About the Bloggers

Welcome to discoverTPC, a student-driven blog about PHL:EXP, the Philly Off-Campus Experience, and about  life in the City of Brotherly Love. Each semester The Philadelphia Center (TPC) will invite students to share their internship, city living, and academic observations and experiences with you.

Fall 2014

jacobbedelJacob Bedel, Hanover College: Your oh-so-typical English major with not a whim or notion of what I want to do with my degree. I left my rather-small college town in favor of pursuing my student teaching in Philadelphia. Arriving with the ambition of a stubborn beaver and the real-life skills of the very same stubborn beaver, I plan to conquer the forest that is student teaching, while coming up with wood chips of wisdom for y’all and sharing my experiences from the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection.

TPCSELFIEJustin Duchene, Albion College: I am a Communication Studies major with a minor in management, who just happens to have a passion for event planning. I made the journey out here to Philadelphia because I have always longed to live in a large, metropolitan city. I have dreamed since I was young of being that cool city kid and now I finally get my chance. It is extremely refreshing to be out of the Midwest, even just for a little while, and I love living independently here in Center City.

MollyGreenfieldMolly Greenfield, Hope College: I am a senior social work major from Hope College. With an emphasis on macro studies and a desire to work in organizations focused around advocating for social change, I knew that coming to the city would be a great move for me. So here I am- working at a grassroots immigration reform group that lobbies for immigration reform and fights to protect the rights of the Latino immigrant community. Over the next couple of months, I am striving to gain professional experience and confidence, learn how to be an ally, explore the city like I may never come back, improve my Spanish, lean into my new community of friends, and challenge myself everyday to do more, see more, feel more, think more. Read on, friends!

BreeKremerBree Kremer, Hope College: I am a senior Social Work student originally from a small town in Michigan, but I’m trading that in this semester to work and study in Philadelphia. I’ve decided to go on the adventure that Philly has to offer for various reasons: diversity, city-life, ethnic food, and professional work experience are a few. But I am also looking to challenge and stretch myself so as to broaden my capabilities and confidence. My internship placement at a bold grassroots organization promises to do just that.

mindzembalankangaMindze Mbala-Nkanga: Hello! I am a junior Biology major at Kalamazoo College. I enjoy running, exploring, reading, writing, and especially watching movies. I’m excited to share my Philadelphia experiences with you.

korbyreedKorby Reed, Hanover College: Hello I’m a junior  earning my psychology major and a  sociology minor. While following my dreams of becoming a psychologist I like to detour and take creative routes with writing, filming, and acting whenever I can. I’m currently in an improvisation group at my college and I like to think this helps me keep on my feet. Living in Philadelphia definitely requires you to stay on your feet and expect the unexpected.

rachelwalcott.JPGRachel Walcott, Hanover College: I’m a senior Psych/Spanish major spending a semester in Philly, finding out what big city living is really like. Insanely passionate about helping kiddos have a better life. I love getting involved with anything Hispanic, refugee, diversity, or lgbt related, so I think I’ve come to the right place! Can’t wait to explore every part of this city and tell you all about the journey.

Summer 2014
Marie Zill, Alma College: I’m following my dreams to become a teacher in an urban setting as I head into my senior year as an Education major with minors in Math and Integrative Science.  I came to Philadelphia to step outside of the “Alma Bubble” and intern with a school that I felt a pull towards from the moment I discovered it my freshman year of college and let me tell you, this school truly is everything I ever imagined!  You all would probably like to know a little more about me so, to sum it up I would say that I am an easygoing, caring, goofy, animal-loving person!

Spring 2014
Emma Dittmar, Hope College: Coming from the campus of Hope College to the city of Philadelphia is a well-needed step into the different.  As a Sociology with Criminal Justice focus and International Studies major, being in such a diverse environment with opportunities at my doorstep for professional development and internal growth is wonderful.  From relationships, to food, to a house, classes, and work, I will do my best to bring those experiences to life for you all to know, to see through my words.  Thank you for joining me.

Rachel Mazzaro, Hope College: I am a social work major from Holland, Michigan spending a semester exploring the lively city of Philadelphia. My two passions are working with at-risk youth and advocating for social justice issues. Through my internship I will be working with an organization committed to uniting the poor across color lines to build a broad movement to abolish poverty. I am so excited to be working alongside such inspiring, passionate, and radical change makers. It is my hope that throughout this semester I will learn how to become a true advocate, how to live independently, explore all that the city has to offer, and expand my knowledge on urban political & social systems through the process of experiential learning.

Fall 2013
Jyotica Barrio, Whitman College: I am a psych major with aspirations of a career in public health. As a Pacific Northwester, spending the first semester of my junior year in Philadelphia has been a major change. I came with a goal to learn to live independently. I also want to know if I actually enjoy what I think I will like, career-wise. This semester, I will be researching and assisting with public health-related programs at a non-profit in Center City. I have already learned so much, and I look forward to learning even more.

Alyssa DelPrete, Hanover College: An English major with a dream of making it in the publishing industry, I left my comfortable small-town life and travelled to Philadelphia for the fall semester of my junior year of college. Arriving with very limited real-life skills, I’m quickly trying to learn how to survive in the real world. On top of that, I’ve obtained an internship in editing and have been immersed in the world of publishing. This experience is already changing me, and I can’t wait to see how I transform over the course of the semester.

Katie Thornton, Oberlin College: Hey there! I’m a junior history major at Oberlin College from Minneapolis, Minnesota. While I find Oberlin incredibly rewarding in a lot of ways, I realized that I have never simultaneously worked, been in school, and lived not in a college town (not since high school, at least). So when the opportunity arose to come to Philadelphia, I felt it would be a perfect way to experiment with balancing all of these things. Not to mention the program came with great reviews from alums. I’m continually glad and excited to be here, and so far I’ve been spending my time exploring all of the various neighborhoods, saving all of my money to try interesting food, seeing music, and trying to explore the surrounding country/nearby cities. Thanks for reading!

Katherine Rapin, Kalamazoo College: Hello! I’m excited to share my Philadelphia experience with you all. There is so much to do here everywhere all of the time, and I’m attempting to take advantage of all of it. Through my internship, I’m working with a program that brings from-scratch meals and family style dining to school lunchrooms in Philadelphia. Food is my passion and I am happiest when I am cooking, baking, grocery shopping, eating, gardening, trying a new restaurant…or dancing. You’ll learn more about me – and Philly! – along the way.

Amena Wallace, Hope College: Currently a junior at Hope College and originally from the Chicago-land area. I’ve come to Philly with a variety of interests and with that, my hope is to not only get to know the city, but also my place in it. While I’m not overwhelmed by city-life, I am anxious to see how living independently and further developing my post-graduation plans will play out during my time here. This semester I’ll be interning at two organizations where I’ll be able to compile my Sociology major as well as my Political Science and Spanish minors into my future career goals.

Spring 2013
Sara Bertrand: Hey y’all. I grew up in good ‘ol Kentuckiana and love calling Hanover College home. I’m a Communication major and a Psychology minor and I’ve always had a craving for life in a big city.  Philly is a crazy experience for me on many different levels, but it’s definitely the good kind of crazy. I’m excited to soak in everything that the city has to offer over the next few months. Goodbye cornfields, hello concrete. From cupcakes to classes to clothes with no sales tax, I can’t wait to give you a small taste of life here in the City of Brotherly Love!

Ashley Esselink attends Alma College and is a new media studies major. “Instead of window panes, I see the letter T, H, or even I. I see cars as trails of light, and tunnels as a frame. My world is all about seeing things differently; taking something that you would never think of as beautiful or picturesque, and making it happen. So get ready to see Philadelphia from a photographer’s perspective.”

Hello, Maddie Fega here. As a sociology major at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana I’m here in
Philly to get a taste for urban education and policy. Enchanted by the glamor of Greece, beauty of Bolivia, wide array of languages and cultures of the world, I would certainly consider myself a world traveler. But I chose Philly
to get real life experience in the field I hope to enter after college, and what I’ve found is a mysterious, diverse, exciting world right here in the City of Brotherly Love! Stay posted for updates on the wacky and wonderful
experiences I will be sharing!

My name is Hannah Spahn, and I am from Hope College.  I come from a very small town in northwestern Pennsylvania (that has cows in the town limits and a law claiming your pig must be leashed when you take it for a walk) where I live with my mom, dad, 2 biological brothers who are currently in college, and my 2 adopted siblings who are in Elementary school.  I have travelled to Tanzania, Africa which is where my siblings are adopted from, as well as many other places in the world.  I am very passionate about people, which is why I am majoring in psychology.  My minor is in dance.  I have danced since the age of five and am very committed to it.  Growing up in the Lutheran church, I take my faith very seriously and consider it a big part of my identity.  I am an introvert, which sometimes makes life difficult when it comes to making friends, but I have a wonderful group of friends at school who support me in discovering who I am.  So here I am in Philadelphia, jumping in feet first!

* * *

Thanks, Fall 2012 bloggers!

Rachel J: Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, I’m now a Junior at Hanover College. While at Hanover I am majoring in psychology, minoring in sociology, and am a part of the Business Scholars Program. I came to Philadelphia to make sure that marketing is actually what I want to do with my life through experiencing it first-hand. I also came to experience a world completely different than Hanover’s.  I can’t wait to see what the big city has in store for me this semester!

Jacqueline Osei-Bonsu: I am a senior at Ohio Wesleyan University majoring in Fine Arts and possibly minoring in Film Studies. I am originally from Ghana, West Africa and enjoy the experience of traveling and exploring new places, cultures and foods. I am at The Philadelphia Center to better understand myself more; and so far, I am having a blast doing so. The freedom I feel here is liberating and allows me to think straight.  I hope you enjoy the stories I have to tell. TPC FALL 2012 let’s go!!!

Naomi: I’m a third year at Oberlin College, where I’m majoring in mathematics and likely minoring in studio arts. I’m here to get out of my college bubble for a semester and be a real person. I have two different internships: one is with iperdesign, and the other is with a woodworker. I’m really excited about both of them, because I really like making things. I’m living in South Philly, but seem to be hanging out with some frequency in West Philly, where a number of my friends here are living.

* * *

Summer 2012
Whitney Reed:  I’m a senior English major from Otterbein University and my hometown is Lowell, Ohio (pronounced lol!). Philadelphia is a whole new world and a very, very big city with lots of opportunities! Because it’s the summer term, I’m living on Pennsylvania University’s campus. I have two wonderful roommates also in the TPC program. I have two internships actually—one at a local publishing house and the other at a local publishing company. Both are greatly different, but I can already tell that I am gaining so much valuable experience and having fun doing it! Can’t wait to share my experience with you! These are my stories. (By the way, I love Law and Order!)

* * *

Thanks, Spring 2012 bloggers!

Emily Kirschbaum: Hello Philly-Prospects!  I am a senior at Hope College in Holland, Michigan but originally from the suburbs of Detroit.  I’m a Social Work major with a French minor and a lot of other interests!  This semester I am working on my field practicum — kind of like student teaching for social workers.  My internship is with a reunification program for families with children in foster or kinship care.  My first big weekend out in Philly I competed in a poetry slam in the Northern Liberties and have started to get involved in the writing community here!  I look forward to continued writing, learning, working and inspiration here on the East Coast.

Dan McCormick: I’m a junior English major at Hanover College in Hanover, IN.  This semester I’m working as a writer/reporter for a legal newsletter in downtown Philadelphia.  It’s the tops!  I live just north of Center City in a way cool apartment with some real cool friends of mine.  I like to play the guitar and listen to music and read books and stuff.  I love Philadelphia so much because there’s always something going on and there’s lots of interesting people everywhere unlike my school in Indiana.  I like it here so much I don’t want to go back to Indiana YOU CAN’T MAKE ME.

Elizabeth Moreno: I am originally from Orange County, California so I am used to a big city like Philly and I love it! Philly definitely has its own interesting feel. I live in the Cosmopolitan with four other women: yes, it gets intense sometimes, but they’re awesome. I am a junior studying Managerial Economics at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA. This semester is definitely a break from the regular routine of a student in a small college. For the next eleven weeks I will be interning at the Bureau of Labor Statistics with a team of economists!  It’s exciting to see how all the classes I have taken for my major are entirely relevant to the real world outside of college. As the semester progresses, I look forward to all the adventures that will be coming my way!
Katie Matresse: I’m a junior sociology major at Whitman College and have chosen TPC in order to gain some experience in the legal field.  I live in West Philly with seven of the coolest kids around–it is incredible to live with people whose interests are each so unique. I am an intern for the District Attorney’s Office in the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit and when I’m not there, I volunteer with another attorney who is also a community/political organizer. Busy? Yes. Worth it? Without a doubt.  Having a platform to gush about how kick-ass Philly is could prove to be a dangerous thing, but you can’t blame me for loving this city!
* * *

Thanks, Fall 2011 crew!

Allie: I’m a third year student at Kalamazoo College, majoring in Anthropology/Sociology and minoring in Spanish. Holland, MI is my hometown but I love to travel and explore. While in Philly, I’m interning with case managers at a safe-haven shelter for single homeless men. I’m living in West Philadelphia and loving it! The ethnic diversity and funky nature of this neighborhood make me feel right at home. I can’t wait to share my stories with you!

Penny: I am a third year at Oberlin college, studying creative writing, studio art, and sexual health. I was born and raised in New York City. I am interning at an un-registered non-profit, which supplies resources and supplies to sex workers and users in Northern Philadelphia. I’m taking classes in Education and Difference at Work, and Exploring Relationships in Fiction and Film.

elena: I’m a junior from Hope College, studying communications and international relations. I’m interning at an independent music magazine so you’ll find me jamming in most of the smoky jazz clubs around the city on the weekends. I love finding new places to eat, the mecca of all those places being reading terminal downtown. I’m here to document the crazy adventures my roommates and I find ourselves having, as well as some of the multicultural events around town.

Sara Ashcroft (AKA Ms. AC): I am student-teaching this semester at a public school (grades 5-12). I wake up early everyday to teach music to a bunch of wonderful kids — I could get used to this! I am a double-major in Vocal Performance and Vocal Music Education at Hope College in Holland,Michigan. Most of my friends would say that I only like music, but I also love reading FanFiction, playing Bananagrams, singing opera, and playing with my adorable shih tzu, Maya. I chose to finish my undergraduate career in Philadelphia because I would like to teach in an urban school someday… Holland doesn’t offer that type of experience. Philly seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out an urban setting.

Faith A. Devries: A music major from Hope College, I have come to Philadelphia to pursue my interests in wedding planning! I felt it was the perfect opportunity to get out of the small town of Holland, Michigan and experience life in a big city.  Coming from Rockford, Illinois, an hour west of Chicago, I have always been a city girl and am looking forward to the fast-paced life on the east coast. This semester I will be interning with two wedding planners, so I will be busy, busy, busy! Still, I cannot wait to experience all that Philly has to offer!

Brooke McDonald: I love post-it notes and chocolate very much. Oh, and used bookstores. My housemates call me mom because I bake them scones. When I’m not forking over cash in the bookstore or making a mess in the kitchen, I like to visit cool coffee shops and write. I am an English major and Spanish minor from Hope College in Michigan, and this blog is for you! Ask me questions. Philadelphia is wonderful, TPC is wonderful, and I hope you are seriously considering coming…. because you really should.

Maddy Shaw: I am currently a sophomore at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, where I study Human Development and Social Relations (basically an Anthropology-Sociology hybrid). I am interning at a non-profit urban farm and food access project near my apartment in West Philly. I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I like farming, cooking, learning foreign languages, and riding my bicycle. I’m a TPC blogger because I want to help the voice of the Philadelphia Center get out into the world.

Hannah Szabo:  I’m a junior English literature major at Denison University. I am placed in the editorial department of two vastly different publishing houses in the city. I enjoy reading, running, cooking, mafia movies and the New England sports scene. I can quote almost every line of Good Will Hunting and prefer Dunkin’ Donuts coffee to any coffee house in the city.

* * *

A special thanks to our Spring 2011 crew. We miss you!

Karen Heck: Currently a junior at Hope College in Holland, MI, I am an Exercise Science major with minors in leadership and Spanish. I decided to apply these academic fields to real life through a program called The Philadelphia Center. During this semester in Philadelphia, I am interning in the Physical Therapy department of an area Children’s Hospital. Meanwhile, I am taking classes two days a week and becoming more familiar with the city.

Vivi: A friend once said, “The best thing I can make is a reservation.” This philosophy certainly applies to me, which is why being in Philadelphia is perfect! So many great, unique places where I can eat delicious food and be entertained by the entirely new experience that comes with doing so. That’s why I am a TPC blogger, to document every hole-in-the-wall establishment and every nice place I go, as well as to enlighten you on what is going on in my internship and house life along the way. My name is Vivianna and I am a sociology/anthropology major from Earlham College. I came to Philadelphia to conduct my own sociological experiment: I am the subject.

Britney T-M: Junior. Sociology Major. Business Scholar. Theta for life. I was born and raised in Hawai’i and I attend Hanover College in Indiana. This semester is special, because I’m off the island, out of my small-town, and in the City of Brotherly Love. Why? Because I heard it’s always sunny in Philadelphia! I am a marketing intern at a regional performing arts venue, and enrolled in Urban Political & Social Systems and Urban Economics. I’m a TPC blogger because I’d like to share my journey here with you.

* * *

A special thanks to our Fall 2010 bloggers !

Kelsie: “20-year-old junior from Whitman College. Sociology Major. Dresses Department Intern at a major public fashion company in Philadelphia, PA. Loves: fashion, socializing, laughing, film, fiction, fitness, and beauty. I’m a TPC blogger because this semester will have been the best four months of my life, and I want them closely chronicled so I can look back and remember all of the highlights. Also, to be funny.”

Caroline: “I’m from Albion, MI and I’m a Junior at Albion College majoring in Economics and Management.  I decided to spend a semester in Philadelphia, PA for a number of reasons but primarily for new experiential learning that I could not get at Albion College. I decided to blog about my semester in Philly for several reasons, to keep my family and friends updated, as a assignment for my school program, and for a vehicle for reflection on my time spent in Philadelphia.”

Lauron: “I’m from a city of about 260,000 in Indiana, and my childhood obsession with “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” has led me to the city of Will Smith’s beginnings. I’m taking college courses and doing an internship with a geriatric facility, working with both research and clinical psychology. I’m very close to my family and the friends I have back in Indiana, though I hope to make new friends out here too. I tend to over-schedule myself, but, for the most part, I like it that way. I read a lot of comics, listen to a wide range of music, and enjoy just hanging out and getting to talk with people.”

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