By Mariana Velasco
Grace is a senior targeting Spanish originally from Minnesota. She is concentrating in Finance and Decision Processes at Wharton, as well as minoring in Hispanic Studies and Music in the College.
Tell me more about your minor in Music, how did that happen? I am a classical singer, so when I was applying to college, I was also looking at a lot of universities with music programs. When I got into Huntsman, I was worried that I would not have the time or the flexibility to continue with music. I was really happy to see that although music wasn’t part of the Huntsman curriculum itself, I still had plenty of opportunities to pursue it through a minor and choirs on campus – it is a good balance.
What did you do during your freshman summer? My freshman summer I wanted to take courses that I would not have been able to take at Penn. I ended up studying at LSE in London for the summer, where I took courses in International Political Economy and International Law.
How has Huntsman shaped your college experience so far? Huntsman has helped me to discover many interests that I likely would not have discovered otherwise, such as political economy and regional economic integration. Beyond coursework, Huntsman has taught me the immense value of belonging to a truly global community. Had I only done a business degree without the international studies component, I likely would have not realized how important and valuable it is to learn from my peers’ distinct experiences.
Where did you intern sophomore and junior year? I interned both summers at Goldman Sachs Asset Management in New York and will be returning full time in July. Having little knowledge of the finance industry prior to my sophomore summer, I went into recruitment with a very open mind and was fortunate enough to find a firm that has been a great fit for me.
How would you describe your Huntsman/Penn social experience? The social aspect of Huntsman is really unique in that, as a freshman, you start at Penn with a group of forty to fifty automatic friends who share similar interests. That said, it was also important to me to get to know Penn students from completely different majors, which is why I ended up joining a sorority freshman spring. I’m grateful to have strong friendships both within and outside of the Huntsman community.
What other groups on campus are you a part of? I have been part of CWiC (the Communication Within the Curriculum Program) as a public speaking advisor since sophomore fall. We get to work with students individually or in groups on their oral presentation skills for specific courses on campus. I get to learn a lot about coaching people and get to develop my own public speaking skills through my work. I am also a Penn Abroad ambassador for the CASA-Sevilla program. Finally, I’ve participated in a number of choirs through the music department, including Penn Collegium Musicum, University Choir and Opera Workshop.
How was your experience studying abroad in Spain? Definitely my favorite semester of college – I highly recommend the CASA Sevilla program to any Spanish targets. I was able to live with a host family, feel truly integrated into the culture and do independent research on historical memory, specifically regarding the Spanish Civil War and the dictatorship that followed.
Any cool Huntsman travel stories? Yes! As part of my program doing research in Spain, we got to travel regularly all over the country to learn about historical memory. We spent one weekend in Madrid for a conference – the program invited professors from local universities to hear our paper ideas and provide feedback. It was the first year of the program and it seemed that fewer people participated than expected, and they seemed to have a lot of surplus budget. As a result, we were able to go to incredible restaurants, stay at a beautiful hotel that was very centrally located in Madrid and more… for free! The conference itself was obviously amazing, but it was kind of funny how we ended up in this ridiculously fancy hotel as 19 and 20 year old college students.
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