A Southern Girl in a Brand-New World


Kaitlyn Dent is a native of Hattiesburg, MS. She recently graduated from Jackson State University with her Bachelor’s in Computer Science. Kaitlyn interned in Philadelphia with the Department of Defense under the HBCU/MI Summer Program in 2019. She plans to study at the University of North Texas for a Master’s in Artificial Intelligence.

Guest-written by Kaitlyn Dent

Now, this is a story all about how my summer got flipped turned upside down. Now I would like to take a minute to tell the memories of how I spent my time in the city of Brotherly Love!

It was the spring semester of 2019, and a stressed college student was worried that she wouldn’t have a summer internship. After multiple rejections, including one from a company in her home state of Mississippi, she felt defeated. One day, while hanging out with her mother over Spring Break, she got a call from someone in Philadelphia saying that they chose her for an internship with the Department of Defense at NIWC Philadelphia! Filled with joy and thanking God for the new opportunity to come, this southern girl was about to embark on an exciting new journey.

That southern girl is me, of course. I still look back at that summer in awe of everything I experienced and accomplished. Now, I’m not talking about accomplishments like doing super well on my internship and being awarded Intern of the Year, no. I am talking about how I jumped on a faith drive and traveled thousands of miles away from home and explored the 2nd largest city on the east coast all by myself. I had the best summer ever in one of the greatest cities!

At first, I spent most of my weekends in Old City. I think now is an appropriate time to say that I love history! I love that Philadelphia has so many museums to explore. I went to see the Liberty Bell, then toured the Ben Franklin Museum, National Liberty Museum, Christ Church, Washington Square Park, and bought some Philly apparel from Xenos Gifts. Around that area were food trucks which led me to try my first Philly Cheesesteak!

During the summer, I stayed at Temple University. I toured Temple’s campus and it almost felt like I attended there myself. I could walk to Cecil B. Moore Ave and catch the subway to my destinations. Being a Southern girl, I’m not used to subways and street parking, which is highly essential to Philly. I was nervous and yet excited because I had only seen subways in movies, but before you knew it, the subway became my primary way of transportation.

I went to a Phillies games, which marked my first MLB experience, and attended my first ever concert at the Wells Fargo Center, seeing the one and only Ariana Grande during her Sweetener World Tour! I walked down the infamous Ben Franklin Parkway to The Franklin Institute and toured the Marvel Universe of Superheroes Exhibit. I also took a sightseeing tour of Philly on the hop-on/hop off double-decker bus. I spent some time roaming the streets of Center City and took pictures in front of the famous Love statue and caught a Mister Softee ice cream truck for a refreshing milkshake. One day I grabbed some delicious food from Chinatown, ran up the Rocky Steps, and while I was there I took a tour of The Philadelphia Museum of Art as well. Finally, I ended my memorable summer in Philly by attending an Eagles game!

Philadelphia will always hold a special place in my heart. What I loved most about working in the city is that there was always something to do to keep your demanding work week balanced with fun. My advice to anyone who will intern in Philly is to do the best you can to step out of your comfort zone, I promise you won’t regret it! Philly has something for everyone. Just be safe and cautious, have faith in God and yourself, and make sure you make magnificent memories!


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