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A Week in the Working World

A Week in the Working World

Swarthmore's externship program provides students with an opportunity to explore potential career paths by matching them with alumni, parents, and friends of the College for a one-week job shadowing experience. This year more than 180 students participated in the program which is jointly sponsored by Career Services and the Alumni Council. These are some of their stories.

Swarthmore's Winter Externship program was really my first opportunity to test the waters of a potential career. I spent my week with the public relations, marketing, and communications firm Temin and Company. It was thrilling to work in a tall office building in the center of Manhattan and to look down from a window at all the busy lives happening down on the ground. But that was only a very small part of the excitement of the externship. I had valuable conversations with everyone at Temin and Company and appreciated the opportunity to immerse myself in a real work environment for the week. Moreover, I've already had opportunities to relate what I learned at Temin and Company to my life beyond the externship.

Sung Min Ma

Sophomore Sung Min Ma is from Daegu, South Korea. He can be reached at

At face value, the description of my externship was generic, and maybe even a little uninspiring. For one week, I was to be an Online Research Extern at the Slate Magazine headquarters in Washington D.C. But thankfully in my case, first impressions didn't last. Who would have known that after just a week under columnist Will Saletan '87, I would be able to debate cogently about the relative merits and faults of surrogate motherhood? My learning process at Slate was fast and immersive; I had to crank out and comprehend a significant body of research during my first day in the office. It almost felt like Swarthmore.

The best part of the week was my ongoing dialogue with my host, Will Saletan. He is a knowledgeable, quick-witted and mentally sharp individual, who is a nice and down-to-earth guy, always ready to help and respond to questions whenever I asked them. Moreover, with Will, I felt like we could examine and pursue any possible angle to a story, no matter how outlandish or improbable it was, and then still have the confidence that the angle made sense in a unique, yet coherent manner. While the office atmosphere at Slate was friendly enough, it was my regular stimulating interactions with Will that exemplified my experience there.

Maki Somosot

Maki Somosot '12 is Living and Arts section editor of the Phoenix. She calls both Holmdel, N.J. and, Manila, Philippines home. She can be reached at

It was quite fun to play grown-up-minus-responsibilities for a week, and being in Washington D.C. was fantastic. The Alumni Networking Reception was one of the highlights of my week. It was there that I met an alumna who is a sculptor. I am taking a sculpting course this semester, and we had a great conversation about glue. Although, she never did divulge what she thought was the best kind of glue.

John Dinh

Sophomore John Dinh is from Houston, Texas. He can be reached at

My externship with the Presbytery of Philadelphia focused on securing food aid for those in need in the greater Philadelphia area. Most days were spent visiting food pantries, checking on supplies, and meeting with program coordinators, as well as organizing the upcoming "Souper Bowl" charity campaign. However, my externship host and I also traveled to Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. to attend a meeting with other presbyteries regarding the reauthorization of a child nutrition bill recently introduced to Congress. We met with members of congress to express our support for the bill and our concern for other domestic hunger-related issues. This was without a doubt the most fulfilling part of my externship because I found I actually had a voice in our advocacy work.

Andrew Cheng

Andrew Cheng '12 hails from Fremont Calif., he writes the admissions blog Swat Snap Shot. He can be reached at