Summer Internship 2023 – A Journey of Learning – Unlearning – Relearning 

Yen (Zoe) Nguyen, GSE Master’s in Learning Science and Technology, 2023

Arriving at Penn GSE after five years of work as an apprentice teacher and curriculum developer in Vietnam, my anticipation for enriching my knowledge and expanding my perspective as a STEM educator was unwavering. Following two academic semesters filled with enriching courses, I was eager to apply my newfound knowledge and skills, while also delving deeper into the realms of learning environment design and program evaluation. Thus, the internship as STEM learning designer and facilitator in the STEM Scholar program at the Franklin Institute became an invaluable chapter in my educational voyage. 

Venturing into a classroom of American high school students was a first-time experience for me. The initial mix of nervousness and uncertainty soon gave way to a growing comfort as I recognized our shared passion for science and engineering. With each passing day, my role became a source of joy and excitement, fueled by the eagerness of highly-motivated students to delve into lab skills and cultivate research and engineering capabilities through their self-conceived projects. It was an awesome experience to see students engaged in investigating their scientific question of interest or designing products that would contribute to our quality of life.  

This summer internship not only expanded my prior experiences but also exposed me to a diverse array of classroom scenarios, thereby enabling the honing of my skills in this field. It has been a journey of trial and error, a process of constant learning and unlearning. Throughout this process, I’ve had the privilege of applying the theoretical insights garnered from academic courses at GSE. These insights span from crafting motivational learning experiences rooted in students’ interests, identities, and future aspirations, to orchestrating inquiry-based and project-centered learning, as well as assessing students’ progress in science and data literacy. This internship was, without a doubt, a voyage of learning and unlearning. 

Reflecting upon the summer internship, I find myself profoundly grateful for this remarkable learning opportunity. Thank you to GAPSA for the making this internship possible with generous funding. My heartfelt appreciation extends to The Franklin Institute for granting me the chance to contribute to this remarkable project. Equally, I am thankful to my professors, mentors, and colleagues at GSE for their unwavering support and insightful feedback throughout the development of my coursework and evaluation surveys. Last but certainly not least, I extend my gratitude to my students – the exceptional STEM scholars at the Franklin Institute. Their collaboration, engagement, and positive energy throughout our lessons have left an indelible mark. As I journey forward, I carry these cherished memories and invaluable lessons from the summer with me. 

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2023 GAPSA Summer Internship Funding Program that is coordinated by Penn Career Services. 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.

By Career Services
Career Services