The Importance of Teamwork

By Rose O’Neill FCLC 2021

Click here for Rose’s experience while interning at the Met during the Covid-19.

One of the most challenging aspects of adapting to remote workplaces over the past year is navigating communications with colleagues.  Outside of the office, the process of quickly asking a co-worker a question takes more time and feels more formal.  Being new to an office in which I did not know anyone made it even more intimidating.

Luckily for me, everyone in New York City Ballet’s development department was extremely welcoming.  My supervisor called me in the morning every workday to check in.  This gave me a good opportunity to ask questions that seemed too low-stakes to be the sole purpose of a phone call or email. It also allowed me to get to know him better, and we sometimes spent a few minutes chatting about more personal interests.  

A number of my assignments also necessitated collaboration with other members of the department.  One of my favorite things to work on was WordFly communications.  In WordFly, I drafted messages and inserted images into an already-uploaded template.  These elements formed emails to go to donors.  Because the emails would be seen by so many people, they could not have any mistakes.  Another member of the development team taught me how to use WordFly.  Once I had written drafts to work with and selected possible images to include, I would send a test email to other people in the office to ask for their suggestions.  I received critiques over email. Sometimes, I had so many questions about the feedback that I would need to set up an additional call to ask these questions.

Once I had gotten the necessary people in the development department to look my test emails over, I would send the test to the marketing department.  The marketing department would reply with even more feedback, sometimes giving me preferred verbiage or editing the images for me.  When I needed clarification on this feedback, I was able to reach out to someone else from the development department for help.

Because of the kindness with which I was treated at this internship, I now realize more fully the importance of having a group of colleagues that can give advice.  I look forward to meeting some of my co-workers in person this summer at New York City Ballet’s outdoor engagements at Lincoln Center.  

My Experience Working with Underserved Communities at SALUD Lab!

By Elizabeth Breen, FCLC 2022

Hello! My name is Elizabeth Breen and I am a Junior Neuroscience/Theology major in the Honors Program at Fordham Lincoln Center. I was lucky enough to secure a research position at the beginning of Spring Semester my sophomore year, in January 2020, meaning that once Fordham shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the rest of my lab and I were able to transition completely remote, which provided an opportunity to stay totally involved in the research process from my home in Illinois. 

The lab I joined is the SALUD laboratory, which is dually associated with Fordham University and Mount Sinai Hospital. We are led by Dr. Monica Rivera Mindt, a professor of Psychology and Latinx Studies here at Fordham. I actually learned of her work by taking a class, Biopsychology, for my major, and was so interested in her work that I asked to join her lab! Our work primarily focuses on investigating the effects of HIV, aging, substance use, and substance use treatment on the brain, functional outcomes, and health disparities – especially among U.S. Latina/o and Afro-Caribbean populations. I was particularly drawn to this lab by the combination of studying cognition and HIV’s effect on the brain from a scientific perspective with the strong social justice intent behind SALUD laboratory’s work in achieving equitable healthcare.

I have been working for SALUD laboratory for over a year now, so my responsibilities have grown immensely over the past months. On a typical day “in-lab”, I usually start out by responding to emails and setting up meetings for both myself and Dr. Rivera Mindt – there’s a lot of administrative work that goes into research! I also do things like source papers that may be relevant to our research and investigate opportunities that could lead to further outreach for our lab. The bulk of my time, however, is spent with participants. One of the things that initially drew me to SALUD laboratory was the potential opportunity to work directly with research participants as an undergraduate, and after COVID, the chance to start seeing participants over the phone along with the rest of the graduate students.

Today, I saw a participant for a neuropsychological interview. In this interview, we test participants using standardized psychological measures of thinking and memory that, when scored, will give us insight into different areas of the participant’s cognitive abilities. Administering these tests over the phone can be a bit tricky, but I really cherish the opportunity to interact with people over the phone, especially since so many of our participants, who are generally older adults, do not get the chance to go out due to the pandemic. I also saw another participant to finish up a questionnaire call, where I administered a variety of questionnaires to the participant to learn more about their demographics, education, language use, and many other sociocultural factors. These factors give us insight into why some participants do better on their neuropsychological tests than others. 

Overall, I enjoy my time in SALUD laboratory immensely. I’m so fulfilled by the opportunity to do outreach in underserved communities, especially given the pandemic situation and the fact that I’m only an undergraduate. The research we do isn’t just interesting, it has the potential to make a massive impact on how community-based research is done and how funding is distributed by the NIH. I am so excited to continue this kind of work in my future education and research opportunities!

Reflections on Berlin

By Amy Chang FCLC ’21

Click here for Amy’s reflections on her Berlin experience in the Fall

On Friday the 13th of this past March, I found myself standing in a long line of travelers at the Reykjavik airport, waiting to board my connecting flight home to JFK. I shudder to think of it now – only a handful of travelers wore masks as we crowded together, nervous voices rattling my ears as people placed phone calls to their families about the coronavirus. My study experience in Berlin had ended two months earlier than intended. 

Fortunately, I had already experienced a full semester in Berlin during the fall; I felt worse for my friends who had only been in the city for just over a month and barely ventured into the rest of Germany. Still, abruptly leaving a city I had come to love was no easy task. I already miss seeing the strangely charming patchwork of Brutalist and Renaissance architecture of Berlin from the S-Bahn and making day trips to the quaint neighboring city of Potsdam. 

One of the most memorable experiences I had in Berlin was volunteering at a refugee assistance center called Moabit Hilft. Since the period of Syrian migration to Germany in 2015, such organizations have become indispensable to refugees. The center offers a comprehensive variety of services and resources to anyone who seeks its help, including free daily lunch, clothing donations, legal assistance, and German language lessons. My main task as a volunteer was to organize the high volume of clothing donations in the backroom and manage the browsing area. I worked with a few other volunteers who were the first Berlin locals who did not immediately resort to speaking English for my benefit, although they did speak English well. One was a young man from Afghanistan a few years older than myself; another was a university student from France who studied at Humboldt University. It was a daunting though welcome opportunity to speak entirely in German. Still, despite my many mistakes, we managed to communicate about what needed to be done. Many of the other volunteers and visitors did not or barely spoke German, but spoke Arabic, Farsi, and Russian, among the languages I heard. Regardless of language, people communicated through universal hand gestures or even pictures drawn on a whiteboard. The center is one of the most global and welcoming communities I have ever seen. 

While volunteering, I learned the stories of refugee families who frequented the center or even became volunteers themselves. One woman lived in total uncertainty about whether her son was still alive back in Syria. Many visitors struggled with housing problems, legal issues, and unemployment; some were not refugees but homeless people, who received priority consideration for heavy jackets in the winter months. 

Ever since the pandemic emptied the streets of the world, I have thought about the refugees in Berlin who often depend on Moabit Hilft – closed during the pandemic – for daily necessities. I wonder how refugee families, particularly those with young children, have fared throughout quarantine as the pandemic has exacerbated racial and economic discrimination around the world on top of public health risk. Despite its reputation as a diverse and progressive city, Berlin is no post-racial oasis; I have both heard and once personally experienced racial slurs in Berlin. During my first semester there, the surrounding federal state of Brandenburg witnessed a significant surge in popularity of the right-wing party AfD during its election that mirrored the nationwide increase of the party’s support. 

Considering the country’s Nazi past, the present rise of right-wing nationalism and white supremacy in Germany is an especially alarming phenomenon. Nonetheless, I consider Berlin to have been the perfect study abroad city for me because of, not despite the echoes of this historical background. Through classroom lectures and visits to the country’s most important political and historical landmarks, I have gained valuable insight into how the country that contributed both some of the world’s greatest intellectual achievements and greatest atrocities grapples with its past.

Dancing in Quarantine

By Vincenzo James Harty

Dancing has kept me sane my whole life. Through my childhood, through applying to colleges, through the stress of freshman year classes, and adjusting to real school for the first time in my life (since I was homeschooled until college), ballet has been there. 


That’s something you learn from ballet, from the ever-the-same order of exercises in class: plié, tendu, dégagé, ronde de jambe, fondu, frappé, développé, grand battement, stretch. And that’s also something ballet has given me — a consistent presence in my life, supporting me.

 As the pandemic started last year, I was so thankful for the speed with which my local company made classes available on Zoom, and grateful to the director as well for letting me use one of the empty studio rooms not just to take my Fordham classes but also to take ballet. Every day throughout all of March and April — alone by myself in a large empty mirrored studio– I listened to scratchy piano music as my teacher’s voice yelled through the far reaches of cyberspace. 

As I started working with the Hampton Ballet Theatre School last May, I was excited not just for learning more about the ins and outs of running a school, but also for the opportunity to engage in more teaching . I had been teaching classes on and off for several years at the company, but I was eager to be working more consistently. Teaching a ballet class requires so much preparation. Even those teachers who don’t write out every single exercise in longhand before class (and I was one of those in the beginning) still need to know their planned music inside and out. It can take so little for a class to go awry, so I spent time preparing to  teach the best class possible.

But what I certainly wasn’t prepared for was having to teach classes over Zoom. The first month or so was horrible, filled with computer shut-offs (who knew Zoom drained so much battery?), unmuted snippets of twenty different kid’s noisy home lives, weird camera angles that either showed me just feet or just head but never a whole body, or even better, an off-camera and no interaction whatsoever. And although things got better as we all became adapted to the medium, there was definitely something missing, a personal connection that is such an important part of dance. 

As classes were slowly allowed to restart in-person meetings in August, I saw the lingering after-effects of all those hours of zooming. Kids were shyer, had picked up so many bad habits from being by themselves instead of with a teacher for months. The process over the past six months of slowly becoming reacquainted with how to dance together, how to live in real time and not on the artificial reality of Zoom, has certainly been one of my favorite parts of teaching. Talking with these kids, you realize how vital in-person instruction really is for children and young adults, how important social interaction in general is. The few children who are still entirely on Zoom I have such difficulty in connecting with: A— who always keeps her camera off, G— who listens but seems so disinterested, so disconnected from class, V— who has lost any attention span and just stares into space for most of the class. 

But I love teaching all of these kids, even the ones on Zoom. Watching them progress daily, watching first this one then that one successfully learn a new step, is all incredibly fulfilling.

I haven’t only been teaching dance. In December, realizing my family’s difficult financial situation, I put an advertisement in the paper offering piano lessons. I now have twelve piano students, all under eleven, who I see half an hour each every week. This has been another joy, if also for some reason ten times more stressful than teaching ballet classes. Being solely responsible for these children’s musical education gives me more anxiety than the more collaborative atmosphere of the dance studio. Still, teaching these children, really learning with them, as I learn each week how one actually teaches piano (spending time studying online, creating games, making lesson plans) has been such a joy.

At the Ballet (at Home)

By Rose O’Neill, FCLC 2021

Click here for Rose’s Met’s internship experience and the COVID-19

When I first started thinking about college internships, I never thought that I’d participate in one entirely remotely during a worldwide pandemic.  Last year, after we were all sent home and it became clear that my spring and summer plans would fall through, I applied to many positions, trying to complete at least one application a day.  I hated being stuck indoors and wanted to at least feel like I was making some type of progress in my life.  

Of course, most of the internships and jobs to which I submitted my résumé ended up postponing or canceling their hirings.  I accepted that, just like the plans I had had before the lockdown, my applications would not work out the way that I hoped.  I was surprised, therefore, when I received an email from the New York City Ballet membership department in December in response to an application I had filled out the previous March.  I interviewed the next week and started the internship a month later.

Working remotely has been a very different experience from going to an office every day.  Being at my parents’ house and then at my dorm, it’s taken a bit more intentional scheduling to make sure I’m prepared for meetings and assignments than if I were at the office.  I’ve gotten to know my co-workers exclusively through emails, phone calls, and video meetings.   I have now assisted with virtual events, a reality that I never considered pre-pandemic.  I was also able to attend webinars and sit in on meetings for different departments I was interested in, which probably would have been logistically more difficult to do if I were not remote.  Even though last year and this year could not happen the way that I wanted, I am grateful that I could

My Met Internship and COVID-19

By Rose O’Neill, FCLC 2021

Click here for Rose’s exciting new discoveries while interning at the Met

On March 12, 2020, I sat in an office at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as it was announced that the museum would close due to concerns about the outbreak of COVID-19.  My jaw dropped; I hadn’t expected that, though perhaps I should have.  The day before, I had packed a suitcase for three weeks away from campus and left my McMahon apartment.  The closing of The Metropolitan Museum of Art suddenly made the pandemic seem much more significant. Up until that point I had interpreted university shut-downs as a method of proceeding cautiously for the sake of the students, not as an action absolutely necessary for public health.

Departing from the museum that day gave me an odd feeling.  I wiped my desk down with Lysol, just in case I had the disease and was asymptomatic, so the custodial crew would not get infected.  Interns were instructed to take all personal belongings out of the office.  The only thing I usually kept at the office was a coffee mug.  It didn’t really fit into my bag, and I considered just leaving it, as I thought I would be back soon, and it would be annoying to have to hold it on the subway and ferry during my commute home.  

At that point, I thought it likely that I could be back in the office a week later.  On the subway, only a few people wore masks.  I called my mother during the commute and talked about how my friends and I had been thinking of going to an amusement park, and how the next few weeks while universities were closed might be a good time to do so.  It all sounds so naïve and laughable now.  The following week, I was constantly checking my email to find out when the internship program could resume.  I soon found out that I would not be able to return to my internship duties this spring.  

Just because I couldn’t be in the office didn’t mean that my learning as an intern stopped, however.  Though my position did not have me complete work remotely, my education within the internship program still continued.  Every Friday, the available interns would meet with Met Education virtually and hear speakers from different departments in the museum.  We were invited to introduce ourselves and ask questions, and most speakers shared their email addresses in case we had follow-up questions about their work after the meeting.  

Internships are intended to be a time of learning through experience and exposure, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Internship Program finds a good balance between productive work for the museum and educational enrichment.  I’ve heard from friends about other internships in which companies focus on what the intern can provide for them, however, my experience with The Met showed me that the museum expects its interns to gain as much from the experience as they give to it.  

It’s More Than Organic Chemistry

By Stephanie Sabido FCLC ‘21

Over the past three years at Fordham, my academic journey has been centered around my long-term goal of getting into a medical school to ultimately become a doctor (not overwhelming at all, right?). As senior year and the realities of my future inch closer and closer, I am stopping to reflect on the difficult but rewarding journey preparing for a health professional career. 

As many of my peers will agree, the pre-med journey is nothing short of challenging. It takes a lot of determination and trust in oneself to commit to a heavy four-year course load, especially when choosing to do so at eighteen with little to no experience. I remember moments freshman and sophomore year where the long journey ahead was anything but encouraging. Occasionally, I would feel some doubts creeping into my mind, making me question whether I am doing well enough in my classes to continue down the pre-med route, or even whether I am sure I want to commit to multiple long years of schooling before I get the job I want. 

My experience shadowing during my junior year has helped ground some of those worries by confirming the main reason I want to pursue a health profession: to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. It is easy to get caught up in the uncertainties of the future as a college student, or the stresses of chemistry class, especially when the reality of a job is years of schooling away. Looking back, I realize that my journey became discouraging partly because I lacked the experience outside of the classroom that would give me a fuller perspective. I needed to see first-hand the results of this journey that stretched beyond the classroom, and to fulfill the part of me that pushed me to pursue pre-med in the first place. This past fall, I started shadowing Dr. Velcek, a pediatric surgeon on the Upper East Side. 

Learning from Dr. Velcek has made clear again the reason for the hard work I have been putting into classes that test my resilience (@ organic chemistry). This past fall I spent time attending her office hours, taking notes as she consulted with patients. The major takeaway from my experience was the comforting manner in which she dealt with her patients. Her main goals were to educate them as best she could on how she would treat the condition and make sure they knew they were in good hands. Her empathetic and comforting manner really made all of the difference in the examination room – unease could be lifted by the time she left the room, which was important to the terrified parents. It was a fruitful experience because it showed how much of my work now will translate into the gratifying experience of keeping others healthy and happy, ultimately helping me to focus on the bigger picture. I am proud to say that I have grown to understand the importance and the beauty of my struggle. I am taking the time to slow down and appreciate the journey, while really taking in that the opportunity to care for others is not just the end goal, but also part of the process.

Exciting New Discoveries While Interning at the Met

By Rose O’Neill ‘21

Click here for Rose’s reflection on Met’s Opera House Season of ABT.

I was very excited in December when I was offered an internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The best thing about my internship at The Met is that it makes me better aware of the opportunities at the museum available to the public, opportunities I can take advantage of even after my internship ends.  I now have more knowledge about Watson Library and I am more aware of museum events open to visitors.  Additionally, information about exhibitions that I would likely come across anyway, but then forget, is at the forefront of my mind.  

Take, for example, the exhibition Making Marvels: Science and Splendor at the Courts of Europe, which recently closed.  During my lunch break, I can leave the building’s office section and amble through the galleries.  While walking to look at some impressionist paintings, I came across the exhibition space.  Though the exhibition was widely advertised, I had not previously thought about visiting it. As I was there anyway, however, I walked through it. I’m delighted that I did.  It was full of objects that fascinated me, including multiple writing automatons, impressively elaborate clocks, and the Picture Puzzle of Christian V.  

Shortly after, the other interns and I were invited to go on a tour of the exhibition in the morning before the museum opened.  Without so many other visitors around, I could get a much better look at the objects, and the research assistant guiding us drew my attention to details and items that I had not previously noticed.  

Leaving the tour, I was even more entranced than before.  I called my mom, saying that she and my dad had to see it and bring my younger brothers.  The next weekend, the five of them ventured into Manhattan to meet me at the museum.  My internship, therefore, not only gave me a richer experience of the exhibition but encouraged me to spend quality time with my family so I could share that experience with them.  


Working From Home: A Work in Progress

By Esmé Bleecker-Adams, FCLC 2021

Click here for Esmé’s reflections on Design in the “Real World.”

It’s true what they say, that it’s hard to work in the same place where you relax; that you should have a dedicated space for productivity which is separate from the space for rest and recreation, but this is easier said than done even under more normal circumstances. As students, it’s hard to remember a time when we weren’t expected to do work at home already, but this still feels different. During the semester, I often go to school on weekends because it’s a place I associate more with getting work done than my house, but last spring and summer I made do with my kitchen table. 

The student newspaper I work on continued to produce issues through the summer, which helped me stay grounded and even remember what day of the week it was because we had a consistent schedule. 

For my internship, I was given assignments to work on and attended the occasional virtual meetings, but I didn’t have specific hours that I worked each day. At the time, my sleep schedule was on the rocks and I found it easiest to get things done around 1:00 in the morning, so it was helpful to be able to work when I wanted. In hindsight, however, I think it would have been beneficial to hold myself to consistent hours. 

For the future, I need to be able to set those hours and guidelines for myself because no one else can form habits for me. I’m glad to have had the experience of allowing myself to get by with a lack of structure because it showed me that I do actually want that structure in my life. 

Remote work, whether for classes or otherwise, is tricky because distractions are right at your fingertips. While in zoom class or a meeting, you have other people to reign in your attention, but working on your own is overwhelming in the amount of freedom available for that attention to wander in. 

Everyone is different, but I find that I have to allow myself a certain amount of distraction, within boundaries. It’s like when you purposely try not to think about something, which only makes you think about it more: the more I try to shut out completely anything distracting, the less I am actually able to focus. Therefore, it helps to listen to music or to switch back and forth between tasks. 

I am far from perfecting the art of Working From Home, but I think it will become a lot more present in our lives from now on. Therefore, I’m glad to have gotten some experience with it while still in school, before I’m totally thrown to the wolves later this year (to be Dramatic about it).

A Reflection on Design in the “Real World”

By Esmé Bleecker-Adams, FCLC 2021

Click here for Esmé’s reflections on a theater production experience at the YMCA.

Last summer I worked as a remote graphic design intern for a company that does affordable data visualization and management for nonprofit organizations. It did not turn out to be exactly what I expected, but nothing ever does. At the end of the day, I think it was an important learning experience, and I’m glad to have gotten a taste of the potential professional applications of design. 

I learned that while an eye for color and shapes is helpful, the real necessity in creating promotional materials and social media content is a gift for effective marketing strategy. In hindsight, I should definitely not have been surprised by this, but I’ll admit I did sort of expect to be drawing pretty pictures. In fact, it’s all about simplicity and using the right keywords to attract attention quickly and from the intended target audience of potential clients. I tend to be overly wordy, which is great for filibustering and little else in life. 

As far as the colors and shapes go, consistency is important; so walking into an already established brand, you are learning the design language of that particular company, which is harder in a way than making up your own from scratch. The tools existed before you and they’ll exist long after you’re gone, but your task is to figure out how to use them most effectively in the time you have. 

In my graphic design class, we read a treatise that said that good design goes totally unnoticed because its purpose is only as a vehicle for the information it conveys. I think this is a little extreme but makes a good point, and while designing in “the real world” is a creative pursuit, it’s also one of utility. 

Since the summer, I’ve been noticing more closely how brands and services portray themselves in the ads on subway walls, on social media and all around me. What story is the particular arrangement of words and images trying to tell, and to whom? I’m glad for the new perspective, and that I’ve come to understand a more expansive definition of creativity and its applications.