Positioned for success through a MHC summer internship

Adelia Brown will graduate from Mount Holyoke with three internships under her belt and a vision for the future.

When Adelia Brown ’23 was looking at colleges, she was eager to find an institution that would support her on campus and also prepare her for the world beyond. When she visited Mount Holyoke, she was struck by the student community as well as the potential for career-boosting internships and opportunities.

Brown has completed three internships at the College, including the one she finished this summer. The first two were completed remotely during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Her first was with the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources, working alongside Sara Uckelman of Durham University in England. During this internship, Brown was able to contribute to writing etymologies. She was thrilled to see her work directly reflected in the world.

“I am now cited in some entries of the dictionary,” she said.

Her second internship was with Adriane Rini of Massey University in New Zealand — an opportunity she learned about through the Career Development Center. Brown was brought on board a research project tracking the history of logic instruction at American women’s colleges through 1950. She was able to take ownership of the organization of the research and was encouraged to start drafting an article based on the findings of their research.

“The first internship was heavily guided, and the second one encouraged me to be more self-directed,” she said. “This allowed me to prepare for the process of starting my own independent project this summer.”

Though she originally intended to be a theater major, Brown fell in love with English and philosophy and decided to make those her majors. She found a sense of community within the departments and among the faculty and students that was reminiscent of what she saw during her student visit. 

The supportive atmosphere of the philosophy department gave Brown the confidence to interact freely with faculty members, receiving advice on topics ranging from course content to graduate school. 

“The professors get to know you well and take an interest in you individually,” she said. “They seem to really care about your success. And they’ll give you honest advice.” 

The English department conducted social events, enabling her to get to know the department better. One such event that made an impression on Brown was a 2022 Valentine’s Day party where there was an open mic and people were encouraged to read both love and antilove poems.  

This summer Brown completed her third internship, which was Lynk funded, working with her thesis advisor Katia Vavova. She spent the summer using the resources at the Mount Holyoke library to research moral perfectionism.

“I feel prepared to succeed  in graduate school because I know what it’s like to do independent research and to manage my own time without the structure of a class schedule.”

“My thesis will discuss how we evaluate good deeds that are caused by what we call ‘moral scrupulosity OCD.’... I wanted to approach the philosophy of mental illness from a new direction because the literature glosses over the fact that some mental illnesses cause people to do things we actually would consider good,” Brown said. 

“The question I am exploring is whether a person who performs a good deed as a result of this mental illness should still be praised for performing a good deed.”

Brown credits her internship with giving her the time and space she needed to complete her thesis.

“There’s no way I would have been able to find so many interesting sources over the summer if Mount Holyoke hadn’t provided the funding for this internship,” she said. “I’ve been able to spend a lot more time preparing for the thesis than if I had to hold down a job at a fast-food place. I feel a lot more confident than I did before the summer started.”

Following Commencement, Brown plans to go to graduate school for philosophy and will begin to apply in the fall. She is thankful for the experience she’s had at Mount Holyoke and to the three internships she completed at the College for placing her in a position that will help her to stand out from the rest of the candidates when she does apply. 

“I’ve been able to experiment with doing the kind of research that I will get to do in graduate programs,” Brown said. “I feel prepared to succeed  in graduate school because I know what it’s like to do independent research and to manage my own time without the structure of a class schedule.”

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