Spending the summer taking classes and working in the University of Pennsylvaniaadmissions office and as a research assistant is giving rising sophomore Andrea Ning an opportunity to stretch her mind and expand her interests.
“A lot of the summer has been spent thinking about what I’d like to do in the future,” says Ning.
In the Office of Admissions, Ning staffs the front desk and greets visitors and is the summer tour guide coordinator.
During the academic year, she is a member of the Kite and Key Society student service organization, which conducts tours for Admissions for more than 70,000 prospective students and their families who visit Penn’s campus.
Ning’s experience with Kite and Key led to her summer job as a tour guide and as the tour guide coordinator. She oversees more than 30 guides and assists in training them and in scheduling shifts.
As a guide, she is one of the first Penn students that prospective students and their families will meet, so she feels a responsibility to represent the University well.
“We have a statistic in the office that, for 87 per cent of visitors, you’re the only student they know at Penn,” says Ning. “The tour guide’s portrayal of Penn is going to have a huge impact on how someone sees the University.”
This summer, to engage visitors and give them a memorable introduction to the University, Ning says she and other guides are encouraged to tell interesting personal stories of their Penn experience.
“I talk about how my parents come from science-heavy backgrounds and always wanted me to try doing research, but I remained firmly against working in any kind of lab or doing any kind of research,” says Ning.
She shares with tour groups that her view of research work changed after accepting a second summer job as a research assistant for Andrew Carton, an assistant professor of management in Wharton. She discovered that she loves doing research.
“I tell them that it’s something that I only discovered because Penn offers unlimited opportunities, not just in research, and because the atmosphere, the people, the academics, the extra-curricular activities help push you beyond your comfort zone.”
Ning says her summer of exploration has given her an opportunity to learn more about herself and to develop new interests from her summer experiences on campus.
“I get a lot of satisfaction from being able to make an impact on people directly,” says Ning. “I like working with people, and that’s what I discovered. I’ll be looking for more of a balance in what I choose.”