‘People and Places at Penn’

For many students, attending college marks the first time away from home, the first time managing a budget, even the first time doing laundry. New spaces, new classes, new friends, new routines. This year, it’s not just new for the freshmen. For many, late August will mark their first return to campus since March 2020. In anticipation of Move-InPenn Today asked six undergraduate students in the Philadelphia area this summer to divulge their favorite spots.

Francisco Barrera

Francisco Barrera on a campus volleyball court
“The best part about Penn has been being surrounded by people who are similarly hard-working, motivated, and driven,” says senior Francisco Barrera. To relax, he heads to the beach volleyball court, which has been “huge to decompress.” (Photo: Eric Sucar)

Francisco Barrera of Miami, Florida is “really interested in the energy problem.” Barrera wants to part of the solution, so he applied to Penn’s Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research, where the senior is studying engineering and physics. Barrera spent his summer doing research with Deep Jariwala of the Device Research and Engineering Laboratory, “looking into new materials and new configurations for maximizing light absorbance and efficiency for the next generation of solar cells,” he says.

Francisco Barrera

Barrera’s favorite place to study is the Fisher Fine Arts Library. “I’m always surrounded by STEM. The Fine Arts Library is a little bit of an escape from that,” he says. “I was always totally inspired by how beautiful the inside was. It’s so quiet compared to other study spaces.”

Read about the other students in Kristina García’s feature at Penn Today