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.
Reed Winter Fellowship for International Travel recipient Reid Bondurant, senior biology major, traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel to explore an awareness-inspiring style of dance known as “Gaga”
Sarah Brauner, junior economics/mathematics major, received a McGill Lawrence Internship award to spend her summer in Cape Town, South Africa working at the Economic Policy Research Institute.
This summer has been a story of disparate images and experiences, and as I sit down to write this post, its hard not to be daunted by the task of stringing them together into a cohesive narrative. In fact, the more I reflect, the more it seems that the thread holding all that I wish to convey together is a series of sharp contrasts that I have borne witness to, participated in, and attempted—with mixed success—to process.
The backdrop for all this—Cape Town, South Africa—is in some ways one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Table Mountain, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is visible from almost every vantage point in the metropolitan area, and beaches (apparently the setting for Shark Week) surround the city. Eucalyptus and palm trees, British-colonial architecture, striking panoramas and even Baboons, abound.
Emmanuel Enemchukwu, junior economics major, was a recipient of the Davis Project for Peace award. The following post contains his experiences implementing his project in Nigeria at the Federal Government Academy.
About half a year now separates me from the time I spent at the Federal Government Academy (FGA) Suleja Nigeria. At FGA Suleja, I executed the Davis project for peace with my colleague, Zhe Li. FGA Suleja, Nigeria, was my alma mater, and its contribution to my moral and intellectual development leaves me forever indebted to it. As such, it was with great zeal that I embarked on the project hoping to contribute the most possible in the small but relevant opportunity that I had been afforded.
The Federal Government Academy Suleja is located in one of the most southern regions of Northern Nigeria. Suleja with its beautiful hills is a town in harmony with itself and its surroundings, but this harmony seems fragile in the face of the current ethno-social turmoil perpetrated by Boko-Haram in North-Eastern Nigeria, a region of close proximity. Once in a while, the scourge of the much-reviled Boko-Haram breaks out of its enclosure in North Eastern Nigeria and into the area of Suleja. But beyond this fear of conflict, we saw peace and prosperity in a school that boasts of some of Nigeria’s smartest young minds. We define peace, with regards to the secondary school students, as the existence of social innovation and an infrastructural platform for students to optimize their academic growth potentials in a violence-free environment.
Ben DeYoung is retracing the steps of a trip across Germany as it is presented in the novel "Faserland" by Christian Kracht.
Excerpt from the first stop: Hamburg, Germany.
...I took to the street, unsure of what, exactly, I was looking for. In Hamburg, Faserland had not given me much to work with; he describes the light, but travels the city only at night, and spends most of his time in his friend's apartment. His main characterization of the city, other than his description of the light he does not actually see, comes in the form of what is also not actually there, namely the city that was destroyed. This unseen city, and the reconstruction of Hamburg, would eventually also play a large part in my impression of the place, but I was at least initially struck by a timeless aspect of the city, namely the dialect characteristic of Hamburg, and of its region, Schleswig-Holstein.
A little background info about my President’s Winter Fellowship project: I am a senior English major at Reed. I have been dancing in some shape or form since I was fourteen, but always solo performance dances: ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, a little hip-hop here and there. And then, just a year
ago, I discovered social dancing. It has radically changed the way I view my body as a medium for communication. For me there have always been two competing mental states of mind when dancing. The first is performance mode. I conceive of my body as paint on a canvas: it is a fluid motion shape through which I can signify and provoke. The space, locomotion, appearance, and form of my body are visual/kinesthetic sites of meaning. The second state of mind is improvisation mode. This is a selfish mode: when I dance in this body it is almost always when I am by myself, and the movement is for me and me alone. It is an exploration of sensation, a creative play of momentum and shape. I am not concerned with the way my body looks, only with the way it feels as I move. The site of meaning in this type of dancing is not visible: it is an internal reflection on what it means to have a body that occupies space through time. Both of these modes of dancing have been imperative to my formation as a dancer, yet until I found social dancing I believed that these two modes could never intersect. Social dancing, and especially blues dancing, combines these two states of mind. In blues dancing the indulgent focus on sensation, which I thought was only capable solo, is able to be shared with a partner. This creates an incredible pattern of communication that I still struggle to adequately describe in words, and this wa
This winter, two fellow Reedies and I had an amazing experience working with Dr. Doulas Kerns and Mr. Marcus Snyder at Sigenics. Together, they provided an empowering three day externship and enlightening insights as to the life of electrical engineers. We started our trip with an hour long commute from the California coast to the base of Mt. San Antonio. Relieved from traffic by the carpool lane and good music, our trip to Sigenics was always pleasurable.
We spent our first day learning about the company and the different roles of scientists and engineers. Dr. Kerns started off with a small tour of their lab and showed us some of their designs. He really blew us away when he showed us the incredibly small size of their circuit designs and their circuit elements. A chip no bigger than 1 squared millimeter can house billions of transistors. As if hearing about this wasn’t enough, Dr. Kerns pulled out a sample of their work and placed it under and a powerful microscope. There is was. Mind-numbing in scale and constructed with jaw-dropping precision. Millions of components carefully embedded in a tiny silicon chip, and the chip: even more precisely designed. Yet here we were, three unexperienced undergrads sharing a room with the chip designers themselves!
The relationship between an engineer and a scientist was the next item on Dr. Kern’s agenda. Using a very Reed-esque analogy of a pizza shop, he demystified some of the quirks of engineering. The relationship between engineers and scientists is actually more symbiotic in nature than one would expect, he explained. Engineers use scientific results to develop tools for scientists. In turn, scientists use the tools to develop new results. This is relationship is a vertical growth pattern where the two fields help propel one another. Along the way, the tools and results produced by both parties will spread horizontally, manifesting themselves as new technologies or constructions for the benefit of our societies. We ended the day with a scientific investigation of the phenomena occurring “behind the scenes” in the electrical components we used the following day, and (appropriately) some delicious pizza from a local shop.
On the 11th of January, 2015, I landed in the Los Angeles international airport for a work experience opportunity that I had been looking forward to ever since my application was accepted. I was picked up by Edgar, who was also doing the externship, and Jackie (Edgar’s sister), whose generosity allowed us accommodations for the duration of the program. Jackie drove us to her house in Costa Mesa and Modi, another of the externs, came in later in the evening. We went out to grab dinner and buy groceries for the next few days.
Day 1: Jan 12
We woke up at around 6:30 and hit the road at 8:15. The traffic wasn’t nearly as bad as we expected and as a result, we reached Sierra Madre by 9:15. At the Halcyon building (which housed the Sigenics Lab), we were greeted by our sponsor, Dr. Douglas Kerns. We went inside the Sigenics lab and met Marcus Snyder, the office manager and senior technician. Douglas gave us a brief overview of the company and its goals. We learned that Sigenics specializes in designing integrated circuits (IC) and silicon wafers among their microelectronic components. Douglas also explained the science behind electronics and electric circuits. After learning these introductory ideas, we looked at a silicon wafer chip through an electron microscope, which was very exciting as we could actually see the arrangement of electrons that serve as the building blocks for all of electronics.