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News & Events for the Smith College Community
Campus Life August 30, 2019

What They Did This Summer

Esmeralda Mendoza and fish

Each summer, Smith students leave campus for a range of learning experiences around the U.S.—and in countries around the world.

We asked a handful of students to tell us what they did this summer, starting with a single sentence summing up what they gained from their time off campus. Here are their stories:

Esmeralda Mendoza ’21
Research internship
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries
Little Port Walter research station, Juneau, Alaska

“Stay alert; stay alive.” 

“I’ve always been interested in marine science, and NOAA provided me with a great opportunity to do marine research in southeast Alaska. I was stationed at the Little Port Walter station, which is set in an estuarine environment 110 miles south of Juneau. There are five species of Pacific salmon in Alaska, and LPW has been focused on finding the best rearing practices for Chinook salmon. My time at the station consisted of feeding the 2018 brood stock—which will be released next May—tagging and netting salmon, reading coded wire tags from the salmons’ noses, collecting gametes and spawning the salmon. In our remote location, seeing brown bears a few yards away was not uncommon—which forced me to be very aware of my surroundings. Working with salmon has been a delight, and I want to further pursue my interests in marine biology when I am back at Smith.”

Zoya Azhar and friends

Zoya Azhar (far right) with her colleagues from Busara in Kenya.

Zoya Azhar ’20
Global design immersion fellow
Busara Center for Behavioral Economics, Nairobi, Kenya

“Don’t be afraid to try new things!” 

“Busara is a research and advisory organization that handles poverty alleviation and development projects, primarily in West Africa. I was doing report writing and compiling of results from field experiments. I was able to go to Kenya because I received a Summer Design Immersion grant from Smith’s Design Thinking Initiative. A big part of my involvement with Smith’s initiative was learning the ins and outs of human-centered design, and the importance of prioritizing that when dealing with projects that have a human element. I’m going to be taking my Development Economics seminar this semester, and I’m excited to have some real-life experience with human-centered design under my belt. I’m also going to incorporate what I learned in my on-campus job as a Residence Life student staffer.”

Kim Drew
 Kim Drew '21 (left) and physician's assistant Stephanie Reed.


Kim Drew ’21
Job shadowing
Rumford Community Hospital, Rumford, Maine

“The medical field is where I feel I belong.”

“I come from a very small town [Bethel] in Maine and I’d been trying to get some shadowing experiences for the summer. I decided to reach out to the Smith community through the Smithies Hiring Smithies Facebook group to see if any alumnae had connections. Within minutes, I had a response from Kate Carlisle ’83, which provided this exceptional experience close to home. At Rumford Hospital, I was able to shadow physician’s assistant Stephanie Reed in the emergency department as she visited patients, did procedures and discussed patient outcomes and results. I was able to see the functioning of the ER and all of the components that make it run as smoothly as possible. I also learned the incredible role PA’s play, from paperwork to patient care. As I head back to Smith, I will bring a newfound focus and passion for the medical field. I’m also looking forward to working for an ambulance service in Springfield so I can continue learning skills and becoming confident in EMS.”