By Livvie Avrick ’19
“I learned how to think up a concept, plan accordingly and hit targets, all to bring that new venture to fruition.”
Nana Adom Mills-Robertson
Working in the Research Analytics and Consulting Department of Thrivent Financial, Nana Adom Mills-Robertson ’18 (Accra, Ghana), was given the responsibility to do a “whole range of things,” he says.
Thrivent Financial is a Fortune 500 not-for-profit financial services firm specializing in delivering insurance products. As an intern, Mills-Robertson’s learning was supported and encouraged. “I would consider certain people in my department close to family,” he says.
One of the highlights of the internship, he says, was being part of a team that worked on a new venture for the firm. “I learned how to think up a concept, plan accordingly and hit targets, all to bring that new venture to fruition,” he says.
From working on logistic regressions to analyzing predictive models, Mills-Robertson gained data skills and an analytical framework that will be useful for projects in his economics major.
Indicative of Thrivent’s multidisciplinary approach to tackling problems, Mills-Robertson also sharpened his communication and presentation skills, which culminated in a professional presentation to the company at the end of his internship.
The takeaways from this experience – the exposure to how a company operates and learning technical lingo – are applicable to Mills-Robertson’s future career goals.
“I want to be an entrepreneur,” he says. “Ideally, two years out I will be building a tech company in Ghana that will be socially empowering.”
Coffee House Press
“I quickly learned that demonstrating my skills and self-confidence led to getting more in-depth assignments and responsibilities at Coffee House.”
—Zeena Yasmine Fuleihan
As an English creative writing major, Zeena Yasmine Fuleihan ’18 (Chicago, Ill.) has always aimed for a career in the literary realm. As a publishing intern at Coffee House Press, Fuleihan pursued her “personal objective to spread literature’s power to teach empathy across difference to as many people as I can,” she says.
Fuleihan’s experience at Coffee House Press, an internationally renowned, independent, not-for-profit book publishing house based in Minneapolis, has opened her eyes to the ways in which she can be at the forefront of influencing the books being published.
Of her many tasks as an intern, Fuleihan mainly worked as a frontline reader for submissions, which involved reading manuscripts, writing reports on them to inform Coffee House editors, and ultimately making recommendations on whether or not the submissions would fit as Coffee House publications.
“Since a majority of my work at Coffee House required analytical skill and making decisions, I found that having the confidence to apply an intersectional approach to the work and to convey my opinions in a professional manner—both of which I have learned at Macalester—really bolstered my experience as an intern,” Fuleihan says.
Coffee House Press entrusted Fuleihan with a great deal of responsibility. In addition to informing what gets published, she also fact-checked books, designed sample advertisements, and learned software such as CoreSource, WordPress, and InDesign.
“I often find it easy to doubt myself in the face of authority, but I quickly learned that demonstrating my skills and self-confidence led to getting more in-depth assignments and responsibilities at Coffee House,” she says.
“The most crucial lesson I learned from this entire experience is the value of self-confidence—especially as a young woman—whether it is in applying to a job you doubt you’ll receive or asserting your professional expertise once you get there,” she says.
Field Museum of Natural History
“It was my job to learn about cool stuff and help come up with ways to present all that cool stuff.”
“I learned I have a soft spot for Cryolophosaurus, a large, crested theropod dinosaur from the Early Jurassic that lived in Antarctica,” says Alex Dzwierzynski ’19 (Evanston, Ill.).
This sums up Dzwierzynski’s summer as an exhibition developer intern at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Ill. “It was my job to learn about cool stuff and help come up with ways to present all that cool stuff to the public through labels, videos, and interactives,” says Dzwierzynski.
Dzwierzynski applied and expanded on the research and analyzation skills he has developed at Macalester through his majors in anthropology and English.
In collaborating with other museum professionals, Dzwierzynski also “learned how to work well with other people, who might sometimes have conflicting ideas, toward a common goal,” he says.
As one of the largest natural history museums in the country, the Field Museum uses its vast collections to conduct scientific research and to create exhibits that will be shown at the Field and at other museums around the world. Dzwierzynski had a direct hand in the upcoming exhibits Ancient Mediterranean: Cultures in Contact and Antarctic Dinosaurs.
“I was already considering a career path as a museum professional,” Dzwierzynski says. “This internship definitely exceeded my expectations and convinced me that that career choice would be one that I would thoroughly enjoy.”
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
“We are interested in Binary Neutron Star mergers because they are promising sources for producing gravitational waves.”
—Karen Pérez Sarmiento
Researching Binary Neutron Stars, physics and mathematics majors Karen Pérez Sarmiento ’19 (Mexico City, Mexico) was at the forefront of an exciting area in astrophysics. Pérez Sarmiento was an undergraduate researcher at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill.
Fermilab is a national laboratory of the United States Department of Energy. Working with the Particle Astrophysics division, Pérez Sarmiento had the opportunity to be part of a scientific collaboration called Dark Energy Survey Collaboration (DES) in which hundreds of scientists across the world collaborate to understand the origin of the accelerating expansion of the universe. “It was amazing to work side by side with full-time researchers and professors,” she says.
From attending lectures and seminars to working in the lab, Pérez Sarmiento had an enriching summer experience. “Another aspect that made my summer experience so enjoyable was living with other undergraduate interns,” she says. “It was thrilling to have conversations with young people so knowledgeable and excited about physics!”
In the lab, Pérez Sarmiento worked on predicting the astrophysical rate of Binary Neutron Star mergers. “We are interested in Binary Neutron Star mergers because they are promising sources for producing gravitational waves—recently detected–as well as electromagnetic signatures,” she says.
A summer at Fermilab exposed Pérez Sarmiento to different career paths people with mathematics and physics degrees could take instead of doing research. “It has shown me how different areas of physics, from the smallest scale (particle physics) to the biggest scale (cosmology), come together to answer fundamental questions about nature,” she says.
Next summer, Pérez Sarmiento plans to continue the work she started this summer with the hope of making it her capstone project for physics.
September 25 2017Back to top