Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Featured Phi: Jenna Lipman

This fall, junior Jenna is studying abroad in Dehli, India. She tells us about her experience so far:

Hi everyone! My name is Jenna Lipman and I am a junior here at Santa Clara, studying economics and religion. I am originally from Port Washington, New York but have loved traveling to the West Coast for college. I guess you can say that I love traveling in general. Somehow my junior year at SCU has led me to a city on the complete opposite side of the world: Delhi, India. I have already been in Delhi for almost two months and it is slowly starting to feel like home.

Part of what has made Delhi feel like home is where I am living. I have been placed in a home-stay with an Indian family of four in a neighborhood called Saket. I am also taking an Indian Economics course at an Indian University called Kamala Nehru College. The school is an all girls campus of Delhi University, which has been an incredible experience given that many Indian women face obstacles I never even consider in the US. While living with a family and taking classes has been really wonderful, I have felt that I am in many ways being blinded to many realities of both the city and country I am living in.

I have recently started an internship with a national NGO, whose name I cannot disclose in order to protect their client base. The organization strives to protect the rights children, women, and young people and from my perspective does incredible work with victims of abuse and human trafficking. So far, I have been working on research for the finance department of the organization. The opportunity to intern at an NGO has given me more perspective and the chance to expose myself to issues I was closed off from otherwise.

Sounds like a wonderful experience! We are so glad you are enjoying yourself! AOE

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Featured Phis: Katie, Mari and Tierney

Alpha Phis stick together, even after graduation! Junior Katie Scheer spent the summer working with two Zeta Gamma Alumi, Mari and Tierney. The three of them tell us all about their past three months:


From left to right: Katie Scheer, Mari Tollan, and Tierney Siler
Junior Katie Scheer joined Alpha Phi Zeta Gamma Alumni Mari Tollan (class of 2014) and Tierney Siler (class of 2011) this summer to work at Blach Construction Company.  Both Katie and Mari are working as Project Engineer Interns and Tierney is a Senior Human Resources Associate in her third year as a full time Blach employee.

Blach Construction Company is an established, mid-sized commercial builder and construction manager.  The company has been serving the Bay Area since 1970 and has won numerous awards including one of the Best Places to Work and the Associated General Contractors of California best safety program.  Their commitment to consistently exceed high expectations is ingrained in their culture and much like Alpha Phi, Blach has been regularly named among northern California’s most philanthropic companies.   

      Tierney joined the company as an HR intern in 2010 while she was a senior at Santa Clara.  She graduated with a degree in Psychology and Communications and began soon after as a full time HR Associate. She was recently promoted to Senior HR Associate for all of her hard work over the past three years.  Tierney has focused her time at Blach to recruiting and under her leadership the program has truly excelled.  She has been asked to speak about the program to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Foothill/De Anza Community College, Santa Clara and at the upcoming national AGC HR Conference.  

Mari began her internship in June after graduating from Santa Clara with a degree in Civil Engineering, primarily focused in Environmental Engineering and Construction.  While at SCU she was affiliated with many of the on campus engineering groups including the American Society of Civil Engineers, Society of Women Engineers and the Association of Computing Machinery.  Mari is spending the summer on a construction site working closely with her project team and various trades to complete their project - Blach’s new headquarters in San Jose.  She will be heading back to Santa Clara in the fall to begin her career as a SCU graduate student working towards her Master’s in Engineering Management and Leadership with an emphasis in Construction and Project Management.  

As a native Nebraskan who made her way out to sunny California, Katie began her internship this summer after completing her sophomore year at Santa Clara as a Civil Engineer.  She is currently your Vice President of Risk Management, working closely with the executive council and the social team to ensure safe and fun events.  Last summer, she devoted her time to being an orientation leader.  This involved working with classmates, faculty, parents, and incoming students to represent, promote, and support the mission and values of the University.  This past year, she was a member of ASG and worked as the Associate Music Director for APB.  While at Blach, she has been working on the College Terrace Centre project just a block away from Stanford’s campus in the City of Palo Alto.  This building complex has been nominated, by the Silicon Valley Business Journal Structures Award 2014, for “Building of the Year” under the mixed use category.

Sounds like a great experience, glad you all had a great summer!! AOE 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Featured Phi: Jessie Aulakh

Junior Jessie Aulakh, a computer science major and also a member of the SCU Dance Team, spent the summer interning at one of the world’s biggest companies. She explains what she did this summer for Accenture:

Hi! My name is Jessie and I’m a Computer Science major, International Business minor at SCU. I’m going to be a junior this year and am looking forward to studying abroad in Paris in the fall! This summer I am interning for Accenture, the world’s largest consulting company. I actually got this job by doing a couple of interviews at the SCU career center. Accenture has offices and clients all over the world, but I was placed on a project in Sacramento, CA. I’m working on the Individual App/Security Team. It is really interesting to work in an office with not only fellow Accenture employees, but the client's employees as well. I’ve been doing a lot of testing, updating of wireframes and design documents, and working with defects and change requests. I have to attend a variety of conference calls (sometimes with people in other countries) and meetings every week and will give a final presentation at the end of my internship.

I have appreciated how I am not treated like an intern here, but just like any other employee. It’s crazy how much responsibility I’ve been given and how much I’ve learned in just a matter of weeks. The other interns and I have gotten to do a variety of fun activities as well. We have gone paintballing, to some nice dinners, and spent a weekend in San Francisco where we attended a Giant’s game. I also participated in Accenture National Intern Day of Service at Senior Gleaners packing surplus food supplies. Accenture sends their rising senior interns to Chicago for a student leadership conference during the summer as well. I’ve had an amazing experience this summer and definitely now have a better idea of what I want to do after college.

Sounds like a productive summer! We hope that you get some time to relax before you jet off to Paris! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Featured Phi: Lauren Bigelow

Senior Phi Lauren Bigelow is spending the summer working for Sephora, a cosmetic retailer. She tells us about her summer, including working with some big names in the company!

This summer I am interning at Sephora HQ in San Francisco- located on the edge of the Financial district and the Embarcadero. I work with a small team of four other women and we are in charge of ecommerce sites and social platforms for four different product lines: Marc Jacob Beauty, Ole Henriksen, Formula X and Kat Von D.

My task this past month was reviving Ole Henriksen social. I have been running sweepstakes, tweetstakes (sweepstakes via Twitter), their blog and directing content creation. Two weeks ago, I was able to be on set at the professional product photo shoot and was able to allocate the assets needed for upcoming social posts.

Every day in the office we are playing with product, collaborating with women in Los Angles, New York City and San Francisco, and maximizing positive costumer experience over digital. This internship has taught me how much work goes behind the generation, operations, and development of young brands. I do a lot of research into competing  brands and I am continually being challenged to help increase our digital presence to stand out, on top of the noise.

I am halfway through my 12 week internship and I am loving my team and projects! One of the coolest things about the experience is that my office is right next to the CEO’s office and I get to interact with VPs and Senior Directors every day.

Sounds like a fun internship! We are glad you're having a great summer! AOE 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Featured Phi: Kalina Venugopal

Just a few months after starring in SCU’s spring musical “In the Heights”, Sophomore Phi, Kalina Venugopal, is back on the main stage. This summer she is performing in “Spamalot” at City Lights Theater in downtown San Jose. She fills us in on how her summer is going so far:

Can you give us a brief synopsis of the musical? 
The show is based off of the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. King Arthur and his side kick Patsy set off on a journey to find knights for his "army", and yes, they do the whole banging the coconuts together instead of using horses bit (for you Monty Python movie lovers). Along the way they meet a huge array of knights, enemies and Arthur finds a love interest- the Lady of the Lake. The show will have you laughing and tapping your toes the whole time! It sticks pretty true to most of the movie plot and gags, as much as it possibly can in the two hour span. 

How did you get involved in the production?
Jerry Bracco, one of the theatre department professors, is directing the production of “Spamalot” at City Lights. He asked both me and [my sister] Sonya to be in it because they were short a few ensemble members. Sonya and I decided that it would be a fun way to spend our summer so we agreed to do it!

Some friends and fellow Phis went and saw
opening night of "Spamalot" on July 24th
What role are you playing the show?
This show is very men heavy; there is only one female role (which is very rare in a theater production). There is a female ensemble which is what Sonya and I am a part of.

What has a typical day been like this summer?
We started rehearsals for “Spamalot” as soon as “In the Heights” wrapped this spring. We rehearse Monday through Friday, usually from 7 pm to 10:30 pm. We usually arrive at the theater at 6:30 to stretch and warm-up before rehearsal begins. We start off rehearsal by going over whatever part needs to be fixed and then we run through the whole show. This past week was tech week which meant we had very long and tiring rehearsals. Since it was the last week before the show opened, we finally had to incorporate lights, costumes and full set pieces into the run-throughs. After rehearsal is over, I usually just go home and relax because I am exhausted!

What is your favorite part about being involved in the show?
This show is hilarious. For anyone who has seen anything Monty Python, you will love it. For those of you who haven’t, I can guarantee you will laugh…a lot. Even knowing every line from the show, I still find myself laughing while watching the run-throughs. Also, for those of you who don’t really like musicals, this is the one to see. It has crude humor that is so witty and well written. There is no cheesy or sappy love story, it’s great.

Sounds like a great show! If you would like to see sisters Kalina and Sonya in action, “Spamalot” is running July 24th through August 31st at City Lights Theatre in San Jose. Visit the website for ticket information:

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Featured Phi: My Time at the Olympics

Junior Phi Emily Collins took the winter quarter off to intern for NBC at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Now that she is safely home on US soil, we decided to catch up with her and learn all about her experience!

Hey phis! I just retuned from 6 weeks in Sochi, Russia working for NBC's TODAY Show as a Runner! Last summer, I got the name of the production manager and emailed her to see if they were still hiring for the Olympics. We did an interview, and a few weeks before fall quarter I found out that I got the job! 
While I was there, I worked with a team of 13 other Runners from America, the UK, and Russia.  Together, we prepped the offices, set, and compound (green room, hair and makeup, and on air operations) for producer and talent arrivals.  Our most important job was being Olympics encyclopedias for the producers - we spent days exploring the mountains and Olympic Park to time distances, driving, walking, and yes, running, in case we had to do guest pickups during the live show.  We also familiarized ourselves with venues, Athlete Villages, and all the hotels in the area. During the live show, I was responsible for recruiting audience members from around the Park, as well as bringing guests between the green room and the set.  Show time was crazy because there was so much to be done and everything had to be perfect! 
There are so many experiences I had at the Olympics that I will never forget.  Meeting Joss, Gus, and Nick the day after they swept the podium in freestyle skiing (see left), seeing Meryl Davis and Charlie White skate, hopping in the American bobsled (below), attending an Olympic hockey game, and sitting at the TODAY news desk to name a few.   My favorite moment overall was hearing the National Anthem play throughout Olympic Park for Kaitlyn Farrington's medal ceremony.  Some of the American Runners and I were walking home from the set and when we heard it, we stopped on the steps of the Bolshoy Ice Dome and sang as loud as we could.

The most difficult part about being in Russia however was the language barrier.  Though all of the volunteers spoke English very well, people in the surrounding towns did not.  Runners would get sent to town to buy things for the show frequently, so being able to communicate with the locals was very important.  Luckily we had Russian Runners who were so helpful and translated on most of our trips!   
Being a part of the Olympics was an incredible experience.  Other than a little bit of Russian, I also learned a ton about broadcast and about myself while I was there.  Everyone with NBC was so nice and willing to answer the many questions I had.  As a Communications major, I definitely have a better idea of what I want to do after college and what kind of people I work best with! 

Thanks for sharing Emily! We are so glad you had a great time and can’t wait for you to come back to school in the spring! AOE

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Featured Phis: Alpha Phis Take Over Rome

This winter, three of our lovely juniors are studying abroad in Rome, Italy. We decided to check in with them to see how they are doing and hear all about their exciting European adventures!

Name: Jennifer Barsanti

Major: Psychology with an Italian Studies minor

Hi phis! While in Rome I am studying through IES and taking classes like Italian, International Relations, Religion, and Economics. The best part is that they all count for SCU credits, yay! I have always loved Rome, and I heard wonderful things about this program from past students. My original plan was to go abroad in the fall. When I didn't get in I was really bummed, but now I'd recommend going abroad in the winter to anyone. The weather is nice and the sites aren't crowded at all, which is definitely a bonus! I have plans to do lots of traveling while I'm here. I've already been to Pompeii, Napoli, and Amalfi. This weekend I'm off to Paris, which I’m very excited about. Also in the short time I’ve been here, I LEARNED HOW TO COOK!! One day I just went to store, bought a bunch of ingredients, and went for it!  It actually turned out well (see above picture). What I miss most about not being at SCU this quarter is all of my friends, but I know we're all doing great things, wherever we are J. A piece of advice I have for future study abroad students is to JUST SAY YES.  Even if your friend just asks you, "Hey, do you want to walk to the grocery store?", JUST DO IT.  Take advantage of every experience and opportunity.  You never know what you'll stumble upon.

Name: Lauren Bigelow

Major: Communication with a Business Entrepreneurship minor.

Hey everyone! Just like Jen, I am spending the quarter studying in Rome through the IES program. Our school is right across from the Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica and St. Angelo castle, which is crazy. I get to see these historical monuments just on my walk to class. I chose to study abroad in Rome because it's a location that is easily accessible to other countries and cities that I can’t wait to travel to. It also is full of its own history and beautiful landscapes. While abroad I am most looking forward to my travel plans. Countries that are high on the list are Morocco, Sweden, Greece and Israel. Although we haven’t been here that long, we've already seen a lot a really fabulous parts of Rome and it's neighboring cities. This weekend for example, we were in Naples, Pompeii and Sorrento. So far, it's just been a really great experience- I didn't realize Rome was so gorgeous. Although I miss my friends and Phis back at Santa Clara I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time abroad has in store! AOE

Name: Chandler Lowe

Major: Communication with an Ethnic Studies minor

Hey there! This quarter I am also in the Rome IES program like my fellow Alpha Phis. I knew when applying to study abroad that Italy was the place for me! I loved the "American" version of Italian food already so I figured that the real deal would be even better! (And it is J) Also, I wanted to experience the history here and enjoy seeing a new part of the world, I had never been to Europe before! It's also a great opportunity to travel around Europe and see the other amazing places and people. Besides exploring around Rome, our program has taken us to Pompeii and Naples for some tours. In Pompeii we were served lunch and visited a fantastic vineyard right below Mt. Vesuvius. Of course the biggest part of SCU that I've been missing is my amazing A Phi friends and sisters. But it makes me even more excited for my return spring quarter! My only advice to my sisters who hope to study abroad is to enjoy every second of every experience you have. We've had some minor frustrations here and there, but they all have become great learning experiences in the end. Ciao and AOE 

Thanks ladies, we hope you are having a blast! We miss you but can't wait to hear all about your time abroad when you return in the spring!