Project 1: When I Grow Up

Helen Nie | When I Grow Up

Materials: Vinyl decal

Site: Locust Walk at the McNeil Building (3718 Locust Walk)


A veterinarian. An astronaut. A firefighter.

Installed during Penn’s “OCR” season, this project uses typography to shed light on the glorified culture of status and prestige that is the recruitment process. The commentary confronts less the role itself, and more the way that job titles have evolved to use inflated jargon to become convoluted, ambiguous, or outright absurd.

Pulled verbatim from Handshake, Penn’s recruiting platform, and set in italicized Times New Roman, the phrases were cut from vinyl and placed on the sidewalk curb lining McNeil—Penn’s Career Services building.

Coupled with its location and its coincidence with recruitment season, the job titles, albeit strange, should be familiar to passersby and prompt reflection on what they actually want to be when they “grow up”.

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