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Brown ’17 Enjoys Many Aspects of CTS Nashville

Wesley Brown ’17: CTS Logistics – My internship this summer with Commodity Transportation Services in Nashville, Tennessee has been unique in a variety of ways.  In short, CTS is a freight brokerage that mainly deals in the logistics side of transporting produce throughout the country.  This particular internship is rather unique because I am working with one CTS logistics manager, Mike Hrgota, out of a condominium because we are working toward gaining loyal customers on this half of the country in order to start and expand into a branch office in the Nashville area.  All from the condo, Mike and I are responsible for coordinating the transportation of produce from the Southeast to the Mid-South, Midwest, and Northeast regions of the United States.  This internship has been especially challenging, but Mike has took me under his wing by teaching me a vast amount about the business as well as helping me gain irreplaceable professional experience by giving me a sizeable amount of responsibility in company matters.  Mike has also taught me some valuable life lessons, including a healthier diet and how to cook a delicious Cajun baked chicken breast.

In the first six weeks of my internship with CTS, I have aided in many cases and also been solely responsible for obtaining a trucking company for a partnership, as well as tracking over 50 loads.  These loads have almost all been transported in refrigerated tractor-trailers; almost all the loads have been of some variety of produce, and on average each load brings in about $250 profit for CTS.  In total, the

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Brown ’17

loads I have been heavily involved in have created a total profit of about $11,000 for the company and helped build a strong base of produce shipping customers.  A freight broker’s job may sound easy on paper; however, almost nothing is simple in trucking when dealing with produce.  Timing is probably the most crucial element in the freight brokerage practice: the truck must be at the shipping location waiting and ready when the product is picked at a farm, many times truck drivers are late for a load appointment or cannot find the shipper or consignee location, some loads require the refrigerated trailer to be at 40 degrees for the first 6 hours of a run and then 34 degrees for the remainder of the trip, there are often insurance claims on loads of produce that are over/under ripened or damaged during the run, and many other problems that occur on a daily basis in the produce shipping business.

In order to at the very least have a handle on these challenging situations, the most important skill I have developed during this internship has been problem-solving.  These problems that occur are very real and it is the freight broker’s sole responsibility to do their best to fix things that go wrong with loads.  At times we are not able to fix the problem, but even then we must work to keep the customer happy and transport their product where it needs to be in a different manner by making adjustments.  Last week, a load of watermelons that I was tracking was rejected at a US Foods Distribution center in Hatfield, Pennsylvania for being “too cold.”  However, my coworker and I communicated and worked together to sell the load to a smaller food company nearby in order to keep our shipper and loyal trucking company happy.

This Small Business Internship Fund program has been a complete immersion into the life of a freight broker and logistics manager.  The position is demanding and nonstop, as I have often times had to step away from the dinner table, fishing hole, or local music venue on weekends in order to take calls and work from my phone in order to solve developing problems.  My favorite part of the internship has been a feeling of accomplishment after a driver calls to update me that he has successfully delivered a load of produce all the way from Florida to Michigan, about a 1,300 mile run.  This being my first internship in the business world, I have learned a great deal about how a business is run, and have learned that I might like to work in sales one day.  I have also fallen in love with Nashville and now strongly want to live and work in this area in the future.  I have experienced culture such as music, history, and nature that would not be possible anywhere else.  Another great part of my SBIF experience here has been networking with Wabash alumni in the area.  Just last night I went on a five mile walk with Tim Morrison ‘83, and talked with him about everything from the business world, baseball, and our strong Christian faith.  In conclusion, I would like to thank the Small Business Internship Fund program and all people involved in this process for allowing me this wonderful opportunity to gain unique professional and life experience through this amazing program.

Schuler ’17 Finds Career Path Assurance

SBIF Blog Pic 2 Aaron Schuler 2016

Schuler ’17 hard at work

Aaron Schuler ’19: Handshake – Thanks to the Small Business Internship Fund (SBIF) managed by Wabash College Career Services I’ve been able to learn a lot this summer. The company that I am working for is Handshake. They are a career services platform aimed at connecting students with employers by providing information on internships and employment opportunities. Through this internship, I’ve done many things for the company in many different fields.

My primary function is playing a support role to the account managers here. This role includes a lot of customer interaction. I answer questions as schools go through the implementation phase and are still learning the product. During the implementation step, I am also in charge of creating user accounts for the main career services staff of each school within our training, uploading, and handshake system. I also create reports on data within the system so that the schools have data to understand how the system has improved each school’s services. For example, I can determine the student involvement within the system over a period of time and send the results to the career services staff. Unlike many internships who focus mainly on teaching an intern one position, I also help with the sales and management teams at Handshake. I’ve worked on SDR projects for the marketing and sales team and I have looked at invoice reporting and office management to help management.

Coming into this summer, my career path was focused mainly on sales and marketing and from the experiences that I have had, I think sales, marketing, and account/project management would all be occupations that I would enjoy having post graduation. Mainly I want to be in a position where I have customer interaction. Handshake knows how to talk to and take care of their customers. I’ve learned a lot about the career service industry and made many connections with some of the best directors in the nation, further developing my good and helpful attitude in working with customers. I’ve been able to learn many things in the first four weeks I’ve had with Handshake. Thanks to the SBIF program I have the opportunity to learn many different parts of how a small business operates and what they value compared to larger corporations over the course of this summer.

Bye ’19 Internship Increases Business Interest

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Scott Bye ’19 closing a deal.

Scott Bye ’19, CTS Logistics – Starting off from day one, our boss and Wabash alumnus Erik Ness told us that this internship wouldn’t be like the others. From day one, I was given responsibilities that most others receive training before actually doing for the business because all it takes is one screw up to lose $50,000 in this industry. I am interning for Commodity Transportation Services, CTS, doing logistics and freight brokerage work. To not bore anyone, we make sure produce goods (watermelons, onions, cantaloupes, etc.) get from shipping warehouses to Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and a multitude of other distribution centers so their inventory can be restocked and sent to the very stores that we all shop in.

The job is challenging since we are the middle-men—between our customer and the truck that we hire to deliver the goods—and try to make our profit while keeping both sides happy. Being submerged into the business so quickly, there really wasn’t any room to learn slowly or get behind as the work can be very, very challenging. In just 4 weeks, I have learned more about this industry and the negotiating side of business than what I knew coming in.

In my short time working here, my interest in a career in the business field has only increased. Seeing how this company operates, communicates, and succeeds is all something that I can keep with me for the rest of my life and use to my own advantage and reference in the future. I would like to thank the Small Business Internship Fund for making this opportunity possible. On top of the incredible business experience that I have/will gain because of this, I will also bring back countless memories and 8 new friendships that will continue past my stay here in Phoenix. With work 6 days a week, we take advantage of our Sunday off-day and do something different every week—from hiking and tubing to indoor soccer and going to the Grand Canyon. All-in-all, I can truly say that this has been the best and most enjoyable summer of my life so far and none of it would be possible without Wabash and the SBIF.

Gray ’15: Kiss Me, I’m Home

By Nick Gray ’15

I spent this past summer picking cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana, and bath salts out of the US mail system. Before this past summer, I’d spent hours browsing testimonials of people who had interned with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Alcohol Tabaco and Firearms (ATF), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), who I was interning with, and the responses varied greatly: “They’re making me file. ALL SUMMER.”, to “Kiss me. I’m home.”

Gray ’15, a Philadelphia native, explores opportunities in his hometown and sees a new side of it

The USPIS Philadelphia Division was a 40 minute commute that I was glad to take. My average day was spent doing things like this:

  • Doing surveillance on a woman in North Philly, who’d been stealing identities in her apartment. We took license plate numbers, circled the house for possible routes of escape (in the case of a warranted search), and speculated on her daily schedule.
  • Working with drug dogs and their handlers to sniff out (no pun intended) packages in the mail.
  • Documenting, weighing, and packaging the quarter million dollars’ worth of drugs that we (the interns) helped find.
  • Browsing the evidence room (I almost cried when I got to hold a Romanian AK-47).
  • Hearing perspectives from federal agents ranging from 23 year veterans to people that started the year before.

On more extraordinary days, I got to sit and talk to Federal Judges, District Attorneys, Secret Service Agents, Air Marshals (We had a shooting competition. Naturally, I lost.), Postal Police, members of the Philly Police Department, DEA Agents, K9 units, State Troopers, and members of ATF. I got to participate in and help facilitate federal agent training and in the process, almost beat a veteran in a shooting competition and got arrested four times in felony vehicle stops which included accusing an Inspector of racial discrimination. I also got a course in using riot shields, how to correctly use a firearm while holding the shield, and I took part in a virtual simulation on responding to calls as a law enforcement officer (I saved a young woman then killed multiple innocents). The simulation left my hands trembling, hands sweating, and my heart cold and pounding. I tried to imagine the real thing.

I did not have to imagine for long. When cocaine or methamphetamines were found, we did what they called a “controlled delivery.” The drugs would be delivered as planned but with heavy surveillance. For this, we were allowed to ride along equipped with bulletproof vests. We got to watch as the package was delivered, then seconds, minutes, or even hours later, the door being blown off the hinges by a ram and the pouring in of federal agents armed with MP-5s. After, we were allowed to watch on-site interrogations and search the house for additional evidence. We also had the pleasure of being cursed out by locals for “entering without warrants” and “racial discrimination” (this is where my training came in handy).

As exciting as all of this was, it was fairly hopeless too. Drugs, cocaine especially, were sent, over and over, to the same rough neighborhoods, to which we came to “control delivery” and whisk away peoples brothers, husbands, and sons. I had the privilege of working with George Clark, a Postal Inspector in the Philly Division. Clark gave me an outlet into another side of law enforcement. He allowed me to assist him in the investigation of a man who had, over the course of three years, stolen nearly half a million dollars from banks like PNC, TD, and various others. He’d also managed to involve the post office by buying money orders with the stolen money. He accomplished this feat with a pen, legitimate checks he’d gained from vulnerable people, and the power of persuasion. We spent about a week pouring over his criminal record and reports we had of his past thefts. We found his favorite place, favorite day, favorite time, and waited for him across the street in an undercover car. Sure enough, he was there at 7:02 AM buying money orders with stolen money.

“Nick, get in there and get his description.” Clark said.

“What?”

Last time I heard, the guy was looking at about a quarter century in prison. The internship was over before we could snag him.

This internship began, where all great things begin: Career Services. I attended the Law Enforcement Lunch they hosted before that summer and went to speak with two ladies from the USPIS based out of Indy. Students had swarmed the FBI, DEA, and Secret Service, but these two Inspectors did not have a single taker. They were very friendly and much more flexible than the other agencies. I called their supervisor, Ken Miller, who told me they weren’t accepting interns that summer. I was disappointed.

 

“Guess I’ll just go home this summer.” I said.

“Where’s home?”

“Philly.”

“You know what”, he said, “I know a Scott Guretse in Philly, an Inspector. Here’s his email, check it out.”

 

Kiss me, I was home.

Long Pham ’14: Programming Internship at Fastport Trucking

Long Pham ’14:  This summer I am doing an internship up here in Lowell, MA with Jim Ray ’95 at his startup FASTPORT, thanks to the funding from Lilly Small Business Internship Fund.  FASTPORT is a small business focusing on technology-based trucker recruitment, and is pretty much the very first such company in the trucking industry.  One particular advance that we possess is our web-based application for truckers to get rid of all the paperwork and reduce the processing time from a few weeks to 48-72 hours.

However, our web application was meant to be much better and faster than it is at the moment; and that is where my work comes in. Generally, my work at FASTPORT involves assisting Jim on rebuilding the entire web application from scratch, to create a better, faster and much more efficient system for the business.

I would like to emphasize the importance of what I have learned here at FASTPORT.  In fact, the most important lesson that I have learned over the last 10 weeks is not about programming; instead, it is all about work ethics and entrepreneurial attitude.  For over 10 weeks, Aeknoor Cheema ’15 and I have been working to get the business up and running.  Aeknoor was helping Colin Dunlap ’12, our Sales & Marketing manager, on building business and marketing plans, while I assisted Jim on all the programming stuffs.  Since FASTPORT is only a startup with 2 employees and 2 interns, it is obvious that we all have to work really hard in order to make it work. Late-night and weekend work shifts are very common at FASTPORT.  Even though the workload is always tremendous, I never felt unmotivated, thanks to Jim’s wonderful mentorship.  When we stay late for work, he often takes us out to dinner, and we discuss our workplan over delicious wings and beers.  Jim also shares stories about his ventures, his successes and failures, and always concludes with some sort of life-worthy lesson.  These experiences make me feel fortunate for having chosen this internship for my summer.

Certainly, I cannot forget to mention the programming part of the internship.  Even though I had studied several courses on Computer Science and was indeed fluent in Java and Python, my knowledge did not help very much.  Jim has guided us towards .NET programming using Visual Basic/SQL, which I never learned.  Thankfully, he was a great teacher, who would spend time making me instructive videos and guidelines, as well as providing working examples for me to study from.  After 10 weeks of ‘studying’ web programming with Jim, I have come a long way from knowing nothing to being able to construct a complete web project on my own with an infinitesimal amount of help.  All this work also makes me realize that knowledge means nothing unless you really use it in fieldwork.

To conclude, I would just like to thank Career Services and Jim for offering me this wonderful opportunity.  All these hardworking late nights and weekends have taught me the importance of working ethically with a positive attitude, regardless of your position in the company.  More importantly, they affirm one simple truth to me: Wabash Always Fights, in school and beyond.

Andrew Dettmer ’15: A Summer Spy: Interning at Homeland Security

Office of Public Affairs Interns with Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napalitano

Andrew Dettmer ’15:  First let me take a moment to thank the Wabash College Political Science Department, and the Coons-Cassel committee for providing me with my grant for this summer.  If not for their hard work year around, financial assistance, and the support they’ve given me in the classroom this internship would not have been possible.

I am now approaching the end of my ten week summer internship in Washington, D.C. and I am shocked by how quickly time has flown by here at the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Public Affairs!  It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in an office with a security officer handing me my badge and explaining the security protocols and procedures at our complex.  Now as it ends, I find myself wrapping up projects and documents I’ve spent the whole summer working on, and preparing to clean out my desk and turn my badge back in.  Also, I’ll miss spying on all of you.  Just kidding, we don’t do that.

I’ve often heard horror stories from interns with other government agencies about having little to do, and only being given busy work.  The exact opposite has been true for me, thanks in part to the departure of several full time employees whose shoes needed to be filled, but due to budget cuts had to be pushed off.  But with their departures, came opportunities for the summer interns.

One of the best things I’ve learned in my position is how to create, manage, and maintain a website that represents 240,000 employees and deals with so many complex and different issues for the public.  Despite having no experience doing anything like this, my boss fully trusted that I could figure it out.  Like a true liberal arts student, I threw myself into the task and learned on the job.  Now, I’ve completely overhauled the Department’s Website satisfaction and response system, and helped initiate several Website improvements that have helped the American people use our website and interact with their government better.  Pretty cool.

I’ve learned how to use programs like Google Analytics, IdeaScale, Foresee ACSI, and Drupal CMS; programs not usually found on a Political Science major’s resume, which only increases my skill set for when I leave Wabash.  And while the practical skills I’ve learned have been immeasurably valuable, the other functions I’ve helped and observed have given me a more in depth view of how our country responds to all types of disasters and attacks.  Thirty seconds from my desk is the National Joint Information Center, a room which was the center of the U.S. government’s response to everything from Hurricane Sandy to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, or the Boston Bombing to Sandy Hook.  Sitting in on calls with people we see on the news every day, and participating in drills on every type of scenario you can imagine has given me a lot of confidence in our government’s ability to weather any storm.

Andrew Dettmer ’15 and Carter Adams ’15 enjoy “sweet seats” at a Nationals game courtesy of Eric Eversole ’94

The people here have been great, and I am saddened that my time here is ending.  The skills and experiences they’ve given me will and have shaped my career path.  However I feel I’ve made the best of the summer, even taking the time to meet up with my old bosses, Eric Eversole ‘94 and Laurène Gros-Daillon at the Military Voter Protection Project.  Eric was kind enough to give Carter Adams ’15 and I his tickets that night to the National’s game, and we had a blast. And of course, countless trips to museums, monuments, and famous eateries has capped off what has been an amazing summer.

 

Casey Shipley ’14: Biking and Building Skills with Alumni in Nantucket

Casey Shipley ’14:  This summer, I was fortunate enough to land an internship working for Nantucket Bike Tours in Nantucket, MA.  Thus far, it has been an unbelievable summer working for entrepreneur Jason Bridges ‘98, who started this company three years ago, and Carl Rivera ’13.  Courtney Nemeth, who is the co-owner of NBT, and Tadhg Hannon ’15, who is also interning for the summer, make up the rest of our team.  At Nantucket Bike Tours, we give tours to people all around the island helping them experience Nantucket by showing them amazing beaches, endless historical sites, and breathtaking landscape.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect before I came out to Nantucket, but everything Ihave learned here has by far surpassed my expectations. Being a bike tour company, giving tours is obviously a major part of my internship this summer, but it is far from theonly thing that I have done and learned here over the last couple of months.  Not only do I give tours, but I have also had the chance to participate in all of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make a small business thrive, which all entrepreneurs aim to do. There is so much that goes on in a small business, and as most entrepreneurs know, it is hard at times to stay on top of everything on the agenda with limited employees.  Not only was I continuously trying to learn the history and layout of the island in my first few weeks, but I had to juggle all of that while helping with all of the business side of the company.  I was involved in the company’s accounting, marketing, business planning, and public relations.  This wide-ranging mixture of business experience I have been gainingwill be extremely beneficial to my future career.

Aside from the vast variety of hands-on business experience I have been gaining through this internship, I have also learned the “little things” that will help me be successful in whatever I do down the road.  Jason and Carl have helped me grow so much as a person by helping me develop the necessary character traits and teaching me intangibles that would help make anyone more successful.  They are both always stressing to me about things like leadership, details, and awareness.  These traits seem so obvious, but it actually takes a lot of work to develop them.  Jason has been giving me literature to read on leadership and how to influence people.  This is very important at Nantucket Bike Tours because every single group of customers is different, so it is imperative that I have the social and communication skills to be able to effectively meet and gain the trust of people from all different backgrounds.  While this is obviously very important while giving tours, these skills I have learned will without a doubt make me more successful down the road by helping me interact with a wide variety of people effectively.  I have had numerous chances to work on these skills this summer outside of the tours through the various volunteer jobs we do within the Nantucket community.  We have volunteered for the ACK clean team, the Nantucket Film Festival, and the Nantucket Comedy Festival. These have all provided excellent opportunities to work on these communication and leadership skills.

We are extremely blessed at Wabash to have a very strong and dedicated group of alumni. To not take advantage of the opportunities they can present, and the knowledge and wisdom they can offer, is a mistake as a student.  Internships through Career Services and the Small Business Internship Fund are the perfect opportunity to connect with alumni and really build your business skills, as well as leadership and character traits that will expand your communication and social skills.  All of these skills will help make you successful in any career path that you choose. 

I would like to thank those who make the Small Business Internship Fund possible.  The beauty of having an internship for a small business is that I have been exposed to every aspect of the business.  It has really helped me diversify and enhance myself by developing a wide range of skills that I will use in whatever career I go into after I graduate next spring.  From accounting and marketing, to social and communication skills, Jason and Carl have taught me more in a short amount of time than I ever expected to learn while I was out here. I look forward to my remaining weeks here on the island, and I will definitely continue to take advantage of this opportunity to work with great alumni and gain as much knowledge as I can from them to continue to grow as a person.

Tadhg Hannon ’15: My Summer Internship with Nantucket Bike Tours

Tadhg Hannon ’15:  Hey everyone, my name is Tadhg.  Let’s be friends.  I am spending the summer working for Nantucket Bike Tours.  In case you were wondering, Nantucket is an island, and it’s part of Massachusetts…NOT Rhode Island.  I’ve had an incredible experience working for this small business.  When I first heard about NBT, I wasn’t sure what to think.  This is certainly an unconventional internship, but I couldn’t be happier that this opportunity came along.  I’ve learned so much from the people at NBT, customers on tours and everyone I’ve met on the island.  Learning how to deal with all kinds of people is an invaluable skill, and striving to provide a great experience for every customer forces me to remain engaged and aware at all times.  This experience has helped me to mature.  Even small things like buying my own groceries have helped me realize how far I’ve come, and how much growing up I still have to do.

As for Nantucket Bike Tours, the company is in its third year of operation.  NBT is co-owned by Wabash Alum Jason Bridges and Courtney Nemeth (she’s really cool, but for some reason didn’t go to Wabash, not sure why).  They are great and are even nice enough to let me live with them.  The business is continuing to grow, and we pride ourselves on offering the best way to experience a unique place like Nantucket.  The great thing about NBT is it allows me to connect with an extremely diverse group of people, and I am forced to try and give each one of them a positive experience, even when they might all be looking for different things out of their tour.  I am also learning about what goes into running a small business, which basically entails everything.  Answering phones, accounting and sweeping the floors are all required of small business employees.

Finally, a big Nantucket thank you to the Small Business Internship Fund for making this possible, and to Jason, Courtney, Carl and the rest of NBT for putting up with me.

Live long and Prosper,

Tadhg Hannon

Jeff Bell ’14: Taking Liberal Arts Education to the Workplace

Jeff Bell ’14:  Setting about the task of synthesizing these last two months of my life is quite an intimidating feat to attempt, but I will try to do justice to the spectacular experiences that I have found around every corner of my time in California, as I’ve taken part in a job provided by the Small Business Internship Fund.  Before I dive into a fuller explanation of my time here and how it has been spent, I find it necessary to thank those whose generous contributions made my time in this internship possible (although it would seem there are more people deserving of thanks than I have space to write).  First, thanks to those whose generous contributions to the SBIF allow for interns like myself to travel the country in pursuit of furthering their education through workplace experience.  Your faith in us is humbling and your generosity is inspiring.  A hearty thanks must also be extended to Scott Crawford for the tireless hours that he pours into this program, ensuring that it is successful for the numerous Wabash Men who utilize it.  A final warm thank you must be extended to all the friends, family, alumni, and coworkers who I have encountered along the way these past two months.  Although there are far more of you than I can list here, I will always be indebted to you for your never-ending support and interest in the continued education and development offered by my time in California.

I think it important for my reader to first understand that I have been a born and raised Hoosier for my whole life.  Never having lived outside the state of Indiana for more than a month at a time, the idea of sojourning west to California to take part in an exotic and exciting internship inspired a mixture of both curious fascination and nervous apprehension.  The opportunity that had been offered to me by trustee Paul Woolls was a two-month tenure in California.  The first month was to take place in downtown Los Angeles where I would be spending time in his Insurance Litigation firm working in different capacities with the goal of learning more about the legal field.  The second would require that I moved north to the Napa Valley area for a month working in his beautiful Vineyard and Winery.  Now to the average Indiana native, each of these locations brings a certain romantic notion of excitement and joy that can only be brought by adventure and travel.  So needless to say, I was overwhelmingly thrilled to be given the opportunity to move out West and continue honing my talents and pursuing discovery of the career that I wish to spend my life doing.

Plunging into both the legal side of this internship and the slightly more exotic experience of winemaking in Napa Valley, I was expected to display a tremendous versatility in the tasks I was able to perform.  Bouncing back and forth from being a clerk filing legal documents to hand tending the vines of a vineyard required an aptitude for quick learning and a certain curiosity that would keep the steady stream of new tasks from being overwhelming and daunting.  Here the liberal arts education I have received at Wabash College shone through and gave me a special familiarity with learning a variety of tasks and quickly mastering different forms of work.  As an English major, gaining workplace experience has been a critical part of developing my education beyond the great literary works and many hours of writing that fill the curriculum of such students at Wabash.  Internships like the one I have taken part in are a critical part of the growth and development of any Wabash Man, but in particular those whose major might not be deemed “practical” by some individuals in this country.

While I sit and write this blog post I keep looking out the window to my right and breathing in silent awe of the gorgeous Napa Valley landscape.  My employer, Paul Woolls has graciously lent me the guesthouse that sits atop Mt. Veeder and overlooks a certain portion of his estate vineyard.  It is perhaps the most gorgeous part of the country I have ever seen and the peace and tranquility offered by this location stands in stark contrast to the fast paced, vibrant, and oftentimes overwhelming downtown Los Angeles lifestyle.  Getting the opportunity to experience each of these styles of life all while gaining valuable work experience in two drastically different fields is humbling when I stop to reflect on all that it has done for my growth as a person, citizen, and as a Wabash Man.  I now have one and a half weeks before I start the long drive back to Indiana, and in that time I will savor the thrill of living alone in a splendid area filled with new people, places, and adventures.  Although my heart misses my home and family there is something to be said for the thrill that comes from exposing oneself to unfamiliar experiences.  Thank you again so much to all those whose tireless efforts enable these opportunities to benefit young men like myself.

Wabash Always Fights

Ray Stark ’14: Thirsty to End the Water Crisis

At the Beverly Hilton with Chelsie Kent, the Power of Youth award winner. She raised $12,000 for a freshwater well.

Ray Stark ’14:  Life has moved from 0-60 as soon as I arrived in Los Angeles to start my internship with the Thirst Project.  The internship began with the biggest jet lag of my life.  As soon as I arrived in Indiana (returning from a five month study abroad program in Brazil) it was already time to get back on a plane, only two days later, headed for Los Angeles.

When I arrived in L.A., I spent the next two weeks working hard, consistently for 10-14 hours per day in preparation for our biggest event of the year, the 4th annual Thirst Gala.  The Thirst Gala is our biggest event every year held at the Beverly Hilton, where we rent out the ballroom and invite our most prolific supporters in hopes to gain large donations to help build wells.

Even though I currently work with education and outreach for the Thirst Project, I received a lot of responsibilities with event planning/production in weeks prior to the event.  I helped our communications intern manage the live stream during the hour of dead time during dinner.  I helped by timing the arrival of celebrities for their interviews during this dead time, as well as managing logistics of table seating and food orders.  While this was really amazing, my favorite part about working for the Gala had to be getting to “act” in one of videos shown during our awards ceremony.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7X2ae8Hlbk

In case you were wondering, the Gala was an amazing event and it went off without a hitch. We ended up raising $200,000!

Even though I have gotten to do some incredible things through this event and the internship, I want to make it clear that it wasn’t the anticipation of these experiences that brought me to L.A., rather, it was the Thirst Project’s Mission.  Ever since I heard about their goal to end the world water crisis back during Sophomore year, specifically their goal to provide the entire nation of Swaziland with fresh clean drinking water, I knew that I had to be a part of this mission in some capacity.  I can now honestly say that I’m a pivotal part of our goal to provide nearly 1 billion people with access to safe clean drinking water.

While this is a dream come true, the point is that you, the reader, can also make this a reality.  The crazy statistic that always gets thrown around the office is that for $25, one person can be provided fresh clean drinking water for a life time.  Even if you can’t afford to donate, just spreading the word could be enough to convince someone else to donate, thus saving another’s life.

It is this purpose in my work that has made the work so fun and rewarding I believe.  It is the reason that I chose this internship.  Ever since I was young, my father always said that if you find a job that you go to and love doing it, then you will never have to work a day in your life, and with the Thirst Project, I have found that love for my job.  I can honestly say right now that I’m excited to get up in the morning to work for this cause and will continue in any capacity that they allow for me to help in.

I’m excited to see what the upcoming weeks have in store for me and the Thirst Project as I get into the “nitty gritty” of my Internship.  My main projects as the Education and Outreach intern will be the expansion of our school tour and development of a week-long curriculum about the human water crisis.

I just wanted to thank The Wabash Callings Program and Career Services for making all this possible.


 


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