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Students share MCAN experiences

<ultural Alumni Network (MCAN) is a program at Carleton meant to support the College's overall educational, admissions, career, and fundraising programs, particularly as these programs relate to the enrichment of its students and alumni of color. As part of this program, current students recieved scholarships to help fund their summer work. Here are responses from a few students who recieved such funding.

S. Rishad

I am a junior at Carleton College. This past summer I interned at the Environmental Defense Fund, which combines sound science, law and economics in creating solutions to climate change problems. I worked in the International Air & Climate Program, where I assisted the economics team on understanding the risks of investing in carbon markets and conducted quantitative analysis to find out efficient ways through which Mexico’s carbon emissions can be reduced. I also traveled to Brazil and conducted research on biofuel and energy projects that are contributing to Brazil’s overall economic development.

Amy Sun

If you were to conduct a Google search for the term “Asian American popular culture,” you would be faced with a series of scholarly-sounding sociological studies. If you are lucky, you might come across a semi-interesting blog post a few hundred search terms in. So what’s the deal? Perhaps my search terms are a bit broad, but still—where are all the Asians? Surely there must be at least a few Asians and Asian Americans doing cool things, right? Luckily, I’m not the first person who has noticed this lack of press. Giant Robot Magazine, a bi-monthly magazine about Asian and Asian American popular culture, was founded back in 1994 to address this very problem.

This past summer, I was able to intern at the Giant Robot magazine office in Los Angeles. Not only did I learn a huge range of valuable skills—writing press releases, fact checking, searching for public domain photos, content editing, using Adobe InDesign, calibrating a printer, writing reviews, transcribing interviews—but I also discovered an entire world of Asian and Asian American artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, videogame creators, and just generally cool people. There’s no doubt that activism and scholarly work are important in challenging stereotypes about Asian Americans, but there’s definitely something to be said for a magazine that features someone like Kenny Anderson, a half-Japanese professional skateboarder. Now how’s that for breaking a stereotype?

Anna Wada

As an intern at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum archives, I was assigned a small collection to process from beginning to end – drawing up a plan, organizing the files, preserving items, digitizing them, creating the finding aid, and cataloging (I described the collection on the Smithsonian Collections Blog, posted August 18, here). I also helped with other minor projects, such as assisting researchers and locating public art photographed in a past exhibit.  In addition to gaining a sense of the professional workflow as an archivist, I was also able to meet other aspiring interns with diverse interests, even within the museum field.

My second internship was for the World Digital Library (WDL), a joint project by the Library of Congress and UNESCO.  The project endeavors to collect digitized cultural heritage items from around the world, and upload them on a single website ( I was amazed by the scope of global partnerships they had, as well as the diverse background of the materials that was being collected. My primary responsibility here was to help build their Japanese prints collection, and edit metadata for upcoming items.

I believe what made this summer truly invaluable was that everyone I met seemed passionate about their respective fields, and were all happy to share their experiences and advice. I found the digital library and museum work engaging throughout, and I am glad I was able to partake in so many different aspects of these fields in one summer.

Taimur Ali Khan

Funding from the MCAN allowed me to intern at StormHarbour Securities in New York over the summer. StormHarbour is a sell side investment boutique that focuses on fixed income sales and trading and in capital markets. During the span of 10 weeks, I rotated between the different sales and trading desks and then I spent a major chunk of my time working in capital markets. I really enjoyed my work in capital markets. The longest deal I was involved in was raising $175 million for a shipping company based in Dubai. I worked closely with a team of bankers from 3 investment bankers. My tasks included finding private equity investors and writing brief summaries on all of them, finding the drivers and the risk factors in the tanker industry, researching on comparable deals and making investor presentation slides. Overall, it was a great experience especially because I realized where my interest lie and what I want to do after I graduate from Carleton.

J.P. Perkins

I was a part of the Japan-America Student conference this summer. This conference started in 1934, and has been around ever since. It is a very good conference because you study with 36 other Japanese and 35 other Americans, all working together for a month. You also get to travel to many different places in either America or Japan, depending on the year, and get to see a lot of new things. You meet with various alums, business people, and government officials during your time at JASC. Everyone also has a roundtable discussion topic which they research over the month and present at a final forum at the end of the conference.

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