Summer—and its promise of freedom— leads many college students to pursue academic interests, travel or visit family. While some Wellesley students chose to take research positions, others sought internship opportunities in an effort to explore their plans for the future and gain work experience. Four such Wellesley students, Emily Moss ’19, Alejandra Escamilla ’18, Olivia Duggan ’17 and Broti Gupta ’16, each embarked on a personal quest into uncharted territory and emerged with a new perspective on their lives.
Moss spent ten weeks working as a policy intern for Michelle Wu, the Boston city councilor at-large. The tasks she performed included researching policy initiatives and tackling the zoning process.
“My approach was ‘How can I make city government more accessible?” Moss said. Her biggest project was researching and then filming multiple how-to videos that taught small businesses how to apply for business permits. While completing this assignment, she found that her largest challenge was being able to synthesize information in an understandable way.
When she was not working at City Hall, Moss got the chance to attend campaign events with Wu and sit in on hearings.
“My appreciation for what municipal government can do was totally eye- opening,” Moss said.
At Wellesley, Moss hopes to major in economics and political science. Her summer experience “definitely solidified that [government policy] is a career area I’d like to pursue,” Moss said. “It’s easy to grow cynical towards government, but I think Michelle Wu and her style of government and leadership really gave me hope for what government can really become and that it really can be public service, what it should be.”
Moss’ internship validated her previous plans, but Escamilla’s research with the Wellesley Science Center Summer Research Program made her rethink astrophysics as a career.
For her research, Escamilla spent time working with Astronomy Professor Kim McLeod, finding extrasolar planets using the Transit Method. The researchers worked irregular hours and oftentimes pulled all-nighters, which were Escamilla’s favorite part. “It was kind of like a sleepover, but working,” she said. She also stated that seeing the sunrise while at work was an interesting new experience.
Although astrophysics remains one of her passions, Escamilla found that the program raised many important questions. The biggest challenge she faced was wanting to be home in Mexico, which led her to question her current path.
“Is it worth it for me to do this? Do I really want to do this for the rest of my life? Do I want to move out of my country?,” Escamilla said.
Overall, the experience lead her to appreciate the unique opportunities that Wellesley offers.
Duggan spent the summer working at the Dimock Center in Boston through the Lumpkin Summer Institute for Service Learning as a development intern.
Unlike Moss and Escamilla whose summers introduced some finality to their ideas, Duggan found new possible paths.
Duggan assisted with research on opening satellite clinics, promoted a 5K, worked on a personal project and handled social media. All of this was folded into a nine-to-five workday, a schedule that challenged Duggan.
The mere hours were definitely different,” Duggan said. “Being part of a full-time job and having the same professional standards [was challenging].”
As a sociology major and health and society minor, Duggan found that she lessons she had learned at Wellesley.
“It was very interesting to compare the academia stance on these issues to the day to day challenges of implementing reform,” Duggan said.
“It’s exposed me to many health care and community health problems that exist just a few miles from the Wellesley bubble.”
In addition to working, Duggan attended various presentations and lectures. Erin Sullivan, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, conducted a mock Master’s public health class, which inspired Dugan her to want to go to graduate school for public health.
“I don’t know exactly where I’ll end up, but I
know from these [presenters] that it’ll work out,” Duggan said.
Before becoming interested in comedy, Gupta intended to be a medical student. However, after reading Tina Fey’s “Bossypants,” she decided that she wanted to do what Fey does, which “is not being a doctor.”
Last year, Gupta got a taste of comedy
while working at College Humor for a semester. She decided to pursue this interest even further and got an internship in New York at Above Average, a digital section of the Broadway Production Company.
Working as an editorial intern, Gupta took notes, attended to writers’ meetings, assisted in production and even generated ideas for articles. She learned about many behind the scene practices and revealed one trade secret.
“People respond really well to mentioning butts online. It’s a very little known secret that people like butts,” Gupta said.
Because the company is relatively new, Gupta found that determining what her job was exactly was very challenging. She added sarcastically that there came a time when she thought “there’s too much to do, I have too much purpose right now.”
The internship helped confirm Gupta’s plans for the future.
“It’s definitely made me want to continue — my end goal is to write for television,” Gupta said.
Photo Courtesy of Nathalie Bolduc ’19
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article stated that Anne Meyers ’17 was the writer. In fact, Nathalie Bolduc wrote this piece. The News regrets this error.
Sabrina Leung ‘18 is the Digital Editor majoring in International Relations-Political Science with a minor in History. She is best reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @sabrinatzleung on Twitter.