Swarthmore Externs Cross the Country to Learn About Careers

"Jenni Lu '16 is working with me this week, learning about careers in journalism and specifically science journalism," reported Halleh Balch '12, a science researcher and writer for the American Physical Society in Washington, D.C.

"By only her second day, she successfully pitched a news story (very difficult in science journalism!), professionally interviewed prominent scientists, coherently and concisely wrote an article, and had the piece published," Balch continued. "The article covers groundbreaking scientific research on new adhesive materials based on gecko feet."

"Jenni's experience and her success is a testament to her daring drive to jump into new environments and hit the ground running—like a real Swattie. It is a real pleasure to have her here."

From California to the New York Island, Lu and more than 200 Swarthmore students fanned out across the country during winter break to pursue externships—weeklong job-shadowing experiences—sponsored by alumni, parents, and friends of the College.

Externships offer students a glimpse into the world of work after Swarthmore. They span a broad range of occupations and professions, from art galleries, businesses, educational institutions, environmental interest groups and financial firms to high-tech startups, hospitals, law firms, publishing, and think tanks.

It's a win-win for sponsors and externs alike. During extern week, accolades arrived from the Twitterverse: "Just finished hosting two terrific neuroscience majors as externs in my lab!" And "Day 2 with the extern from Swarthmore! It's been a great experience for us both!" Alumni around the country were invited to send photos of their experiences, and Swarthmore photographer Larry Kesterson caught up with several in New York, Philadelphia, and Swarthmore.