Radcliffe Lightweight Crew: How I Spent My Summer

Radcliffe Lightweight Crew: How I Spent My Summer

Harvard-Radcliffe lightweight crew spent the summer gaining invaluable life experiences around the globe. Continue to check back to to hear the first-person narratives of their many adventures.

Film in Berlin
By: Ruby Emberling

I spent two months with Harvard Summer School in Berlin, Germany this summer taking a film studies class and taking in the city through the lens of a camera. From watching classic German movies to making my own documentary short, I got the opportunity to try out a new discipline while immersing myself in the vibrant culture of a thoroughly modern and diverse city. Here I am mimicking a rowing sculpture at the Olympic stadium in Berlin, where in 1936 the American men's crew from University of Washington took gold from the Germans at the beginning of the Third Reich. It was funny to find an intersection of my love for rowing and my summer exploration of a new place.

Meetings in China
By: Laura Chang

I spent my summer doing research on campus, however I did travel to China to attend an international student government conference! I went with four other Ivy League student representatives (two from Yale, one from Brown, one from Princeton). It was a competitive process, and I'm lucky enough to have been chosen to represent the Crimson all the way in Wuhan. There were talks, outings on mountains, hot noodles for breakfast, cultural shock, and an overall good time. Meeting student government leaders from all over the world was pretty sick. I can now say I have chums in some of (what I consider) the more exotic countries of the world-- like Macau and Madagascar.


Check out the previous entries here:

Human Connections in Mexico
By: Lucy Burke

I worked this summer at Human Connections, a social enterprise start-up in Bucerías, Mexico. My job was to research and assess the efficacy of existing social programming in the region, so I got to visit incredible local artisans to interview them. I had the freedom to run my own project, which was an eye-opening experience in the practical limitations non-profits run up against and the creativity necessary to overcome them.



International Change in Tanzania
By: Olivia Henry

This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Tanzania to volunteer with an NGO called support for International Change. I started my trip by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. After an amazing six days of hiking, I started the volunteer program. After learning about the public health problem of HIV and AIDS in Tanzania, I was placed in a rural village with four other volunteers, two Tanzanians, and two Americans, where we spent six weeks educating our community about AIDS, working to fight stigmatism, and convincing people to get tested.

Research in Israel
By: Ronit Malka

I spent the past summer in Jerusalem, Israel doing research at the Bioengineering department of Hebrew University. I was building a computer model of how a human embryo bends when it implants in the uterus, the point of which was to see the stress patterns that bending induced on the embryo and see if those matched patterns of differentiation (i.e. when the stem cells turn into distinct types of cells, like muscle, bone, neurons, etc.). They did, so our results were actually really neat and are getting submitted for publication.

I think the more informative part of my summer, though, was just living and working in Israel. I gained a lot of confidence about my ability to just do things and not care what other people thought. For instance, I speak Hebrew pretty terribly, and used to be too self-conscious to say more than a couple words at a time in front of other people. By the end of the trip, I would go up to complete strangers at the supermarket, gym, even in lab, and just speak until I couldn't understand them anymore. I got to tour around and see sites that had thousands of years of history behind them - the wailing wall, David's tower, Masada. I also was there during the war and got to dash to shelters for many missile warnings, which was a sobering experience in and of itself. Coming back, I feel like I've gained a huge amount of perspective about myself and my place as a member of a global, rather than just American, community.





Lowering Carbon Emissions
By: Mickey Mackie

While in Denmark, I volunteered at a start-up nonprofit organization based in Copenhagen called Dazin, which sets up alternative energy programs in Bhutan, which has the highest per capita wood usage rate in the world. Wood-burning fires are one of the leading causes of climate change. Each micro-gasifying stove (provided by Dazin) eliminates black carbon emissions, saves 4-5 tons of CO2 per year, and protects the Bhutanese from harmful smoke, which kills about 4 million people each year worldwide. We set up fuel cookie factories in communities, which make fuel pellets from forestry waste. Wood consumption is reduced by over 80 percent in villages where our program is implemented. Women spend less than half the time they used to collecting wood. The cookie factories also provide jobs for the youth in rural communities and decreases urban migration. We have met no opposition from anyone in Bhutan; they love the program. I built the website (check out!). There are only five people on the Dazin team, so I was able to have a large influence and contribute ideas. I learned about marketing, how start-ups work, web design, stove technology and about the political and environmental climate in Bhutan.



Finding Family
By: Addie Backer

This summer, I took a (personal) risk and decided to stay in Cambridge to work on the Harvard campus. I worked as both an intern for the Freshman Dean's Office - helping with projects and talking to incoming students and their families - and as a Sales Associate at the Harvard Shop.  As someone who adores Canada, the West Coast, and my family above all things, the decision to become independent and begin new work experiences without my usual support system was a really tough one. By focusing internally and finding things that calm me and make me happy, I was able to push past this initial rocky patch so that I could thrive in the familiar, yet oddly uncertain, environment. I began reading and spending more time with close friends, which are both activities that are important to me and that are so easy to lose sight of during the school year. I believe that I finally found my place in this beautiful city - learning its more quiet, hidden secrets while growing to appreciate the busy nature and excitement of the area. I also learned extremely valuable work skills from both of my jobs that (I hope) will help me figure out what I want to do when this whole Harvard thing is over. Safe to say, I think I nailed this summer, and I had an absolute blast doing it. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone in order to learn more about yourself -- but of course most athletes are already familiar with that.

The picture that I included is meant to represent my realization this summer that your "family" is made up of those people who you trust and really care about and who can pull you out of the worst funks. By surrounding yourself with these kinds of people, you are creating a support system for yourself - a base of people who you can rely on no matter how far away your related family may be.





Summer in the City
By: Nicasia Beebe-Wang

This summer, I was in Manhattan for 11 weeks, interning for Mount Sinai Medical Center's Neuropsychoimaging of Addiction and Related Conditions (NARC) group. The research I did this summer focused mainly on variations in the proenkephalin gene and error processing in cocaine addiction, and incorporated genetic and imaging data. Besides gaining some valuable experience in neuropsychological research from the NARC group, I got a chance to explore one of the largest and most vibrant cities in the country. This picture was taken from the Brooklyn Bridge, a spot that quickly became my favorite place in NYC. With a view of both the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines, walks across the bridge at night allowed me to take a step back and reflect on my experiences at Harvard and New York, and on the exciting year to come.



Coach for College in Vietnam
By: Naomi Lang

This summer I went to Da Nang, a city in central Vietnam and participated in two three-week camps with the program Coach for College. In the first camp, I coached eighth and ninth graders in basketball and taught them English, and in the second camp I coached seventh graders in basketball and taught Health (Biology). The schools were in rural towns and the children came from low-income families. The bonds I made with these kids became incredibly strong very quickly, and every 5:30 a.m. wake up was welcomed with the thought that I would be seeing them. I only taught them for a short period, yet after the first few days I couldn't remember my life without them. It's difficult for me to put into words how Vietnam changed me, but all I know is that while I was there I felt a constant stream of love and kindness from every person I met, and now that I am home, I have a new appreciation for all of the things in my life. I felt like myself in Vietnam, myself free from worry, anxiety and stress, and it was as if I had finally returned to a long lost home that made me feel at peace with the world around me. It was magical, memorable and unforgettable.





By: Claire Harmange

With support and funding from Harvard's PRISE and Herchel-Smith, I spent this summer working in Professor Myers's lab at Harvard's chemistry department doing research on the project I have worked on for over a year. Aside from running many reactions, some that worked, and many that did not, I am looking forward to putting my work into a thesis and later on into publication as I continue to do research during the coming school year. After 10 weeks of laboratory research, I spent a week on a ranch in Idaho in the Salmon River Mountains doing a lot of hiking with my family.



Coaches Across Continents in Brazil
By: Tiffany Fonseca

This summer I returned to Brazil to participate in a Coaches Across Continents program. CAC is a sport for social impact program that teaches important life skills and lessons to youth around the world through the ubiquitous and fun game of soccer. It was founded by a former Harvard soccer player. We spent one week in Brasília, one week in Rio de Janeiro and two weeks in São Paulo, working with coaches and youth in low-income and dangerous areas, initiating conversation about gender equity, conflict resolution, health and wellness, and other important topics. I was really grateful for the opportunity to see a side of Brazil I hadn't seen during my semester in Rio, and my summer has deepened my desire to pursue a career in social justice.