Someone with blue hair and bangs holding up a gold framed painting of Francis Martin’s self-portrait

Isabella Sangaline, BA History and Sociology ’20

Isabella Sangaline
BA History and Sociology ‘20

The Co-Op

As a research assistant at Stadtarchiv (city archive) of Dornbirn, Austria, I completed a University-funded co-op to research Francis Martin Drexel, the father of Drexel University founder Anthony Joseph Drexel. The main focus were understanding what Francis Martin’s life and family were like. I worked with primary source documents like division of estate documents and tax documents for Drexel family members.

The Object

This is a self-portrait of Francis Martin painted in 1817 when he was 25. It’s one of his 38 paintings included in The Drexel Collection, the University’s collection of art and special objects.

After Napoleon’s campaign through Austria, Francis Martin fled to Switzerland to avoid being drafted into Napoleon’s army. He spent years traveling and working around Switzerland, Italy and France painting houses and carriages. Once Dornbirn returned to Austrian rule, Francis Martin could return home, but “home” felt too small for him to make a living painting, so he came to Philadelphia in 1817.

The Takeaway

I wrote my senior thesis on how the early life of Francis Martin affected and related to his transition into banking.

Post-graduation, I hope to go to graduate school for history, either in the United States or Europe. Long term, I would like to enter academia. This co-op confirmed that it would be a good fit for me career-wise, so I am taking my shot with it.

Donor support to the co-op program Opportunity Fund supports students in unpaid opportunities so they can follow their passions.

More than 92 percent of Drexel’s undergraduates participate in the Drexel Co-op program — our signature model of education that balances classroom theory with job experience within a buzzing network of nearly 1,700 co-op employers in 52 countries. What does a Drexel co-op look like? In this regular feature, we ask a student fresh off a recent co-op to show us.