CMEP Internship

The most rewarding aspect of my CMEP internship has been connecting with people who are passionate about working for peace in Israel/Palestine or are interested in learning more. In personal emails, I appreciate the responses from interested individuals. One gentleman learned I go to Scranton and excitedly told me about the benefits of his own Jesuit education. In emailing various individuals about planning informative and transformational trip to Israel/Palestine, I am excited for all those who express interest in trip planning. After my incredible study abroad experience to the Holy Land, I know how important such a trip can be for one’s faith and awareness of the need for peace in the land. I’m further encouraged by the number of Americans who really do care and want to work for peace in Israel/Palestine. Seeing people outside CMEP as invested as those working here, I am hopeful that peace is possible.

While this hope makes my efforts rewarding, the slow work towards peace makes my internship challenging. I will finish at CMEP in just a week, but the work of CMEP will continue for years to come. My impatient heart seeking justice and peace now hates the long-term planning and the fact that so many non-profits are working on various aspects of peace in the Middle East but there is so much still to be done. I find it difficult to trust that my work this summer matters when I (obviously) do not see any immediate, positive, largescale change. However, I know that with dedicated individuals like those at CMEP and those educating themselves on Israel/Palestine, one day peace will not be a mere possibility, but a reality.

Kathleen Wallace ’23
Philosophy, Theology

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When Real Things Happen

The longer I work through my internship the more I have come to realize how much I have learned in just two months. In the past weeks I have been fortunate enough to accompany my mentor, Attorney Rose Randazzo, to several meetings, depositions, and site visits. These are the times when one meets interesting people: bank executives, realtors, contractors and engineers, judges and other attorneys, and even regular folks like me. Those encounters and experiences are the most rewarding pieces of my work—I learn best in the field. The simple facts that I did not know how to write a memo before June, or how I learned what happens at a deposition, are proof enough of the value of this internship.

However, with the benefits of working come challenges. The most frustrating part of my work so far has been experiencing the volatility of commercial development. I shadowed Attorney Randazzo through a real estate project from its incorporation to negotiation of purchase, development, and lease with a tenant. After a month of legal work on the project (and becoming rather attached to it) it completely fell through. I cannot express the disappointment I felt when I returned from lunch one day only to discover the project had been terminated. But we persevered and are moving in better directions with new ideas—as seen below. We’re currently working to donate some land to LHVA to give back to the community. I have been fortunate enough to follow the process.

The most valuable lesson I have learned from this came from Attorney Randazzo herself. She told me that, for every ten failed projects, only one usually passes through to finality. It is the nature of the business. But we must continue, going forward and learning from our failures and pushing to do better on the next attempt. But that lesson transcends work—it carries into life.

Sam Marranca ‘22

Sam Marranca ‘22
History

 

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Reflecting on my Research Experience

The most challenging part of my internship, and perhaps the most rewarding, has been learning how to become comfortable with failures. This summer, I faced a failure in the lab nearly every day. I quickly learned that failures are a normal part of science, and are to be expected when approaching an experiment. As the summer progressed I was able to bounce back from failures quicker each time. My ability to approach my setbacks with poise and an open mind improved, and I was able to see myself become a more resilient student.

Another rewarding part of my internship has been seeing my ideas come to life over the course of the summer. I have been planning and designing these experiments alongside Dr. Son since my freshman year at Scranton, so to be able to finally put my ideas to work has been incredibly rewarding. Additionally, working with Dr. Son and absorbing all the knowledge he has to share with me has been a privilege, and allowed me to grow as a scientist.

Watching myself mature both as a person and a scientist this summer has been an experience I am forever grateful for. This internship has taught me skills I can now relay into the classroom, and outside of the classroom in my extracurriculars. I am better able to accept mistakes and setbacks, and have learned that it is from these experiences I gain the most knowledge.

During my internship, I also had the privilege of teaching a class with Dr. Son to the students in the University of Success Program at Scranton. For this class I prepared a PowerPoint about crayfish for the students and organized three activities for the students with Dr. Son. Although not related to my research, this was a great experience where I was able to contribute to a such a special program.

1.An image taken on the confocal microscope of all of the cells in the olfactory organ of my zebrafish that I treated with Zinc Sulfate.

An image taken on the confocal microscope of all of the cells in the olfactory organ of my zebrafish that I treated with Zinc Sulfate.

2.My lab bench. Here, I am performing a stain on my slides so I can image them under the confocal microscope

My lab bench. Here, I am performing a stain on my slides so I can image them under the confocal microscope.

The PowerPoint I gave to the students at the University of Success program.

The PowerPoint I gave to the students at the University of Success program.

Jillian Haller ’23
Neuroscience

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Reflections on My MJO Experience

My most rewarding experience at Manhattan Justice Opportunities this summer was shadowing intakes twice a week. During intakes, case managers gauge the mental state of participants and brainstorm ways to help them throughout their time at the center. From there, participants are given a variety of activities to help fulfill their mandates to complete their time at the organization. I received one-on-one experience with participants during this process, which I found extremely enjoyable. Being a part of a non-judgmental environment solely concerned with helping a marginalized community that is often criticized was immensely rewarding. Within the first week of shadowing, it was glaringly apparent how hesitant participants were to ask for help due to fear of judgment. I realized how quickly society criticizes those who have been incarcerated and the detrimental effects the judgment has on recidivism rates in the country. The fear of judgment often prevents those who may need help from asking for it which often further perpetuates the cycle of arrests and incarceration. I hope that as a lawyer, I will remember this experience and refrain from judgment for the betterment of my clients.

The most difficult, but most meaningful task I was given at MJO was to complete an annotated bibliography that described every mental health court and diversion program devoted to felony charges in the United States. To complete this project, I devoted a few hours a day to researching and calling different programs to find out their eligibility criteria and which communities they served. While I didn’t expect it to be difficult, many organizations were not available to speak with me and their websites were not updated. Those inconveniences made the research process take much longer than expected. I had to be very organized to ensure that I called organizations back during the times that were most feasible to them, in addition to checking newspaper articles for information that might have been left out on their website. During this process, I viewed a variety of different programs and read about how important restorative justice was to their participants and the way their methods differed from MJO’s methods. I realized while there are many practices of alternatives to incarceration, the overall goal is the same: to lower recidivism rates and produce a more humane and effective justice system.

Tiannah Adams ’22
Psychology

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Ending Summer Research

The most rewarding part of my summer research experience is learning that I do want to go to graduate school and pursue a career in research. At the start of the summer, I was teetering back and forth on whether I should get a job following graduation, but now I am fully focused on applying to Ph.D. programs. I’ve also met some amazing people this summer. I don’t think I would have enjoyed summer research as much if it weren’t for them making everyday fun. The most challenging part of this summer was realizing the things I didn’t know that I didn’t know. Surprisingly, though I have great time management during the school year, I didn’t know that I didn’t know how to properly manage my time. Balancing lab and personal things like socializing, cooking, exercising, or even just relaxing was extremely difficult for me and it came as a huge shock. I also didn’t know that I’d have as tough a time organizing all my work and data. I’ve always considered myself a highly organized person, but with multiple test tubes of the same thing but made for different purposes, it was easy to get very confused. I’m very glad I’m learning all of this before graduate school.

Our group lab photo. In order of foreground to background: Nick Socci, Olivia Borges, Victoria Caruso, Me, James Russo, Mike Quinnan, and Dr. Randich.

Our group lab photo. In order of foreground to background: Nick Socci, Olivia Borges, Victoria Caruso, Me, James Russo, Mike Quinnan, and Dr. Randich.

Christina Alfano ’22
Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology

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Gearing Up for the Future with the Help of Manhattan Justice Opportunities

I am fervently passionate about criminal justice reform, more specifically the end of mass incarceration, the school to prison pipeline, and recidivism rates within Black and Brown communities. That being said, I have had an immensely rewarding experience at Manhattan Justice Opportunities thus far; I have already gotten a chance to shadow court procedures, legal clinical intakes, and client group sessions.

My long-term career goal is to open a non-profit organization that addresses these systemic issues within our country. Manhattan Justice Opportunities will grant me the necessary experience of working at a legal non-profit organization that closely resembles what I’d like to accomplish in the future. During my internship, I will be expanding upon my knowledge on topics such as restorative justice, drug diversion programs, and other alternatives to incarceration, all of which tackle the broader issue of mass incarceration and recidivism rates within our country.

Additionally, as a future criminal defense attorney, it is imperative for me to learn more about the alternative routes to incarceration, since incarceration is not the only, nor the best, solution for every individual who enters the criminal justice system. Manhattan Justice Opportunities has perfected an individualized process that prioritizes the needs of each client within their organization. This organization focuses on the betterment of their clients rather than financial compensation, which is a mindset that every lawyer should have and one that I hope to apply in my future practices.

Tiannah Adams ’22
Psychology

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My First Weeks: Getting Acquainted with Law

For much of this year I have doubted exactly where I would like to take my future career; several months ago, however, I realized that first-hand professional experience would be the most telling factor in steering my decision. After completing my third week as an intern at Attorney Rose Randazzo’s law office, I have found this to be true. I have been able to make better-informed decisions about my next steps in life.

The environment of Attorney Randazzo’s office is professional and cordial, with a hint of calm. This was a relief to find, considering both how unsure of my career I was and how intimidating the prospects are of stepping into a new professional internship. From day one, where I learned the basics of how the office runs, to this week, where I have just finished writing a seven-page memorandum on a local zoning ordinance, I feel confident in deciding that law school will be my next step. I have arrived at this decision because of how much I have been enjoying working in a legal environment. It is a lot more like school than one would think—it is structured, informative, and a lot of fun! Thankfully, I love school, so working for Attorney Randazzo has been wonderful.

In these first weeks, I have learned about insurance settlements, incorporation, bilateral development contracts, and how all of these (and more) can be done ethically and professionally. I hope, as the summer continues, that I may refine this knowledge and build upon it; I will be no expert by the end, but I believe that I am gaining a valuable foundation to take with me as I prepare to apply to law school (and, of course, through to my career afterward). The most important thing I have learned in this short time is that being an attorney is not simply about making money, it’s also about building a network and creating relationships. It’s also not just about personally upholding the law but making sure to hold others accountable, as well. My internship focuses on personal injury and commercial development—two areas of law that do not necessarily coincide with our conventional ideas of “justice.” However, I see the value in them; I see the potential.

As I go forward, I will be keeping the Jesuit question of cura personalis in mind as I try to understand how I will make myself better, all while being a man for others. No matter the area of law, I’ve learned, there must always be an observation of striving to do good. I see this in Attorney Randazzo’s office, who is an alumna of the University of Scranton. She understands being one for others, regardless of what one does. I am so grateful to be shadowing someone I can relate to and work with who shares my sentiments. The synergism we have is important to me, as my next life stage approaches. The knowledge I’m gaining now will be the cornerstone for everything else that comes after it. Being an attorney is difficult but rewarding, but difficulty is code for potential. Most importantly, this means that I will always be able to improve; no win or fail will ever be the end—and I like that prospect. Through my work, I hope to learn more about myself professionally, to continually learn and grow.

Sam in the office.

In the office.

Office Environment

Office environment.

Office Environment

Office environment.

Sam Marranca ‘22
History

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Learning to be an Advocate for Peace

This summer, I am interning in the Outreach Department of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), a nonprofit based in Washington, DC. CMEP’s mission is to educate American Christians on the current human rights issues in the Middle East (particularly in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories), elevate diverse Middle East voices, and advocate for changing U.S. policies concerning the Middle East to work toward holistic peacebuilding. Through my internship, I hope to learn more about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and how to understand various perspectives while advocating for the human rights of all involved. I am inspired to grow in becoming an active peacemaker and compassionate advocate.

I am a Philosophy and Theology double major with a Peace and Justice concentration, currently plan to attend law school, and my time at CMEP will certainly help me in my future career path as a lawyer. Advocating for those in need is something I hope to do as a lawyer. More specifically, this internship provides an opportunity for me to explore whether I would ever want to work for a non-profit or even pursue a specific career in peacebuilding advocacy in the Middle East. On a practical level, I am gaining professional communication skills through my outreach work as well as organizational and planning skills through various cataloguing tasks. I’m incredibly thankful for this amazing opportunity to be working in DC for CMEP!

 

Where I work: United Methodist Building, Washington DC.

Where I work: United Methodist Building, Washington DC.

View from outside the office: The US Supreme Court, Washington DC.

View from outside the office: The US Supreme Court, Washington DC.

My desk

My desk.

Some pictures in the office

Some pictures in the office.

Hanging in the office

Hanging in the office.

My train commute: Union Station, Washington DC

My train commute: Union Station, Washington DC.

Kathleen Wallace ’23
Philosophy, Theology

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Zebrafish Research

I am a research assistant in Dr. Son’s neurodevelopment lab, and I am conducting a study investigating the effects of ZnSO4-induced neurotoxicity on anxiety-like behavior in zebrafish. I am also investigating the role of the habenula in mediating this anxiety-like behavior. Working alongside Dr. Son, I hope to learn as much as I can from him in this area of study, and take advantage of the myriad of resources available at my fingertips. It seems that every day I learn a new technique, or skill relevant to my area of study, and I realize that as my internship progresses I will compile quite the repertoire of laboratory practices. Additionally, I hope to see my knowledge in the field of neuropsychology bloom as I attempt to absorb all that Dr. Son has to share with me.

I aspire to be a physician, and I have recently learned that I would like research to be a part of my career as well. Therefore, this internship will help me acquire the skills necessary to further pursue this goal, especially those pertaining to research. I will learn how to improve my ability to design and carry out an experiment successfully, a process that also teaches critical thinking skills beyond belief. Furthermore, the ups and downs of performing a research study will teach me determination and persistence; two attributes critical to the success of a physician. Additionally, this internship will help me to expand my knowledge in an area of study that interests me, perhaps illuminating a path for me to follow when I pursue research as a career.

Jillian Haller ’23
Neuroscience

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MicroWorld

Through my research this summer, I hope to gain more confidence in my knowledge and abilities in the lab. Being in a research setting is very different from being in General Biology or Microbiology lab. You can be very confident in what you are learning in those labs, however, research requires a different way of thinking that’s beyond just performing certain techniques for a grade. The switch in thinking is quite overwhelming, but I know it takes time and practice to nurture and, luckily, I’m not the only one in the same position. Because there is five of us in our research team I’m certain that we’ll all be there for and help one another. Gaining more lab confidence will definitely help me in my career path because I’m aiming to get my Ph.D. and that’ll mean lots of time spent in a lab doing research.

Our first experiment was to see if our bacteria, Caulobacter crescentus, could grow in the water that’s available to us. We tested four different kinds of water: filtered (MQ), tap, deionized (DI), and office tank. The cultures incubated overnight to let the bacteria grow. Initially, we didn’t get much growth. We only found bacteria in the media made with MQ and tap water through a simple stain, but it turned out that there was some sort of contamination in the MQ water because a species that is not C. crescentus grew. We did, however, get C. crescentus to grow in the tap water media. After one more night of incubation we did see growth in all the tubes.

This is Caulobacter crescentus in the media made with tap water after one night of incubation. It can be identified because of C. crescentus’s slightly curved shape, small size, and what it looks like when it divides.

This is Caulobacter crescentus in the media made with tap water after one night of incubation. It can be identified because of C. crescentus’s slightly curved shape, small size, and what it looks like when it divides.

This is the contaminated media made with MQ water after one night of incubation. From what I understand Dr. Randich belives this to be a Bacillus species because of its large rod shape and what it looks like when it divides.

Christina Alfano ’22
Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology

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