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Anthony Lake and Martha Crenshaw to Speak at Mount Holyoke February 15 on the "War on Terrorism"

Poet Nikki Giovanni to Deliver Black History Month Keynote Lecture February 14

Environmentalist and Author Bill McKibben to Speak at Mount Holyoke February 11

Browne Wins Institute on Teaching and Mentoring Award

Report Details Postgraduate Educational and Career Paths of Young Alumnae

MHC Student Rocks!

New Staff, New Hours at CDC

January Terms to Remember: Interns Report

Film Studies Scholar Robin Blaetz: Exploring the Language of Imagery

Glass Panels Are Capstone to Renovation of Pratt Hall

New Web Site to Assist Victims of Sexual Violence

Spinning Yarns with Pete Seeger

Recounting a Journey of Courage

Front-Page News

This Week at MHC

Nota Bene


Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

February 8, 2002

January Terms to Remember: Interns Report

More than seventy-five students experienced learning beyond MHC's campus and classrooms during this year's January Term. With help from the Career Development Center, they secured internships at sites as far-flung as South Hadley and San Francisco, gaining work experience in fields ranging from journalism to public relations. Whether they supported crime victims at the Northampton office of District Attorney Elizabeth D. Scheibel '77, compiled research for CNBC's America Now, or developed hands-on activities for a new Art Discovery Center at Springfield's George Walter Vincent Smith Museum, this year's interns took full advantage of their three-week work experiences. Some even discovered passions they plan to continue this term, next summer, or after graduation. In the following short pieces, some J-Term interns reflect on what they learned.

Amber Cushing '04
District Attorney's Office
Northampton, Massachusetts

Working for the Victim/Witness (VW) Unit of the northwestern district attorney's office in Northampton, I spent many hours in court observing and taking notes for the VW advocates, whose job is to ensure that victims in all cases prosecuted by the commonwealth understand the legal process, convey victims' desired outcomes to the assistant district attorney (ADA) handling the case, and emotionally support victims during court proceedings. The advocates and ADA work as a team and depend on each other to make cases run more smoothly. In my three weeks working for the district attorney's office, I became more familiar with Massachusetts law and the court system, as well as what goes on outside the courtroom. I feel proud to have been part of a system that helps ease the stress of crime victims. I also enjoy knowing that my tasks had a purpose; if I had not been there to take notes on cases, the advocates could not have spent as much time with the victims while court was in session. Although I will remain an avid viewer of the televsion law series The Practice, in which lawyers single-handedly "save the day," I will watch it with the understanding that a team effort is necessary for successful prosecutions.

"She was fabulous," said Susan Manatt, director of the Victim/Witness Unit. "Amber was competent and intelligent, and pitched right in. She did a beautiful job on a special project, reorganizing and reinventorying our lending library of victim books and brochures. She took the initiative, ran with it, and did a very thorough job. Our experience with Lanae Erickson '03 in our Greenfield office was equally positive. At first we wondered how much work interns could possibly do in three weeks, but we've been very pleased with the quality of their work and how much they were able to accomplish."

Jennifer M. Kim '02, America Now intern

Jennifer M. Kim '02
CNBC America Now
Fort Lee, New Jersey

I have a self-designed major in communications and hope to have a career in broadcasting, so completing an internship this January at CNBC's new show America Now offered a great opportunity to glimpse the field of television. America Now is a nightly show that discusses the day's top stories from a business/economic perspective. I began a typical day by finding online opinion and editorial articles relevant to the show's topic, as well as assisting producers in researching topics. Other responsibilities included logging press conferences, shooting visuals, and obtaining videos from archives. Although I mainly assisted the news associate by distributing scripts and guest lists, setting up the anchors' set, compiling show files, and greeting guests, I often shadowed producers and editors in the control and editing rooms. My desire to learn was met by their desire to teach. I was even given the rare opportunity to make my own video package, which I have added to my portfolio. Having a hands-on experience in devising my own story, editing the package, and recording my own script was an opportunity I could never have gotten in the classroom.

Rachelle Palmer '04 (right) with Kerry Tymchuk of Senator Gordon Smith’s office, and another intern

(Rachelle) Rhiannon Palmer '04
Senator Gordon Smith
Portland, Oregon

I accepted an internship with Senator Gordon Smith (Republican, Oregon) in his district office in Portland, choosing Portland rather than D.C., because there were fewer interns there. Smith's D.C. office can take as many as fifteen interns; in Portland, there were only two of us. From the first day, I was thrown right in, answering phones, responding to letters, researching appropropriations for the field representative for natural resources. It was a little overwhelming but a great experience for me in many ways, and one that helped me narrow my career interests. I thought that being a senator was all glamour, but after this job, I know I don't have the stomach or thick skin to handle the criticism that comes with it. But I did like the work of the legislative assistants, who compile information and constituent opinions on state issues for the senator. I worked long hours—my day started at 5:30 am, and often I didn't get home until 7 pm—but I loved every minute of it. The staff was wonderful, and I made use of my networking skills. They must have worked, because I was invited to a presidential dinner in D.C.!

"Rachelle was great," said executive assistant Kirsten Zimmerman, who coordinates interns for Senator Smith's office. "She's a very quick learner, someone who could jump right in at a very busy office. We would have loved to have her here longer."

Jill Graboski '03 (second from left) at the Empire State Building with four other Museum of Jewish Heritage interns

Jill Graboski '03
Museum of Jewish Heritage
New York, New York

I was one of sixteen interns from throughout the Northeast chosen to work with educators at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, located in New York City's Battery Park, to learn how to teach about twentieth-century Jewish history and the Holocaust. The training, which was supported by a grant from the Gruss Lipper Foundation, consisted of readings, discussions, and meetings with museum personnel. Besides working with the staff and other interns, the most memorable and moving part of the training was meeting with Holocaust survivors and hearing their stories. This semester I will apply my training with local middle school and/or high school students by presenting them a slide show, taking them to the museum in New York, giving them the museum's "Meeting Hate with Humanity" tour, and providing a follow-up visit to discuss what they learned. I am honored to be a Lipper intern. Not only am I applying my major in history and minor in museum education, but I am also acting as an ambassador for a wonderful museum with invaluable messages of social justice, remembrance, hope, and tolerance.

Hayley Beers '05
Ronald McDonald House
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I spent three weeks as an intern at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, the first Ronald McDonald House created. The internship allowed me to explore my interest in pursuing a career in a not-for-profit organization, enabling me to experience the day-to-day routine of one. My goal, to learn how a not-for-profit operates on a daily basis, was definitely met, because I did not work in one set area of the house but instead moved day-to-day between the administrative office and the office of the director of volunteers. Among my duties were answering phone calls and family queries, writing letters, and choosing the graphics for the House's monthly newsletter. My supervisor, Director of Volunteers Tina McDonnell, and the rest of the staff at the house were incredible. They welcomed me onto the staff wholeheartedly, inviting me to share not only in the work but also in staff traditions, such as Friday lunch at a nearby restaurant. I had a great time; not only did I learn a lot, but I was able to see firsthand how organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House are able to make a significant positive impact on the families they serve.

Director of Volunteers Tina McDonnell said, "What a gift Hayley was. We were so fortunate to have her. We ask volunteers to do hundreds of different tasks that require commonsense decisions. Hayley was thoughtful and mature. She had tremendous common sense and caught on very quickly. In the short time she was here, she even showed longtime volunteers shortcuts on the computer, and she did it in such an unassuming and kind way that they took to her right away. She's a fabulous kid who shared a lot of herself with us. I hope she will come back."

Hannah Hafter '04 (left) with Global Exchange supervisor Dawn Fraser

Hannah Hafter '04
Global Exchange
San Francisco, California

Global Exchange is a nonprofit research, education, and action center charged with increasing global awareness in the United States and building international partnerships around the world. I accomplished far more than I expected with Global Exchange: calling members of Congress and setting up a network of town hall meetings to discuss immigrant rights post-September 11; compiling a one-hundred-page reading packet for a delegation traveling to the U.S./Mexico border to examine increased militarization; creating a handout describing President Bush's military tribunals and their dangers; writing the text for a widely distributed pamphlet describing Global Exchange's Public Education Campaign and how to get involved; doing preliminary organizing for a speaker's tour; and more. Beyond learning skills and contributing to something important, I gained a better understanding of my role in global issues, from economic justice to civil rights. I realized, for instance, that the cheap fruits and vegetables I bought from street stands on my way home from work were related to the poor labor conditions of the exploited migrant workers I was researching eight hours a day. I plan to continue not-for-profit work in the future and know wherever it takes me, the skills and understanding I gained at Global Exchange will shape my direction.

Kate Hartwyk '03 helps a young visitor at Springfield’s George Walter Vincent Smith Museum.

Kate Hartwyk '03
George Walter Vincent Smith Museum
Springfield, Massachusetts

My experience at the George Walter Vincent Smith (GWVS) Museum at the Springfield Quadrangle was truly rewarding and helped me identify some of my strengths and weaknesses. I researched symbols in Eastern art that will be included in an activity in the Art Discovery Center, a permanent installation currently under construction. I also researched the life of Japan's samurai warriors, whose arms and armor are displayed in the museum. In addition to doing research, I observed and led tours for kindergartners through second graders at the GWVS and at the quadrangle's Museum of Fine Arts. For one tour, I had free rein to design a craft to teach two groups of Montessori schoolchildren the creative process involved in designing the Discovery Center. The tours gave me an opportunity to learn about collections at the quadrangle and to overcome my discomfort with public speaking and teaching. When I was not working on research or tours, I was working with three artists, two from Tibet and one from UMass, who were designing the Discovery Center through a tedious and detailed process of chalking stencils onto the walls, then applying a textured outline and several layers and colors of decorative paint. Watching them allowed me to truly appreciate the creative process sometimes overlooked by art historians. On the whole, my internship was a wonderful opportunity to try my hand at many different aspects of museum education.

"Kate brought a real fresh enthusiasm to the museum," said Julia Courtney, director of museum education for art and history. "It was clear to me that she has a love of art, art history, and education. She was hardworking and had a real gift in developing rapport with the students and helping them understand what they were seeing. We were very blessed to have her, and I only wish she could be here longer." The museum would like to have additional interns this spring. Contact Julia Courtney, museum educator for art and history, at 263-6800, ext. 323.

Lindsey Coyle '04
Dittus Communications
Washington, D.C.

Dittus Communications turned out to be the most fantastic learning environment! This public relations office is divided into teams, and I worked on projects for each of them. For the technology policy team, for example, I compiled a comprehensive media list for a major press conference for Dell Computers. For the administration team, I attended a seminar regarding company security with CEOs of Capitol Hill's top tech firms. My biggest, most exciting project was doing press relations for the "Gala Concert" of Operalia 2001, an international vocal competition for young opera hopefuls headed by Placido Domingo. Pre-concert, I pitched the event to TV, news, and daybook editors. During the concert, I was in charge of the press table. I even met Mr. Domingo! Post-concert, I prepared media clips and developed the wrap-up report book. During this internship, I developed such sensitivity to detail that I could quickly spot and rectify a journalist's error. I learned that public relations is not a nine-to-five job; you work long hours to produce a result synonymous with the client's idea of success. I also learned that while it's hard to get motivated working towards a vague goal in college, public relations clients make goals clear at conception. You are motivated simply because you work against deadlines and heavy competition. I was lucky to discover that I love public relations. I'm heading back to D.C. this summer!

Caroline Dietz, internship coordinator and technology policy team assistant account executive, called Coyle's internship "a valuable experience for our company." She said, "In three weeks, Lindsey became very much part of our team. Her help was absolutely appreciated by all. She showed dedication to the clients, was punctual, and was always willing to help—and help in a very positive way. Her enthusiasm will serve her well in this industry. We really enjoyed having her here and hope she will come back in the summer."

Claire Salier-Hellendag '04
Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services
Houston, Texas

I was an intern at Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services (PHES), in Houston, Texas. This organization provides services to all of Harris County, Texas, except for the city of Houston. I worked in the epidemiology section of PHES. This section surveys the county for outbreaks of disease, provides information to county residents about diseases, and tracks and reports certain diseases and deaths. Before this internship, I thought epidemiology sounded interesting, but I really did not know anything about it. Now I have a much better sense of what disease surveillance is and what career options are available in epidemiology. The best thing about this internship was the people. They were all incredibly nice and went out of their way to make me feel welcome. The chief epidemiologist even gave me a tour of Houston and arranged for tours of the Houston city labs and the Harris County jail so that I could observe other kinds of public health jobs. I am not sure if disease surveillance is the direction in which I want to go, but this internship did help me realize the scope and importance of public health.

"She was really interested and really sharp and absorbed everything that was given to her," said Cindy Kilborn, PHES chief epidemiologist. "She was our first intern from Mount Holyoke, and we really enjoyed having her here."

Raluca Cata '03 at Goldman Sachs

Raluca Cata '03
Goldman Sachs
New York, New York

My internship in the foreign exchange sales department at Goldman Sachs was extremely challenging, interesting, and even more exciting than I expected it to be. I worked in a huge room that occupied an entire floor of the building and was filled with rows of small desks, each with at least three computer monitors and a telephone with many lines ringing all the time. It was very exciting to work in such a frantic environment, listening to employees talk to clients and shout out trades to each other. The days went by really quickly, because I was so busy learning about the concepts of foreign exchange trading and the specifics of the different jobs on a trading floor. My responsibilities were contributing to the writing of the foreign exchange newsletters and supporting the people in my department with different projects. Besides the exposure to the foreign exchange trading floor, I loved the challenge of figuring out things by myself and doing everything quickly and well at the same time. I loved the trading floor environment, the work, and the people. The internship was a great experience, in which I learned a lot about myself and my career goals.

Sarah McGann '02 worked with skeletal remains at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Sarah McGann '02
Florida Museum of Natural History
Gainesville, Florida

I spent two weeks interning at the Florida Museum of Natural History, where the skeletal remains of 143 Native Americans were recently returned to the collection. These were the remains of Native Americans who lived and died at a Spanish mission on Amelia Island in the seventeenth century. They had been lent to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as part a study of the impact of colonialism on the health, diet, and demography of Native Americans. A leading anthropologist was conducting this research. I worked under the supervision of collection manager Scott Mitchell to begin the process of taking inventory, curating, and reintegrating the remains that will go back into the museum's collection. We began by removing the crania and bags of cranial fragments and teeth from the boxes of bones. We placed each skull on a "doughnut," a ring we fashioned out of thick foam and superglue, and placed all loose bags with the matching crania. Next, we transferred all bagged material into thicker, acid-free bags to ensure prolonged protection. Each bag was specifically labeled to prevent any mix-ups. During my time at the museum, we finished organizing all of the cranial material and were able to move on to the postcranial remains. Opening boxes of completely intact femurs and bags of whole vertebrae was quite exciting, and being able to work with and handle these remains proved to be an extremely rewarding and thrilling experience.

"She was terrific. She did a great job. Send us more!" said curator Jerald Milanich, who explained that the Florida Museum of Natural History is in compliance with federal and state regulations on handling human remains. "Handling human bones is a sobering experience," he said. "But through this process, archaeologists can learn tremendous amounts and give these people a voice for the historical record."

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