Jacob Burnett ’15 – “From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law. This noble ideal cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him.”
Supreme Court Associate Justice Hugo Black wrote these words into law when authoring the decision in Gideon v. Wainwright. In essence, the Supreme Court dictated that every individual charged with a crime has a fundamental right in our justice system to an attorney. It gave color to the spirit of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution – rights enjoyed by all citizens.
This summer, I have had the opportunity to participate in the Criminal Law Internship Program (CLIP) through the Public Defender Service (PDS) in Washington D.C. PDS embodies these fundamental tenets of our justice system. I am an investigative intern that, as my title implies, investigates crimes on behalf of an attorney that represents indignant clients. Due to closed discovery, PDS receives very limited information involved in a case. To fill that void, Staff Investigators, other interns, and I perform crime scene investigations, canvass for evidence, serve subpoenas, take statements, find witnesses, attend court hearings, develop defense theories, and perform any other task that arises during an investigation. I’ve also had the opportunity to sit in on seminars regarding forensic evidence, flaws in eyewitness identification, legal writing, and many more. Therefore, my internship has provided me with a two-pronged wonder world: hands-on investigation and education on the inner workings of the criminal justice system.
I was assigned to a trial division attorney to investigate Felony 1 cases. It has given me a brand new appreciation for all the work that goes into trial preparation. It also taught me more about myself, humanity, social justice, and passion than any textbook or class could attempt to address. Honestly, if you were interested in a typical office or corporate law job with a regular 9-5 schedule, this internship was not for you. I accomplished all my work first hand. It wasn’t from a distance. I canvassed crime scenes more than I completed office work.
Along with this assignment, I had the opportunity to work in the Special Litigation Department at PDS. This department works on numerous projects that are not necessarily tied to trial. The attorneys work on impacting policy, writing amicus briefs, and many other projects. I had the opportunity to work on a Car Forfeiture program. In essence, I helped identify owners of formally repossessed vehicles and work on reuniting these people with their vehicles. Unlike other interns, I also had the opportunity to work in the appellate division as well. My intern partner and I searched for newly discovered witnesses and evidence to help an appellate attorney win a new trial for our client.
All of us have sat through a “Law and Order” episode or one of its sister shows. We root for the good guy prosecutor who has overwhelming evidence against the defendant. We shake our head at the slimy defense attorney who represents the obviously guilty individual. Sometimes I receive unenthusiastic responses, morose facial expressions, or snide remarks about my work when I inform people where I am interning. However, through my work at PDS, I have learned that the world of criminal law presents a mosaic of mess – often times substantially, racially, and economically poisoned. More often than not, the evidence is not clear and convincing. If it is, many people decide to plea and not go to trial. It is my job to work to ensure that the government does their job and does not send an innocent person to jail or violate their fundamental liberties.
I work for convicted felons, accused felons, and prisoners. However, they are more than these labels; they are people. I spend my time in poor communities and jails. And I couldn’t be more honored. These individuals have trusted me with their liberty. I would want nothing else to ensure that justice is attainable and contingent upon culpability and not wealth. It further demonstrates my belief that basic humanity demands dignity. This experience has strengthened my belief that we all are more than the worst thing we have ever done. I have met some of the most selfless people behind jail bars.
We live in a country where an individual is twenty-two times more likely to receive the death penalty if they are black. We live in a country where an individual is eight times more likely to receive the death penalty if the victim is white. We live in a country where one in eight individuals on death row have been exonerated. We live in a country where the justice system treats you more fairly if you are rich and guilty than poor and innocent. My job at PDS has given me the tools to ensure that the words written on the façade of the Supreme Court, “Equal Justice Under Law,” represent more than mere letters inscribed in concrete. The safeguards in place under our constitution protect the rights experienced by the guilty and innocent alike – people like you and me.
It will be difficult when I return to Wabash for the fall semester and people ask me how my summer was because it is indescribable. I will not be at a loss for words to paint a picture for those who are interested, but describing my experience robs it of the veracity embodied through living it. Words cannot capture the work I have accomplished, people I have met, and the life I have lead these past twelve weeks.
Last summer, I started a journey working for the disenfranchised as an intern at the Legal Aid Society of Louisville. Overall, I have had another opportunity to explore the practice of ruthless empathy. I would not have had this experience without the generous funding of the Harold M. and Margaret R. Coons Public Service Internship grant, the F. Michael Cassel award, and the funding I’ve earned as a summer Research Assistant for Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Burch. Without this funding, I would not have had the chance to work at PDS or live and work in a city I haven’t been to before now. I am forever indebted to these funders for their generosity.
In my last summer before I join the real world, I have been interning at PROFUSA in San Francisco, California thanks to the Small Business Internship Fund. Before I got to Wabash I had worked for a small business, but this is my first experience with a startup. I was initially interested in PROFUSA out of a desire to expand knowledge I had gained while working for IT Services at Wabash. After talking to a fraternity brother who had interned at the company the year before (Taylor Neal), I was all-in.
I primarily work with the Director of Operations, and have spent a lot of my time developing tools to increase efficiency and collaboration at the company. The primary component of this has been my involvement with SharePoint. This is a service and program offered by Microsoft that can be used to build intranet structures for companies. Initially, I was tasked with developing protocols and understanding the programs that are used to shape the SharePoint environment. These include InfoPath and SharePoint Designer, which allow for more customization than the web-only SharePoint options. Since the company had no experience with the platform, I was on my own in week one.
Since then, I have been able to develop new ways to host and work with data and documents the company generates. Since most of the things are confidential, I also have to ensure that only the required people can access the information. Learning how to create and assign permissions, as well as building workflows to manage the contents of our SharePoint, has been a huge challenge. Once I became more comfortable with the processes involved, groups have started to ask about using the platform for more applications. InfoPath allows for the creation of forms with data fields that link to databases, which makes it very useful for managing our data. Because this allows for so many possibilities, educating people at PROFUSA about all of the potential is now my biggest challenge.
Another large project I have undertaken has been evaluating our options for document control. Since PROFUSA is a medical device company, they have to follow strict guidelines in their operations. One of these is ensuring they are Title 21 CFR Part 11 compliant. Before my time here I thought document control simply meant making sure things are saved but not available to the public, but I’ve since gained an appreciation for the requirements that help prevent mistakes in our nation’s healthcare products.
Without an internship or job, I certainly would not have been able to spend my summer in California in the first place. While here, I am trying to experience as much of the area as I can, taking numerous trips around the city or to the surrounding area. Despite only taking around 40 hours to make it to the west coast (my fiancée helped drive), I had time to stop at Mt. Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Badlands National Park, and Devil’s Tower. We took a short break in Eugene, Oregon to watch the Pre Classic, the fastest track meet on American soil (we saw 2 American records and 11 world leads). Afterwards, we drove down the Oregon and California coasts.
Since arriving in San Francisco, we have been busy with work and exploration. I can comfortably say I’ve done nearly every tourist-type thing I should here. My favorite so far has been our trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but that may soon get overtaken. Bay-area interns were recently invited to a barbeque by Daren Courter ’89, a Wabash alum from Anderson, Indiana. We spent most of the day there, and have been invited to go abalone diving in a few weeks. Many Wabash graduates in the area have gone out of their way to make our experience as rewarding as possible, highlighted by Khurram Tahir ’01 providing us an endless supply of places to eat. I’m not tired of driving by the Golden Gate Bridge, going to the ocean, or seeing the mountains, but I am starting to miss cornfields and basketball hoops.
My day typically begins at 7:30 as my fellow interns, Doug Baker and Terrence Zhou, get ready to make the 20-minute drive from our apartment near Lake Merced to PROFUSA in South San Francisco. I spend the majority of my day in the lab working on various projects I have been assigned for the summer. The details of some of these projects are proprietary to PROFUSA and cannot be discussed, but that just makes my job more exciting. The two main projects I have been working on are testing how different pore sizes for the smart-sensing hydrogels affect their performance, and creating different types of skin phantoms for in vitro studies. Both projects have required a lot of research and learning on my part. With the skin phantom project, I am working on creating silicone molds that mimic the optical properties of human skin (absorbance, fluorescence, scattering, etc.). Using combinations of different dyes, I have been able to create formulas for phantoms that represent both oxygenated and deoxygentated hemoglobin. After each formulation is made, I use different machines in the lab to get the phantom’s absorbance and fluorescence to compare to real hemoglobin.
In addition to the microplate readers I use for absorbance scans, I have also learned how to use other lab equipment such as SEM, YSI, BGA, and the laser cutter at UCSF. The chemistry team has been remarkably helpful in teaching me lab protocol and procedures. Everyone is great to be around, which makes for a very fun work environment. The great thing about working for a startup company is that every task, no matter how seemingly small, plays a large role in the progress and growth of the company. I truly feel like I have been able to make a great contribution to PROFUSA.This summer has not been all work, though. The drive across the country was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. I took six days to drive from Indiana, through St. Louis, Denver, made a stop in Moab, UT to see Arches National Park, stayed a night at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and drove along the coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Now that I’m settled in my apartment I spend most of my free time exploring San Francisco and the surrounding areas. I live within walking distance to the beach and it’s only a 10-minute drive to get downtown. In addition to several Giants games, and a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I’ve made a weekend trip to Yosemite, Sequoia National Forest, and went horseback riding at the bottom of King’s Canyon. We already have our tickets for a tour of Alcatraz and Angel Island, and have a trip planned with alumnus Daren Courter ’89 to go camping and Abalone diving in Ft. Bragg.
This has been one of the best experiences of my life living on the West Coast and working for PROFUSA. I again want to thank the SBIF for making this all possible. As great as this summer has been, I will be ready for the cross-country drive back home to see my friends and family in mid-August.
Sam Vaught ’16 - I have spent the last six weeks of summer working at the Montgomery County Historical Society. As a Mont. Co. native, I was familiar with the work of the Society before I came to Wabash; I knew about Lane Place, the Victorian house museum in downtown Crawfordsville; the Speed Cabin and its connection to the Underground Railroad; and much of the other behind-the-scenes work MCHS does to preserve and record county history. My involvement grew when I entered Wabash two years ago, and I became a regular volunteer. When I had the opportunity to apply for an internship here, I couldn’t pass.
When most people hear the word museum, they probably think of dark, dusty rooms full of artifacts from generations of forgotten individuals and institutions. I’m not going to lie; that is a major aspect of life in a museum. I have spent a lot of time turning pristine white cotton gloves (a must-have for object handling) into reddish-brown rags, digging through the lives of Crawfordsville residents who have been dead for more than a century.
However, there is so much more to working in a museum. There is so much that goes on in this place, and through this place, that would be invisible to the casual observer. This summer, I have learned how to look beneath the surface of what might seem like an ordinary museum in order to have a glimpse at what an institution like an historical society might have to offer the community. And isn’t that what the Wabash education is all about? Being taught and teaching ourselves how to look for the other perspective, how to dig deeper into the complexities of an idea to arrive at a more thorough, more educated understanding? I think so.
Care for artifacts and our historic house are certainly near the top of our priority list. We also do a good deal of research, whether preparing for next year’s exhibit or next week’s presentation to the community. Side note: In an exciting bit of hunting for the provenance (professional jargon for origin) of three coats of arms we have in the collection, I have made contact with the Royal College of Arms of the British government. Be jealous. While I spend a fair amount of time photographing antique books, learning how to care for aging textiles, and examining damaged wallpaper, I have also spent a surprising amount of time interacting with the community. For example, last week, the Historical Society held its annual Golf Scramble at the Crawfordsville Country Club. The event was not just a fundraiser for the ever stretched-thin Society. It was a chance for us to meet new people, reconnect with old friends, and stay relevant in a world decades removed from most of the culture we are surrounded with inside Lane Place. Museums have an important place in our community, and when we celebrate and engage that community, we are better living into our mission to serve the people of this county.
Giving tours of the house is a great way to gauge how the public perceives the Society and the museum. I have given countless tours to folks who tell me that they’ve lived in the city or the county their entire lives but have never set foot in the house. At the same time, we get visitors from out of state who are itching to see the mansion they’ve read about in our tourism information or seen online. On the other hand, many locals are surprised when they hear that the Historical Society has an oral history project that collects the stories of Montgomery County residents before they are lost. These experiences have taught me that we have some work to do. We at the Historical Society need to do a better job at interacting with the community. We need to let others know about our programs, services, and educational opportunities. On the same token, the Crawfordsville community has the responsibility to engage with those institutions which they support. It is easy to take Lane Place for granted. “It’s the big white house I drive past every day.” “It’s the park where we have the Strawberry Festival.” But if I’ve learned nothing else this summer, it is that there is always more than meets the eye in a place like ours. Those beautiful moments of connection happen when the child sees the Civil War surgeon’s kit and finally has some idea of the horrors of that war. They happen when the 75 year old woman sees our antique washing machine and suddenly remembers the smell of her great-
grandmother’s house. They happen when the boy who grew up next to Lane Place records his memories of Helen Elston Smith, the last family resident of our mansion, in our oral history project.
I will leave this museum in a few weeks to return to campus. But I will always take with me the importance of giving something, or someone, a second glance to find more authenticity, more value, and more humanity present than I thought before.
Thanh Tran ’17- It’s hard to believe that 5 weeks of my internship had already passed. The last 5 weeks was an excellent work experience. Speaking of email marketing, people may assume that there’re not much work involved in it. As I told my friend once about my internship title, he asked me: “So you just sit there and click the send button?” I wished it could be simple as that but “unfortunately”, in fact, it was not. I have to admit that I was a bit worried before my internship started since I just finished my first year and didn’t have many course works in business. However, with the step-by-step instructions from Curtis Peterson ’10 and other team members, I was able to learn and enhance my skills substantially in marketing.
Angie’ List is a consumer-reviews company whereby people sign up for membership to view the reviews of other customers and use the recommended services. In other word, it’s a reciprocal platform of which Angie’s list suggests the best service providers to consumers and in return, the consumers leave the reviews after they use the services. The Email Marketing team, of which I intern in, is a core function of that review-based system. Our job is to get the members to sign-up for membership as well as help them leave the reviews after they use a service or purchase a deal. Our team has four great members. They are Jared, Weston, Seth and my supervisor, Curtis Peterson. My internship wouldn’t become a great learning and working experience without the dedicated guidance from Jared and Curtis. As I mentioned above about the email marketing function, my internship tied to the review collection, including updating and analyzing data. On a daily basis, I handle most of the tasks with Excel and some specialized email marketing tools, which are ExactTarget, Formstack, FTP and AL-tool. On every Monday, I cleaned up the submission spreadsheet that I pulled out from Formtack to calculate the conversion rates of the test and control groups. Then, I conducted A/B split tests to determine which one is the winner of the weekly email campaign. I also sent out review emails to over one million member on every Monday, which was quite intimidating since a small error could mess up the whole process. On Friday, I executed quality assurance (QA) to ensure proper emails templates and resolution regardless of viewing screens before they were sent. In addition, the best part of my internship was the email project, thanks to the great initiative of Curtis Peterson. First of all, I created four types of Gmail accounts based the increasing level of engagement: they never engaged, rarely engaged, less engaged and engaged. With those accounts, I signed up for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, HomeAdvisor and Yelp. I keep track of the emails from those websites to calculate the email frequency as well as the way they approach members with respect to different engagement degrees. And for that reason, my project is also called the email “spy” project. Indeed, I found out very interesting things about how each Websites above email their members. For instance, Facebook keeps the same subject lines for their emails, whereas LinkedIn tweaked their emails a lot.
Speaking of my internship, it would be a serious mistake if I didn’t mention the workplace environment at Angie’s List. Angie’s List does care about its employees. Indeed, we don’t have to wear business casual to work. People can wear whatever they want as long as they’re appropriate. There is a small gym on campus where employees can have a short break to work out. Angie’s List employees can enroll in a fitness program of which they get awarded for a number of pounds they lose. During my internship, the human resource team organized an Interns Olympic Day where interns competed against each other in a variety of outdoor games. It was a fun day as all of us have the great opportunity to know each other. My friend Shelby Logan from Northwestern University won the Intern of the Year. Along with that, working with my team is an interesting thing too. People here are very friendly as they’re willing to help when you reach out to them. We also have a Friday lunch that people at the Marketing department can have lunch together. Just so you know, I had a Friday lunch with Angie Hick once. As my supervisor Curtis told me on his last day at Angie: “Money is important but not everything, what matters is who you’re working with.”
Now, I can say with confidence that my knowledge of email marketing was substantially improved. What you show on your email has a significant impact on the viewers. It can be a subject line, a picture or an appealing call-to-action. Email marketing is cost-effective, yet the most effective marketing campaign. With that being said, it’s a job that requires creativity, innovation and meticulous analysis.
Finally, I would like to take my last part to thank Wabash College for offering such great opportunities like this to Wabash students. I also want to thank Lilly Endowment, Inc for providing me this opportunity. Without the funding from Lilly, this would not be possible. Last but not least, I want to say my biggest thanks to Curtis Peterson ’10 and Jared Campbell for guiding and teaching me with great dedication.
Stephen Fenton ’15 - Halfway through my internship at Paramount Mold and Tool, I have learned numerous invaluable lessons regarding business and professionalism, as well as learning a lot about myself and how to function in a fast-paced, diverse, and completely different world. Paramount Mold is a plastic injection plant where various plastic products are manufactured, ranging from PVC pipes to remote controls to extremely important medical devices and parts. Aside from the plastic injection aspect of the factory, Paramount is unique in that it still constructs its own plastic injection tools (or molds), as well as tools for other plastic injection plants. Paramount Mold and Tool is owned and operated by Wabash alumnus Andrew Shelton ’03, and more recent alumnus Adam Andrews ’12 presides over the sales department. Although both men preside over numerous business duties, they are both highly invested in the factory itself, and the production of Paramount’s products from A to Z. In my effort to assist the Paramount staff in its continual growth, I have gathered data regarding numerous aspects of the factory and its production, and then transposing it into a digital format while providing initial analysis. I have also had the chance to compose, review, and edit workplace organizational systems and literature. In undertaking these activities, I have learned invaluable lessons regarding business, from plant management to logistics to pricing and sales, all the while learning more technical skills, from Excel to a workplace computer program called JobBOSS, and many other business important computer programs in between.
As great as my summer at Paramount has been, my time away from the office has been a tremendous experience in itself. I drove through six and a half treacherous hours of Florida traffic on the afternoon before my internship started and arrived at a place in downtown Fort Lauderdale that I had never seen and had a hard time imagining. Since then I have met great people and felt right at home; nearly everyone here is very accommodating and is willing to talk to you, which if you know me, is nice to see. I have never felt too far from home, for I’ve had family down here for what seems like half of my time here (one of the many perks of being birthed into a family of “Floridians”). I have also made numerous weekend adventures to the cosmopolitan metropolis of Miami, which is like nothing that I have ever experienced in my life. While dining at a famous Cuban restaurant and coffee shop deep in the heart of Miami, David Beckham and his family came in and sat down next to my family and I, all after an excellent, in-depth tour of the beautiful Marlins Park. Outside of the hustle and bustle of Miami, I was lucky enough to be taken out onto the deep sea with Wabash alumnus and fraternity brother Cory Olson ’85 and his live-in intern and classmate of mine, Hongli Yang ’15, where we collectively caught two amber jacks and two great and delicious gag groupers, all before I was able to catch my first ever sailfish. My summer in the Sunshine State has given me memories and lessons that will last forever, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that I have been given through the Small Business Internship Fund.
Nick Sommer ’15 - Growing up working in a small family business, I accustomed to working in an environment where everyone is close to each other, and every worker wears many different hats. Finding Connecta Corporation has to be one of the closest internships I could have found to my family’s small business. In this small manufacturing business of small precision parts, I have put my liberal arts education to the test while working through the long list of a variety of projects to be completed by the end of the summer. Working for a company of this size (less than 20 employees) I have to produce quality work and contribute immensely in order to help the company continue to do business.
My work this summer has required me to wear many different hats as one may say. I’ve done jobs from repairing parts, to accounting work, and even marketing. Since I started later in the summer, I was thrown into the middle of a huge project: completely redesigning the way the company stocks their raw material. This system involves reorganizing material into PVC pipes, separating them by material, alloy, and purchase number. My to-do-list for this summer has also included updating the company’s website and creating and posting on the company’s social media pages, along with many other miscellaneous tasks. My fellow intern, an engineering student at Butler University, and I have created videos, sales brochures, and bounced ideas back and forth in order to improve and modernize the company’s marketing capabilities.
What have I learned from this experience? Well, it would be tough to squeeze everything I’ve learned into one blog. One aspect that I have learned is not only vital in a business setting, but in everyday life as well. This is accountability. Since this is such a small business, you are expected to pull your weight and complete each and every job in a timely manner. The business is like a team; where everyone is expected to do their part and work together in order to be successful. I know I can rely on anyone here in the company for help and I can count on them as more than just co-workers.
I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment, Inc. for making this internship possible. Having real world experience is very important for any student to gain before graduating from college, and what Lilly Endowment provides for students like me is awesome. I would also like to thank Mr. Scott Crawford and Mr. Alan Pyle ‘67 for giving me this opportunity to work for Connecta Corp.
Brock Hammond ‘ 16 – I’d be lying if I said that I always imagined myself working in a museum, but working for the Rotary Jail Museum here in Crawfordsville has been one of the most fulfilling jobs I’ve ever had the privilege to hold. My primary responsibility as an intern is to act as a docent, otherwise known as a tour guide, for the guests of the museum. Not only do I get to see and experience new people every day, but the position allows me a taste of the field I would like to get into after my Wabash career concludes.
Doubling as the Montgomery County Jail and County Sheriff’s residence for ninety-one years, the Rotary Jail Museum provides guests with a unique window into the history of Montgomery County. While the jail portion of the building doesn’t typically change, the exhibits occupying the former living space for the Sheriff and his family change from season to season. This summer we are focusing on the “Roaring 1920’s: Flapper Fashion and Prohibition.” As a History major with a fondness for American History, I was able to bring some general knowledge of the time period to the position, and thanks to my coworkers and wonderful resources in the jail’s archives, I have been able to expand that knowledge to the point where I can speak intelligently on most everything in the museum.
I’m also doubling as the Montgomery County Heritage Alliance intern this summer, which is a coalition of local museums and art galleries. Only about a fourth of my time is dedicated to the Heritage Alliance so I cannot speak of it as extensively as the Rotary Jail. Thus far I have acted as a camp counselor for “Museum Camp,” which took a group of kids aged 7-12 around to all the local museums save for the Ropkey Armor Museum just on the edge of town. Currently, I’m working on some promotional materials for the various Heritage Alliance members.