Aliana Knoepfler, sophomore psychology major, participated in the Reed externship program. She spent her spring break learning hands-on about family law in Charleston, South Carolina.
This spring break I externed with family law attorney Gregory Forman in Charleston, South Carolina. Going into the externship, I was not sure what to expect as I knew very little about family law but was nevertheless very interested in learning as much as I could. I was specifically interested in what day-to-day life is like for a lawyer.
For a week, I observed Mr. Forman meet with clients, review documents, attend mediation, visit court and more. I was surprised to learn such a great deal about family law and also discover how interesting it is and how greatly it differs from other areas of law. In addition to learning about family law, I was also interested in learning more about law in general. Before this externship, I did not know about the option of becoming a sole practitioner rather than working at a law firm. I was able to learn that there are benefits to being a sole practitioner, such as more control over one’s career as well as more flexibility.
As a participant in the Reed Winter Externship Program, Elisa Cibils, senior history major, learned firsthand about public service law at New Mexico Legal Aid
In January 2015, Maya Campbell '15 and I shadowed a few of the attorneys at New Mexico Legal Aid (NMLA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This experience and the people I met on the trip challenged a lot of ingrained assumptions and stereotypes I had about lawyers. In my mind, the ideal, successful lawyer looked like an overbearing mansplainer. That’s what I thought a lawyer looked like based on popular discourse. But, I was so wrong. I’m sure the stereotypical lawyer figure I just outlined lives in many law offices. But there are so many other types of lawyers that don’t get talked about, like the lawyers I met at NMLA and the other legal service organizations we visited. The attorneys I met on the trip were mostly middle-class white women who had recently graduated from an out of state law school. They were so committed to their jobs, arriving in the office early and staying late to continue their work. These attorneys at NMLA provide free legal services to low-income New Mexicans. Many of the cases they take are family law cases, some are landlord-tenant cases, and others are foreclosure cases.
I learned that public interest law is really multifaceted and functions through a network of different organizations, funds, volunteers, and administrative support. We met with Aja Brooks who led the Volunteer Attorney Program for NMLA. We also traveled to the different NMLA offices around the state, including the Albuquerque and Las Vegas offices. In these offices, we met attorneys and administrative support that were really committed to their community and their clients. We also met with members of outside organizations that provide free legal services. We met with Liz McGrath from Pegasus, an organization that provides legal services for children. We also met Allegra Love, an immigration lawyer working in connection with Santa Fe Public Schools, who provides free immigration legal services to immigrant families. They shared their life stories and gave us career advice. They told us what it was like on the job. I definitely got the sense that public interest law is hard, underpaid, and undervalued. Despite these conditions, the people I encountered in the field were positive, hard-working, and committed to their work and their clients.
Text reads “Meeting of Union Pacific Board of Directors, The Republican National Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 3rd, 2000”
Liana Clark, senior art major, joined the team of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Iowa as a part of the Reed College Winter Externship Program.
On several occasions my mother has told me that I'm "the best person to go to a museum with." I'm sure others would disagree - not that they would be noting a different trend than she did. For as long as I can remember, I've been extremely critical of the wall text, the arrangement of art objects or artifacts, or whatever general narratives the gallery space is attempting to project with their exhibitions. This tendency to critique only intensified after I declared myself as an art major at Reed. Still, I never seriously considered working in a museum. For me, the fun of rolling my eyes at a reductionist perspective on an artist's legacy, or quoting Fred Wilson ("museums are great silencers of dissent") after reading an exposé that seemed to stretch the truth, was my own little exercise in futile expression of exacerbation. I didn't expect it to go anywhere.
One night, my housemate and I were trying to figure out what we should do over winter break. We decided it would probably be worthwhile to apply for Reed's winter externship program, but since the form only lets applicants select a single location (and we didn't feel especially competitive), we laughingly chose the most intriguing - but hopefully least enticing to our peers - destinations. Seeing as the Union Pacific Railroad Museum is not only a corporate museum (bound to offend the average Reedie's anti-establishment sensibilities), but it is also in Council Bluffs, Iowa (which in the middle of winter, didn't exactly call for the same uniform as the beach in Miami), it seemed like I'd have a good shot. I figured this could be my chance to see what it was really like to work for a museum. Besides, at the very least, it would definitely supply me with great material for the next time I wanted to complain about what was badly executed about a glass case of silverware in the Legion of Honor.
Debra Moda Raduma, sophomore math major, participated in a winter externship in Southern California working with Reed parent Dr. Doulgas Kerns at Sigenics, a circuit design and production company
Over winter break, I was fortunate enough to get to visit Southern California where I spent a few days, enjoying the good weather and scenery. I fell in love with Orange County right from the moment I landed at John Wayne Airport. I was so scared and excited at the same time but I had two other externs, Edgar ’17 and Farhan ’18, to share in my worries, as none of us knew what to expect. We were going to work at Sigenics, a company that specializes in the designing of microchips. It has two branches, one in Chicago and another in Sierra Madre, where we were scheduled to work.
The first day in the lab we were greeted by the photo of the famous mathematical physicist James Clerk Maxwell, whose frame hung steadily on one of the walls of the lab. I was already impressed from the word “go”. I was able to learn and understand how analogue and digital systems intersect. We worked on semi-projects, where we used breadboards to build circuits, and an arduino (I didn’t know what this was either!
Through the Reed Winter Externship Program, Revant Bagaria spent a week with Cooke&Co, learning about the inner workings of the advertising and marketing industry.
This winter I worked with Cooke&Co, which is an advertising and marketing company based in New York City. This was the first time that I worked in a professional workplace environment and so this two week long externship was a very enriching experience for me.
The tasks that I was assigned were pretty basic, but they helped me gain an insight into the world of marketing and they also helped me hone my technical job skills.
As a part of the Reed Winter Externship Program, Maggie Maclean, class of 2016, worked at a veteran’s hospital, assisting patients through recreational and art therapy
As I prepared for my internship at a teaching hospital in Livermore, California, I realized that there was one very important detail that Reed had not prepared me for: business casual attire. I managed to dig out of my closet one pair of pants without ripped knees and a pair of boots without paint splattered on them. I arrived at the Veterans Association’s Community Living Center hoping to blend in as a med student, not an art major.
Although I have taken a few psychology classes at Reed, I never imagined myself in the scientific world of clinical medicine. I was worried about how I would fare in a hospital setting. Taking the elevator between floors of residents’ rooms I felt like an extra in a doctor show minus the white coat. But throughout my externship I saw how far interpersonal skills, patience, and an open mind could take me.
Sophomore psychology major Savanah Walseth participated in a Reed winter externship at the Multnomah County Commissioner’s office, assisting with public policy work regarding homelessness
For most of January, I had the opportunity to extern at Commissioner Bailey's Office in Multnomah County doing public policy work related to housing and homelessness. Christine Lewis (an awesome former Reedie!) was my supervisor, but overall I got a lot of independence to go to meetings, conduct research and explore housing policy issues facing our county.
Multnomah County is attempting to reduce their population of people experiencing homelessness by 50% in the next two years. By July 1st of this year, they are attempting to place 430 individuals in permanent supportive housing with all of the essentials a person needs to sustain their housing long-term. It is an exciting time. To go about this endeavor, Multnomah County meets with social service providers, government officials, community members and individuals currently and formerly experiencing homelessness to conduct a plan of action. I had the opportunity to sit in meetings with on-the-ground direct service providers, executive directors, policy-makers, commissioners and even Mayor Hales. Everyone I spoke to really cared about the issue of ending homelessness and were willing to put aside any differences to get the job done. One of the best parts was being part of conversations that were not only seeking to end homelessness, but prevent it. Everyone was willing to look at deep-rooted issues such as our education system, healthcare, criminal justice, foster care, the VA and more to better piece together the complexities that cause homelessness. There was also a lot of talk about what it took to help a person sustain their housing. We discussed strategies to work as a community to help individuals get employment, life-sustaining activities and better support members. Multnomah County not only wants housing for every individual, they also want a better life for every individual.
A Reed winter externship program participant, Pedro Henriques Da Silva, first year physics major, spent a week in Washington D.C. working with Paul Levy ’72 at Public Citizen Litigation Group
Paul Levy’s had a death in the family. He’d warned me this might happen, and now it has. I. Am. So. Sorry. And, in what will be a preview of his personality, he seems far more concerned with getting me all set up while he’s away, than I would ever expect given the circumstances. This is the beginning of an interesting and unexpected externship.
On the fifth of January I found my way to the office. I don’t know if it was the D.C. cold or the nervousness of the first day, but somehow I stepped out of the metro station and failed to see the large brick building with the “Public Citizen” banner at the top directly across the street from me. So for several unnecessary minutes, I followed my smart-phone guidance back the way I’d come until I realized my mistake. Inside I’m met with history, determination, and originality. I speak to the nice lady at the front desk who calls Peter Maybarduk and informs him that an intern named Pedro was here. She then directed me to the elevator around the corner and to go to the Attic.
Sage Freeburg, junior English major, participated in the Reed winter externship program, working with Seattle ReCreative, a reuse and art center dedicated to reducing landfill waste.
On a dreary Monday morning, I hesitantly drove through Seattle traffic, guided by the oh-so-comforting voice of Siri directing me to “take a left onto Greenwood Avenue.” I did. “The destination is on your left, 8408 Greenwood Avenue. North.” I looked left. Nestled between an empty storefront and an eccentric looking shop with space shuttle stickers plastered to the window, was the home of Seattle ReCreative. My initial introduction to the store and program was delayed, as the windows were covered with curtains, so I was unaware of what great feat lay before me. It was the opening of the door that was my first look into the program, which reveled boxes, and boxes, and boxes of yarn, glitter, paint, nails, and the smiling face of co-founder Emily Korson.
Emily explained to me that they had just moved into the storefront, and were planning to open for a preview weekend that Saturday. “That means” she said “that we need to unpack and organize everything by Friday.” I must have looked a little intimidated because she gave me an understanding nod and said “Yes, I don’t know how we’ll ever be able to unpack everything by then.” To give a visual, it was almost impossible to walk from one end of the store to the other without pushing a box out of the way, or stepping over a pile of ceramic tiles. I honestly didn’t think it could be ready in just five days.
Sarah Canavan, sophomore economics major, participated in the Reed winter externship program, working with Reed alumna, Christine Lewis '07, policy director for one of the Multnomah County Commissioners.
I returned from a trip home to Texas for the holidays just a day before my externship with Christine Lewis at Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey’s office. After my first semester at Reed, my trip home allowed me to reconnect with my family, my home and my past, and I was able to return to Portland and begin my externship with a renewed sense of self and purpose. I sat down with Christine to discuss the goals of my week stint as an intern at the Multnomah County office. We discussed my initial questions and planned which meetings I would attend and how I could learn more about data and research methods that play a part in the policy design at the office. After some discussion, we decided that I would shadow Christine and others at the office in their roles at the office and help do some thorough research into proposed levee reevaluation.
I’ve been a resident of Portland for five years and since living here have been marginally involved in local politics (voting in local elections, primarily) and my experience as a daily bicycle commuter has led me to participate in several bicycle and transportation advocacy groups or events (Shift2bikes, Oregon Walks, etc…) My academic and career interests lie in public policy design and analysis but I had never really seen what the working environment in this field would actually look like. What I got out of my externship was the opportunity to see county level policy being shaped, in fact, I really felt like I was seeing democracy in action. The process is an amalgam of inspiration, empowerment and frustration. The flavor of board meetings was similar to the Socratic method of Reed conference classes but with the meticulous minute taking of a senate meeting. I went to four board meetings; Home for Everyone Coordinating Council, Board of County Commissioners Meeting, Local Public Safety Coordinating Council and Oregon Solutions Levee Meeting. Going into detail about the different meetings and my observations from my time at the office could take a long time, so I think I’ll share some of my most interesting observations.
Cristobal Mancillas, junior political science major and recipient of the Winter Fellowship for International Travel, reflects on his time in Buenos Aires, Argentina, studying Argentinian Spanish
I spent my winter travel fellowship in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. I received private Spanish instructions from professor Susana. The focus was on building conversational fluidity and learning an Argentinian dialect of Spanish. Professor Susana was a compassionate and caring individual who helped me adjust to a new place, a new language, and a new way of life. We spent time discussing art in the park of memory, dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives in the Argentinian Dirty War, receiving an unofficial and spontaneous private tour of the Argentinian national bank, and relaxing while eating choripan at a nature reserve in Puerto Madero. While I could endlessly recount the amazing experiences I had in Buenos Aires, I feel that it was also the not so rosy experiences that allowed me the tremendous opportunity to grow.
Max Joslyn, junior linguistics major, participated in a Reed winter externship with Groupon, an online commerce marketplace operator.
I spent five days externing at Groupon. My daily routine looked like this:
Nathan Martin, junior English major, participated in a winter externship on the Oregon coast with Ruth Werner, author. Nathan is also a recent winner of this summer’s President’s Summer Fellowship, to pursue poetry writing in the desert.
I'm used to textbooks. I've been buying them now for over four years.
I'll continue buying them for another one to three years, depending on
what I do after Reed. I don't think much about where these books come
from. I've cursed when the edition I need is a hundred dollars and the
previous edition is fifty cents. I've cursed louder after finding out
I could've used the older edition after buying the new one. I've also
been fond of textbooks. I had a history text at my community college
that surprised me with the effectiveness of its question and answer format. I do love books, but that love has never extended to textbooks. It still doesn't, but now I know a good deal more about where they come from.
You take a deep drag on your cigarette and another swig of coffee. It’s long gone cold, but you can’t get up to make another cup because you don’t want to disrupt your flow. You have no idea what time it is and you don’t care. All you know is that you’ve got to keep going until the words don’t come out anymore or your eyes refuse to stay open.
You watch the characters move and interact in the movie that’s playing inside your head. Your job is simple and complicated at the same time—you have to make sure that their stories are told, that their messy, human lives are translated into neat black rows of text on the page.
If you dream about being a writer, you might imagine that this is what your life would look like. And for some writers, it does. But there’s much more variety to working as a writer than you might imagine.
As a participant in Reed’s winter externship program, Ray Self, sophomore History major, spent eight days working in New York City at the Burns photography archive.
This winter break, I spent eight days working at the Burns Archive, a photographic archive in New York City that specializes in early medical photography, in addition to having a wide range of collections covering a variety of other historical topics. The Archive has provided photographs and historical information for a number of film and television projects, most notably working on the Knick, a Cinemax series set in a hospital at the beginning of the 20th century.
I had the opportunity to aid in a range of different projects during my externship. Most notably, I was able to see firsthand how the Archive organizes their image collections, and how these images are selected and prepared for publication in their series of photographic books on various historical and medical topics. Because of the immense quantity of images that the Archive possesses, I was curious to learn about the organizational systems they had in place to manage the collection. I was expecting a complex computerized database of images, and was surprised to see they utilized a very different organizational method. Boxes full of photographs were given a label related to their historical topic, and stored in a special room equipped with a digital camera for image capture. Images were organized in a way that was functional to current projects; as assignments arose, collected images related to that topic were documented via the camera and organized in a more comprehensive fashion.
There is something deeply rewarding about setting up a plan and then executing it. Thought the “heist” metaphor was perhaps a stretch, and though I would never want to implicate myself or my colleagues in “theft” (--though, my brief walk through the British Museum suggested to me that historians, archeologists, and anthropologists have perhaps done their fare share of that, under different names--), finding what I was looking for where I looked for it was a satisfying experience.
What was I looking for? And what did I find? I was looking for the correspondence of Robert Swinhoe relating to Natural History. His “day job” as it were was as a diplomat in the British Foreign Service, and he produced volumes of material related to his work in the consulate. I wasn’t incredibly interested in all of that work, however, and I wasn’t sure what, if anything, I would find in his diplomatic writings with respect to his natural historical work. I did manage to locate all of his archived diplomatic writing. The day after arriving in London I went to the National Archives and spent the morning and afternoon browsing microfilmed catalogues of Foreign Service Office material, looking for things that Swinhoe produced. I spent the whole of Saturday and Sunday at the National Archives—it was the only one open over the weekend.
I had planned to do the archival work here over my first weekend because, although of lesser importance to my overall research interests, it would give me the opportunity to “practice” doing the work of a historical researcher.
Yoko Sensei (center, front) surrounded by her dojo
Rebeca Willis-Conger, sophomore sociology major, received a Reed Fellowship for International Travel to study Aikido in Japan.
I love traveling. I always get nervous before leaving, convinced that I am not adequately prepared, anxious about all the accidents that might befall me. Then I leave my comfort zone and rediscover how capable I am. The world becomes someplace exciting and new to explore, while my anxieties appear slightly ridiculous. My trip to Japan was no exception.
I am a senior art major who had the pleasure of traveling to Seoul during winter 2014 under the auspices of the Presidents Winter International Travel Fellowship. There, I stayed at the Unification Church Cheongpyeong holy grounds for a week taking photographs, making rubbings, and conducting on-site research. I’m intrigued by the ways in which this specific site of pilgrimage manipulates the movements of the body and mind and offers church members a tantalizing promise of eternal spiritual salvation. The Unification Church, also known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, is the church of an international Christian religion. Founded in South Korea in 1954 by Reverend Sun Myung Moon, the church seeks to establish a Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. The church been criticized for its cultish practices, which include mass arranged marriages. The Unification Church directs its churchgoers to Cheongpyeong, located in Seoul. Although I am an avid nonbeliever, Moon arranged my parent’s marriage and I have unwillingly gone to Cheongpyeong multiple times in my childhood. This project sought a departure from my past with the religion by willfully confronting my memories on-site and creating artwork in order to move forward and grow both as a person and an artist.
At Cheongpyeong, frigid weather gave hazy form to my breath as I exhaled. Each morning I bundled up before trekking up the Church’s holy mountain, making rubbings along the way. This mountain plays a crucial role as a site of pilgrimage and a harbinger of hope for what the church members conceive as their salvation and pathway to paradise. As they climb the mountain at daybreak during their religious training, the churchgoers pay their respects to holy trees and water imbued with spiritual energy. There is even a place called “Holy Water” where water bubbles and streams from the rocks for church members to quench their thirst as they trek up to the mountain top, not unlike the story of Moses striking the rocks and calling forth water in Numbers 20 in the Bible. Given that the foundation of Unificationism derives from a mishmash of religions including Christianity, I really wouldn’t be surprised if this reference to the Bible stood at the forefront of Moon’s mind as he constructed space and ritual at Cheongpyeong. These religious nodes would blend easily into the surrounding landscape if not for the fact that they are circumcised by a stone ring and marked with stone tablets incised with titles like “Tree of Blessing,” or “Tree of Life” in flowing calligraphic script. Church members believe that their holy ancestors and the spirits of the mountain flutter between the branches of these trees, gazing benevolently down at those who pray with devotion. In addition to these daily pilgrimages, they are confined within a strict itinerary in hopes of purifying their ancestors and exorcising evil spirits from their bodies. Although the strength of their piety is admirable, I’m dubious as to the amount of truth in such claims, especially given that Moon (who dubbed himself the Messiah) and his “Holy” family practiced corruption, domestic violence, amongst other sins. The leaders of the church certainly do not practice the values they preach. This untrustworthiness fractures their constructed divinity and places doubt onto the purity of the religious practices to which their followers adhere.
Julia Selker, senior physics major, spent a week working with Bulleit Group, a tech PR firm based in San Francisco as a participant in Reed’s winter externship program.
When I walked into the Bulleit Group’s office in the Marina district of San Francisco, I didn’t even know how to pronounce the name of the company. It’s the same as “bullet,” by the way. I was a small town physicist in a big city tech PR firm and I was ready for some surprises. In just one week I went from wondering whether people who work in public relations are agents of good or evil to ghostwriting two articles (read theme here: CES Roundup: A Date with Power and Huffington Post: 5 Simple Swaps That Slim Down Everyday Cooking) and gleefully doing market research. I was sold, so to speak. I signed up for this externship thinking that I would get a sense for what the tech world was like from the outside, and maybe one day I would be manufacturing microchips for one of their clients. I had not considered that I would leave Bulleit wondering if I could take a few years off before grad school to do PR.
After an hour and a half on public transportation from Berkeley, I dove right in. The bus was too slow to get me there in time for a real introduction, so I went straight into a conference call where about 8 people worked quickly and meticulously through an agenda about the PR plans for one of Bulleit’s biggest clients. Then I started working on a summary of the press coverage that the company had received. I have done my share of research--read literally hundreds of articles from jstor or sciencedirect--but rarely did I consult the news. I discovered a new kind of reading on Google news,TechCrunch, Re/code, and Twitter.
Through Reed’s winter externship program, Richard Adcock, junior linguistics major, worked with Groupon, an online commerce marketplace. This post highlights a few of his impressions:
The conference rooms in the Groupon office are called things like "Touch me, I'm sick" and "Hold all my calls." The open floor plan houses more than one standing desk, and there are more Seahawks jerseys than button-ups. Employees in all departments bounce from teleconference to meeting to teleconference, this being the marketing hub for a rapidly growing, multinational corporation.
A given call might be to go over the week's numbers and prep for an internal meeting, but even this level of bureaucracy and internal review is dispatched in minutes, and employees are back to their own projects. This is a common thread I came to appreciate in my short time at Groupon--analytics are collaborative, ongoing, and maximally quick and responsive.