With Internships, Study, and Service, Fordham Students Make the Most of their Summer
Interviews were conducted, condensed, and edited by Jennifer Spencer
While summer is undoubtedly a season for Fordham students to take a break from the day-to-day hustle of academic life, it’s certainly not time wasted. From service opportunities in South Africa to study abroad in London and internships uncovering healthcare’s latest innovations, Fordham students are making the most out of summer 2013.
Below, a few Fordham students share how they are spending their summer months.
Amanda Foggia, senior, Fordham College at Rose Hill
Summer Opportunities: Fordham Ubuntu Study Abroad Service Learning Program in South Africa; employment at Adoption Information Registry for the NYS Health Department; training for Fordham’s cross country team
How did you spend your time in South Africa during your study abroad experience?
Our group lived and took two classes together in Pretoria, one on history and the other service learning. Each week we discussed a different theme connected to South Africa, including education, health, and social entrepreneurship. Once or twice a week, we went out into the community to serve. Another student and I did home-based care, working alongside caretakers from South Africa and going into patients’ houses to do basic things like cleaning, bringing them food, and taking blood pressure. It was overwhelming at first, especially with our HIV patients, one of whom died while we were in South Africa. We became very close with the workers that we were moving around with and could ask them questions. We had our own language barriers and cultural barriers, but that got easier as time went on, as you got closer to them, and learned to rely on them.
Learning and serving in a new culture must have been a tremendous experience. Reflecting on your time, what do you feel like you learned?
After being surrounded by a different culture for so long, you learn a lot about respecting others’ cultures, understanding other people’s ways of life, and recognizing that the way you live isn’t necessarily the right or only way to live. I think that the world can benefit greatly from putting aside race, religion, politics, money, etc. and realizing that in the end, we are just simply human. After participating in service learning in this program, I believe even more in the idea that human-to-human contact is an important type of service and just as beneficial as service with a tangible end product.
On top of study abroad and a job at New York State’s Adoption Information Services Registry, you are also a member of Fordham’s cross country team. What does your summer training consist of?
I started training at the beginning of June. Right now, I’m at 45 miles per week, but by the time I get back it should be like 50-55 miles per week. So between running and lifting, that’s another huge part of summer.
Ashlyne Polynice, senior, Fordham College at Lincoln Center
Summer Internship: Public Affairs Intern, Office of Court Administration for New York State
Tell me about your duties as a public affairs intern.
I am working on an international online judicial forum that will inform civilians about different judicial systems all over the world. Many people get a negative idea about judicial cases outside of their own system, because of what they read about cases in the media. This forum will allow civilians to acquire knowledge about different judicial systems all over the world. I believe knowledge is power, and hope the forum will help people make a more informed judgment. Whether that judgment is the same or not is up to them.
I also get to interview a wide range of court personnel from Supreme Court to Appellate judges, to law clerks, to in-house counsel. I also have an opportunity to go into court and watch proceedings on a variety of cases.
Why did you choose to intern in the judicial system?
I’m very interested in the law and want to go to law school after graduation. I wanted to do something that would get me as close to clerking for a judge as possible, since you can only do that when you’re a law student. This program is mostly for law students, but I wanted to get as much experience as an undergraduate as possible.
What’s the highlight of your summer so far?
I get to sit in on some pretty cool cases, including one I just came out of an hour ago. Several plaintiffs who are ex-convicts are suing [former New York State Governor] George Pataki for unlawfully committing them to a psychiatric facility without due process. It’s a civil case in federal court. At first I went in with a preconceived notion that what had been done was completely wrong and that the plaintiffs will get their compensation for pain and suffering. But, I’m not going to lie, there are some really great defense attorneys on this case, and I don’t know how it’s going to turn out.
Michael Kungl, junior, Gabelli School of Business
Summer Opportunities: Interning at Cleveland Clinic Innovations; developing Zwikk, an online student marketplace
What does an intern in the Cleveland Clinic Innovations division do?
Innovations is the Cleveland Clinic's corporate venturing arm, bringing new products and technologies to the market. One of the things I do is a lot of testing of new software applications, where they’ll give me an iPad, and I'll look at how the software is running and see if there are any errors associated with it. I also give presentations on current events in the financial industry, like crowdfunding, for example. I’m in charge of getting everybody up-to-date with some of the more relevant topics, so in case one of the doctors at Cleveland Clinic wants to crowdfund, Innovations will understand what’s involved.
How have you been able to put the skills you’re learning in your Fordham finance degree to work?
This is not a traditional finance internship, but my Fordham education has played a role. Some of my finance classes talked about net present valuing, and at my internship, I’ve been in charge of a large project helping the department to create fair market value. That knowledge has all been directly from my finance classes. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to be in the healthcare field, as it’s completely different from what I’m doing at Fordham as a finance major. It’s introducing me to an area I don’t know much about, and I have to teach myself to specialize in this healthcare setting. I think learning how to apply what I’ve learned in my education in the healthcare field will help me in really any kind of business.
Speaking of business, tell me aboutZwikk, the online student marketplace you co-founded.
My business partner (Luke Johnson, junior, Gabelli School of Business) and I realized that a lot of college students were throwing away stuff from their dorms, especially at the end of the semester, but a lot of kids were also interested in finding stuff for new apartments. They needed a place to bridge the gap between buyers and sellers in this community. Running my own business has required me to spend a lot of time doing more than what’s expected. It’s opened my eyes—I’ve noticed as I’ve run my business how I can implement some of the things I learn from classes. Before I started Zwikk, I wouldn’t have been able to connect the dots like I’m now able to do.
Eric Mollo, senior, Fordham College at Rose Hill
Summer Opportunities: Working at WFUV radio; interning for an entrepreneur; studying creative writing in London
WFUV is a public radio station broadcast from Fordham. What’s your role at the station?
I’ve worked there over the last three years, and done a lot. Primarily, I’ve reported, including being a beat reporter for Minor League Baseball. I’ve had some opportunities to report from the locker room for the Mets and Yankees, meet professional athletes and have access to all the professional beat reporters. Sometimes I’m on the radio, sometimes I’m doing more menial work, like writing scripts over and over again.
You’re mixing your journalism work with a role in marketing for an entrepreneur this summer. What have you learned on the other side of the communications business?
I met an entrepreneur who is launching a site called MyLuckClub, which incentivizes people to find whatever they’re looking for: jobs, housing, cars, whatever. She needed someone who could write, and I’m now doing more marketing. I’ve learned about being able to set a goal and do whatever it takes to get to a deadline completed. I’ve also learned that advertising is most effective when it appeals to someone’s emotions. Rather than saying, ‘Come buy this product,’ you can say, ‘This product fulfills a need in some way.’
Summer started for you in London, studying creative writing through a Fordham program there. What was your experience in London?
This was my first time overseas. The class was called Writing London: Outsiders in the City,looking at literary perspectives both of people who immigrated to London and people who were simply outside the upper echelons of society. I loved London, and I wouldn’t want to say I was an outsider there, but you do have that experience sometimes. You kind of feel the stereotypes coming from people who live in London and what they perceive as being ‘American.’ I was able to figure out what it was like to be in a different country and not feel like I’m totally a part of the nation.