Two Paths, One Summer

This is the first in a series of posts by recipients of the 2019 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This final entry is by Fisher Taylor, COL ’21

As a first-generation, low-income college student, I never dreamed of having the opportunity to pursue an unpaid internship that would further my academic and/or professional career. This past summer, thanks to the grant provided to me by Career Services at Penn, I was able to explore two opportunities that gave me guidance about my future. Not only was I fortunate enough to work directly with a professor of mine on a ground-breaking research project, but I was also able to work for The Wharton School’s events team where I learned, and continue to learn, about professional event planning.

During the fall of my sophomore year, I was offered the opportunity to work with a professor of mine on her project titled The Gendered Archives Project. This project is run in coalition with Oxford University and aims to highlight the stories of women that were previously left out of archival research. In particular, I helped my professor with her research pertaining to the story of one woman, Sharaf un-Nisa, previously known as Elizabeth Ducarel. Through the power of archival and field research, my professor will be able to narrativize Sharaf un-Nisa’s complex history with gender, imperialism, and religion in an upcoming book.

Although I was exposed to and encouraged to explore Sharaf un-Nisa’s story, most of my work on this project was administrative. Given this, I often found myself exploring the files and letters within the archive late at night because the stories provided by Sharaf un-Nisa were very interesting. My professor has been collecting research for this project over the last seven years, and I spent the first month and a half of the summer organizing, digitizing, and creating a physical copy of the research. After I completed this, I was then tasked with assisting in the creation and maintenance of a website for The Gendered Archives Project. Finally, my last task for the summer included assisting with correspondence pertaining to the workshop that The Gendered Archives Project is planning for the spring of 2020. Because of my involvement with the project over the summer, my professor offered me a paid position on the Gendered Archives Project’s team, and I will continue managing the correspondence about the workshop.

A career in academia is something I have been interested in for a while now, and this opportunity showed me what type of work is expected of a professor who chooses to explore a passion of theirs via research. Given that I am a highly organized and driven person, I definitely feel that I could pursue a research-based graduate program in the future. Moreover, this summer, I also continued to work part-time for Wharton Events — my on-campus job. This position continues to prepare me for a career in event planning and/or marketing. If I choose to pursue a professional career or graduate degree, I know that the things I have learned while at Wharton will make me a strong candidate.

To reiterate, I am extremely grateful for the grant given to my by Career Services. This summer has been a great experience because I not only was able to explore academic research, but I was also able to continue learning about marketing and event planning at the Wharton School.

By Career Services
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