Do something… TODAY!

Do something today

There’s something special about the first week of a semester.  It’s a chance to make new friends, create a new routine, and determine new goals.  My challenge to everyone is to make the above quote a new personal (and professional!) goal.  It doesn’t have to be anything big.  Maybe it’s connecting with someone on LinkedIn.  Maybe it’s reading an article that relates to your chosen career.  Maybe it’s volunteering in the community.  Maybe it’s staying after class to ask a professor a question.  You never know when all of those things will come back to be a benefit to you- and if you know they’ll be beneficial, why not do them?  Make this semester one that makes Future You proud!

1 week down. 14 more to go…


So glad your first week went well!

Originally posted on La primera vez no es la última vez:

Good news: I survived my first week of school!!! But don’t worry, it wasn’t some huge trial or tribulation. First of all, we only had a 3 week day because Monday was a holiday and I only have class Mondays thru Thursdays, (Yes, you can be jealous). Oh, and on top of that, since it was the first week, there was a lot of administrative stuff to complete and getting to know each other. I only take classes through PECLA, which means I only take classes with other international students.

I am taking 3 classes: Latin American Culture, Argentine Culture and Advanced Grammar. The first two have a textbook and the last one consists of hand outs. I have the same professor for LA Culture and ARG Culture. She is very patient, and kind. The professor for my Adv. Grammar class is funny and charismatic. Many people raise an eyebrow…

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Amanda Kopil: The City of Reading GIS Intern/DCNR Tree Surveyor



My internship is complete and I am left completely satisfied! Overall, my experience met all of my expectations and more. I was able to learn new things and also give my input to different projects. Before I started my internship I thought that I would not be able to keep up with my supervisor and all of her tasks. It turned out that I knew more then I had thought. Also, throughout the duration of my internship I asked quite a few questions and also to have some examples of what my supervisor was looking for. This really helped me complete tasks that needed to be done without messing them up first! I really did not know how much GIS was used in every division within The City of Reading. Surprisingly enough, GIS was even used by the historical preservation division and trash and recycling. To be able to work GIS is a valuable skill and I can definitely see how often I will be using it in the future.

            I hope that there are other students who are going down a tract involving GIS. If there are, this internship is perfect to build upon your skills and take what was learned in the classroom to real life situations. This internship has strengthened my overall goal of becoming an environmental consultant because of the variability involved in GIS. Within my time at graduate school, I plan on having at least 1 more internship. Internships not only get you the experience that is in high demand, but it also helps you become a better person. You gain skills such as communication, professionalism, and how to interact with people in your career.

            Tree surveying for The City of Reading has also come to a conclusion. Surveying trees was a very interesting job and helped me learn a completely different area in my field! I learned that communication is key when working with partners in an important project such as this one. Being on the same page as your partners can help save time and frustration! My internship-filled summer has come to an end and I could not be happier! I can only imagine what internship I will run across next!

Amanda Kopil: The City of Reading GIS Intern/DCNR Tree Surveyor


I have very very very good news! Recently, I have been awarded a graduate assistantship position at Millersville University in the office of the Dean of Math and Science! This has been my dream and I am so glad it worked out. I applied in November last year and it has taken this long for the entire process to, gladly in my favor, come to me. In order to apply I had to compile transcripts, letters of recommendation, a person statement letter, and of course my resume. It was a lot of work but it definitely paid off. I MUST send a HUGE thank you to my Geiser Gals in the Experiential Learning & Career Development Center!!!! These fabulous ladies helped me through this entire process and I could not be more grateful!

            Ok, now back to reality! My internship is coming to an end and it really makes me sad that I have to leave these great people that I been working with for the past many weeks. What I enjoyed most about my internship was that I was doing exactly what I plan to do in the future with GIS. My supervisor prepared me for many situations that I may come across while using this software in my career. Leaving my internship, I know that I will always have someone that I can shoot a quick email to if I am stuck on a project and she will help me out. This gives me a great sense of comfort for my GIS classes in graduate school and also it gives me a chance to just stay in touch. This internship has opened many professional doors for me and it has also made me a better coworker. There is always something to learn from an internship even if you are stuck filing or doing clerical duties. Don’t ever forget to stick your nose in projects and ask questions because you never know what you might learn!

            My long streets of trees are coming to an end! This has been another long process this summer but also a very valuable one. I never thought in a million years that I would be working with trees or knowing a ton of species! Not only am I surveying the street trees in Reading, I am also educating the people around me every time I get asked, “What are you doing with those trees?” These kinds of summer experiences and internships do not just come and lay neatly across your lap when needed. It is important to talk to your professors regularly and stay in touch with new projects or share ideas. These are the projects that you put in that daunting section, “Must have experience” in a job application. Hard work will pay off!

A Lasting Last Impression

I know we often stress the importance of sending a thank you note after the interview, and I think it’s information that is always worth repeating.  Everyone knows that more often than not, your resume and cover letter are your first impression with an employer.  In turn, your thank you note after an interview is potentially your last impression- so shouldn’t it be a good one? Education Week makes some great points about how to make sure your thank you notes leave your last impression as a positive one!


Milca Mendez-3D Printing


Hello Again!

I have had such an eventful week! The week started of by finishing two of my synthesis pieces. My synthesis pieces are jewelry pieces inspired by dentistry that I can wear to dental school interviews! I still have to make my necklace, but I finished designing earrings and a brooch. I also finished a screw that will be the clasp for my necklace (symbolizing an implant). Now I just have to print them!! This past week I was also able to visit and shadow Dr. Schwab’02 at his dental practice in Blandon, PA (I got to wear my scrubs!!). Dr. Schwab’s staff taught me how to make plaster models and I was able to use the CEREC machine. CEREC stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. It is an amazing machine that can make a crown in about twenty minutes. The CEREC machine, similar to the 3D Printer uses CAD/CAM technology to design and make the restoration.

It so interesting to see how technology is revolutionizing dentistry and I am excited to see how dentistry evolves in the coming years. I have had a great time with my ACRE and I hope to incorporate it into my honor’s thesis! My ACRE has also increased my excitement for dental school!!Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 3.40.42 PM

(The design of my dental brooch and earrings)

Dentist in Salem, Massachusetts

(The CEREC Machine)

photo 2

(Making Plaster Models)


Amy Rader, Madrid, Spain

So this week has definitely been a crazy one.  I take my finals this morning.  My Finals.  How is that even possible?  I just got here.  It has been a whirlwind and its not slowing down yet. 

This past weekend I visited the beautiful city of Segovia, home of the famous Roman Aqueducts and the castle that inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  Every single excursion I have taken with my program has been phenomenal.  I was also able to visit the Senate, which is pretty cool,  and revisit El Rastro,  the outside market, where I did quite a bit of shopping and a ton of spending.  I took a lot of time this week to see some of my favorite places in Madrid and to find a few more new places.  I went to places that were known to have the best croquetas, mojitos,  tapas, sangria, and more.  I wanted to get as much authentic Spanish cuisine before I go.

The Aqueduct

Segovia Cathedral

Alcazar, Castle of Segovia

View from the top of the Alcazar

Library at the Senate

This week was also the farewell dinner for my program.  Which just makes me want to cry thinking about it.  But we went to a little restaurant and we were served all the famous Spanish dishes.  It was awesome, and the food kept coming.  The absolute best part of the evening was the Flamenco Show that occurred between the main course and dessert! It was probably one of the most incredible things I have ever seen in my life.  Jaw droppingly beautiful. 

This guy blew me out of the water, he stole the whole show, absolutely incredible

So I have a grand total of 4 more days in Spain.  And only 2 of them will be in Madrid.  I am taking a trip with some friends to Barcelona for the last weekend.  I am really excited about it but I am sad to leave Madrid.  I feel as though I have come to know the city, where things are, how the people  are, how to avoid tourists, where to go for great food, get deals at clubs, and somewhat present myself as a local.  Madrid is definitely a city I want to visit again in my lifetime.   It is a beautiful thriving city that is a mix of history and culture, and modern day technology and exciting night life.  I will definitely miss the feeling of safety everywhere I go.  I live pretty close to Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ which are basically know for the opposite of safety.  I hold my bag in Madrid to prevent pickpocketers, but I never feel in danger.  It’s relaxing.  I will also miss my host mom, preparing me dinner every day.  My own mom doesn’t even do that for me anymore.   It is great to leave all day and come back to a nice hot, healthy Spanish meal. 

During my month here,  I have learned a few things, and a few tips about studying abroad.  Here are some of my intensive month study abroad tips.

1.  Chose a program that has excursions in the price.  Yes, they are definitely a little more expensive but once I arrived and realized all the things that were included in my price, I got a fantastic deal, and I didn’t have to worry about paying any extra while already here.  And I didn’t have to plan the trips, which is awesome.  (My program- API Study Abroad, highly recommended)

2.  Take the time to see YOUR city.  You are only here a month.  Go out and see what your city can offer you before you spend every moment trying to plan trips to other places.

3.  Do the touristy things.  Go to the famous museums, and the Palaces, and all the historical stuff.  You’ll regret it if you skip it.

4.  Don’t be afraid to say no.  Say no to going out, or skipping one restaurant isn’t a huge deal.  If you don’t take the time to rest your body, then you will probably get sick and miss a lot more.

5.  Don’t be afraid to put city exploring before school.  Yes, school is important, but your teachers know you are here from another country and they want you to see everything their country has to offer. 

6.  Speak to locals without fear.  This is probably the hardest one for me.  Yes, they are going to know you are American.   And that’s okay.  At least you’re trying.  If you talk to them with confidence, even if you mess up, they’ll probably know what you’re saying and it is way better practice than in the classroom. 

7.  Don’t expect to go home fluent.  Everyone asks if I am fluent now.  I wish.  I’ve only been here a month.  It is absolutely true that my language skills have improved so much since I got here, way more than any intensive month in the states.  But a month is not enough time to become fluent in any language.  No matter how much you know before arriving.

8.  Know that you are capable to do this.  It is hard. Really hard.  Leaving family and friends and maybe a boyfriend/girlfriend, but it is absolutely worth it.  People always tell you that it will be an amazing experience, but they often leave out how hard it is.  Everything is new, you have new classes and teachers and friends and a new city and language and you are expected to take it all in flawlessly. No.  It is a growing experience and will help shape who you are as a person.  This is an experience that I will never be able to replace.

I am sad to leave, but I don’t have the deepening sadness that other have because I know I will be back in 6 weeks.  I will be starting my semester abroad in Paris. 


Amanda Kopil: The City of Reading GIS Intern/DCNR Tree Surveyor



My very first fully completed, printed map! I use it to reference what section or parcel I am working with on the computer; just on a bigger scale. 

Milca Mendez- ACRE on 3D Printing


Hello Again!

Today marks another week I get to work on my research! It has been such a great experience and I am learning so much. My advisor, Professor Jocelyn Kolb, has been great and has taught me so much. On Friday she drove me to Clifton, New Jersey so we could check out a dental lab that does 3D printing. Arcad Lab was great! They were so kind and showed us how they use 3D printing. It is amazing how much this printer can do! At the lab we were able to see step by step the process of indirect bonding. So what is indirect bonding? Well if any of you had braces in the past you probably remember vividly lying in a chair for about two hours in order to get your braces put on. Well indirect bonding cuts the chair time by even more then 50%! With indirect bonding the braces can be placed on a 3D printed version of your teeth and then using vacuum forming the braces are placed in a clear plastic shell. This shell is then polished, sanitized, and shipped to your orthodontist office where you can get all of the brackets placed at once! It was great to talk to the staff at Arcad Lab and here first hand how 3D printing has increased their business. I am right on schedule with everything I had planned to do for my ACRE. However, to stay on schedule I must keep working hard! Luckily I have not encountered any major roadblocks or issues.

images_editorial_orthodontic-products_articles_legacy-images_issue_001_201111_2011-11_023511_2011-11_02-08 Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 4.39.40 PM 

Other exciting news…I am going to Nicaragua!! This coming January I will be going with a group of students to Nicaragua to help out as a dental assistant with a great program called Vida Volunteer. As a group we will “set up shop” and provide dental care, medical care, and vet care to people who typically would not be able to have access to this treatment. I can’t wait for this awesome experience!!!


Amanda Kopil: The City of Reading GIS Intern/DCNR Tree Surveyor



This is my computer that helps me produce the best maps! Here I am working on a municipalities centerlines map. 


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