Study Abroad Profile: Hannah Whalen ’23

April 12, 2023

Hannah Whalen’s experience studying abroad in Florence, Italy, last summer was highlighted by rich culture and an art history course.

“I was so amazed at how my professor really utilized the city of Florence as our classroom,” Whalen said. “We never stayed longer than ten minutes in our assigned classroom and the whole course took place at various churches, museums, and landmarks of Florence. It was one of the most fascinating experiences to be able to learn about Michaelangelo's David as I was standing right in front of it.”

Outside of academics, Hannah is on the E-board of the Education Club as the co-chair of volunteering and a senior editor for Her Campus, a magazine written for and by female college students. She is also an HFA ambassador and volunteers weekly at Homework House in Holyoke as a tutor.

Over the past three years, Hannah has researched topics ranging from Native American Boarding Schools to the Vietnam War and even got the opportunity to be featured in the Undergraduate History Journal in Spring 2021.

Upon graduating from UMass, she intends to travel abroad to work for a year, return to complete a master’s in education, and then pursue a career in secondary education as a high school history teacher.

2023 Profiles

April 12, 2023

Internship Profile: Isabelle Graves ’23 

After living in Madrid for the entirety of her junior year, Isabelle Graves formed a great appreciation for people who helped her out when she was an outsider. This attitude carried over into the internship that she had with Employment Services at the International Institute of New England last summer, where she found herself in a position to instill that same kindness upon others.

As an intern, she worked with a team to help find jobs for newly arrived immigrants and refugees. Some of her tasks included providing intakes with clients via Zoom or in the office, setting them up for Refugee Cash Assistance, and helping them build resumes and cover letters to start applying to jobs.

“It was a difficult but rewarding experience,” Graves said. “I was able to get to know clients and learn about their cultures and customs. I enjoyed the aspect of meeting clients and being able to make them feel comfortable and heard.”

Graves will be graduating with degrees in Communication and Spanish in May 2023.

Scholarship Profile: Carlea Dolcine ’23

Carlea Dolcine cares about the people around her. She has volunteered her time and labor with after school programs for middle school students of color at Amherst Regional Middle School, the community meal program Not Bread Alone, and the Amherst Survival Center.

“At UMass, my most meaningful experiences have been in moments where I felt I could engage with the community around me,” Dolcine said. “I felt inspired to apply for this scholarship because of that. My experience here has challenged me to engage with the community around me in several different capacities, all of which have shaped the person I am and will become.”

After graduating in May with degrees in Psychology and Afro-American studies, she plans on taking some time off to work in a behavioral health network providing mental health services to adults and children in Northampton, MA. Then, she intends to apply to graduate schools that also center community engagement so that she can pursue her dream of becoming a licensed mental health counselor.

Scholarship Profile: Anaamika Nair ’23

Through her Political Science and Afro-American studies, Anaamika Nair has continually learned new ways to think critically about how larger systems, specifically interconnected socio-political systems, affect individuals in an inequitable manner. Environmental justice proved to be a pressing issue in this realm.

“My work in social justice advocacy necessitates environmental justice work because they are inseparable,” Nair said.

She has actively worked to address these issues as a student on the Restorative Justice Taskforce with SGA and an intern with MASSPIRG.

Within MASSPIRG, she ran registration and “get-out-the-vote” volunteer actions that focused on mobilizing university students to vote. She coordinated with student leaders to educate more than 100,000 students leading up to the polls and created voting plans for over 50,000 new voters and planned events to draft over 30 Op-Eds to advocate for the Pollinator Bill.

One of her greatest accomplishments was lobbying Congress to pass the CARES Act, which guaranteed a minimum of $120 billion for higher education. She has also advocated for awareness regarding hunger and homelessness.

Nair is considering graduate school in a Master of Public Policy (MPP) program or Education program after graduating in May 2023.

Internship Profile: Vanan Phan '21, English

March 30, 2021

Vanan PhanPhan interned at Rubin Pfeffer Content, a literary agency representing children's and young adult literature. There, she was responsible for reviewing manuscripts, evaluating their viability, and following up with writers. One of her tasks was to write rejection letters, a challenging responsibility she approached with thoughtfulness and to which she applied her experiences from the classroom at UMass Amherst. "With each manuscript submission, the author attached a brief letter that described their writing process, personal background, and the inspiration for the story," she says. "As I read each submission, I used my critical reading and peer review skills I learned from my classes to determine whether or not the story should be rejected."

The internship allowed Phan to see firsthand how literature and writing can reflect what's going on in the world. Following the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, her supervisor called for submissions from writers of color and received a flood of submissions. "I began to realize how much it really took to get a book published and the societal significance a book really represents," says Phan. She began to weave this perspective into her review process, asking herself "whether or not a book would benefit someone, somewhere in any way. Would it make someone be seen? Would it make someone more compassionate and empathetic? Most importantly, I thought about whether a manuscript would inspire the reader to be better and do better, in any and every capacity possible." She's grateful for the opportunity to complete this internship, through which she learned valuable skills and gained a deeper understanding of the editorial process.


Internship Profile: Taylor Mickens '21, Theater & Jazz and African American Music

March 30, 2021

Taylor MickensMickens interned at the Performance Project in Holyoke, Massachusetts where she "was able to see the intricacies of how a non-profit works and take on both administrative duties and teaching young children."

"This award allowed me to continue learning, training, meeting new people, and gathering the tools I need to flourish and pursue my career," she said. "It gave me the chance to focus on my education rather than how I can find the means to fund it, and I am so grateful to be given this opportunity."


Internship Profile: Emily Su Bin Ko ‘21, French and Francophone studies, Philosophy, & Psychology

March 30, 2021

During the summer of 2020, Ko interned remotely for the Social Justice Conversations research project at Smith College, where she coded and labeled excerpts of conversations about social justice issues between students. The internship helped her connect the dots between her courses. "Last semester, I took a sociology course and an honors seminar on Asian American racism," she says. "This internship helped me develop the necessary vocabulary for reflecting on what I learned in those courses. For example, I gained a deeper understanding of the intersecting factors—historical, political, social, and/or cultural—that perpetuate systemic oppression."

For Ko, the internship was more than a research experience. "It was bigger than that," she says. "It got me thinking about the power of communication and how social justice conversations could be incorporated into the education system. If a student feels discomfort with the conversations, how can that student be encouraged to grow from that discomfort and open up their mind with that discomfort?" Ko was invited to extend her work as an intern with the project into the Fall semester. "I am so grateful to have the opportunity to grow as a researcher and a student with this internship," she says.


Internship Profile: Zachary Glanz '22, Middle Eastern studies & Mandarin Chinese

March 30, 2021

Zachary GlanzGlanz had the opportunity to "research topics pertinent to Southeast Asia" like "the cause of protests against police brutality in Hong Kong, National Security relations between Taiwan and the US, and how China's social credit score adversely contributes to the persecution of Uighur Muslims" as an Asia-Pacific research intern with the Hudson Institute. He simultaneously participated in an intensive Chinese language summer program. Support from the HFA Internship Assistance Fund lessened the financial barriers and gave Glanz "the ability to place all my time and energy into such important research" that he hopes will "inspire greater awareness to the issues of Southeast Asia."

Internship Profile: Isabelle Guittari '21, English & Theater

March 30, 2021

Isabelle GuittariThe interests and experiences led Guittari to focus on arts administration as a career path, which in turn led to her to a development and special events internship at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massassachusetts. "Shakespeare and Company has always had a special place in my heart," Guittari explains, recalling the first time she ever saw a Shakespeare play performed live was on the company's stage. "Two summers ago, I participated in their summer conservatory and truly found a second home at the company," she says. "When I had the opportunity to intern for them this summer, I was absolutely ecstatic, but I was concerned because the internship was unpaid. Receiving the incredibly generous HFA summer internship scholarship has made a huge impact on my and my family's sense of financial security," says Guittari. "It was an immense relief to know that a large part of my summer expenses was taken care of.”

Internship Profile: Makhai Dickerson-Pells '21, History & Anthropology

March 29, 2021

Makhai Dickerson-PellsDickerson-Pells held an internship with DIFFvelopment, a Black-led nonprofit that addresses the lack of Black generational wealth through culturally specific entrepreneurial and financial education. "During the internship, I took part in an intensive week of orientation, weekly seminars, guest entrepreneur lectures, and workshops that are held to provide the students in the program with culturally specific entrepreneurial and financial education," Dickerson-Pells recalls. While the internship was focused on entrepreneurship, Dickerson-Pells saw the connection to his studies, noting that the "racial wealth gap in the U.S. is the result of centuries of discrimination and marginalization." "I am very thankful for the opportunity to have been funded for this internship and to have the support and new connections of alumni, UMass, and those I worked with this summer," he says.

Internship Profile: Indy Davis '22, Afro-American Studies

February 24, 2021

Indy DavisFocused on pursuing a career in civil rights law, Davis participated in an internship that gave her "a unique opportunity to work very closely for a lawyer undertaking tasks law students themselves wish to be doing." She gained hands-on experience and knowledge of the intricacies of the law and legal processes. "I was challenged with drafting legal documents such as interrogatories, orders, garnishments, wills, trusts, and I even drafted a motion for summary judgment. I was able to really contribute to work that was being done," she says.

As Davis finances her education independently, receiving HFA Internship Assistance funding was critical to her ability to participate in the internship and made her feel encouraged and supported by the HFA community. "This contribution goes a long way in making another aspect of my academic career possible. Moving away from my home country alone and exploring opportunities in such a short-lived time in the United States has been challenging without the same network as other students may already have," she says.

Internship Profile: Crystal Curran '21, Music Education and Psychology

February 24, 2021

Crystal CurranShe was the Northampton Jazz Festival’s marketing and social media intern in Summer 2020. "Getting to serve an organization whose goal is to provide quality musical performances to the Pioneer Valley was rewarding not just in terms of what I learned for my future, but what I knew I was giving back to the community," Curran says. While postponement of the 2020 season’s performances was disappointing, Curran was ultimately responsible for "so many incredible things directly because of the festival's cancellation that furthered my knowledge of how to promote a non-profit."

"I am so humbled and honored to have been awarded this scholarship," she says. "Growing up, I never dreamed I would be able to participate in an unpaid internship. While I always wanted the experience that came with in-field job experience, I acknowledged that I needed to earn an income to sustain basic aspects of life." Funding from the HFA Internship Assistance Fund allowed Crystal to focus on her passions without the added pressure of working a part time job to make ends meet.

Internship Profile: Julie Ehrlich '20, Linguistics and BDIC

May 15, 2018

Julie EhrlichMy experience in the New York State Assembly exposed me to the inner workings of my state government and challenged me in new ways. I got to meet various Assembly and Senate members and I was taught how to conduct meetings and promote the interests of my Assembly member. Taking an internship in the NYS Assembly was a great way to introduce me to more opportunities and possible future jobs.

Internship Profile: Gina Orlandi '18, English and BDIC Double Major

May 15, 2018

Gina OrlandiDuring my spring semester abroad, I had the incredible opportunity to intern with Jeevan Chhaya, an organization in Jaipur, India providing economic empowerment to survivors or those at risk of sex trafficking. I have been volunteering with The UMass Freedom Cafe for several years, so it was a privilege to intern with our partner organization 8,000 miles away in India. This internship was life changing and pivotal in shaping my personal, academic, and vocational aspirations in the human rights field. 

Internship Profile: Ellie Pasternack '18, Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies Double Major

May 15, 2018

Ellie Pasternack holding a sign saying The Future is Still FemaleHaving this internship experience was infinitely valuable in terms of figuring out what kind of job I want to have after graduation, and making the connections I will need to get those kinds of jobs. And as a woman who wants to go into politics, it was also inspiring to be in a predominantly female workplace which had so many strong, ambitious, accomplished women to look up to. 

Internship Profile: Cinzia Presti '20, Art History and Classical Archaeology Double Major

May 15, 2018

Cinzia Presti holding a print Charles River MuseumI think it's important to have an internship because you get to experience what it will be like to work in a particular field, and decide if that career is right for you. My advice to give is to find diverse internships within your field to be able to have a wider range experience for your resume and be able to test out what works for you. 

Internship Profile: Avia Ferrande '19, Political Science and History Double Major

May 15, 2018

Middle schoolers standing on an indoor basketball court or watching from the standsAs a prospective teacher, being able to teach sixth grade Speech and Debate was a great opportunity to work with students in the Valley while trying out an age group and subject area I was unfamiliar with. Turns out playing basketball against the students was the most nerve wrecking part. Internships are the perfect time to try out something you're unsure of since its only temporary!

Internship Profile: Allegra Pericles '19, Art History Major

May 15, 2018

Allegra PericlesMy role at Project Contemporary Competitiveness - Advanced Studies Program had me constantly busy and immersed with the high school students that attended the program. This internship has prepared me with the stamina, intrapersonal skills, and compassion it takes to be a better teacher. It's so rewarding to grow along with your students.

Internship Profile: Aislinn Varney '19, Linguistics, Management Double Major, Spanish Minor

May 15, 2018

Aislinn Varney pictured on a motorized recumbent bikeAlthough a summer internship can be a big commitment, I would highly recommend others to try to find one. It is not necessarily about the hard skills you pick up, but actually is more about the soft skills, and the experience of learning how to work in a professional environment. Internships also provide great opportunities to network and make key connections that will likely help you later on in your career.

Internship Profile: Devon King '18, History Major

May 15, 2018

Devon King pictured in front of an apothecary cabinetFor my project, I worked with the Education Department to redevelop an architecture tour offered to school groups, expanding it into three sub-programs, and making it more applicable to different grade levels. Along with interpretive work and our research projects, the interns and I had a great time meeting senior administrative staff each week in brown bag lunches, going on field trips to different museums in the region to see first-hand different museum practices, and even living on a boat all summer! In the end, this internship was not only fun, but also helped reorient my career goals as I look to graduate school.

Internship Profile: Astrid Esquilin Nieves '18, Linguistics and French Major

May 15, 2018

Astrid Esquilin Nieves pictured standing in a classroom in front of two kidsGeneration Teach is a summer program for middle schoolers that aims to help bridge the summer achievement gap. Overall, I've had a fantastic experience during my time with Generation Teach, specially teaching my students and the connections I made with them. My only hope is for other students to put themselves out there and explore the teaching career!

Internship Profile: Trent Babington '20, English and Comparative Literature Double Major

May 15, 2018

Trent Babington pictured seated in front of glass office windowsThis internship was a great opportunity to see what it's like to work at a periodical, and to improve my journalistic writing. If you want to get a good summer internship, go to career services, and send in your cover letters by late January. 

Internship Profile: Sarah Manlove '19, History Major

May 15, 2018

Sarah Manlove pictured in front of a wall with KERYX on it.I started off this summer completely unsure with what direction I wanted to go in in college and in a career afterwards. After a few weeks of my internship at Keryx, I fell in love with data science and made lots of connections with people at the company. If I had to give advice to other students, I would say that you won’t know that you have a passion for something unless you put yourself out there and try something you aren’t sure about!

Internship Profile: Hannah Pyenson '19, Spanish Major & Sports Management Major

May 14, 2018

Hannah Pyenson stands in the outfield of a baseball stadium.I would tell any future student to have faith in themselves and to continue to make new goals in every aspect of their life.

From this internship I have gained unmeasurable and priceless connections, experience and memories that I will continue to treasure and expand upon for the rest of my life. 

Internship Profile: Amber-Nicole Rodriguez '18, Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Major

May 14, 2018

Amber-Nicole Rodriguez assists a student wearing a crown with assembling a model.This experience was huge for me because I was able to be surrounded by folks who had similar passions as mine, and folks who believed that young children with access to education can change the world. This was a great stepping stone for me, as I wish to pursue some sort of career in social justice education after graduation. 

Internships/fellowships are important because you get to dedicate your time to a field (that may or may not relate to what you want to do in the future), but that can open doors for you along the way.

Internship Profile: Gillian Peters '18, Legal Studies Major & Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Minor

May 14, 2018

Gillian Peters stands in front of a wall with "State of Connecticut, Court at New Britain, 20 franklin Square"At my internship, I have been working with the Probation Officers who specialize in Women Offenders Case Management Model which provides gender responsive services to female probationers. During my internship, I have met with probation clients, conducted field visits, written warrants, and visited lock up to serve warrants. Every day in the Probation Office is interesting and it has been informative to see the other side of the law.

Internship Profile: Ryan Lavigne '18, Art Education Major

May 14, 2018

My advice to students seeking jobs and internships is to not hesitate at trying and applying for experiences outside their typical field of interest. Before this internship, I had been solely focusing on being an art teacher and searching for related work. However, my work as a youth case manager over the summer has been a great experience that has opened up my mind to doing social work post-grad, or even trying to become a guidance counselor in schools. I'm so appreciative to Community Action for this experience that broadened my mindset.

Internship Profile: Elyssa Needle '18, Theater Major

May 14, 2018

Elyssa Needle, pictured in a Disney Cast uniformI have found working and interning at Disney to be very valuable. I have made unbelievable friendships and wonderful professional connections with many full time professionals at the Disney company. These connections have mentioned that they would love to help me obtain professional roles of employment after graduation with the Disney company.  This company is all about entertainment and with my theater background and emphasis in sound design, costuming, and performance I hope to be a well rounded individual that fits in well with the company.  Having interned here twice just adds to my knowledge of the company and their knowledge of me and my strengths.

Internship Profile: Amanda Semple '20, Management and Chinese Language & Literature Double Major

May 14, 2018

Amanda Semple, pictured with an exaggerated expression of surprise pictured with a smiling person wearing a white dress shirt under a black blazer.This summer I attained an internship at Waters Co. in the customer experience and design usability department. I have been the scribe in a few different workshops that focus on revamping a product to better suit a customer's need based on many different personas. I've learned so much on customer satisfaction, as well as experience working in an office setting for the first time. The picture featured is a photo of my boss and I at a workshop where I was the photographer/scribe.

Internship Profile: Melanie Ostiguy '18, Dance Major

May 14, 2018

I have been interning at Pioneer Valley Ballet as their social media coordinator for the past year. I love internships because they allow me to learn from an already established business, while contributing to new ideas. A lot of my work has consisted of photographing dancers in-between my own rehearsals and performances, then sharing them on social media. This particular shot I took backstage while I was waiting to perform during The Nutcracker.