Category Archives: Gabriela C.

Nine Tips for New Students: Making the Most of Your Penn and Philly Experience

Author: Gabriela Coya, C’14

A week ago, I uttered the words “I’m a senior” for the first time and freaked out.

I don’t think I ever felt uncomfortable mentioning my sophomore or junior status, but something about saying the word “senior” felt overwhelming. The real world is officially looming in the background and I’m not sure what I’m going to do once I leave this place I’ve come to call home.

I can’t believe my time at Penn is almost up, but this campus has so much to offer, and before I graduate, I want to be sure I share a few pieces of advice I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way).

1. Explore the campus. There are so many hidden nooks and crannies in this place that it’s easy to limit your knowledge of campus to your dining halls, dorm, and classroom building. But explore! Places like the newly remodeled sixth floor of Van Pelt are gorgeous, and the Penn Museum has awesome exhibits and events for just about anyone; you don’t have to be an anthropology major to enjoy what they offer.

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2. If you live in a college house, attend the house-wide events. I’ve lived on campus the last three years and would only sporadically go to a college house event until last year. I really regret this, as they’re often free and always turn out to be fun. While living in Rodin College House last year, I  had the opportunity to go to New York City for dinner and a show, venture into Old City, and even learn how to cook authentic Chinese food. Attending house events is also a great way to meet the people you live with.

3. Get tickets for the performing arts shows. Despite being best known for its academics, Penn has a vibrant performing arts community — you might be surprised to find out how many talented people are among us. During your four years at Penn, you must go to at least one Mask & Wig show at their clubhouse in Center City, and during the school year, make sure you check out productions of famous plays and Broadway shows (last year, they put on Legally Blonde and Next to Normal and both shows were amazing!). And best of all, you don’t have to pay Broadway prices.

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4. Read the DP (Daily Pennsylvanian) and Under the Button. Both formats offer great ways to find out what’s happening on campus and in Philadelphia, so make sure you pick up your copy from one of the friendly people handing them out all over campus or go online between classes.

5. Take part in restaurant week. Between September 15-20 and 22-27, some of the top restaurants in Philly are offering three-course lunches at $20 and dinners at $35. It’s a great chance to appreciate all the great food Philly has to offer without having to pay the normal much higher price tag.

6. Give back and do community service. Look into possibly joining Community School Student Partnerships (CSSP), Big Brothers Big Sisters, or even a community service frat like Alpha Phi Omega (APO). I was a “Big Sister” to a young girl at a school a few blocks away, and it was so nice to be able to meet people outside of the “Penn Bubble” and make a difference.

7. Join a club to enjoy yourself and meet great people, not just to put something on your resume. It’s great if you find something that’s both entertaining and resume-worthy, but don’t fret if you want to sing in an a cappella group and are not sure how that fits into your pre-med plans. I assure you that by the time you graduate, you will have more than enough things to put on your resume.

8. Get Venmo. It’s a phone app that makes splitting the bill at dinnertime or sharing costs for furniture with your roommate so much easier.

9. And lastly, have fun. Take school seriously, of course, but take the opportunity to meet as many people as possible. You are surrounded by such bright and wonderful people – professors and peers included – so try to learn as much from them, whether it be in office hours or during late 2 a.m. conversations.

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Filed under Gabriela C., Student Perspective

Museum Hopping on Constitution Ave.

Author: Gabriela Coya, C’14

I can’t believe I’ve been in DC for six weeks already and only have four more weeks to go.

Since I last checked in, I’ve made it a bigger priority to visit museums, as there are so many within walking distance that are so amazing. (And even free!)

My first stop was the Newseum. This one did have an admission fee, but it was definitely worth every penny. It was a blast to go with fellow Daily Pennsylvanian staff members whom enjoyed the exhibits just as much — and perhaps even more — than I did.

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The Newseum is also home to the largest display of unaltered portions of the Berlin Wall.

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After visiting the Newseum, I also made sure to go to the Smithsonian Museums, such as the National Museum of Natural History. My friends and I got to relive our childhoods and hold critters like this big grasshopper and caterpillars.

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After being there for a few hours, we visited the National Museum of American History a few blocks away, where we saw Michelle Obama’s Alexander McQueen inauguration gown and Dorothy’s original ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.”

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Coming up this month: possibly a Nats vs. Mets game with fellow Penn students in Washington!

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Filed under Gabriela C., Student Perspective

Penn Summer in D.C.

Author: Gabriela Coya, C’13

For the summer, I’ve left the former capital of the U.S. to intern at the current capital – Washington, DC.

While I’ll always be partial to Philly, these past three weeks in DC have been a blast and I can’t wait to fully explore what this city has to offer.

So far, I’ve gotten to opportunity to meet fellow Penn students in DC through Penn in Washington and the Annenberg Summer Washington Internship Program (which I’m a part of), as well as alumni who’ve already made their mark at places such as The Washington Post and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Although I’m still figuring out where I want to end up after graduation, it’s certainly nice to know that I’ll have good company if I do end up calling DC my home.

For now, though, I’m focusing on learning lots, visiting tons of museums, and meeting Bo Obama (and people too, I suppose).

Union Station. I indulged a little and Instagrammed this.

Union Station. I indulged a little and Instagrammed this.

The White House on a hot summer day.

The White House on a hot summer day.

 

I was hoping Bo Obama might make an appearance. No luck yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

I was hoping Bo Obama might make an appearance. No luck yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

Penn-in-Washington meet and greet.

Penn-in-Washington meet and greet.

I also experienced a derecho while in Bethesda. This was the aftermath of the thunderstorm.

I also experienced a derecho while in Bethesda. This was the aftermath of the thunderstorm.

Stay tuned for more adventures in D.C. over the course of the summer…

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Filed under Gabriela C., Student Perspective, The Arts

A Penn Wedding to Remember

Author: Gabriela Coya, C’14

When 2009 College graduate Susan Garrigle got engaged to Hugh Mallaney last year, they knew they didn’t want to tie the knot in the typical Philadelphia wedding venue.

Like all newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Mallaney wanted to create a night to remember, but they also wanted to offer their family and friends an experience worth traveling across the country for. And when Atiya German, director of Facility Rentals at the Penn Museum, shared the possibilities at the museum where I’m a work-study student, they immediately knew it was the perfect fit.

In addition to already holding some sentimental value (it was the setting of one of their first dates), the museum provided a dazzling reception area just a quick jaunt from Center City.

After their wedding ceremony at St. Agatha – St. James Church at 38th and Chestnut, the couple headed to the Penn Museum to celebrate. I recently caught up with the bride who told me about the new memories she formed at her alma mater.

The bride and groom arrive at the Penn Museum.  Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

The bride and groom arrive at the Penn Museum. Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

The night started off with a cocktail reception in the Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery, where guests mingled in the presence of the third-largest sphinx in the world and explored a royal Egyptian palace.

Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography.

Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

Dinner under the 90-foot dome in the Chinese Rotunda followed, with family and friends surrounded by ancient Chinese art including the world-renowned Crystal Ball.

Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

The 55-pound quartz crystal sphere, dating back to the Qing dynasty, was part of the backdrop.

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Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

Even walking around the reception venue was a bit of a history lesson for the youngest of guests.

The flower girl and her father take in the many artifacts. Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

The flower girl and her father take in the many artifacts. Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

Afterward, the newlyweds danced the night away in the Egypt (Mummies) Gallery, amidst pharaohs and mummies of Egypt.

Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

Photo credit: Alison Conklin Photography

Thank you so much, Susan, for sharing details and pictures from your special day! It was a pleasure to learn more about how Penn’s beautiful campus can be utilized even beyond graduation.

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Filed under Gabriela C., Penn Museum, Student Perspective

Using Science and Art to Preserve the Past at the Penn Museum

Author: Gabriela Coya, C’14

For over 125 years, the Penn Museum has been transporting people back in time through artifacts from all around the globe. From 5,000-year-old mummies from Egypt, to Mayan hieroglyphics tracing back to 600 BCE, these diverse and often-fragile artifacts need proper care if they are to be around for future visitors.

This couldn’t be done without the help of researchers and conservators, who often stay behind the scenes but will reveal their secrets at Long Live Our Treasures: The Science of Conservation and Preservation, a Philadelphia Science Festival Signature Event taking place next Wednesday, April 26.

Conservators and researchers from the Barnes Foundation, the Mütter Museum, and even our own Penn Museum will tell all about the science and art involved in preserving our most precious artifacts, such as those from In the Artifact Lab. This new exhibit, which opened last fall, allows you to speak directly to conservators about the artifacts they are working on, including a  fragile coffin from 600 CE in need of repair, a complete adult mummy called PUM I, and this little (and even kind of cute) falcon mummy, which you can learn even more about from the conservators themselves on their blog.

Photo credit: Penn Museum

Photo credit: Penn Museum

Among other treasures currently Penn’s campus is the Lod Mosaic, which has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and is in its final American pit stop before heading to the Louvre in Paris. The mosaic found near Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1996 was impressive upon first glance — despite being nearly 2,000 years old, I didn’t think it looked a day over 100. The colors are vibrant and nearly each tiny cube on this huge 300-square-foot mosaic is still intact. Learn more about its discovery and conservation story in the video below:

If you’re interested in learning more about how the Penn Museum and other Philadelphia museums use science and art to keep the past alive, register for “Long Live Our Treasures” here. Go give artifacts like mummies a little love and attention; because it turns out they need it too.

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Filed under Campus Life, Gabriela C., Penn Museum, Student Perspective, Video