Career and Life Experience
Career and Life Experience
Sourcing and designing a clothing line. Augmenting elementary school curriculum. And researching the human brain. These are just samples of the work 202 Williams students engaged in this past summer with the help of the Alumni Sponsored Internship Program (ASIP).
Funded primarily by alumni, the ASIP provides grants to students working with organizations around the globe that offer unpaid or limited stipends—opportunities that would otherwise be financially inaccessible. ASIPs this past summer alone received nearly $850,000 in support.
ASIPs “provide life-changing access and experiences for students while engaging Williams alumni in supporting the next generation of Ephs,” says Don Kjelleren, executive director of the ’68 Center for Career Exploration. “They showcase Williams students to the world and the world to Williams, the impact of which can last a lifetime.”
Each student writes a report about their experience that is shared with the alumni sponsors. The following excerpts highlight just a handful of those first-hand career—and life—experiences.
“Due to my previous graphic design experience, my studio manager entrusted me with a special, long-term project that was released with our pre-fall 2022 collection. Dubbed the ‘Tommy Tee,’ I was tasked with creating 150 one-of-a-kind tees that were decorated with a unique collage made from cut-out patches from vintage tees sourced from … vintage stores, antique dealers and other connections. … The project was a great success, and I received approval from Emily Bode herself on what I worked tirelessly all summer to create. It was wonderful and gratifying to hear from her that what I had created met her expectations being that this was my first official fashion design project. I believe working here this summer has built the foundation for myself as a fashion designer and I could not be more thankful for this opportunity. I intend to keep this momentum going for the next few years, with the ensuing chapter being a semester abroad studying fashion in London.”
—Justin Adams ’23, Studio Intern for Bode New York, a luxury brand that repurposes thrifted and vintage textiles into modern menswear
“The Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience (SCCN) specializes in studying brain patterns and neural circuits by analyzing electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings from human participants. The projects I was involved with were efforts to analyze previously collected data trying to map and characterize how the brain responds to and processes music, particularly via the motor cortex. … It has been interesting to explore neuroscience on a larger, circuit level using EEG recordings and coding-based analysis. I even got to participate in a trial study, during which I was connected to 64 electrodes and afterward analyzed my own brain data. The most unexpected yet exciting aspect of my ASIP experience was how many connections I made with neuroscientists and researchers of all different backgrounds. Within my lab, I met with two current Ph.D. candidates and asked them about their academic and research journeys. I also met a Williams alumna doing her Ph.D. nearby at Scripps Research. It was so inspiring to meet with those three women, as they gave me invaluable advice as a young student hoping to get a Ph.D. in neuroscience one day.”
—Zoe Kaegi ’23, Research Affiliate at the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience at University of California, San Diego
“I worked on the Biodiversity Team, focusing on a project called Interlace [with] the goal of improving governance at the municipal level of multiple cities and supporting the implementation of Nature Based Solutions (NBS) in urban planning. Nature Based Solutions is the word for tools that use nature to help solve human and environmental issues. … Ecologic was working with six cities (three European and three Latin American). … I was working on … the Urban Governance Atlas (UGA) … researching policy tools that had helped support the implementation of NBS in Latin American cities. … All of the research and writing I did throughout the summer was in Spanish … my first language, but I had not used it academically in around five years. I enjoyed getting to practice again. I also really liked getting to do research about Latin America, which is where I am from. … I loved getting to see that working to help mitigate the climate crisis can be a career path and does not have to stay in activism.”
—Alana Lopez Barro Rivera ’23.5 (pictured in Berlin, top), one of four Williams student interns at Ecologic Institute, an environmental policy think tank, in Berlin, Germany
“I answered hundreds of constituent phone calls a week, sorted the roughly 30,000 emails Senator Rubio received a week, gave tours around the Capitol building, and sent out flags flown at the Capitol to Florida residents celebrating special occasions. Additionally, I worked on fascinating policy projects for Senator Rubio’s policy staff. I wrote memos on several hearings that I attended such as on the housing crisis, spectrum auctions, and U.S.-China policy in the Pacific Island Nations. … This breadth of exposure to different policy areas helped deepen my understanding of American public policy, especially on important issues that do not always grab media headlines such as semiconductor manufacturing or broadband deployment. I am especially thankful to … Chief of Staff Mike Needham ‘04 and Legislative Assistant James Hitchcock ‘15 for providing me with crucial insight and guidance. … This internship was an incredible experience for developing my passions for politics and public policy while connecting these interests with a potential career path after Williams.”
—Niko Malhotra ’24, Legislative Intern for the Washington, D.C., Office of Republican U. S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida
“One of the major issues that children face when learning to read is that they lack the appropriate context and background knowledge to fully comprehend the meaning of what they are reading. … My job was to help fill these gaps by building ‘text sets,’ which are collections of resources (videos, podcasts, articles, etc.) that cover a given topic. We started with a unit called ‘The Wild West’ for fifth graders, combing through their reading textbook to see where we could provide students with more information. We noticed that the textbook glossed over the fact that there were Indigenous people living in the West before settlers came, so we included resources on the idea of manifest destiny and forced displacement. Another text set … was entitled ‘Global Warming and Climate Change.’ … We decided to incorporate resources that broke down concepts like the carbon cycle and the greenhouse effect. … We also included resources about the water crisis in Flint, Mich., and the fast fashion industry to highlight topics that students might have heard about outside of the classroom.”
—Daltanette “Daltie” Mitchell ’23, Curriculum Equity Intern with the Pittsfield, Mass., Public Schools
Amy Lovett is the college’s Editor-in-Chief. Photos and caption information provided by the students.