How Working Through College Paid Off for Penn Grad Janeé Franklin

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | | 215-898-6460September 16, 2013

By the time Janeé Franklin graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in May, she had already built an impressive resume.

The 21-year-old Virginia Beach, Va., native credits Penn’s financial aid program with helping her to work her way through college in meaningful jobs directly related to her career interests.

Franklin is now back on campus in her first full-time job after college. On Aug, 26, she became the new coordinator of Academically Based Community Services courses at the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships. Her experience working at the Center as a student gave her a distinct advantage when the position became available.

Franklin says Penn’s large grants, a part of her financial aid award package, combined with outside scholarships she received afforded her the opportunity to be selective about the types of jobs she held while earning her bachelor of arts degree in sociology.

“I did not have to take a work-study job and be as concerned with the pay rate of the job,” Franklin says. “Not having to pay for my education in that way allowed me to take the jobs I was interested in, not the ones that paid the most.”

During her sophomore year and the summer afterwards, Franklin worked at Penn’s Civic House at Lift, a resource center that assists local community members to achieve economic stability.  She worked with the Financial Literacy Community Project the first semester of her junior year.

Franklin’s first stint at the Netter Center began the summer after her junior year when she was employed as a work-study student in the college access and career readiness component of the Center’s Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative.

The position was a great fit for Franklin.

“Child welfare, poverty and education are my interests,” she says.  “And I was able to pursue them all there.”

Her desire to work with like-minded Penn students who wanted to apply sociology to a social service venue led to an undergraduate teaching assistant position in the Sociology Department the spring semester of her senior year. Working with Melissa Wilde, associate professor, Franklin helped to develop and implement a syllabus for the new ABCS recitations of Intro to Sociology.

She and other Penn students worked on large projects including grant writing at the Andrew Jackson Elementary School, “a very diverse, economically disadvantaged but dynamic and exciting school in South Philadelphia.” 

Franklin, who eventually hopes to pursue a master’s degree in social work, is happy to have found a position related to her field.

“My job is to work with faculty, Netter Center staff, the teaching assistants and staff at the various placements to help students learn from their work in different communities,” Franklin explains. “Whatever topic they’re studying, students are getting to see how the topic can affect people in the real world.”

There are approximately 60 ABCS courses from schools and disciplines across the University. Penn students participate in Penn assisted community school programs through ABCS courses, internships, work-study and volunteer opportunities.

(This is the fifth and last in a series about University of Pennsylvania students who took their arguments in support of federal student financial aid to Washington in a project organized by the Office of Student Registration and Financial Services. Other profiles feature students Kristin Thomas, Mounica Gummadi, Mark Harding and Jessica King.)