Here are stories from a handful of Smithies who shared lessons learned from their summer internship, fellowship and job-shadowing placements.
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What They Did This Summer: Chapter 1
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:
Sophia Casten ’22
Summer research intern
Arizona State University, Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology
“Culturally responsive schooling matters now, more than ever.”
“I worked with Professor Kimberly Scott ’91 at CGEST, assisting in building and critiquing a culturally responsive technology course for underserved rural schools in Arizona. After working with her, my ideas for turning my passion for advocacy into a career seem more than attainable, and I want to give young girls the same opportunities Prof. Scott continues to offer every day. The experience helped me understand the importance of advocacy for quality education, rather than advocacy within education. Working with a Smith alum was life-changing, and I highly recommend that other students reach out to that network for any type of career advice. As I move through my fall classes, I’m planning to keep in mind how the classes I take and my contributions in class are culturally responsive.”
Maddie Wettach ’20
Public affairs intern
Mickle Public Affairs Agency, Washington, D.C.
“A front row seat to history.”
“I was working with clients of Stephanie Mickle ’94, preparing pieces for publication in major news outlets, contacting booking heads for shows on MSNBC and CNN, and drafting letters to members of Congress on their behalf. I also got to sit in on the [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller hearing before Congress. At first, I had to settle for the overflow room watching on screens. Then, after an hour or two, I noticed people exiting the hearing room and decided to wait by the door. When I was finally let in, I got the best seat in the house—directly across from Chairman [Jerrold] Nadler and as close to the witnesses as you could be. I had a front row seat to history! Seeing the people I had watched on the news for years in person was flat-out surreal. I haven’t been able to watch footage from the Judiciary Committee the same way since. This internship has strengthened my resolve to go to law school and work in Washington. I will bring back a greater understanding of media communications and lobbying.”
Madison Williams ’21
Data Analysis Internship
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Silver Spring, Maryland
“The effect of bureaucracy.”
“As a data science major with an environmental science and policy minor, I was very interested in the chance this internship offered to get real-world experience in both fields. I worked with NOAA’s Mussel Watch Data set focusing on the Great Lakes. I learned a lot about different data collection methods and new programs I haven’t had the opportunity to use at Smith. I was able to incorporate a lot of new design ideas within maps and charts—which was new for the data scientists I worked with. I heard the term ‘bureaucracy’ all through my internship. A lot of our resources were based on forces outside of our control, such as Congress or the EPA. The internship has affected what I want to do career-wise; I’m now thinking about working in other sectors besides government. My driving force to work in data science has been to gain results to help solve climate change. This internship has pushed me to find a career that that allows me to work with data, and also have an impact on what is done with that data.”