyes wide open literally being able to see nothing—all I saw was black. Nothing at all like turning all of your house lights off—no. You open your eyes wide, wiggle them frantically all around, and can see NOTHING. I felt my way over to close all windows and doors and huddled in fetal position on my bed prepared to fight because my supervisor told me earlier that day that interns have come and left literally the next day because they could not stand the darkness or scary rainforest sounds at night. If I am going to learn to survive in the jungle, I need a flashlight ASAP. Thankfully, my supervisor stopped by a few minutes later, told me that there is no danger, and this jungle is now my home.

The research station is a tightly-knit community of local staff and researchers. I sleep 2 minutes away from where my supervisor does, which is great because we get to throw ideas back and forth often and get to know each other better. I believe this is somewhat how research life is; dreaming, eating, sleeping, and breathing what you love in pursuit of making the world a better place. I am super excited to be living it now.

I got this opportunity with the help of a former Brandeis student who was Osa Conservation’s General Manager until just recently. She came to speak to my ecology class last semester, we networked over coffee at Einstein’s, and we corresponded through e-mail to discuss project opportunities that lay at a crossroads between each of our interests before putting together our funding application.

I am working here on monitoring a 20-year-old reforestation plantation of Bombacopsis quinata regarding the amount of atmosphere-sequestered carbon that the area stores as a means of providing a model that can help further research about general trends in tropical-rainforest regeneration, the potential for tropical rainforests to serve as carbon sinks with which to mitigate climate change, and optimal parameters for future tropical-forest conservation projects (especially those in which Osa is involved). This survey will also include edge-effect and species-specific information so as to target more potential information about regenerating tropical rainforests. Here is a great guide for all carbon-measuring projects, and therefore the one I am using for this project: HERE. I have also served as translator for student groups led by local hiking guides.

During my first week here I met the majority of Osa’s staff and other researchers working with Osa, learned to navigate the “backyard” (AKA forest) where I will be working alone using a map and GPS, and worked on the experimental design aspect of the monitoring project, which involved days of staring at the computer learning how to work with completely new but immensely valuable GIS software, a key part of almost all environmental research. What takes years of learning curves I learned in about 2 days…my eyes hurt a little! My supervisor is very helpful conceptually but likes to be hand-off in the practical sense; a method which feels very conducive to learning and growth. Throughout this summer, I hope to learn much more about conducting reliable forestry research and ways through which to effectively communicate environmental-conservation news to audiences with weaker environmental consciences.

I will send love from Brandeis to all of the lizards, iguanas, snakes, toads, pelicans, monkeys, and scarlet-macaw couples I see!

Nick Medina ’14

A map of the rainforest patch  I am working with that I made using the GIS program I learned. I live in "Cerro Osa", ~800m along the blue trail from the plantation.
A map of the rainforest patch I am working with that I made using the GIS program I learned. I live in “Cerro Osa”, ~800m along the blue trail from the plantation.

 

A pregnant spider monkey hanging out at an Osa research station!
A pregnant spider monkey hanging out at an Osa research station!
My supervisor and I ready for work!
My supervisor and I ready for work!

Week One at the U.S. Attorney’s Office

D.O.J. Seal

Hi everyone!  This summer, I will be interning at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice; each state has at least one U.S. Attorney’s Office that investigates and prosecutes violations of federal statutes.  I am interning at the Eastern District New York Office on Long Island in the Criminal Division, which deals with the enforcement of federal criminal laws within the district.  As an intern at the office, my role is to work with Assistant U.S. Attorneys and Paralegal Specialists in trial preparation and various administrative assignments.

I also have my own projects including conducting legal research and drafting legal briefs.  Some of these things I had previously gained exposure to at my internship at the District Attorney’s Office in Suffolk County, Long Island last summer.  In fact, it was actually through a reference from my mentor at that internship that I discovered the position at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Go networking!

I should mention that if the descriptions of the work that I do at my internship sound vague or imprecise, it is not unintentional.   I was told at least a few hundred times during my orientation that I would be privy to sensitive information at the office that I could not discuss.  I am also unable to bring a camera into the federal building to take photographs of my work environment, so you may have to use your imagination.

Nevertheless, last Friday was orientation day.  All of the interns congregated in the office library (which unbeknownst to me at the time would become intern HQ for the summer).  We received packets of paperwork to sign and submit, watched informational and inspirational videos about our roles, and went on a tour of the building.  At the end of the day, each intern was assigned one Assistant U.S. Attorney and/or Paralegal Specialist to work with.  Out of the 30 or so interns, 27 were law students (which came as no surprise to me, since I was one of the only college students at my last legal internship, as well) who were paired with Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Criminal or Civil Division.  The three college interns, myself and two others, were paired with a Paralegal Specialist.

During my first two days, I had mainly administrative and office duties to perform such as scanning documents, organizing trial exhibits into binders, and copying documents for discovery.  I also had the opportunity to observe a jury trial in federal court, which was fascinating to watch since I had already seen hours of district court proceedings.  Over the last two days, I have been working alongside my Paralegal Specialist on drafting answers to complaints for civil cases (which my Paralegal Specialist assured me I would have to write for my Bar Exam so it’s good that I’m starting early!).  Once I master the format for drafting these answers, I can expect to do more work on preparing briefs on my own.

(Courtesy of http://www.justice.gov/usao/justice101/images/fullcourtroom.jpg)
(Courtesy of http://www.justice.gov/usao/justice101/images/fullcourtroom.jpg)

What has stood out about my internship to this point is that interns are trusted to complete vital tasks that not only benefit the office, but also the interns’ prospective legal careers.  In addition, more than any job or internship I’ve ever had, I’ve found that the interns are a very close-knit group.  All of us work together on the same two floors; we all eat lunch together, do research in the library – you’d be hard-pressed to find an intern at this office in a group of fewer than three.  And even though some of the other interns are as much as a decade older than me, some of the most educational moments I’ve had have been in conversations with them, which have provided me with a preview of law school, applying to work at law firms and the legal environment in general.  I am looking forward to the upcoming intern social events (we have a summer 5K run, a pizza party, and a softball game against the U.S. Marshals on the calendar), so I can continue to hear more of their stories.  Hopefully by my next blog post, I will have learned everyone’s names!

– Ricky Rosen ’14

Day 10 Without a Tick Incident

This summer I am conducting environmental research under the guidance of Professor Eric Olson at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. The Heller School focuses on utilizing interdisciplinary research, with public engagement, to respond to an ever-changing society.

After several meetings with Professor Olson last semester, we created a project focusing on gathering baseline data of the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) nymph population within the town of Weston, Massachusetts. It is critical to collect this data now because Weston legalized deer hunting last July. One of the many justifications for this legislation was that by controlling the deer population, there should be a gradual decline in the tick population. Decreasing the tick population is important since this would reduce the instance of diseases like Lyme disease and Babesiosis.

In preparation for this research, Professor Olson and I traveled to the University of Rhode Island to meet with Dr. Thomas Mather, the Director of URI’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease and the TickEncounter Resource Center. Dr. Mather has been conducting tick based research and promoting tick-bite awareness for more than 20 years. His experience made him the ideal person to discuss our proposed research with. Beyond meeting with Professor Olson and me, Dr. Mather allowed us to be trained with the rest of his team. Under the guidance of Jason LaPorte, a research assistant at the TickEncounter Resource Center, Professor Olson and I were taught how to flag for ticks and how to keep the ticks that have been collected alive for later studies. This training has been invaluable and an incredible start to the summer.

Most people would think that field research would involve something like trekking through a tropical rainforest with huge backpacks of supplies. Or maybe, they think of a massive sailboat in the middle of the ocean with various pieces of large equipment for taking samples. I on the other hand, was shown that research could begin in a place as bizarre as a fabric store. Using these supplies, and the URI training, I was able to make the flags and vials for collecting ticks (see below).

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Through this research, I hope to prepare myself for a career in environmental research. I have completed several other field research projects, though none have been quite as extensive as this research. Completing a project that spans multiple months will help me confirm that field research is a realistic career. Furthermore, I plan on applying my lab knowledge by processing the ticks for the diseases mentioned above. The prevalence of tick-borne illness is commonly debated; by testing the ticks collected (more than 200 have been collected in less then a week of field work), I will be able to make a more accurate estimation of the prevalence of diseases within Weston.  By combining field and lab techniques, the research will be more comprehensive and thorough.

For more information on Weston’s Deer Management Program, please visit: bit.ly/14z1pAg

I hope everyone’s summer is off to a great start.

– Adam Krebs ’14

Bootcamp in Digital Video Technology

Welcome, everyone! First week has been very busy, full of new information, and to be honest, excitement on my part. I learned so much about digital technology this past week that I can’t believe it’s only been 5 days. Did you know Google can predict with 94% accuracy how well the next movie will do at the box office, based on the data it gathers from people’s Google searches? As the CEO described this internship, it is the summer boot camp in digital video distribution and monetization.

IRIS.TV is a start up tech company in downtown Los Angeles that specializes in the digital management, targeting, analysis, distribution and monetization of video content for publishers, advertisers and content owners. Using the latest advances in data science and content mapping, IRIS.TV adds each viewer’s distinct taste to a video’s advertising value. IRIS.TV personalizes content flow, indexes metadata, activates user behavior and more.

In other words, we work with software programs that are able to analyze data from consumers and use it to personalize their viewing experience. When people are recommended videos based on their viewing experience, they are more likely to watch more videos, spend more time online, and interact more with media. This is extremely valuable for advertisers, who pay a huge amount of money to place their ads on videos that are watched by the right people.

I found this internship through Hiatt’s CIC (Career and Internship Connections). When I saw the ad it seemed to be an interesting opportunity, even though I didn’t exactly understand what IRIS.TV did. All I remember seeing were a myriad of technical terms, that they work in the online video industry, and somehow “monetize” video content. Being a film, economics, and business major, this captured my attention and decided to apply. I was invited to an interview on January 8th in LA. I live in San Diego, thus it was a fairly short trip. I had a great interview with my supervisor, Lindsay. She is also a media/communications major, so we connected well. A week later, she offered me an internship.

To stay true to the ubiquitous use of data at my internship, I recorded various activities I did this past week. For example, I wrote down all the times I arrived/left my internship, and discovered that my first week I averaged 9.5 hours of work per day. This is a startup company and fortunately there is no shortage of work. More excitingly, unlike some past internships where work was just that, work, most things I do here are opportunities for me to learn about things I’m extremely interested in. Mostly I research competitor companies and create reports on their technologies. Also, I do the daily note, a daily email with most relevant tech articles of the day, and manage the company’s twitter page. Finally, I search for potential clients, companies who are seeking to optimize and monetize their content inventory.

Though these look like boring routine work, through my constant research I am learning a ton of information that is helping me understand the patterns that will decide where the entertainment and media industry are going. Also, through my research I realize how important and in-demand the IRIS.TV technology will be in the very near future. A few times I read current articles in the media that explained that it is most important for entertainment and media companies to improve their digital distribution and enhance their viewers’ online experience, which is exactly what IRIS.TV specializes in. It’s very exciting to be part of this company! This internship will undoubtedly influence my post-Brandeis plans. Maybe I will even work for IRIS.TV.

Finally, this week has exceeded my learning expectations. I have no idea what to expect for the rest of the summer, other than to continue learning, which is so much easier when I’m curious and excited about the subject.

– Paul Vancea ’14

IRIS.tv

IRIS.TV specializes in the distribution and monetization of digital content across all platforms
IRIS.TV specializes in the distribution and monetization of digital content across all platforms

What I learned my first week at Women’s Center for Wellness!

Women’s Center for Wellness (WCW) is a relatively small facility located in South Windsor, CT. WCW is part of a larger organization of health care providers called the Eastern Connecticut Health Network, or ECHN. The mission of WCW is to provide comprehensive health care to (primarily) women of all ages and backgrounds. The organization focuses specifically on services such as mammography, bone density analysis, breast ultrasound,

Patients get these goody bags filled with informational leaflets and chocolate after their mammogram.
Patients get these goody bags filled with informational leaflets and chocolate after their mammogram.

and digital breast biopsies. In addition to these services, WCW provides alternative care that focuses on holistic health and involves services such as diet counseling, massage therapy, yoga, and even acupuncture. The result is that WCW offers a holistic approach to managing women’s health.

My responsibility as an intern is to assist various departments with tasks that the faculty may not have time to perform when the facility is overwhelmed with patients. While many of these are clinical tasks, some are clerical. Though I will likely work within different specialties throughout the summer, this week I worked primarily with the radiology technicians. The technicians perform mammograms, bone density scans and ultrasounds. Part of my responsibility is to be a liaison between the technicians and the patients by preparing them for their procedure. I also ensure that the required paperwork is compiled so that the technicians may have all the necessary documentation prior to beginning the procedure. As my internship progresses, I will have more responsibilities, such as setting up examination rooms prior to a procedure.

For my own benefit, I have also personally observed some of these procedures so that I have a greater understanding of how the organization operates and how its services are meant to help people. Because this week was somewhat less busy, I also found myself doing some clerical tasks that are necessary to complete. However, even these tasks gave me insight on how the organization operates. For example, I had to create folders with various pamphlets and informational leaflets for Breast Care Collaborative. This is a program that helps work with patients after they have received a breast cancer diagnosis. The folders provide information from the Susan G. Komen Foundation that helps explain the next steps that the woman can take after being diagnosed. It has become clear to me that a large part of running an organization such as WCW is ensuring that patients have sufficient information to make educated decisions about their health.

I feel very fortunate to have found this internship. I began my search for an internship by looking for postings in my local hospitals and health care facilities. I quickly found that official postings were difficult to find. I decided to take a different approach and personally address the representatives of various facilities to find out whether they had unlisted internships. I even proposed that if such a position did not exist, that the organization may create an unpaid internship position so that I might work with them. Luckily, Women’s Center for Wellness accepts students for the summer as interns. My supervisor received my e-mail and invited me to become an intern after a short interview because it was clear that it was a good fit.

This summer I hope to really absorb a lot of information through this internship. I already feel like I have learned a lot, but I want to gain an in-depth understanding of not just the procedures that are performed at WCW, but also how the organization operates as a whole. I also hope to learn to be able to interact with patients, because that is a large part of being a health care provider. I have high hopes for the rest of the summer!

– Alex Zhakov ’14

First week at IDG

Welcome everyone!  I have just completed my first week at International Data Group Ventures Vietnam (IDG Vietnam). I arrived in Vietnam on May 22nd, and I have been slowly adjusting to the time zone. Despite the exhaustion from jetlag, I was still very excited about my upcoming internship.

IDG Ventures Vietnam is the first technology venture capital fund in Vietnam. Since 2004, IDG has been working with entrepreneurs to grow innovative and market-leading companies. The company currently has $100 million under management, with investments in over 40 companies in the information technology, media, telecom infrastructure and services, and consumer sectors.

Unlike many WOW fellows, I  have worked at IDG previously .  I spent two months in the summer after my freshman year as a research analyst. It was already a valuable experience, but I thought  that I could still gain more from working here. Luckily I maintained a good relationship with my supervisor, and he introduced me to the IDG internship program and suggested I apply.   After reviewing my application, the CEO interviewed me via phone. We discussed my interests in social networks, and how I would contribute to the organization’s goal to develop them more fully. The CEO offered me an unpaid internship on the spot.

My internship kicked off with an orientation at Mercure Hotel in Hanoi, where I got to meet IDG staff and other interns in the program. The IDG branch in Hanoi is relatively small, comprised of four partners and fifteen investment professionals. The friendliness of the partners and other members of the company really impressed me. The managing partner introduced me to the staff and provided me basic information about the operation of the company. I also met ten other interns, many of whom come from top universities in Vietnam and the United Stes. My teammate on my project is a senior at Mount Holyoke College, MA (small world). She seems great, and I am definitely looked forward to working on the project with her.

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Me during the orientation (bottom 2nd from left)

During the internship, I will primarily learn how to conduct market research on social networks in Vietnam. In the first week, my supervisor showed me how to collect and analyze empirical data about domestic and foreign markets, and write weekly reports for the company.  In the following weeks, I will learn how to build complicated charts about supply-demand and cost-revenue for social networking sites. I have learned some of these concepts at Brandeisl, and I want to see how it’s like to apply them in the real world settings.. I think the biggest challenge about this project will be  the technology aspect of establishin social networks. Since I don’t have a strong background in computer science, I will definitely have to consult my IT friends and other associates in the company.

Looking forward, after the summer, I really want to have a deeper understanding about venture capital in Vietnam and expand my networking contacts in the industry. Venture capital is playing its greater part in this country, and I really want to contribute my knowledge to its development.

-Nam Pham ’14

The first week at China Sustainable Energy Program (CSEP)

I just finished the first week of my internship at the Beijing office of China Sustainable Energy Program (CSEP). CSEP is a non-profit organization, headquartered in Beijing, China. The main goal of CSEP is to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution in new and existing Chinese cities by promoting and implementing sustainable urbanization and transportation systems. These goals are achieved by working with national and municipal governments to establish pilot projects demonstrating the effectiveness of sustainable urban development in China and providing personnel training programs. The Beijing office aims to provide program management and funding to more than 40 regional projects around China. Technology support is provided by China Sustainable Transportation Center (CSTC). There are about 30 staff members in this office, and there are four interns helping for this summer. Most funding of CSEP comes from HP Inc.

My internship mainly consists of two parts. First, I will be tracking progress of the projects, conducting data entry and analysis, writing project evaluation reports, and translating some related materials. Second, I am very lucky to have a chance to join the Jinan Sustainable City Planning Project. We will analyze real residential energy use data gathered for the last three years and conduct some research for further project refinement.

I found this internship from “Earth Notes” sent by Prof. Laura Goldin. “Earth Notes” is a list of internship opportunities for students of environmental studies and other types of related social work. The summer internship in CSEP got my attention and interest immediately because of its location in China and because the energy field has always been an interest of mine. I sent them my resume and after a phone interview, I got this summer internship.

The first week of this internship has been interesting and a bit challenging. My supervisor and other colleagues are very friendly and helpful. They impressed me with their professionalism and problem solving skills from the first day I was there. My assigned jobs consist of both urgent and long-term projects. One urgent job is preparing a group of Chinese mayors before they travel to  the U.S. to learn about sustainable city planning next week.  We are now busy preparing schedules and translating papers for their trip. The long-term project is the Jinan Sustainable Planning Project, for which I will do research with another intern over the next two months. We have set goals and we will meet our supervisor on a weekly basis. This project is kind of challenging for me because it requires strong background knowledge in urban planning, but I feel like I am learning a lot and getting more and more familiar with this field as we work. The whole organization has a file sharing system accessible to interns for ongoing projects. This common file is very useful to me. I read a lot of reports, related academic papers, and background information about this organization.  I now have a much better understanding about how this non-profit organization works and how to combine theory with practice.

Finally, in terms my expectations about the internship, I hope to learn about sustainability in urban planning through reading both academic papers and reports from real projects. Second, I wish to work closely and network with my colleagues and become aware of more opportunities in the sustainability field, both in the United States and in China. Third, by conducting a research in a team environment, I hope to develop a better communication and problem solving skills, and to have a better understanding about cultural differences between the U.S and China in this field.

CSEP logo
The logo of CSEP
The view from the window near my desk (Beijing)
office
A very “green” office!

– Yifan Wang ’14

Final weeks at Embassy Madrid

The last weeks of my internship at the Embassy went extremely well. At the American Citizen Services unit I took on the task of reorganizing the several bins for official forms that are handed out to clients, making it easier to locate desired forms and ultimately increasing the unit’s efficiency. I had the chance to attend a private meeting with a Spanish business entrepreneurial leader, which was probably one of the most interesting events during my time at the Embassy. I had the chance to experience the “cool” part of being a diplomat: having a driver taking me and the Consular Foreign Service Officer I was with to the meeting in an official diplomatic car, and personally representing the US in front of a prestigious Spanish business leader. But even more importantly, I learned that meeting with local contacts is absolutely key to understanding a country’s situation. This meeting gave us insight into what is really going on in the entrepreneurial scene in Spain, much more that any press article or blog post would. In addition, I learned how to integrate the content of an interview into an Embassy report, and to remember meeting themes and details without taking notes.

At the Economic Section, I continued work on the follow-up part of the 4th of July’s corporate fundraising project, and requested a new project that helped me incorporate some of my economics knowledge and develop new skills. The new project consisted of skimming through long and complex macroeconomic analyst reports on the Spanish economy, identifying the key points and aspects of those reports and summarizing the information in a concise macroeconomic fact sheet. The fact sheet would be for internal Embassy use, specifically to brief congressional delegations, senators, treasury delegations, and other Embassy visitors. The task was challenging, as I was skimming through piles of analyst reports with limited time and without an advanced knowledge of macroeconomics. However, I quickly got used to reading quickly, then going deeper into the readings when I identified a key aspect. My supervisors seemed very satisfied with the result, and I developed skills that I use now for school readings.

On my last week, I received an email from two of my supervisors about a “surprise” that would be taking place later that week. The surprise turned out to be an award from the Ambassador himself (see photo). I received a US Department of State Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding service.  The Ambassador gave me the certificate along with his personal token coin, a typical item that represents one’s department, unit, embassy, or any other agency of the federal government. I was extremely honored and excited to receive the award, and receiving compensation for my work was truly priceless.

I think I’ll never forget that last day at the Embassy: turning in my badge, saying goodbye to my friends and coworkers, and walking through the Embassy’s beautiful patio. The internship made me realize how much there is to a career in foreign policy, how it is possible to advance a country’s interests and cooperate internationally at the same time, and how hard US diplomats work to advance the Department of State’s mission. Big ideas like these are important to understanding the impact of one’s day-to-day work, and I look forward to incorporating these ideas and new skills into my future career – whatever it turns out to be.

Fin

Parisian cafés in color

I imagine that every final post on the WOW blog will be tinged with sadness. And it only makes sense. These internships that we’ve all taken part of have helped all of us grow as professionals, as adults, as human beings. If anything, we’ve discovered more about ourselves and perhaps even figured out what we’d like to do with the rest of our lives. The people we’ve met and the things that we’ve learned have changed us for good.

The final days of my internship were a whirlwind of activity. I’d never felt so busy during my stay. I was flying around making calls, desperately making checklists for the museum’s archives, choosing some works to present in one of the rooms, etc. It seemed that despite everything I did for the museum during my internship, there were always things on my desk that needed to be completed. Even with another intern working with me in the curation department, it was an incredibly trying time. I never did get to finish all my cataloguing on Gustave Charpentier. In the end, I had some assignments that I couldn’t possibly finish without working overtime for four more hours each night and regretfully left them for the next intern to deal with. The Musée de Montmartre’s work is never finished.

My final day in Paris was a sad ordeal as well. I spent it running around, saying goodbye to all of my new loved ones and friends, purchasing trinkets for family at home, and jotting down contact information from everyone I could. There were no tears, though I did sigh a lot thinking about how near my departure was. And as it always goes, as one part of your life ends, you start thinking about what lies ahead.

The internship was over. My time in Paris, a period of my life that feels like a slowly disappearing dream now, was over. And knowing myself, I would start forgetting some of the French that I learned, some of the names of my friends, some of the faces of my past. But what I learned from the internship and my time there will stay with me for a long time. I learned how to deal with a fast-paced work environment. I learned the value of a good day’s work and that a well-oiled team is the most important aspect of a successful operation. I learned more about the inner workings of a museum and the importance of celebrating, not just preserving the past. But I also learned patience, gratitude, and how better to deal with what life throws me. So in the end, I realize that I have achieved my goals that I set out to reach when applying for the World of Work funding. I believe I am more organized, more confident about what I would like to do after my undergraduate career at Brandeis, and more mature as a person.

The exhibition I had been so fervently working on has now started. “Autour du Chat Noir: Arts et Plaisirs à Montmartre 1880-1910” is now on display at the museum and I couldn’t even get to go to the opening. But I never like to keep loose ends. I know I will be back in Paris someday, and that exhibition will be the first thing to cross off my list.

The expo I will not get to see…

– Sujin Shin ’13

Culminating my internship at CBRC

My summer at the Childhood Bilingualism Research Center was very fruitful; I accomplished all of my learning goals that I had set before beginning the internship. Time flew by as I worked on experiment design and data analysis, transcribed video files and learned how to use various programs and equipment at the Center. Additionally, I gained many new skills along the way that were beyond my expectations, such as learning how to use SPSS and the eye-tracker. Day by day, I became accustomed to the pace of working in academia alongside graduate students. All of these experiences will be useful for me in the future, academically and professionally.

I embarked on the internship with the academic goal of applying theoretical knowledge from my Brandeis courses to practical research. Originally only hoping to participate in experimental design, I actually got the chance to design an experiment from scratch. I created an interactive game studying trilingual children’s acquisition of spatial relations, making it fun for 4 to 6 year olds to participate in the study. In planning the experiment, I applied concepts from the language acquisition course I took this spring semester, and searched for relevant journal articles using databases introduced to me by a Brandeis professor. In my last week, I presented my ideas to the directors of the Center, Prof. Yip and Prof. Matthews, and all of the lab members.

Welcoming Dr. Gorter and Dr. Cenoz from University of the Basque Country, Spain

Throughout the internship, starting from the Conference in May, I met and chatted with many linguistics professors from around the world who came to visit the Center here in Hong Kong. It was eye-opening and refreshing to hear about the most recent studies about multilingual education and language policies across the globe. Like many others at the Center, I took pride that Hong Kong is becoming a vibrant academic meeting point where students and scholars come together to discuss the topic of multilingualism. I believe that this increased discourse will extend into the mainstream culture and encourage more parents to raise their children multilingually. Last year, CBRC collaborated with Radio Television Hong Kong to create a hour-long TV program promoting the positive outcomes of child multilingualism. This discussion has also been featured in an International Herald Tribune op-ed piece entitled “Cantonese, Please”.

Learning how to use the eye-tracker

For those who are interested in a research internship in linguistics, I really encourage you to connect with professors, in and out of Brandeis. Many of them are very keen to get to know undergraduates who are beginning a path in linguistics. Since there are so many sub-fields in linguistics, be sure to find a professor whose research interests align with your own. They may offer you an internship if you display passion for the subject and willingness to learn.

Dim sum with Prof. Yip, Prof. Matthews and Kenneth, visiting student from Harvard

During these past eight weeks, I gained valuable knowledge that will be important for me to have as I continue my studies in linguistics at Brandeis and explore possibilities for future research. I am so grateful to my supervisor and mentor Prof. Virginia Yip, without whom none of this would be possible and whose encouragement and guidance led me to challenge myself during the internship. Thank you to all of the lab members for introducing me to everything at the Center, showing me around the CUHK campus, and making sure I achieved all of my learning goals. Last but not least, thank you so much to the WOW committee for funding this very rewarding experience.

– Miriam Wong ’14

The Month that Changed My Life

I am almost completely at a loss for words when I try to describe all that has happened to me in the last third of my internship. To say it has changed my life is an understatement. Everything is different. But first I need to explain how I got here:

In my last three weeks with Bible Raps, I got to go “on tour.” Matt, Matan, and I went to four different camps in five days, all in the gorgeous northern PA mountains. As a “camp person” myself, I love experiencing the different cultures and embracing all the different modes of camp life. I also got into the groove of my job. I knew when to start handing out the packets at the concerts, which songs to film, and I even got to jump in on some songs. I also helped to run the workshop, working with kids on learning and writing. After driving 12 hours overnight from PA to GA, we were once again at Camp Ramah Darom, my home turf. But this time, I had a lot more to do. Almost all the workshops we put on that week I ran myself. I chose and complied the text to learn, ran the study, gave the explanation, helped the kids write, and walked them through the recording. My  favorite song from the week is about Nachshon, who according to tradition was the first to walk into the sea, causing God to part the waters.  Here is a short video of the song and the recording process!

I also finished up and performed my first original Bible Rap about the book of Ruth! It was so great being able to share it with all of the counselors and kids. With more work, it will hopefully be incorporated into the Bible Raps curriculum and appear on the next album! Here’s a video and a pdf of the Torah Rap-Map.

 

All throughout that week and once I was home, I spent most of my time making videos with the rap-maps of the songs in the curriculum for teachers to use. They aren’t public yet, but I hope to share those soon!

I had such an amazing experience with Bible Raps, especially traveling and running the workshops, that I’m in discussions with Matt to continue working with them! (more on this later.)

After a week at home I was off to Montclair New Jersey for the NewCAJE conference for Jewish education. It was an incredible week. I had the opportunity to perform my Jewish music for the first time and had such amazing responses.

 

Teachers want to use my music in their classrooms and bring me in for workshops. I received encouragement from new friends and musicians that I have loved an admired all my life. I was also able to represent Bible Raps, and ran a 2 hour presentation on their behalf to five incredibly engaged educators. I learned so much from them, and all five want to bring me in for workshops this year!

This is the jump-start to a year full of singing, writing, recording, and traveling. I have been so inspired and motivated from this summer. My advice to budding artists? Just do it. Stop waiting for some future time to make it happen. That time is right now.

– Eliana Light ’13

Two months in at the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge!

I’ve now been working at Ostional National Wildlife Refuge for more than two months and things have been going great!  I’m really starting to get into the flow of things here and feel that I’ve already learned a great deal.

One of the new experiences I’ve had in the past few weeks was the opportunity to see Olive Ridley sea turtle hatchlings during the day.  Sea turtles generally hatch at night when fewer predators are on the beach and without the hot sun that can hurt the sensitive hatchlings.  Sometimes, however, the hatchlings also emerge around sunrise and I was able to snap the picture below.  Seeing how small (fits in the palm of your hand!) and vulnerable the hatchlings are makes me think about how incredible it is that any of these little guys survive long enough to grow to 45 kg. (100 lb.) as adults.  For more information about sea turtles, including nesting and hatchling behavior, see this website.

A Olive Ridley sea turtle hatching making its way to sea at sunrise while people scare away dogs and vultures.

Although I’ve always thought I would enjoy studying biology in the field, this internship has reaffirmed my desire to pursue some sort of biological fieldwork in the future.  I am looking forward to applying some of these skills to my work in the Environmental Field Semester JBS program this fall.  My other goals for this internship are to learn about the local community and to improve my Spanish vocabulary. I have been able to make a great deal of progress towards these goals in a short period of time.

I am most proud of how well I’ve come to know the beach here at Ostional.  Before coming here, I didn’t think much about factors such as the tides, sand texture, vultures and feral animals or beach debris.  However, after being here for a few months, I have become increasingly aware of the many facets of the environment here.  Much of my work here entails leading groups of volunteers on nightly beach patrols in search of turtles.  In my first few weeks as a patrol leader, I struggled to orient myself on the beach at night.  Now that I’ve gained some experience, I can recognize many landmarks on the beach, even at night, and know where I am on the beach without having to check with a light.

On July 25th, the province of Guanacaste celebrated the Anniversary of Annexation into Costa Rica.  This region of Costa Rica  was part of Nicaragua until 1824, when it was annexed by Costa Rica.  This event is celebrated every year in the province with a huge festival including traditional dances and a rodeo.  I took this photo from the side of a bull ring in the city of Nicoya.  For more information about the Annexation of Guanacaste, visit this website.

Every July 25th the Anniversary of Guanacaste is celebrated with a rodeo.

Even though my future may or may not include sea turtles, the skills I’m building in my work here are definitely applicable to my future.  Most importantly, I’ve begun to understand what it takes to undertake science in a field setting.  When compared to a laboratory, there are simply so many factors which are beyond scientists’ control, including weather, feral animals, and interference by people.  Although work in the field has many challenges, I am excited to continue my internship at Ostional National Wildlife Refuge as I consider engaging in my own field investigations one day.

 

– Sarah Steele ’13

 

 

 

Finishing Touches at the Katz Lab

The benefit to working at a Brandeis lab, or the burden depending on your personal philosophy, is literally seeing summer coming to a close. As the campus first became awash with upperclass volunteers (e.g., Orientation Leaders and the like), first-years soon followed, and all other returning students arriving over the past few days  show that summer has truly ended. As sad as this is, I look back on my summer experience with a sense of completeness. A large learning goal for my summer internship at the Katz Lab was to learn what it is like to be a research scientist, and by going into work everyday, running experiments, analyzing data, researching relevant literature, and writing up exciting results, I think that I have a better handle of what is entailed in the life of a professional researcher. Additionally I had the great fortune to present our findings at the Brandeis Division of Science Poster Session

 

Undergraduate Researchers at the Brandeis Division of Science Poster Session
Source: www.brandeis.edu/now/2012/august/scifest.html

 

The work that was completed this summer has laid the foundation for a great number of research projects and during the year I will be performing one as my senior thesis in neuroscience. I hope to take the skills and knowledge I’ve gained over this internship and use them to aid in my future research (both in my senior year and beyond). This is not to say, however, that I am well adept at performing at a professional level, and I can’t wait to continue these projects to learn more about the scientific process of creating an experiment and seeing its completion.

 

The Ideal Scientific Process
Source: media.treehugger.com/assets/images/2011/10/Science-Flow-Chart.jpg

 

To any interested students who want to see what research is like: try it! As an undergraduate it is difficult to have a sense of what the “real world” will be like in your 4 years, but luckily at Brandeis you can have a keen sense of what life is like as a researcher. There is no way that you will know unless you find a project to work on. Professors, though intimidating, are still people and a quick email or an in-person introduction may just be your way to get your foot in their door. Also, if you’re looking for outside funding, please don’t put on blinders to those sources which cater to all disciplines; if you can show how beneficial the internship is, then you are equally a strong, competitive candidate. Finally, once you have your position, show initiative and be driven to complete your project as you are going to need all of your ambition to get you through the rough patches that are omnipresent in science. If you do follow through and work hard, you will be well rewarded!

-Kevin Monk, ’13

The Countdown & Completion of My Summer 2012 Internship

I have officially begun the countdown until I leave Israel, and although I will miss it dearly, I look forward to returning back to Brandeis. My most important learning goal this summer was to strengthen my skills in research, specifically clinical research. I was able to do this by contributing to two literature reviews on preventive interventions for dealing with violence and trauma. With the goal of eventually working toward my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, gaining this experience was crucial for my career development, and went much beyond my previous experience. I surpassed my original expectations because instead of doing one literature review, I ended up working on two. I was also given the opportunity to help out with a study on designing an intervention for building resilience for at-risk youth, the latter being one of the populations I eventually want to focus on as a psychologist. This has given me insight into cultures other than America and Israel, which was not exactly one of my original learning goals but nevertheless appreciated.

Photo Credit: Traumaweb.org

I am also learning more about evaluating the work of other psychologists, by observing my mentors here in real-time.

The work I have done at the Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma this summer will fuel the rest of my time at Brandeis. Specifically, it will put me in “research mode” as preparation for my Honor’s Thesis. It will also inform my academic work as I take courses in the areas I have researched this summer.

There is still a lot left to learn before I am prepared for the next step in my career. I want to gain more experience in research, which I will be able to do with my Honor’s Thesis this year; I also want do get more hands-on work with a clinical population, especially children, adolescents, first responders, and others affected by trauma. Whether working at a medical facility or with children in general, I know that to truly engage myself in this field, I must engage it at all levels, not just research.

For anyone interested in interning at the Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma, I commend you for your decision to volunteer, and think you will have a blast. The Center does, however, get very busy with many projects. I would therefore advise interested students to research the Center’s work first, which can be viewed here. Once there, see if there is any program or type of work (i.e. research) that most interests you. Then contact one of the psychologists, someone in public affairs, or send them an e-mail. (Contact page located here). Keep trying if you do not hear back at first. And before you reach out, also think about one main project you can focus on. Every volunteer is required to contribute sometime to PR, but the rest can be decided by you and the staff members. While at the Center, I would definitely try to check out the various “Units” of the Center. You will learn not only about trauma and resilience, but all the different ways one can contribute through research, programs, therapy, marketing, and more.

Photo Credit: Traumaweb.org

– Rocky Reichman ’13

Completing My NBC News Internship

I have completed my summer internship at NBC News in Washington, D.C.

As an investigative intern, my responsibilities included researching stories and observing the NBC News investigative unit in the Washington Bureau, as well as, absorbing all aspects of the network news environment. From sitting in the studio for MSNBC broadcasts to standing outside the Supreme Court when the healthcare decision was announced, I tried to take advantage of my time at NBC News by talking to people who worked in the bureau, and experiencing as much as possible in Washington, D.C.  I outlined many of these accomplishments in my Midpoint post.

I am especially proud of a particular research assignment that will hopefully be aired on NBC Nightly News in the next few weeks.  It was a great opportunity to be involved in an important and timely topic.  I was given the task of researching a lead on a story, and after digging into the subject matter, I was convinced there was a possibility for a spot.  I pitched the idea to the Senior Investigative Correspondent for NBC News and her investigative producer, who agreed there was something there.  They pitched the idea to Nightly.  I then compiled a list of prospective interviews, including experts on the subject matter, victims, and the people responsible. I assisted interviewing those people in preliminary phone interviews, helping to decide who might be a good candidate for an on-camera appearance. I also found out about an event that NBC News decided to cover because of its potential for producing strong sound bites in the spot.

Source: http://tvpressfeed.com/2012/01/the-nbc-news-gop-debate-draws-a-crowd-on-january-23/

Being involved in a piece that will hopefully make TV was exciting and a great learning experience which built upon all different aspects of what I had been learning throughout the summer.  I wish my internship had been longer so I could have seen the story through all the stages of its production.  Now that my internship is complete, I feel that I have gained valuable knowledge of in-depth reporting and producing.

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/27/nbc-london-olympics-2012-streaming-tv-3d/

I want to build off this experience at Brandeis by continuing to learn as much as possible about politics, economics, and international studies through my liberal arts education.  As an aspiring reporter/producer, a broad liberal arts education is valuable because I need to know about a variety of subject matters, how governments, institutions, and people work, and, overall, to be able to think about and understand the news.

Outside Brandeis, I think the most helpful way to gain an understanding of how this industry works is to be immersed in it, and I hope I have more opportunities to work in a news environment in the future.  I would advise another student interested in an internship at NBC News or another organization in the industry to be proactive and enthusiastic.  If you really want to learn about the field and find it inspiring, most people, many of whom also started out as interns, are happy to teach.

 

– Abigail Kagan ’13

Leaving Kiev: Final Blog Post with the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine

I would not have thought that eight weeks could have gone by so quickly.

I think the experience went above and beyond in fulfilling the learning goals I set at the beginning. Everything, from my tasks in the office to living in Kiev, contributed toward fulfilling those goals. One such goal was to gain professional experience. I was, and still am, interested in working for the U.S. government in some capacity, preferably doing something involving nuclear issues and Eastern Europe, and this internship was excellent. It gave me the opportunity to work for a State Department program and meet U.S. government officials. Through talking with colleagues, I learned how different working for the U.S. government was from working for a Ukrainian government organization, in terms of transparency.

Another of my learning goals was to learn about Eastern Europe. I talked to colleagues at lunch about all sorts of things from Russia’s meddling in the Crimea to the large amount of corruption in the Kiev’s city government. I sampled borsht and vareniki (dumplings) and salo (the national dish, which is pretty much lard), which are cornerstones of Ukrainian cuisine. I had the opportunity to practice speaking Russian, but at work my colleagues spoke very impressive English, so there were no communication problems. Having the opportunity to travel to Moldova offered a unique chance to travel to another former Soviet republic and to learn about Transnistria (Moldova’s eastern territory has declared its independence, but no country recognizes it). This is an excellent Economist article about Transnistria and other similar conflict zones in former Soviet republics.  I ended the summer with a much deeper understanding of Ukrainian culture and politics. I won’t forget the excellent summer I spent there or the kindness of the friends I made. Ukraine in the world today

The summer has helped to further cement my interests in nonproliferation and the former Soviet Union, and I hope to continue to interweave those interests with my studies at Brandeis and future internships and jobs. To someone with similar interests, I would say, be willing to take risks.  If you are really interested in certain issues, find an organization that deals with them and contact the organization. Even if there is not internship program, inquire about a possible internship. There are a lot of other people interested in international relations-related careers, so I think it is important to build up an impressive and unique resume, something to make you stand out.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to spend the summer in Ukraine. I returned to the US with so many stories and experiences that I will always treasure.

Jennifer Ginsburg, ’14

Last Days at the Pediatric High BMI Clinic

My internship at the Pediatric High BMI Clinic at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital ended with a four-hour program named Fun Day on Friday, August 10th 2012. As a Biology and HSSP major, my main academic goal was to apply my knowledge from the classroom to a clinical setting by interacting with patients and various health care professionals. Every morning I walked into the clinic with an open mind and a positive attitude. The first thing I did was check the schedule of appointments for the day. When patients arrived, sometimes I helped the nurses with triaging the patients, such as taking their height, weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure. Most of time I looked over patients’ family and medical history, calculated their body mass index, and plotted the data on the growth chart to monitor their development. I also examined patients’ dietary and physical activity level with the dietitian in order to conduct nutritional counseling. From observing the clinic staff’s interaction with the patient and participating in medical case discussion following each patient’s visit, I learned that obesity is a complicated illness with many factors. By collecting and analyzing surveys, data, and organizing the program Fun Day 2012, I realized that while it is important to educate the child about the importance of balanced nutrition and portion size, it is more essential to encourage his family members to provide physical and mentor support, and to foster a positive environment at home for healthy eating and weight loss. Additionally I learned that childhood obesity does not only result in medical comorbidities, overweight or obese children are often victims of bullying at school, which may further cause these children to develop emotional eating, low self-confidence, and even depression. This creates a vicious cycle that sustains the childhood obesity epidemic.

Fun Day 2012 – Bike riding with the Bluegrass Cycling Club
Fun Day 2012 – How to pack a budget-friendly, well-balanced lunch for school

My summer at the Pediatric High BMI Clinic has fulfilled my learning goals and exceeded my expectations. I will return to Brandeis with a new perspective on health and illnesses. I will further reflect upon my experience in the HSSP89 Internship Analysis course. In the future, I would like to continue learning about obesity and related illnesses and possibly take courses on nutrition and dietetics. After seeing how I, as merely an undergraduate student, can contribute in making a difference in people’s lifestyles, I became even more enthusiastic and motivated  to pursue a career in healthcare and medical practice. During the entire course of my internship, I felt like I was a piece of a puzzle that fit right in. I can picture myself working in a clinical or hospital setting, shuffling in and out of examination rooms, or sitting at a desk making the ideal treatment plans for my patients.

Group picture with the clinic staff and a volunteer

I would recommend this internship at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital at the University of Kentucky (UK). UK is a large yet structured organization that houses many different departments. There are countless opportunities available. The student would just need to do his research to target the department of interest and actively contact the appropriate offices. For students who are interested in an internship in the healthcare industry, I would advise them to keep an open mind. Every patient is different, and every case is unique. As long as your interest lies there, you will never be bored working in the field of healthcare. – Yan Chu, ’13

Happy Ending of My Summer Internship

My summer internship at Asia Tea Co., Ltd was a wonderful experience. I finished my internship by accompanying the CEO and the production manager on another business trip to Northern provinces. The management philosophy is that in order to truly understand tea production you need to visit  tea hills and factories often.  In only two days, we visited eighteen tea factories across four provinces to negotiate tea prices and buy materials. We only had a break after midnight and went back to work at 7 o’clock in the morning. During the trip, I learned much more about how to negotiate business deals and handle stressful situations. The most memorable moment was when we waited for a ferry to cross the beautiful Hau River at 10 pm to meet a business partner. Besides the ferry drivers, we were the only three people on the ferry. I knew that the CEO wanted me to understand that a good manager really understands all aspects of the business.  The trip was very enlightening and I consider it the capstone of the internship program.

An article about the Ngoc Lap factory, one of the factories that Asia Tea Co., Ltd owns.

Taken at the Ngoc Lap tea factory. The workers are drying out tea leaves, so that they could make raw materials, from which they produce the final tea products.

My summer internship helped me realize my strengths and weaknesses. Thanks to data analysis assignments and market research projects, I am now more confident in my quantitative ability and broad knowledge about the world. However, I realized that I need to expand my industry knowledge base and improve my negotiation skills if I want to become a CEO in the future. Therefore, I look forward to taking some graduate-level business classes at Brandeis and hope to intern at a consulting firm next summer. Experience as a management consultant will improve my analytic and management skills and better my chance of getting into a MBA program. Thanks to the internship, I also understand the importance of the relationship between the government and companies. Since Asia Tea Co., Ltd always strives to contribute to the development of national agriculture, it receives support and subsidies from the government. The subsidies play an important role in shaping the company’s business policies.  I want to learn more about economic policies and their impact on the economy at Brandeis.

My boss is testing the quality of tea materials at the Lien Son-Nghia Lo tea factory in the province of Yen Bai.

 The Vietnamese tea industry is undergoing a new direction in development.

I really enjoyed my internship at Asia Tea Co., Ltd this summer. I hope other Brandeis students could achieve amazing internships during their time at college. For people who have never got an internship before, I have an advice: “Be bold.” We are usually afraid of failure, so that we sometimes do not apply to the top opportunities. However, if we try hard enough, we can succeed. To intern in Vietnam, you certainly need to know some Vietnamese. But you can intern in the tea industry in almost every country, including the United States. In order to get the internship, you must be passionate about agriculture and tea in particular. If you can demonstrate your passion to the interviewers, your chance of getting the internship is much higher. If you have any question regarding my internship or the tea industry in Vietnam, feel free to email me at dt1308@brandeis.edu. I look forward to sharing my experience with other Brandeis students.

– Duc Tran ’13

Ending at the Lifespan Emotional Development Lab

Ending at the Lifespan Emotional Development Lab

It’s hard to believe that my summer internship at the Lifespan Emotional Development Lab is over. I learned so much and really enjoyed working at the lab, so time seemed to fly! I feel as though nearly all of the tasks that I completed were relevant to my learning goals, because they gave me the opportunity to learn about the different aspects of psychology research. I wanted to see the daily tasks associated with running and publishing a study, and the variety of things I did offered that to me.  I found this most basic chart of the tasks of research:

Source: ckbooks.com

Even though some tasks were not the most exhilarating, they reflect the reality of the field. Spending hours entering and coding data is simply par for the course. However, if I had to pick a few tasks that taught me the most, I would choose that of running participants through the entire study protocol, and attending weekly lab meetings. I ran approximately 15-20 participants through our study, and I feel that this is where I really came to understand why the study was designed as it was. Rather than simply coding the participants’ answers to our various questionnaires, I understood what their different answers and scores meant. This was especially helpful when working with our eye-tracking data, which could have been hard to understand if I had not worked to calibrate participants and run them through the various video-watching tasks of the study.

 

The summer 2012 LedLab team!

 The weekly lab meetings were an important learning opportunity for me, because they gave me the chance to talk to people working on other studies, and learn about their protocol and findings. It is easy to get “tunnel vision” when you are working on the same study day in and day out, and speaking with others working on different but related research helped to bring my understanding back to the “big picture.” Please check out this link to the most recent lab meeting article: http://spl.stanford.edu/pdfs/2001%20Current%20Directions%20in%20Psychological%20Science%20-%20Emo.%20Reg.%20in%20Adulthood%20Timing%20.pdf.

To build off of what I learned this summer, I plan to explore my own research interests more. Now that I have some background and understanding in the way that research in the field works, it is time to figure out the particular questions that I want to explore through research. I think that Dr. Isaacowitz’s work on emotional development throughout the lifespan is incredibly interesting and important, but I also hope to take on opportunities in other arenas of research. Dr. Isaacowitz also let me know how important independent research experience is for graduate school applications, so now is the time to start thinking about these big questions.

For other students interested in an internship in the field of psychology research, I would advise them to try working in different labs. If you have never worked in a lab before, how can you really know what your research interests are? What you learn in class is really different than what you do in the lab. Just check out this webpage from the American Psychological Association to get sense of how varied the field is! (http://www.apa.org/topics/) Also, even if you find that your personal research questions are different than those of the lab you’re working in, you will gain valuable knowledge and skills that are universal in psychology research! – Leah Igdalsky, ’13

Midpoint at NBC News

I can’t believe my time at NBC News this summer is almost over.  Over the past weeks, I have learned more about this business than would have been possible from a textbook or class lecture.  By taking advantage of all NBC and Washington, DC has to offer, I’ve had a chance to see history unfolding and meet a few of my heroes along the way.

I started this internship with the goal of learning the skills necessary to become an investigative journalist – researching, digging, writing, looking at information from new angles, and ultimately producing a piece.  Those expectations have definitely been met.  I have also had the opportunity to learn about additional aspects of the overall news and broadcasting environment; not only have I achieved my initial goals but I have gotten the inside view of some of the ways a news story is   developed.  What makes a topic meaningful and what is its impact?  I now understand that there is a tremendous amount of thought and diligence that moves a story from idea to completion.

My main tasks include researching for spots produced by the investigative group based in D.C., as well as, looking into possible leads for future investigations.  On any given day, I may be locating contact information for possible interview subjects, and speaking with them to hear their stories, sifting through government and court documents, identifying voting records, searching historical newspaper archives, and exploring other news entities and blogs to see what the next story could be. I incorporate all the different methods of navigating Google and databases like Lexis Nexis, Factiva, Proquest, Pacer, etc., that I’ve learned, and now look at them with an investigative mindset.

I’ve also been able to experience the commercial television broadcast atmosphere.  This has exposed me to the many different aspects of what goes on in network news.  I’ve had a chance to listen in on discussions about which spots will appear on Nightly News through the daily conference call between the Washington, New York, and all the other bureaus, and seen changes in the rundown as news breaks over the course of the day.  I’ve sat in the control room as Nightly aired, which provided an opportunity to observe all the different aspects that go into a smooth broadcast.  Seeing which spots appear on Nightly has honed my news judgment about what stories are important to share, along with the public wants and needs to hear.

Aside from experiencing the production side of Nightly News, I have also seen some MSNBC entities working, which has shown me a different side of news broadcasting.  I was able to sit in on Chris Matthews’ prep for his show, and was in the studio with Rachel Maddow when she visited D.C.  I went to the Capitol with an NBC Politics reporter, and was in the press gallery to watch voting when a particular piece of legislation I had been researching all summer was finally presented on the Senate floor.

I’ve also had the opportunity to attend several events where I was able to see and hear from some of the most important figures in American politics, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, and, also most importantly, Ben Affleck!

In the downtime between assisting the investigative team and attending events in D.C., I’ve also been working on my own piece with another intern to be posted on NBCNews.com.  We wrote our own script and are using footage my partner shot from her trip to Israel, we are going to cut the piece ourselves.  This opportunity is an incredible chance to use what I have learned to produce and publish my own piece.

Being in Washington, D.C. during this election season has also given me the opportunity to be part of the excitement that builds in the months preceding a presidential election.  I was outside the Supreme Court building when the health care decision was announced.  It was exciting to be there during the historic moment, surrounded by people who were so passionate about the issue, and seeing the reactions and reporting styles of all different media entities absorbing the news.

Outside the Supreme Court, June 28, 2012   GlobalPost: http://www.globalpost.com/photo/5709810/supreme-court-health-care-decision-reactions-june-28-2012

Another significant moment for me was hearing Bob Woodward speak at the Newsuem during the week of the 40th anniversary of Watergate.  As an aspiring investigative journalist, the development of the Watergate story has been an inspiration.  Hearing Mr. Woodward speak, and even getting to shake his hand, was an incredible experience.  It just added spark to my interest in the field that, as Mr. Woodward said, provides the “first rough draft of history.”

Dustin Hoffman as Carl Bernstein and Robert Redford as Bob Woodward uncovering the details of the Watergate scandal in the classic film
http://rheaven.blogspot.com/2010/09/all-presidents-men.html

I’m proud of this laundry list of what are just some of my recent experiences, mostly because I took initiative and made them happen myself.  I did not wait around for people to give me work to do, or ideas for events to attend, but actively looked for these opportunities.  I wanted to learn from my internship and feel secure that I have.  By asking questions and absorbing everything I could from NBC’s experienced and knowledgeable professionals, I obtained skills that will be help me succeed in my future academic and professional goals.

 

– Abigail Kagan ’13