Summer Centered: Peter Baroff ’20 Explores Economic Development in Ardmore
Hoping to become more familiar with the area surrounding the College, Baroff is interning with the Ardmore Initiative this summer.
Political science major and growth and structure of cities minor Peter Baroff ’20 is getting a chance to change the very face of nearby Ardmore this summer through an internship with an award-winning local business district authority that is headquartered less than a mile away from campus.
With a board comprised of fewer than ten people, the Ardmore Initiative may be small, but its size belies the breadth and depth of its mission: to “create and maintain a thriving, economically viable downtown business district for the benefit of merchants, residents and visitors alike and to serve as advocates for the district’s commercial property and business owners.” As someone who’s considering a career in economic and community development, Baroff can’t imagine a better way to explore the field—and see if it’s something he wants to seriously pursue.
“It will give me lots of experience in economic development and a really good practical foundation to build on through my coursework at Haverford,” he says.
The men’s varsity soccer team member found the internship through the Center for Career and Professional Advising. Knowing that it would both build on his academic interests and help him become more familiar with the suburban neighborhoods surrounding the College, he applied for—and received— funding from the Center as well.
“The opportunity was provided to me through the Whitehead Internship Program, which helps sophomore and junior students engage in work related to entrepreneurial endeavors, small business enterprise, venture capital or investment finance activities,” he says. “It is a great way for students to apply to a number of great internship opportunities that are funded by the College.”
Though he’s a long way from his home in North Carolina, Baroff isn’t homesick. Describing his own part in furthering the Initiative’s mission as “assist[ing] the organization in coordinating with different actors in Ardmore’s downtown,” he’s keeping busy planning development projects in the Initiative’s Lancaster Ave. offices and walking that same area to pitch his ideas to local small business owners.
“Most of the conversations that I have been and will be having with these business owners are about working with them on events or programs which the Ardmore Initiative organizes that are meant to help promote the downtown district,” he says.
Baroff sees this work as a learning experience—one that he hopes will simultaneously direct his own burgeoning ambitions and help local businesses (and the town of Ardmore, by extension) thrive.
“Hopefully, the summer will help me decide if this is the type of work I want to do or if I need to shift my focus,” he says.
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.