CCPA Summer Series: Neighborcare Health Community Outreach

Posted on: September 1, 2015

By Anna Bitners

HC ’16

Dear readers,

Anna graciously submitted this post at the beginning of the summer, soon after she began her internship. I’m sure she has gained even more insight since she wrote this post, so if you find this interesting ask her about how the rest of her summer went! Without further ado, here’s Anna’s account of her first few weeks as an intern with Neighborcare Health:

This summer I am volunteering as a Community Outreach Intern at Neighborcare Health in Seattle, WA for nine weeks. Neighborcare is Seattle’s largest provider of dental and primary medical care that focuses on low-income and uninsured families, seniors, immigrants, and the homeless. They have 24 clinics located throughout the Greater Seattle Area. I am volunteering full-time across three of their locations: Columbia City, Rainier Beach, and High Point in West Seattle.

My internship started ten days ago. After settling in to the three locations, I began outreach work. One afternoon, the Columbia City clinic partnered with the local Seattle Public Library branch to promote summer reading by giving the children visiting the clinic a book. The kids were absolutely thrilled. It was fun to see them so excited about books and reading. They poured over the display table, carefully selecting a book to read. Parents were enthusiastic as well. Even if their kids weren’t at the clinic that day, we encouraged them to bring home a book for each child in their home. In addition to a book, the kids took home a packet of summer learning activities. If they complete some of them, they can bring the packet back to the library later in the summer and exchange it for two tickets to the Woodland Park Zoo.

The library outreach was so successful at the Columbia City location that I wanted to replicate it at the other clinics. I got in touch with a librarian from the library branch near the Rainier Beach clinic, and she immediately responded that she would love to do a similar event with me at the clinic. We picked two dates for library outreach, one in July and one in August. I’m excited to bring books and encourage the kids’ excitement for reading at a second location. I hope that the program continues after I finish my internship and return to Haverford in the fall.

Another project I am working on is to follow up with families whose children received in-school dental screenings. Neighborcare dentists performed the screenings at local Headstart, elementary, and middle schools in the spring. Students who had probable cavities or other dental needs were recorded. I have been calling these students’ parents and confirming that their children have access to dental care. If not, I offer to schedule an appointment at Neighborcare’s Rainier Beach Dental Clinic. Fortunately, most of the kids are under the care of a dentist who is monitoring their teeth; however, this is not the case for everyone. Some parents I talked to knew that their kids were due or overdue for dental care, but didn’t have a dentist. I made appointments for their kids at Neighborcare. I enjoyed these phone calls and the opportunity to connect kids with dental care, which is increasingly being recognized as integral to overall health.

Because it can be difficult for low-income families to acquire health insurance, Neighborcare has a team of Eligibility Specialists that help patients and potential patients navigate the complicated process of learning about the Affordable Care Act and how it applies to them, signing up for insurance, or applying for Neighborcare’s sliding scale fee system. One morning, I had the opportunity to shadow an Eligibility Specialist as she worked with patients to connect them with primary medical care. Depending on citizenship status, family size, income, and state residency, there are different programs to apply for. The process is complex. It is important that Neighborcare helps patients through this process and assists them in paying for their medical care in addition to providing medical care.

As I continue to volunteer at these three clinics, I hope to learn more about how medically-underserved patients access primary care. I also hope to continue and expand the outreach efforts –like the library event– that the clinic hosts.



CCPA Summer Series: A Transforming Experience

Posted on: August 28, 2015

By Chenlei (Tom) Zhuang ’16
Whitehead Internship Program

From left: Iyyappan from India, David from Hong Kong, me from China, Andy from the U.S. & Canada, Jesse from Canada

After an hour conversation, Andy asked me: “Have I convinced you to come to my company?”

I paused for a second. When I realized what I’d heard was real, I replied: “Of course. I want to do intern in your factory.”

This is the first time Andy and I met. He didn’t read my resume, although I gave him one. I didn’t expect to get an intern offer, although he brought me one. It is a “fair trade:” I give him a chance to hire the first Chinese intern; he gives me an opportunity to change my life.

Luckily, I remember three sentences Andy told me in that conversation and witness his action on them during my internship:


Andy isn’t a big speaker or writer. He is a walker. Once I went to his Hong Kong home and we walked all the way back, with 3 subway and bus transfers. He is also an executor. Once he decides on something, he acts to make it happen. Or he delegates to his friends or workers. In all of meetings with workers, he talks and he only talks if others can “walk” with him. Therefore, he emphasizes on the PROCESS, not the results. He wants to make sure they understand what he’s said and perform 100% of their effort.


This sentence almost drives me nuts. It means I must pay 200% of my effort: 100% to work on my weakness, 100% to NOT work on my strength.

My weakness is action and I always hesitate to act. Therefore, Andy makes me an “eager little beaver”. In 11 weeks, I worked on 10 different tasks. Andy gave me 2 of them and here were the instructions: “Be involved in setting up this new company; ” “Find the way to make the best clinical trial in China.” I have to know everything about the subject and racked my brain to make the tasks more specific.

My strength is planning and I always have perfect plans. Therefore, Andy says this whenever I try to make plans perfect: “STOP it. You spend all your time working on PLAN A.” But Andy also encourages me to make plans because action can’t run smoothly if there is no plan to set the vision. Towards the end of this internship, I find the balance: “make the plan” when the situation is too unclear to act, “not make the plan” when the situation are clear enough to act.


Andy paid for food, living, and transportation in this internship. He also gave me a stipend that is higher than that of most internship in China. He pays only for the value and I never fully understand why I am so valuable to him. However, I do find myself important to Andy and his workers. I was given responsibility to do initial research to set up a new cancer drug company; to facilitate meetings to open a new factory; to do an audit on the product shipment process; to initiate a marketing & sales platform; to brand the environmental sustainability of the factory…I worked with workers from every level and felt helpful them. Maybe I wasn’t valuable when I first came; Andy, his co-workers, and I worked together to add value on me.

In the middle of the internship, Andy asked me: “Do you regret your decision to come to my company? …Most Chinese think a lot before they can make a decision.”

I smiled: “ You have convinced me in the first hand…Besides, my life does not happen because I think; it TRANSFORMS because I DO.”


  1. Andy Pleatman is a Haverford alumus, Class of 1966
  2. He owns a tannery factory in Jiangmen, Guangdong Province, P.R. China.
  3. I did intern in this factory from May 25th, 2015 to August 7th, 2015 (11 weeks).
  4. If you are interested in what I’ve done in this internship, email
  5. If you are interested in talking to Andy or do an internship with him, ask Kelly Cleary for his contact information

CCPA Summer Series: Wash Cycle Laundry II

Posted on: August 26, 2015

By Yue Xiang

A math major with a minor in fine arts, I would say I am not the indexmost conventional student in any sense, but never have I imagined myself interning at a laundry service startup: Wash Cycle Laundry.

The amount of autonomy and flexibility that I am given working for Wash Cycle Laundry is absolutely amazing. New to the concept of Wash Cycle’s triple bottom line mission, its business model, basically everything and everyone in the company, I put up my A-game and absorb everything that has been happening in the company.

Some lessons that I learned along the way:

  • How to make my ideas accessible.

As a math major, I find it some mathematical principles behind operations intuitive. What trajectory pattern certain numbers are taking might be self-explanatory to me. However, my understanding and interpretation of the data might not be accessible to everyone. l learned to present and talk about the equation that I came up with in order to find the best commission rate for our seasonal sales position.

  • Details matter.

Details reflect my work ethics and quality. To some extent, anyone can generate content for the company, and company can choose to post any kind of content; however, the difference lies in the details: the tone that I use to write for Wash Cycle Laundry, the topics that Wash Cycle would focus on. I learn that a font, a color, a change in arrangement, and so on integrate into building a brand.

  • Network

I realize the value of network goes beyond “maybe one day I will get a job from this person”. I ended up on the other side of the door doing some campus recruiting. I was trying to get students in Georgetown to apply for the business development associates position. The process of trying to get students look at job posting, or get the information to them in the middle of the summer was challenging. I fell short on my connections, the power of word of mouth played almost no part in my attempt to recruit. Trying to make connections on the spot via social media was not nearly as efficient as using already existing connections.

Final thoughts:

I really enjoyed my internship with Wash Cycle Laundry, especially the connections that I made with the management team, and front line service team members. Being able to problem-solve, think critically about business operation, marketing and be pushed out of my comfort level had definitely allow me to think further about what I want to pursue after my journey at Haverford.

CCPA Summer Series: Center For Creative Works

Posted on: August 21, 2015

By Natalie DiFrank
BMC ‘17

The Gertrude Albert Heller Memorial Grant gave me the opportunity to spend my summer as an intern at Center For Creative Works in Wynnewood, PA. Center For Creative Works is a studio based art vocational program for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. What this means is that participants at the Center are taught various art mediums by experienced staff. The art produced by participants is sold and the proceeds are divided between the artist and the center.

As an intern my role at the center primarily focused on aiding teachers with lessons as well as working one on one with participants on their pieces. My days were spent sharing, laughing, and creating bonds with both the staff and the participants that I will always hold very dear to me. Every morning I was welcomed with hugs, handshakes, high fives, and hellos often yelled from across the room. As I grew to learn each participant’s style I also began to experiment with my own art and began writing down techniques I learned from the lessons to incorporate within my personal pieces. I was constantly inspired by the artwork that hangs from the walls and ceilings and sits on any surface available and eventually I became able to identify most of the participants’ work.IMG_5473

* One of my favorite pieces created by Eric at CCW*

Every day was unique although one day in particular stands out to me as an inspiring example of how the Center works as a team. At the end of the work day on a Friday when all the staff were writing their final notes and the participants were waiting for their rides the director, Lori Bartol, came down stairs to the floor carrying hundreds of letters and envelops as well as over flowing handfuls of glue sticks. She immediately began asking people for help. Not knowing what was needed from us, teachers, participants, and office staff began to circle the table. Lori told us that letters were required to be sent out asking for donations by tomorrow morning and help folding, stuffing, labeling, and closing the letters was desperately needed. Everyone immediately started taking on roles and working together to complete each letters, passing each letter from hand to hand and working step by step to complete the tasks. As we worked you could hear each person complimenting either another individual on their folding, gluing or stuffing skills or the group as whole as everyone rushed to finish before they had to leave for the day. Looking around everyone was so dedicated to finishing and as people left they were thanked for their work while the remaining continued to work, finishing within the hour. There was no hierarchy between staff or participants to staff. Everyone was equal and each person was vital. This moment in particular demonstrated how uniqueFullSizeRender and beautiful Center for Creative Work operates and is what I now know as the magic of CCW. Each person works as a part of the team and all that is required of anyone, is for them to bring their honest self and to join with others there to break down barriers made by the stigmatization of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities within the art community as well as society as whole.


CCPA Summer Series: Presentation Testing

Posted on: August 20, 2015

By Dorian Wirz

This summer I was pti_logolucky enough to be given the opportunity to work for a company called Presentation Testing Inc. Presentation Testing is a small company that primarily deals with dial testing technology, which they use to help clients with presentations and messaging. They use dial-testing technology to gather focus group members’ moment-to-moment reactions of presentations, which they then analyze and report back to their clients, providing advice on how to improve their messaging. A psychology major and economics minor at Haverford, I couldn’t have imagined a better marriage of the two subjects.

Prior to this summer, I had very little work experience and I had never before had an “office job.” I had no idea what to expect but nonetheless was delightfully surprised with the way things turned out. Presentation Testing is made up of a small team, which after working with them for 10 weeks, could more aptly be described as a family. It was a very open and welcoming environment. From the onset I was encouraged to ask questions. The CEO of the company Rich Thau, a Haverford graduate, was adamant that I use him as a resource. Having started Presentation Testing from scratch, he has lot of valuable experience, which he shared with me over the occasional lunch. Having heard about many of my other friends’ internships at which they were confined to inputting data into Excel or scanning documents, I feel extremely lucky with my work experience. I was asked to write reports, which my boss, Rich, would edit with me and would then be sent off to clients. I was even lucky enough to go on a business trip with the team to Raleigh, North Carolina where I sat in and took notes on four separate focus group sessions. Everyone that I worked with at Presentation testing respected my ability to contribute and trusted me with responsibility. In addition, the people at Presentation testing were enthusiastic to impart valuable lessons on to me. In my time there I felt that they genuinely wanted the best for me going forward.

In addition to the awesome work environment at Presentation Testing, the work that we did in my time there was extremely interesting. Presentation Testing works with a wide range of clientele. They have dial tested everything from TV show pilots to social policy. In my time there they were working on a climate change project. They were working primarily on messaging for climate change. We tested four separate focus groups on climate change messaging during my time working with them. Due to the sensitivity of the people involved with the project I cannot say more than that. We also did a project for the pharmaceutical industry, in which we helped them gage public opinion on the pharmaceutical process of developing drugs. We also did a couple of focus groups on Independent-voters opinions of Obama care, same-sex marriage, and a number of different current political issues.

Thanks to Haverford, Whitehead, and Presentation Testing I was able to have a great work experience. I have learned a lot this summer and have a more focused idea of where my interests lie. It is a summer that I will not soon forget. I highly recommend this internship opportunity.

CCPA Summer Series: Jaharis Fellowship

Posted on: August 17, 2015

By Saadia Nawal

“Hola. Yo soy un estudiante que está ayudando hoy.”

In addition to this phrase, I have also learned many different Spanish words such as baño, corazón, camisa, and todos as I volunteer at Medico Family Clinic in Falls Church, VA through the Jaharis IMG_4838Fellowship. The Jaharis Fellowship provides funding which allows premedical students to serve with underserved populations in a primary care clinic. I have been fortunate enough to work with the underserved South Asian and Hispanic population under the mentorship of Dr. Zia.

Through this internship, I was able to learn a lot–not only about how a clinic works, but also about how to treat patients with the respect that they deserve. A majority of patients who come to the walk-in clinic do not have insurance and hold blue-collar jobs. IMG_4835However, I have never seen Dr. Zia ever turn away a patient, no matter their ability to pay or lack of paperwork. He reduces fees and makes exceptions for patients that aren’t able to afford medical care, while also considering the cost of different lab tests before ordering them for diagnosis to make the life of patients easier.

Working in such an environment has also allowed me to notice small details which relate to my Health Studies minor as well. For example, during the first week or last week of the month, not many patients come into the clinic. When I asked why it was like that, a coworker told me because those months are hardest for families because bills are due, etc. As an aspiring physician, I think it’s important to notice details such as this and try to accommodate patients in whatever way possible, something that Dr. Zia does in an IMG_4833exemplary manner.

The clinic is also extremely busy everyday–Dr. Zia sees 20-50 patients a day, with Saturdays being the busiest. In such an environment, I help out wherever I am needed. Some days I am in the lab doing urinalysis, and other days I help in the triage area, taking vitals of patients. I have also learned how to do EKGs, and helped prepare patients for ultrasounds.

Of course, there is also clerical work that needs to be done, which is also extremely important in a private practice. In addition to doing hands-on work, I help in transferring medical information such as lab test results onto the computer and patient registration. During my free time, I have also been able to shadow the different healthcare professionals who work in the IMG_4837(1)clinic, including Dr. Zia, medical assistants, the ultrasound technician, and even the phlebotomist. I also learned how to draw blood in lab, which proved to be an exciting feat for me!

As the days are nearing to the end of my internship, I realize how much I have grown this summer and the tremendous amount of knowledge I learned. I am confident that my experience this summer will help me not only during my time at Haverford, but also in both my personal and professional life in the future.


CCPA Summer Series: Summer Experiences at GiftedHire

Posted on: August 14, 2015

By Winful Taylor

After eight magnificent weeks interning as a sales representative for GiftedHire, it has finally come to an end. The Whitehead Internship program is a chance to work with some fantastic companies and I urge every single student to get involved with the process next year. GiftedHire is an absolutely fantastic start-up company that is getting ready to blossom as soon as it launches. It provides top level candidates with opportunities to get jobs all over the country.

Steve Loflin and Nick Farina co founded GiftedHire. During the slack_for_ios_upload (1)summer, I was fortunate enough to work very closely with Nick Farina. We literally worked and completed tasks in the same office! I left the office with knowledge every single day, this is not exaggeration. Nick Farina is that gifted and talented. I strongly encourage any Haverford student with any ambitions of becoming an entrepreneur to seek his council.

I was first tasked with the objective of finding companies that would be interested and eligible for the kind of service GiftedHire provides. Although this was an interesting task, my experiences would only get better. The next day, I had an eye opening lunch with Steve Loflin, Nick Farina, co-founders, and Mark Kinner, manager of member success. Lunch with these extremely knowledgeable men at a delightful Mexican restaurant was an indelible experience. During our lunch, we spoke about the future of GiftedHire and possible improvements within the interface.

After pleasantries and ideas were shared, Nick had me join him in an exciting meeting with Edelman, one of the best PR firms in America. During this meeting we brainstormed and shared ideas on how to brand GiftedHire. GiftedHire wanted the world to know and understand why they came into existence very clearly. The entire GiftedHire team along with NSCS and Edelman continuously worked through the entire summer to properly brand this company in order to reveal it to the world. Being present and amongst arguably the best PR firm was truly an amazing experience for which many interns my age have never experienced.

slack_for_ios_uploadAlthough I will not be able to mention every single summer activity, I cannot sign off without stating the awesome rooftop video recording of Steve and Nick. This was a launch video in which Nick and Steve had to summarized the benefits of GiftedHire and how it could serve as an interface to help bridge the gap of communication between companies and top level talents from different colleges around the country. Being in the presence of an actual video shoot showed me how difficult it is to make a perfect video. So many takes and trials under the scorching sun but after an afternoon of repeated trials, the video was ready to be aired.

I had an amazing time working under the tutelage of Nick Farina. I am very grateful for this opportunity afforded by the Whitehead internship program. Through it’s funding, I was able to live a dream and work with some of the best individuals I have ever met. I implore all students to apply to work with GiftedHire and make Nick Farina’s selection extremely difficult. Nick is an amazing and caring man who is always willing to share and impart knowledge on whoever needs it.

CCPA Summer Series: Life as a Photojournalist Part 2

Posted on: August 9, 2015

Ryan Gooding ’16
Silk Intern

Hello again from Boulder!  After another month and a half or so of working as a photojournalist for the Boulder Daily Camera, I thought it might be fun to give an update on some of my recent favorite photo assignments.  Just like last time, these are by no means all of the assignments I have been sent on – in fact, since joining the Camera, I have been sent out on nearly 40 assignments – but these have been some of my absolute favorites.  Enjoy!


Slow news days exist – hard as it is to believe with CNN’s 24/7 news cycle.  But, when they happen here in Boulder, the Camera photographers get sent out to shoot “wild art”.  In other words, we drive around Boulder looking for something photo-worthy that we might be able to run in the next day’s paper in order to fill print space.  On this particular slow news day, I decided to drive up Flagstaff Mountain to see if I might be able to find some people bouldering (essentially rock climbing, but without ropes, and on large BOULDERING7boulders instead of sheer rock faces).  I was lucky enough to come across two groups of climbers that were nice enough to let me take photos of them doing their thing.  These are two of the resulting photos.



Every year, for the last 8 years, Boulder has played host to “Tube to Work Day”, and it TUBE8is exactly what it sounds like.  Hundreds of Boulder employees show up early one weekday morning at Eben G. Fine Park – located at the west end of town, where the Boulder creek emerges from the mountains – dressed in their usual business attire (suits, ties, etc…), brandishing inter-tubes, inflatable kayaks, paddles, and the like, with TUBE16the intention to quite literally tubing to work.  This year, covering Boulder’s Tube to Work day was my responsibility.  Though I was not, myself, tubing to work, the experience of covering the event was unlike any so far this summer, or since.  This town has character, and that character shone through brilliantly with this story.



One of the best parts about this job is that it teaches you how to be a good photographer in a tremendous breadth of situations.  For instance, prior to this summer, I had hardly done any food photography.  Working at the Camera has decidedly changed that.  Since MOXIE11starting, I have been sent out on nearly half a dozen food-related assignments, and each has taught me more and more about the techniqueMOXIE10 behind taking an engaging food photo.  These photos come from what has been my favorite food assignment: a small, hometown bakery in Louisville called Moxie Bread Co.  Not only did I walk away with some great photos, but I was also comp’ed a few pastries for my hard work (yet another perk of shooting food)!




SPECIAL1For this summer’s World Special Olympics, Boulder resident and developmentally disabled teen Frankie Newhart was selected to play the national anthem in front of a crowd of nearly 40,000 people.  To commemorate such a prestigious nomination, I was sent out to take a portrait of him.  This is perhaps one of my favorite portraits of the summer, not only for the way I decided to shoot it or the way it turned out, but also because of the story that it ran alongside.


Go figure: slacklining is actually outlawed in the city of Boulder.  Due to a city ordinance
that makes it illegal to hang anything from or strap anything to trees within Boulder city limits, slackliners have been forced to either ignore the ordinance altogether (usually the case), or pack their equipment up in search trees elsewhere.  However, after receiving a $250 SLACK8SLACK5ticket for slacklining in a Boulder public park, the local slacklining community launched an effort to legalize the popular recreational activity within city limits.  I was sent out to take photos of several of the key backers of the plan as they (illegally) slacklined in another Boulder public park.  These guys were incredible!



Police officers, sheriff’s officers, fire fighters, and paramedics from Boulder and its neighboring towns and cities all convened on the CU Boulder’s campus last week to participate in what is being called Boulder County’s largest ever “Active Harmer” training.  Throughout the day, teams of officers, fire fighters, and paramedics all trained for the eventuality of an active shooter in the Boulder area.  However, rather than wait for police officers to clear the threat completely before allowing the fire department to triage injured victims, at this training fire fighters and paramedics practiced entering the building on the heels of their police officer colleagues.  This new practice, according to the Boulder Police and Fire Departments, will ultimately save lives.


Photo Prefix: POLIS

This was a bit of a silly assignment, but it has to one of the most memorable.  U.S. Congressman Jared Polis, whose district includes the city of Boulder, had been labeled by GQ Magazine as the worst dressed congressmen in U.S. history.  Quite the accusation, but not completely unfounded.  During his tenure as a congressman, he has appeared on the floor of the House of Representatives wearing a POLIS6blazer, a polo shirt, and a bow-tie.  In response to GQ’s accusation, Boulder-based menswear company Ninox offered to give Polis a bit of a makeover.  I was sent out to cover the ensuing fashion show.  GQ has since rescinded its lofty accusation, admitting that Polis has quite clearly made great strides in the fashion department.  Not every day you get to take fashion portraits of a U.S. Congressman!POLIS7


CCPA Summer Series: Bellevue Literary Review

Posted on: August 7, 2015

By Jess Libow ’16
Smart Family Internship Grant

I was lucky enough to spend my summer as an editorial intern at the Bellevue Literary Review in New York City. The BLR is a bi-annual literary journal devoted to publishing poetry and prose relating to illness, disability, healing, and the human condition. Published by NYU Langone Medical Center and affiliated with the Medical Humanities department, the BLR is housed in historic Bellevue Hospital.

I was drawn to the BLR for its unique focus on the relationships between illness/disability and literature. Classes I have taken in the Health Studies program as well as courses focused on disability studies taught me to think critically about the ethical and aesthetic aspects of representation in these contexts. I was excited to learn that the BLR regularly hires interns, and that because they have such a small staff, interns play a significant role in the journal’s operations.

There were three interns at the BLR this summer, and we had a wide range of responsibilities and opportunities. We completed typical intern tasks such as updating subscription databases and mailing out issues as well as more creative projects. Over the course of my summer at the BLR I put together e-newsletters, assisted with layout for an upcoming edition, developed study guides for past issues, was given the opportunity to write for NYU’s Literature, Arts, Medicine Database’s blog. My primary responsibility, and the project that was most unique to my internship at BLR, was reviewing manuscripts.

The BLR receives hundreds of submissions for each issue and rather than sending these directly to the section editors (for poetry, fiction, and non-fiction), they are filed into a database. Reviewers then have access to the database and the submitted manuscripts. After reading each submission, reviewers rank the piece on a scale of 1-6 and provide a brief summary of and/or comment about the work.

As an English major, I’m used to spending hours reading creative texts, but was surprised to find I needed to develop an entirely new skill set in order to be successful at the BLR. In English courses, I haven’t questioned whether or not the novel, essay, or poem I’m reading is “good” or “bad.” I’ve simply assumed the quality of each piece as a given and proceed to analyze the text. At the BLR, I had to develop a different kind of literary eye to scan for, among other things, coherent plot lines, adequately developed characters, and realistic dialogue. Writing comments on each piece, I had the opportunity to provide specific feedback about what areas of a promising piece might benefit from a little revision. Reading from an editorial, rather than critical perspective allowed me to engage more closely with the authors’ creative processes, an experience that was new to me.

Interning at a literary journal, I have learned how to be a different kind of reader and developed skills I hope to apply in the future. I’m very grateful to have received a Smart Family Internship Grant to support this experience.

CCPA Summer Series: WIT Strategy

Posted on: August 5, 2015

Tiffany Nguyen ’16
Whitehead Program Internship

This summer I am working at WIT Strategy, a PR and Strategy firm, in the New York office. I arrived two days before my internship started from London and moved into my apartment. Readjusting to American life was bittersweet, and I was missing London but the Big Apple has been growing on me and my work at WIT has been keeping me busy. One of the perks of working at WIT is the flexibility; depending on what type I work I have, I can work in the office, at home or in coffee shops. As long as I have a WiFi connection, I can pretty much work anywhere.

The office is small, and I have the chance to work with almost everyone on the team. The goals I had for the summer were to build up my strategy/consulting skills and my ability to identify ideas and write clearly. As the end of my internship approaches, I am proud to report that I have met those benchmarks and had tremendous fun along the way.

WIT Strategy operates in the advertising technology industry. Ad tech is a very niche industry, and it’s not really talked about, but the work is vital to media and advertising. The best way to understand WIT Strategy and which pocket of the media industry they operate in is through a flow chart.


Brands want to reach the right consumers, and advertising technology such as audience creation and cross-device tracking can help brands do so. Most of WIT’s clients are advertising technology companies and media agencies (in the middle category); WIT helps these organizations identify marketplace opportunities and provides strategies to meet their sales/marketing objectives. An important part of the work I learned about this summer was to help clients differentiate themselves from other competitors, provide clear messages about their products or services, and position the CEOs or CMOs as thought leaders in the industry.

I have projects every week, and every project is different. What’s really great is that I’m being exposed to different clients, products, services and tasks. I might be throwing in some jargon and industry specific terms here, but if you have the time, I highly recommend reading more about big data, data analytics, and programmatic advertising. If you’ve seen the HBO show “Silicon Valley” you can get a sense of how niche and tech focused the industry is. Also, you’re welcome, I just introduced you to the best TV show ever.

Jokes aside, during my internship, I have utilized my ability to think big picture and narrow down to details, write clearly and compile my research in an actionable way. For example, one of our clients is releasing a campaign management software product, and they wanted a competition analysis of products that were similar to theirs. I received a template from the WIT team, and then I went ahead and researched the different products in the market, the features, how the company and media talked about the product, and how it was different from our client’s product.

I get to sit in on conference calls and take notes, and during the call with our client, I had the chance to hear them praise the analysis and say how helpful it was for them to see how the competition and media talks about similar products. That made me feel very accomplished and proud!

I’ve also attended quite a few client meetings, even one on my first day. On the surface level, it’s exciting to step foot into the fancy offices, but on a deeper level, I am getting an exposure to clients and their vision. Meeting people face to face is very important, and whenever I get to meet clients, I always feel like we’re doing good work and are in-tune to their needs.

Some other projects I worked on is writing bylines. Bylines are similar to Op-Ed pieces, but they are slightly different in that the WIT team writes bylines in place of a CEO or CMO; these bylines are pitched to the clients and to reporters. Placing a byline in publications such as AdExchanger, MediaPost and AdAge are a constant for the WIT team. It’s so impressive to see their work pay off and have clients featured.

One of the projects I had related to bylines was to compile an “Idea Generation” spreadsheet with news around mobile, mobile video, premium video, programmatic creative and cross-channel to help the WIT team generate new ideas for bylines around these areas for a client. Currently, the WIT team is working with the client on specific byline ideas created from the spreadsheet and fine-tuning the messages the client wants to send out.

I still have a few more weeks left here at WIT, and reflecting on the work I had the chance to contribute to so far, I feel such gratitude towards the Whitehead Committee and CCPA for giving me this precious opportunity, and towards the WIT team for working with me and sharing with me their knowledge and experience.

I don’t like to give generalized pieces of advice because everyone has a unique background and interests, but I’d be happy to talk about strategies that worked for me, the path leading up to my internship and how I approached the internship search. Send me an email and we can chat!