CCPA Summer Series 2019: Econsult Solutions Inc.

CCPA Summer Series 2019: Econsult Solutions Inc.

By Peter Baroff ’20 Over my summer break, I am spending ten weeks at Econsult Solutions Inc, an economic development consulting firm based in Center City Philadelphia. ESI specializes in urban policy, transportation, real estate, development, and finance, serving a wide range of clients based both locally and nationally. Over my first three weeks as a research assistant, I have been tasked on a wide range of interesting projects that complement my academic interests and have been helping me develop new skills. The wide array of projects that I have been tasked with have made each day interesting and extremely helpful in developing my multi-tasking abilities. Each day there are a number of different projects that are assigned with varying levels of priority. Assignments range broadly from institutional research on universities or museums, data collection and cleaning, fact-finding on cities spread around the globe, administering surveys, to market studies. Despite a lot of work that is time-consuming, as a group, each project has really interesting conclusions and as the summer has gone along, I have been tasked with more and more interesting work. As a Political Science major and Growth & Structure of Cities minor, ESI has allowed me to focus on certain projects that align with my interests and skills that I have gained in my course work. One such project relates to Opportunity and Promise Zones which are federally implemented areas with special tax breaks and incentives to bring development to struggling communities. ESI has also made it a priority to expose their interns to a number of different data sources and analytical tools. Over the summer...
CCPA Summer Series 2019: New York League of Conservation Voters

CCPA Summer Series 2019: New York League of Conservation Voters

A Summer at the New York League of Conservation Voters By Johnluca Fenton ’21 Thought experiment: can you name even one local elected official that represents you and the town you are from? For most people reading this post, I would bet the answer to that question to be a regretful no. But I totally get that. In a political world that has become so incredibly polarized and iconified by a select few congressional and federal leaders, most Americans often fail to understand or acknowledge the incredibly important work that our local elected officials carry out every day. As an intern at the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) this summer, my role has primarily been to dive deep into this not-so-apparent, yet fascinating, world of local politics. In doing so, I have been tasked, along with a team of several other interns, to help the NYLCV figure out which candidates they want to officially endorse in the local New York state elections taking place this fall. Before going any further, I should spell out what exactly the NYLCV is and does. As per the NYLCV website, the storied non-profit is “the only state wide environmental organization in New York that fights for clean water, clean air, renewable energy, and open space through political action.” To achieve this end, the NYLCV focuses on three main approaches to environmental political advocacy: evaluating (through their yearly environmental scorecards of all NY state elected officials), campaigning (for the passage of eco-beneficial laws and initiatives), and finally endorsing candidates who show a true care and concern for the environment. As you might...
CCPA Summer Series 2019: Shift Capital

CCPA Summer Series 2019: Shift Capital

My Shift Capital Summer: Shattering Expectations By Jessica Lopez Hello from Kensington, Pennsylvania! My name is Jessica Lopez ‘21, and I am an Anthropology major, Health Studies Minor, Economics Minor, and Latin American Iberian studies Concentrator.  I am spending my summer as a Whitehead intern for Shift Capital. When I initially saw this internship was available, I knew little about Kensington. But after a quick google search, I was stunned that countless headlines covering Philly’s burgeoning opioid crisis put Kensington at the center of it all. Labeled as the ‘Walmart of Heroin,’ by the New York Times, Kensington’s historically marginalized community is facing this new challenge head on.  As one can guess, there are many people trying to help bring Kensington out of this chapter.  Shift Capital, a real estate investment group, is aiming to be a part of this effort. But, how can a real estate investment group be a part of the solution? As someone who studies the power structures that trap marginalized folx, this question was at the forefront of my mind, when considering an internship at Shift Capital.  As I’ve learned, Shift’s real estate investment model is centered around maximizing what it calls its “social impact,” or how much one’s actions can positively affect the community. Accordingly, Shift’s mission is centered around curtailing the negative effects of gentrification: displacement, job loss, and inter-generational poverty. For example, Shift buys abandoned property and turns it into housing that is 60% AMI (area median income) or less, where the grossing median income for a four person household is $90,000.  That means Shift is offering rents that community members...
CCPA Summer Series 2019: MKThink

CCPA Summer Series 2019: MKThink

By Maya Ahmed When I searched for a summer internship, I was hoping to find a role that would integrate my interests in economics and environmental studies. Despite this, I never considered that I could work at a firm centered on architectural services until I saw the Handshake listing for MKThink. My artistic skills are too terrible for words, and I’ve never taken a course in architecture or visual studies. However, after doing more research on MKThink, I realized that the internship involved so many topics I was intrigued by: data analysis, public policy, and most of all, environmental sustainability. Fast forward: I’ve been at MKThink for two days so far, and my hopes have been fulfilled. During orientation, my supervisors Josh, Rachelle, and Mayssen explained that MKThink’s mission goes beyond simply “building buildings.” MKThink’s work actually spans three practice areas: strategy, architecture, and innovation. Strategy and innovation projects develop processes to help an organization streamline operations and prepare for the future. The three practice areas frequently overlap. One of MKThink’s specializations is helping clients renovate existing spaces to improve their functionality, aesthetics, and environmental performance. The company takes pride in reimagining better uses for features that already exist, providing clients with significant savings and avoiding the negative environmental impact of extensive construction. From my short time so far at MKThink, I’m really impressed by two aspects of the company. One is MKThink’s emphasis on making their design projects responsive to an organization’s culture and values. From the beginning to end stages of a project, MKThink seeks input from community members who use the space. The result are changes...
CCPA Summer Series 2019: Physicians for Human Rights

CCPA Summer Series 2019: Physicians for Human Rights

By Isabel Clements This summer, I’ll be working with Physicians for Human Rights, a non-profit organization located at home in NYC. Although based in the U.S., the NGO documents human rights violations across the world and empowers local communities in addressing these atrocities. In my role as Arabic-Speaking Investigations Intern, I will be researching the mercurial conflicts in Syria and Yemen. In particular, my research will address attacks on healthcare and medical aid in the two countries. Should a video of a recent bombing of a Syrian medical point be posted on YouTube, it will be my job to “decode” the footage and figure out what is being seen and heard (albeit with a lot of support from my colleagues). I have been told that the organization has not hired a non-native speaker for this position in the past, so I am anxious to perform my job thoroughly and immaculately, given that I am still learning Arabic. A mistake in translation could be harmful or misleading, so there will be a lot of pressure on my Arabic skills. Hopefully, this will lead to language acquisition and increasing fluency on my part! Moreover, I am much more versed in Syrian dialect than I am in Yemeni Arabic, so the notion of reviewing documents and media from Yemen is somewhat formidable to me. All in all, it will be an intellectual challenge, but I’m prepared to learn! Several of my colleagues in the research department will be native Arabic speakers, so I am relieved to be having their support. I am excited to be working with a diverse group of people...
CCPA Summer Series 2019: Montgomery County Office of the Public Defender

CCPA Summer Series 2019: Montgomery County Office of the Public Defender

Lara Kash, Chief of the Child Advocacy Unit doing a breakout session with her interns. Source: Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office Instagram @montcopa_public_defender   By Cara Netzer This week I started my internship at the Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office. The first week is orientation, so for the past few days me and my 25 fellow interns have participated in lectures and activities from each department to help us better understand the trial procedures in Montgomery County. A little over half of the interns are law students who are Certified Legal Interns (CLIs) and will therefore be given the opportunity to speak in court this summer. Because of this, much of orientation has been geared towards the CLIs, given the large amount of responsibility they will have. As someone who is not a law student and does not plan to be, it is still very interesting to learn all the ins and outs of the trial process here. I’ve only been here for three days, but I’ve already learned so much that is applicable to my studies. After this week, I will be part of the Social Services Division and the Child Dependency Unit. I hope to also gain some experience in the Policy and Advocacy Division. The head of that division is Leslie Jones, a long time advocate and lawyer for criminal justice reform, and I am very excited to work with her and other people in the department. The Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office is one of the most progressive Public Defender’s offices in the state. In their Policy Reform and Social Justice Division, they have a Restorative...