Keon Parsa, HC ’24

Equity & Active Transportation

Semester: Spring 2023

Faculty Advisor: Gary W McDonogh

Field Site: The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia

Field Supervisor: Patrick Monahan & John Boyle

Praxis Poster:

Keon Parsa_Praxis Poster_Final


Further Context:

During the 2023 Spring semester, I interned with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, located in Center City.  The main project I was working on was the Connecting Communities project, which sought to address one crucial barrier that was preventing residents from underserved communities from accessing the Circuit Trails, a network of hundreds of miles of shared use bike and pedestrian paths across the greater Philadelphia area.

The barrier in question was a lack of access, be it a lack of information or a lack of a safe route to get from the trail to their house.

The map shown on the poster is of Trenton, New Jersey.  When driving, residents would be routed mainly through busy arterial roads that are designed to move cars quickly.  These roads are not usually accommodating to people walking or biking.  The map highlights alternative routes that help connect neighborhoods to the trails on low-stress neighborhood streets, which most people who drive likely would not have known about.  This can sometimes be challenging because car-centric planning deliberately seeks to discourage through-traffic on neighborhood roads, instead pushing it to busier streets.  This can result in longer, more awkward navigating when walking or biking.  In addition, things like creeks, highways, and railroads act as physical barriers that significantly reduce the number of routes, generally only to select busy roads.

This is why, in addition to providing information to residents, the project seeks to identify important stretches that should be targeted for improvement in the future, such as including a bike lane, crosswalk, or improved sidewalk.

Aside from making the maps, I was also involved in preparing visual content to present these maps to the community and interested parties.  This involved using a tool new to me: ArcGIS StoryMaps.

Interning at the Bicycle Coalition was a very positive experience for me because I was able to directly engage with the Connecting Community project, along with others, while developing relationships with my mentor and faculty advisor.  I was able to practice previously learned skills, including mapping and technical work, while also developing new ones, like graphic design and bicycling related research.  It has also helped to prepare me for my upcoming summer internship at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association in Washington DC.


Jasmin Diaz Tello, BMC ’23

Diverting Youths’ Cases From the Courts to a Restorative Justice Process

Semester: Spring 2023

Faculty Advisor: Darlyne Bailey & Gwenn Prinbeck

Field Site: Youth Art and Self-Empowerment Project (YASP)

Field Supervisor: Felix Rosado

Praxis Poster:

Jasmin Diaz Tello_Praxis Poster_Final


Further Context:

This spring I was able to continue doing my Praxis study at the same organization that I did last year, Youth Art-Self Empowerment Project (YASP) – in their Healing Futures diversion program. I am absolutely grateful to have been able to go back and create a bigger impact in the program. Last semester I was mostly an observer and participant in our sessions with the young kids, this semester I carried the same duties as a Healing Futures facilitator. I facilitated most of the sessions every time I went into the office (3 times a week). I helped organize events such as Restorative Community Conferences (RCC) and Fun Days for the responsible youth. I have felt like a true social justice leader with my time in the Healing Futures program and have learned how to connect with the Philadelphia youth even further. I fully embraced empathy, trust, and the unexpected – the three most essential things in this kind of work.

I adore spending my time and effort at YASP, and I am happy to share that I will continue doing so into the following year even though I am graduating in May. I have received American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) Robert Andrew Stuart Fellowship. With this fellowship I will be continuing to work with Healing Futures and with AFSC’s Emerging Leaders Cohort (ELL). I am lucky enough to continue doing what I love to do in not just a familiar setting but in a new one as well that will push me to grow into an even better leader. With my experience at YASP and the help of my faculty supervisor, Dr. Bailey, I have unlocked a love for social service and will be getting a master’s in social service in the following years to be able to create an even bigger impact for change.

The way the Healing Futures program works is as follows: we receive referrals from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office of young people who have been arrested for a variety of crimes. If the youth choose to enroll into the program, we reach out to the person(s) harmed. For weeks we then prepare everyone for a RCC where all parties come together with two of our facilitators and community members to talk about what happened and what needs to be done to put things more right. At the RCC, a restorative plan is developed that the responsible youth then must complete for the next few months. Once the plan is completed, all charges are dropped, and it is as if the arrest never happened. This allows them to move on in life without carrying the burden of a permanent charge on their criminal record society has made it to be for something that youth did when they were young.

Isolde Gerosa, BMC ’23

Increasing Environmental Literacy

Semester: Spring 2023

Faculty Advisor: Don Barber

Field Site: 

Field Supervisor: Gillian Mulder

Praxis Poster:

Isolde Gerosa_PIS_Praxis Poster_Final


Further Context:

Hi! My name is Isolde, I’m a senior Environmental Studies major at Bryn Mawr, and for my Praxis Independent Study I interned with Seaside Sustainability (SS). I titled my course Sustainability in Education, as I specifically worked under SS’s Green Scholars program, on their Environmental Literacy team. This team focuses on the production of the Green Scholars curriculum – a textbook style educational tool designed to teach middle to high school students the basics of environmental science. The curriculum currently comprises a number of topics, from chapters detailing systems in weather and climate, to case studies explaining issues in environmental justice. There is no publication date yet, but we hope to
promote it to a number of schools across the United States once it is fully finalized!

The majority of my work focused on editing sections of the curriculum itself. I was tasked with adding diagrams and images to specific sections, as well as creating challenging discussion questions or quizzes for the end of some chapters. Some weeks, my tasks were to review sections for content enhancements and grammar checking. We are also in the process of converting sections of the curriculum to a video format, therefore I also worked on outlining chapters to a script style.

The entirety of my internship was online, allowing me to connect with interns all across the country, and meet other dedicated and passionate environmentally-focused students. Working remotely also introduced its own set of challenges, such as difficulty in connecting with my fellow team members. The dynamic environment at SS creates a constant flow of
interns, coming and leaving every few months. This makes it difficult to create an eloquent flow to the curriculum, as a large number of narrators each provide their own voice to just one chapter.

Overall, every aspect of my internship has taught me a number of lessons – from education programming to functioning in a remote workplace. I am looking forward to completing my internship this summer!

Hannah Cohen, HC ’25

The Environment of Tepe Hissar, Iran: Using Material Culture to Illustrate a Society’s Relationship with its Surrounding Environment

Semester: Spring 2023

Faculty Advisor: Astrid Lindenlauf

Field Site: The Penn Museum

Field Supervisor: Katy Blanchard

Praxis Poster:

Hannah Cohen_Praxis Poster_Final


Further Context:

Having just transferred into Haverford College, I did not hear of Bryn Mawr’s Praxis Program until my field advisor, Katy Blanchard, recommended that I look into completing a Praxis Independent Study.  I met Dr. Blanchard through my Professor for ARCH 244: Great Empires of the Ancient Near East after inquiring about how I could continue learning about the subject now that the semester was drawing to a close.  My Professor, Dr. Swerida, recommended that I get in contact with the Keeper of the Near Eastern collections at the Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology who was not only well versed in the history of the ancient Near East but also had worked with many students in the Bi-College Consortium and had, in fact was a Bryn Mawr alum herself (as a Classical Languages major, I found the fact that Dr. Blanchard had majored in Bryn Mawr’s Classics department to be quite exciting as well but, alas, I digress).  Dr. Swerida also put me in contact with my faculty advisor, Professor Lindenlauf after I had decided to take up Dr. Blanchard’s recommendation and pursue a Praxis Independent Study.

My original goals for the course consisted of merely two things: gaining a better understanding of how to use material culture to study ancient societies (for as much as my archeology course revealed my love of studying the ancient Near East,  it also revealed my tendency to avoid looking at artifacts in favor of looking at textual evidence) and learning more about the ancient Near East.  After talking to Dr. Blanchard and Professor Lindelauf about my Praxis, however, I realized the extent to which taking an independent study would let me delve into a specific topic.  My previous desire to be an biologist (a marine biologist in particular) left me with a longstanding interest in ecology, environmental science, and other related topics and, even though I now study the humanities, I wanted to find a way to combine my long standing interest in the environment with my newer fascination with ancient societies.  Upon telling this to my two advisors, Dr. Blanchard recommended I focus on looking at the collections of Tepe Hissar – a site which, in spite of having a rich culture and plentiful collection, was often overlooked.  And thus is how this Praxis Course was formed.

In the museum, I focused primarily on the technical aspects of interacting with the artifacts.  Many of the smaller artifacts – animal figurines, spindle whorls (which are small donut-shaped artifacts that were used to create wool.  See fig. 7 for an image), and hand tools were stored in drawers which needed to be inventoried to ensure they were all accounted for in both the drawer and the museum’s data-base.  The objects were also rehoused so that they would be better preserved and easier to access.

One of the largest tasks I had in the museum was photographing the artifacts.  Even though the museum has had the artifacts for quite some time, many had not been photographed and those that were needed their photographs updated so that the pictures would have greater clarity.  There were two modes of photography that I used at the museum: shot-down photography and shot-on photography.  The shot-down photography was used for flat objects such as potsherds (see figs. 2 and 3) as it only captured two sides of the object whereas the shot-on photography was used for objects with greater three-dimensionality as it could capture all sides of an object.  The photos I took are currently being uploaded in the database and, in conjunction with updates to the objects descriptions, will allow for researchers to have a greater ability to find the objects in collections that would be most useful for them to study.

The academic component of my course was equally as interesting as the field-work.  My first readings were from the then most recent (and, I must say, well timed) edition of the American Society of Overseas Research’s magazine (the December 2022 publication) which focused on the wide range of ways in which different societies in the Near East interacted with and perceived animals.  My readings gradually grew more specific and soon I focused on learning about the site of Tepe Hissar itself by reading articles concerning the stratigraphy of the site, the artifacts found at the site, and even an analysis of what the people of Tepe Hissar ate.  The readings and the discussions I had with Professor Lindenlauf regarding them allowed me to not only view but also analyze the artifacts of Tepe Hissar which I worked with, making the fieldwork component of my course even more meaningful than I had found it before.

I am going to assume that I won’t be able to hold your attention for much longer so, rather than telling you about all of my findings, I am going to briefly elaborate on my favorite: how the dog depicted in fig. 9 helped me conclude, alongside other materials, that sheep were highly valued in Tepe Hissar.

When talking to Professor Lindenlauf during one of our meetings, I mentioned that I always thought it would be interesting to look at society’s values through the traits present in dog breeds that originated from that region.  Dogs are one of, if not the, oldest domestic animals and so, they have historically been present in many societies, each of which selectively bred the animals to retain characteristics that allowed the dog to perform the role(s) which they thought it was necessary for a dog to perform.  With the help of Dr. Blanchard, I found a depiction of a dog from Tepe Hissar, of course, this would be the animal figurine from fig. 9.  While looking at the dog I noticed how it had the shape resembling that of a mastiff and, after doing some further research, I discovered that there was indeed a mastiff that originated in Iran during this time: the sarabi dog (also known as the Persian mastiff).  This dog was bred for the purpose of guarding sheep and so, looking at this dog in addition to the depictions of sheep and artifacts that indicated the creation of secondary products from sheep made me realize just how important sheep were to the people of Tepe Hissar.  Furthermore, I also realized the extent to which I improved in my ability to analyze artifacts!  This skill, and all the others that I have learned, will help enrich my academic career; I am particularly excited to apply them next year while studying abroad in Rome.  I also thoroughly enjoyed getting a chance to explore ancient peoples relationships with the environment and I hope to further study ancient societies through this lens.

Frances Millar, BMC ’23

Applied Museum Practices II – The Fabric Workshop and Museum

Semester: Spring 2023

Faculty Advisor: John Muse

Field Site: The Fabric Workshop and Museum

Field Supervisor: Christina Roberts

Praxis Poster:

Frances Millar_Praxis Poster_Final


Further Context:

Spring 2023 was my second semester participating in Praxis IS, as I was lucky enough to extend my internship placement at the Fabric Workshop and Museum and my advising relationship with Professor John Muse (of Haverford’s Visual Studies program) after a wonderful experience in the fall semester. Working in FWM’s Education department has continued to be an incredible supplement to my academic work within my History of Art major, especially as I have been completing my senior thesis and beginning my career in the arts this term. As a small institution that is both a contemporary art museum and a working artist’s studio, the work of FWM is inherently collaborative and interdepartmental. Under Director of Education, Christina Roberts, my work in the education department has been varied and engaging, taking place in both the museum’s office and studio spaces.

At the beginning of the semester, I was tasked with designing the content for a proposed workshop, rag rug weaving in collaboration with the (then upcoming) artist-in-residence exhibition, Henry Taylor’s Nothing Change, Nothing Strange. This show, which I helped open in March, features a large loom and woven element, among other sculptural components. Having interned previously at a historic weaving guild and fiber arts education center, the Little Loomhouse in Louisville KY, I had a background in weaving that made me apt for this project. Over the course of a few weeks, I researched weave structures, tested the weave structures in conjunction with the looms and warp threads we had onsite, and timed the run of the weaving project from start to finish to ensure it could be completed within the allotted time. The result was a unique design woven from scrap fabrics and heavily inspired by the use of tartan in Taylor’s exhibition. Throughout the semester I also helped with a variety of studio projects and tasks, like creating dye mordant for a natural dye workshop, mixing inks, demonstrating silkscreen techniques to tour groups, and teaching another intern to use a sewing machine. I also assisted with a major collaboration event – the opening of Radically Merrimeko at the Swedish American Historical Museum in South Philadelphia. At the exhibition opening, Christina Roberts and I assisted over one hundred twenty museum guests in creating their own Merrimeko-inspired prints using collage and silkscreen processes. Working with physical materials in the studio is not only incredibly personally rewarding but is key to my understanding of the work of FWM.

I’ve been involved in many efforts in the office as well as the studio. At the end of the fall semester, FWM hosted a fundraiser and closing ceremony for their Fall 2022 college/post-graduate and high school apprentice cohorts. This event, which I helped to promote, was a great success, bringing in nearly $8,000 in direct support of the program. This spring, I corresponded with the donors we recruited at the event, facilitating the gifting of printed banners in thanks for their contributions. I helped with institutional/program funding in other ways too, like assisting in writing grant applications. As FWM is a non-profit organization, external funding is key to our ability to provide exhibitions and programming. In the latter half of this semester, I spent considerable time doing research for the exhibition of an upcoming artist-in-residence, Jessica Campbell, whose show will open in October. For this project, I researched her oeuvre, exhibition themes, and potential partners for collaboration.

My work at the Fabric Workshop and Museum this semester has been invaluable to me as a young person entering the museum/arts field. Through two semesters, I have thoroughly developed and improved a skillset in museum administration practices that will be vital to my career. I am very grateful to have worked alongside Christina Roberts, as well as my faculty advisor John Muse, who has been instrumental in my understanding of the Philadelphia arts community, knowledge of museum/visual studies theory, and professional development.

Ashley Guevara, BMC ’24

Celebrating Language in the Classroom

Semester: Spring 2023

Faculty Advisor: Alison Cook-Sather

Field Site: Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School (FACTS)

Field Supervisor: Lucinda Megill-Legendre

Praxis Poster:

Ashley Guevara_Praxis Poster_Final_resized

Further Context:

My Praxis course “Celebrating Language in the Classroom” focuses on uplifting multilingualism in schools and transforming English language education. After taking the course “Emergent Multilingual in the U.S.,” I felt inspired to go beyond the higher education sphere and apply my coursework in an actual educational setting. When designing my independent study, I also hoped to continue developing relationships at my field placement and observing different ways to celebrate students’ full linguistic repertoires.

This poster represents my journey and the many connections I’ve made throughout the semester. I commuted to Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School in Chinatown, Philadelphia, two times a week. I worked in an English Language Development classroom with 14 students and supported my host teacher by leading small groups and providing 1-1 sessions
focused on math, reading, and science. I’ve enjoyed my time at FACTS because of the school’s emphasis on community, the prioritization of content-based learning, and the encouragement of exploration in folk arts.

Working in a classroom presented many new challenges but simultaneously opportunities for growth as an aspiring educator. One of my biggest challenges was learning to differentiate when creating lessons since the students have a wide range of English proficiency levels and different exposures to content. Thankfully, my host teacher was very understanding and would meet with me to discuss strategies. Another challenge at the beginning of the semester was surpassing language barriers past my knowledge of Spanish and English. Over time, I was able to implement more non-verbal forms of communication, like body movement and drawing, to
help students identify vocabulary words. Stepping out of my comfort zone and normalizing the usage of gestures in lessons was instrumental in creating a bond with the class. Finally, I needed to familiarize myself with classroom dynamics which helped me later become a better mediator
and problem solver. Whether I assisted with student conflict or worked with parents, I used my understanding of classroom dynamics to be intentionally present.

Outside of my placement, I also grew by forming connections with my faculty advisor in our bi-weekly meetings. Although we specialize in different areas of Education Studies, it was always great to see mesh ideas and exchange pedagogical resources that are valuable in a multitude of educational contexts. Some of the topics we covered include the issues with
standardized testing, translanguaging practices, brave spaces, and the importance of trust. I am very grateful for having time to digest and process my experiential learning alongside Alison and for their continued support.

As I worked on my confidence across all aspects of my Praxis experience, I finally designed my own whole group lesson. Although I am not a history major or pictured myself teaching social studies, I led a lesson on the creation of the U.S. Constitution while centering the role of indigenous peoples. This work was especially empowering because my host teacher and I worked hard to emphasize counter histories while also unlearning things ourselves.

Although my Praxis course is over, I will continue to reflect on my experiences and the importance of applying pedagogy in the classroom. Working in an English Language Development space has taught me a lot about the need for bilingual educators and how translanguaging should also be present between student and educator. I’m excited to continue researching educational policy around emergent multilingualism in the United States and working on becoming a culturally responsive educator dedicated to uplifting students’ diverse experiences.

Abby Fortune, BMC ’23

Children’s Librianship

Semester: Spring 2023

Faculty Advisor: Laura Surtees

Field Site: Ludington Library

Field Supervisor: Laurent Mondon

Praxis Poster:

Abby Fortune_Praxis Poster_Final_resized

Further Context:

The Children’s Librarianship independent study course provided behind-the-scenes engagement with a local library to help me gain insight into the technical practices that enhance the value of children’s libraries for its users as well as the extent to which they shape children’s civic attitudes and beliefs. Through technical exposure, observation at story time, and a series of interviews with professionals in different sectors of the field, this course clarified my personal interest in post-graduate studies in library science and established professional networks.

I worked at Bryn Mawr Town’s local public library, Ludington Library. Ludington is one of six branches in the Lower Merion Libraries system. It is the main reference library in the system and hosts a thriving children’s collection and staff. The staff consists of four members who lead development, story hours, special events, and field patron requests and services. They provide both online and in-person services and have a children’s section in the library building. Over the semester, I ostensibly became a member of the staff and performed or observed their collections development processes and programming.

The primary age group I worked with was children ages 0-5 years old. Although this group is too young to get a holistic sense of how they think about the library or what its benefits are on their development, I was able to learn more about developmental stages by observing and interacting with them. I learned that showing enthusiasm for reading, even to newborns, predicts stronger readers. Between birth to eight months, babies may begin to babble, already demonstrating the inklings of language learning and socialization. By the preschool age, about eighteen to thirty-six months, children can copy letters and shapes, imagine or retell stories, and are intensely focused on mimicking the behavior of adults around them. They learn about reading from seeing adults in their life engage with books and engaging themselves. At the library, there is a dedicated collection of board books, easy readers, and first-chapter books to progress through as a child’s reading ability advances. Additionally, passive programming like coloring, iSpy posters, library bingo, and so much more makes the library welcome for children of all ages.

Working with Ludington staff enhanced my ability to explain essential library functions and how to execute them as well as communicate with professionals on-site and in the wider field using subject-specific terminology and awareness of current challenges to the profession, produce informed book recommendations through increased knowledge about age-appropriate reading levels and content, and increased my confidence fielding patron requests and interact with young children. Finally, this work affirmed my interest in pursuing a Master’s Degree in Library Information Science.