Jawed ’17 Continues Research in Uganda

What does Zoloft (Sertraline), a prescription anti-depressant you may have seen commercials for in between Jeopardy rounds, have to do with people suffering from meningitis in Uganda? Much more than you would think.

In collaboration between the University of Minnesota and several Ugandan medical organizations, the clinical drug study dubbed the A.S.T.R.O. study (Adjunctive Sertraline Treatment for Cryptococcal Meningitis) hopes to find new and more accessible means to treat patients with Cryptococcal Meningitis in low income areas. Sertraline is commonly used as an SSRI antidepressant in the United States but is known to have anti-fungal properties, which leads to the study’s hypothesis that adjunctive Sertraline will lead to faster fungal clearance and an improved 18-week survival rate.

GlobalHealthMeningitis is a debilitating acute inflammation of the brain and Cryptococcal Meningitis (crypto for short) is a specific type of meningitis caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. Crypto cripples impoverished Africa as it rivals TB in mortality in the area. To put it in perspective, I see more cases of crypto in a day than 99% of American doctors will see in a lifetime. Well over half of individuals with Cryptococcal Meningitis will die within 10 weeks if not given proper treatment. While the study is certainly combating Meningitis, it remains only a symptom of a much larger and more serious HIV epidemic. Nearly every single patient the study has seen with crypto has been HIV positive. With HIV comes an entirely new set of challenges including stigma, misconception, and a severe lack of education. The ASTRO team fights not only the illness but also the stigmatized mindset behind many of these diseases. Patients attend weekly classes on treatment and receive HIV counseling. Nonetheless, the stigma is still present. Very often, wives who bring in their husbands infected with HIV/crypto ask to be HIV tested. If the discover themselves to be HIV negative, they often abandon their husbands in the hospital mid-treatment never to be seen again.

The day begins with the ASTRO team meeting. Team doctors, nurses, lab scientists, councilors, and everyone else who make the study possible meet every morning to develop a plan for the day and review the patients enrolled in the trial. Fortunately, if an individual is eligible for the ASTRO study, he or she will receive significantly more attention and better care from our team who fully treat the patient’s issues, not just the crypto. This includes paying for additional medications, CT scans, labs, and more. Unfortunately for the patient, to be enrolled in the study, he or she is likely very, very, sick. After the team meeting, we head down to the Ward and doctors treat every patient individually. A central component of treatment in this study is the lumbar puncture, which I am often responsible in aiding the physicians to conduct. High intracranial pressures are a result of the fungal inflammation leading to symptoms such as stiff necks and headaches. To relieve pressure, the ASTRO team conducts lumbar punctures which are spinal taps to remove cerebrospinal fluid. Spinal taps are vital in treatment for crypto but patients often decline, having developed an association between the procedure and death. To combat this negative association, Nathan Yueh, a friend and student formerly involved with the ASTRO study directed the short film Mulalama (Taking Water). The film follows the struggles of Maria, a young woman that consents to a lumbar puncture for her ill mother despite her fears. The film takes place in our very own Mulago Hospital and I highly recommend a watch. View it here:

Following clinical rounds, the second half of my day is spent recording and analyzing patient charts. As an international clinical drug trial, there is a significant amount of communication and paperwork required both within the study team and also to IRBs. Data is key. Collecting hemoglobin information may appear to be irrelevant in a drug trial for Sertraline but it may contain enough information to spark an entirely new study.

The days can be long and the work somehow follows you home. I admire the Americans who brought their entire lives here to study infectious disease just like I admire the Ugandans who work grueling hours when they likely could be making much more practicing in a private hospital. I feel as if everyone on the study team has a reason to be here. This experience is bringing me closer to unraveling why I need to be here, whether “here” is Uganda, Peru, or Crawfordsville.

James Kennedy ’16 Experience is Better than Money

3Blackdot Influencer Marketing Agency

Los Angeles, California

JK1In my first 2-weeks here in Los Angeles I’ve learned two important things besides the fact that the food in amazing: (1) You never know where you will go/who you will meet and (2) be prepared to take on roles you didn’t expect. At 3Blackdot I’ve met and worked with some of the biggest gaming influencers in the world including VanossGaming, a YouTube comedy gamer that has over 2.3Billion Views on his channel. After showcasing some of my design skills for the company, Vanoss independently contracted me to design a new logo for his YouTube channel that will represent his brand to 12.6 million subscribers/viewers. While working for 3Blackdot as a Content Development and Talent Management Intern, I received additional contracted work by networking around LA including designing marketing materials for Undertow Films, a production agency with shows on a variety of networks such as AMC, Discovery Channel, and ESPN. Choosing to Intern for 3Blackdot with the SBIF, instead of another internship program, was one of the best and hardest decisions of my life. I was in a tight situation where another Internship offered extremely competitive wages in Carmel, Indiana which made me think about what I wanted to get out of my last Summer as an Undergrad. Ultimately it’s not about the money. It’s about what you take from the experience. My professional development thus far cannot simply be described in a one page blog, but let me give it a shot.

For starters, I live in Pasadena and commute the 1hr 30mins twice a day to and from work. I live with Clinton Jones, or Pwnisher, a YouTube Short Film Director that you would recognize if you watch the RocketJump YouTube Channel. I’ve learned from Clint that California pizza is worth having 3 nights in a row and that having a full on Nerf Battle with 5 guys in their mid twenties is still acceptable.JK4

In my second week working for 3Blackdot, Luke Stepleton, Wabash class of ‘03 and President of 3Blackdot, schooled me in YouTube101 and the power of organic marketing. It’s incredible to see just how influential YouTubers are when it comes to driving traffic to certain campaigns and events. My job at 3Blackdot (as an intern) is to visualize the success and impact that these Influencers have made on millions of subscribers/followers around the world through dynamic proposal decks for companies like YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo. I had a chance to socialize with thousands of Influencers at this years E3 Convention, even sharing a drink with Comedian Andy Milonakis at the YouTube Ace Hotel rooftop party. Other events that I attended was the red carpet Walking Dead E3 exclusive party, and the Xbox/Twitch VIP party where I networked with Nintendo employees and celebrated with MiniLadd, a YouTube comedy sensation. In LA, the work pays off.

To date, I’ve designed agency proposal decks for integrations with companies such as Verizon, 29/29, Legendary Films, Youtube, Facebook, Vimeo, Chideo, ZigZagZoom, and many more. In the past week, I’ve learned to not only design effective proposal decks but I’ve also taken on the task of designing, modeling, and animating additional video game characters for a new multiplayer PC game.

When It comes to describing this internship, the best way to put it is that I have a big role to play as an Intern, in working on not just one project, but all projects. I do believe that I will be coming back soon.  If you have any questions about what it’s like to live, work, and play in LA feel free to email anytime! Consider taking an internship in LA despite the cost. It is well worth it.

Kazimir Koehring ’18 Handlebar Cafe: This is Nantucket

Hey, I’m Kazimir Koehring, an incoming sophomore at Wabash College. Thanks to the Small Business Internship Fund, I am currently enjoying my summer 30 miles out to sea on the elegant island of Nantucket. Jason and Courtney Bridges of The Handlebar Cafe hired me as a marketing intern but I can say I knew, just from the interview, that this internship was going to be so much more than marketing. During the first month here, I have learned SO much about coffee. In reaction to this new coffee knowledge I know that I’ll be walking down the coffee aisle one day and our head barista Hannah will pop into my head convincing me not to buy pre-ground coffee and listing all the reasons why. From latte art to adjusting the espresso grind, Hannah has taught me everything I know about coffee and it has blown my mind.

Speaking on the Handlebar’s employees, Hannah is perfect for Jason and this business. Driven and devoted to coffee, Hannah is specialized enough for Jason to be able to trust her to make important decisions concerning the coffee Handlebar is serving. This consistency creates a quality product and gives Jason a chance to commit more attention to other components of the business. Having this specialized knowledge, Hannah is also able to train people like me: someone who has no prior knowledge in coffee. Thanks to Hannah, Jason’s philosophy on hiring is now based on potential for growth. He sees the constant customer interactions at the Handlebar as strong learning points for any employee. Making espresso drinks can be learned but being able to engage others and being nice is something that is built into one’s core.

When running a small business there are several components that need to be accounted for that may otherwise be overlooked by customers. There are the previously stated parts, such as having strong employees, that are necessary to run a successful business and then there are parts that are essential to any business. Paying rent, keeping a steady product supply, having an opening/closing procedure, and scheduling are just several of the overlooked components within a small business that I’ve seen so far. Since myself and two other Wabash men are living with Jason and Courtney, we hear about these overlooked instances on a daily basis. For a small business to even have a chance, there needs to be a strict awareness for the little things. Once the little things are taken care of there are more opportunities to look at the bigger picture and search for expansion.


kaz2While learning about the essentials and necessities of a small business, I see many opportunities for the Handlebar to grow. One of those is through community outreach. The Handlebar is “a community space disguised as a coffee shop,” and we have to work hard to uphold this statement. We get out in the community and volunteer as we will for “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” that takes place on June 29th and as we have already for “Bike Nantucket.” We also get out and run every Tuesday night for Brant Point Runners Club.

Along with volunteering, we uphold our community space by establishing a strong social media presence. We show support for events and groups on island, such as The Nantucket Film Festival and the Maria Mitchell Association, by posting pictures that have the potential to bring business to both parties. Without this collaborative attitude in Nantucket, it would be difficult for us to accomplish a community space disguised as a coffee shop; but when you walk into the Handlebar, you can just feel it.

When I am not working on the floor being a barista or cashier, I am searching for new ways the Handlebar can maintain its goals as well as advance them. Along with finding events to hold outside of the Handlebar, such as the sunscope, and finding creative posts to support local events, such as the Espresso Film Reel, I am also looking into how the Handlebar can expand. I want to pursue expansion because I see opportunities where the Handlebar can thrive. Some of these ideas will take substantial amounts of money that a small business might not have. I have to do baseline research and present a plan before these ideas can begin. This is a difficult task for me, but I am looking at this as a possible larger project that can challenge me and produce results for the Handlebar.




Marco Ortega ’17 The Business of Brewing

Wow did I have an interesting day this Friday.


Ortega ’17

My fellow LABB Interns and I visited the IU Research and Technology Corporation and the Triton Brewing Company in Indianapolis. While Wabash alum Joe Trebley ’01 was quite the cool guy to talk to at IURTC, I’m going to be focusing on my first tour of a craft brewery. (I swear it’s not just because it involves the creation of beer!) I can genuinely say I learned a lot about brewing and all the factors that go into the business in general.

 Alum David Waldman ’93 is the co-founder of Triton and gave us a detailed tour of the brewery; he covered the history behind the building, (it used to be an army base,) what goes into creating a batch, and their unique competitive advantage. Triton prides itself on not only quality ingredients, but also having the highest quality water go into their beer. Considering more than 95% of the beer consists of water, they figured starting with ultra-pure H2O would give their beer a distinctive taste/advantage.
 It should be said that I not only learned what went into making their beer, I also learned that running a brewery isn’t easy. It is one of the most scrutinized goods in the economy; another good that is comparably more scrutinized is pharmaceuticals. As a brewer, you need to be aware of mandatory government regulations, how many bags of hops you have on hand, how much is expected to be brewed by a certain date, and many, many other constant concerns. Sure, you get to brew and create beer for a living, but you are still running a business that deals with ever-changing markets, demands, and competition.
Marco and Dave strike a pose at Triton Brewery

Marco and Dave strike a pose at Triton Brewery

I feel that this experience really broadened my horizon in terms of my perception of the craft-brewing industry. There are passionate brewers behind each brewery that go through the same creative struggles as David. There is much more than meets the eye in terms of difficulty in starting, running, and succeeding in craft-brewing. This trip also reminded me that one can follow their passion and bring it into their everyday career life and succeed. I feel very excited for my life after Wabash and to execute my ambitions as well.

I’d really like to thank the LABB Program at Wabash and also the Lilly Endowment for granting me this beautiful opportunity to explore the many facets of business, marketing, and entrepreneurship along with these on-site visit experiences.I know the things I learn and people I meet during these next few weeks will better prepare me for my life after Wabash.

Alejandro Reyna ’17 Because Someone Helped Me


Reyna ’17

This past Thursday the LABB group visited two Wabash men in their nesting grounds. Joe Trebley, who is the Head of Startup Support and Promotion at the Indiana Research and Technology Corporation in Indianapolis (IURTC), and David Waldman the Co-Founder of Triton Brewing Company.

Talk about two distinct paths with more peculiarities. Joe and David both personify how a person works with unwrought materials and makes their own polished product that is their profession. What I learned from both of them is something you just cannot learn in a classroom.

While at IURTC Joe told us how he got to IURTC working with Startups with a Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry. His story was filled with successes and failures and like and prudent Wabash Man, Joe said he learned more from his failures. Joe through those hurdles was able to blend “science and business,” the two things he saw himself wanting to work with. At IURTC, Joe aids IU students and professors take their research ideas and make them turn a profit. One of the great Startups that he is working on is changing the treatment for PTSD victims.


LABB students, Zack and Alex share an umbrella while waiting for their food in front of Triton Brewing

That same day the LABB group visited Triton Brewing Company and we met David Waldman. David was an English major at Wabash and now owns Triton Brewing Company. David humorously gave us the ups and downs of how runs a successful business that, as he put it, produces a “controlled substance”.  It was a change of pace from being in an academic/professional setting at IURTC to then a brewery. What was the same with David and Joe is they both acknowledged that they were talking to us and giving up their time “because someone helped” them when they were a bit unsure of what they wanted to do. David and Joe knew maybe some of us might be unsure but that they were there to help us.

David and Joe did teach us a lot about what they were doing and how their Wabash education helped them get there. While a majority of LABB is in the classroom reading very interesting Harvard Business Cases, getting out interacting with successful alumni doing what they enjoy is also a very beneficial part in LABB. Many thanks to the Lily Endowment for this opportunity!

Delon Pettiford ’17 Real World Marketing Applications


Pettiford ’17

During week three of the LAAB internship we transitioned to the ideas and strategies of Business of Marketing. Throughout the week we learned a numerous amount of relatable business terms for marketing, strategic marketing vs tactical marketing, and the importance of networking. Monday we all had given our own business pitches for a theoretical restaurant which allowed us to use some of these experiences in a real world situation by creating things like income statements, balance sheets, and marketing strategies. We have also been given great opportunities like meeting alumni such as Rob Shook IBM’s chief strategic industry solution. His talk about motivation, creating opportunities for yourself, and networking was great encouragement for us to reach out to alumni because they are here to help. He spoke of how he stood on alumni’s shoulders to reach his goals and as a Wabash man he owes it to the college to pay back his dues and help out the younger generations of Wabash students.


LABB students finishing up their negotiation practice

Throughout the internship I’ve learned real world business situations from the many hands-on activities we’ve done throughout the internship, site visits of different start up business, and building relations and meeting alumni. I’ve also learned to speak “business” in the sense of learning many different business vocabulary and understanding all the paperwork behind starting and owning a business. I would like to give a huge thanks to the Lilly Endowment for funding the program. I’ve learned so much in the first three weeks that can be applied to many real world situations. With my Rhetoric major and Econ minor I plan to get into business marketing and then one day own my own business. This internship has opened my eyes to the actual work that goes into business and has motivated me to continue to follow my dreams because they are definitely obtainable with hard work and dedication. Thank you Lilly Endowment

Connor Rice ’17 Continued Education in Marketing


Rice ’17

First off I would like to take a brief moment to thank the Lilly Endowment for providing me with the opportunity to take part in the LABB program. This week we welcomed our instructor Roland Morin, back from relinquishment of his role to Will Weber ’11 who is was versed in finance and took on the responsibility of imparting his knowledge onto us. At the beginning of the week we did our restaurant pitches that were supposed to one, give us an idea of what being an entrepreneur is like, two, to provide us with the experience to give pitches in front of judges who acted as potential clients, and finally as Roland delicately put it, “to never want to start a restaurant ever”.  I thought all the members of the Labb program did a fantastic job presenting their restaurant ideas to the judges and I quickly became aware of how innovative my fellow co-workers are.  My group in particular received the most investments from the judges so we were very excited that they found the family restaurant to have the most potential out of all the great ideas that the other groups presented.  Later that week we had Dean Raters come in and present his consulting project that presents a challenging but doable task.  My colleagues are excited to begin working on that project and I am sure they will be efficient and effective with their efforts.  With Roland back in the mix we

The LABB students sit and listen as Dean Raters explains their upcoming consulting project

The LABB students sit and listen as Dean Raters explains their upcoming consulting project

went through a Marketing 101 crash course that took us through the essentials of marketing and it gave us an opportunity to practice the strategies and concepts we learned in group activities.  After participating in the marketing immersion program and my brief experience with the Labb program I believe that marketing is the career path for me.  Roland’s expertise in the field has and will be valuable for myself and my co-workers for the duration of our internship and for possible future internships.  We capped off a successful week with guest speaker, Rob Shook talking about his career with IBM and the keys to having a successful career in business and in life.  I was moved by his words and he is definitely an alum that all Wabash men should aspire to become.  He has proven to be a successful man of the industry as well as a man of faith and for that I can call him a hero of mine.

Chris Szostek ’17 Hurdles in Financing


-Szostek ’17

This week was the Financial Boot Camp. We were lucky enough to have Will Weber ’11 come into class to teach us everything we needed to know about the financial details of starting, maintaining, and operating our own business.  Personally, the largest hurdle that would come to my mind in starting a new business was generating the initial capital. It was always tough to get my mind around the amount of capital needed to start a business. I couldn’t understand how anyone did it! It seemed like you had to already have a boatload of resources to work with. How can anyone do it from nothing? All of my questions were answered and more. Will was very generous with his knowledge and gave all of the details on creating a start-up from nothing. Will taught us about where to find the initial capital and where to look for investors. It boiled down to four main avenues. Bank loans, angel investors, friends and family, and credit cards were the best solutions. We learned about the pros and cons of each source, and what to expect when lobbying for initial investments. We learned how to finance and how to budget our ventures. After looking at the hard figures, and learning how to map out our financial forecast, everything suddenly became clear.  Starting a business no longer seemed like a pipe dream. The LABB internship has already far surpassed my already high expectations, and it is only the beginning of week 3! I look forward to what else is to come, and I am very excited to learn how to build even more bridges to business. I would like to extend a huge thank you to the Lilly Endowment for funding this incredible program, Will Weber for lending his time this past week, and Roland Morin for taking the lead in the LABB program.

McHale Gardiner ’17 The Business of Finance


Gardiner ’17

My name is Mac Gardiner and as you probably already know, I am currently an intern involved in the Liberal Arts Bridge to Business program at Wabash College for the summer of 2015.  We have just completed our second week of the program, which was an intensive and interactive week focused on finance.  The financial boot camp was ran by Will Weber, an alumni from the class of 2011.  Mr. Weber ran us through the three essential documents that a business will need in order to function: a balance sheet, income statement, and cashflow.  When examining these documents, we spent a particular amount of time focusing on factors a small business start-up would have to consider.


On Thursday, May 28, after spending the first two days describing the functions the three financial statements served, we began to construct one for an imaginary shoe store we were beginning.  Before we did this exercise, I never realized just how many factors have to be considered when beginning a business.  For a simple shoe store, we had to generate our number of employees, hours opened, location, pricing for the shoes, how much it cost for us to sell the shoe, and many more factors.  As we began to think of an aspect we would have to consider about the business, three more seemed to pop up.  It gave me just a glimpse of how much research and time spent developing ideas has to go into simply beginning a business, let alone running it when it is started.  There are many different factors that must be considered before even opening the store.


Gardiner ’17 practicing Excel after taking part in a 1 week financial boot-camp

After we had developed our different factors, we began to assign costs to each one.  Now, if you were beginning your own business, these numbers would be figured through countless amounts of research of the market you are entering into.  For our sake, we estimated values based on our own experiences.  After assigning costs, we could finally construct an income statement in an Excel spreadsheet.  Excel allows you to easily calculate values and change the numbers depending on different scenarios.  Once we had built our expected income statement, we could then build out our other two financial statements, the balance sheet and cashflow.

Going through the financial aspects of running a business will force one to define their market, the product they are selling, and above all else, appropriately define for themselves what there business will be.  It forces you to develop the other aspects of your business appropriately because in order to have an accurate financial prediction, you must define what you are doing.  This week of finance has been very eye opening to say the least.  When running a business, at the end of the day it all comes down to the dollar figures and how you are generating more of it.  Going through and understanding the three essential financial statements any business needs truly helps one get  grasp on the entire ins and outs of business itself. I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment for giving me this opportunity to further my knowledge in finance and business in general.

Austin Ellingwood ’18 Programming and Customer Success with Startup

This summer, I was given the opportunity to work for a startup company called Handshake, in Palo Alto, California. The house I am staying in is a multi-million dollar mansion, with guys from various Ellingwood1schools in Michigan. The two other interns are a couple of all around good guys from Wake Forest.  I have been helping with the Customer Success team, which involves helping out customers in a support role, testing out bugs, and aiding every team member in any way I can. I am learning new programming languages every day, so that by the end of the summer, I will be fixing bugs in the code. Until then, I will aid the Customer Success team in their day-to-day tasks. I have learned a great deal about small businesses in my short time here, and I am eager to learn more.

The life of a startup is a busy one. With less than 30 employees, and many schools trying to get on board with Handshake, there is little time for breaks. I spend most of my days in either the office, or various coffee shops around Palo Alto. I am enjoying the busy days full of work and full of pressure to get things done on time and with great quality.


One of my favorite parts about working for Handshake is the environment that I get to work in. Every employee is very supportive, and any criticism I receive is constructive. I enjoy working for Handshake because they appreciate all the work I do, which I think is partly due to the fact that it is a startup. I interact with the CEO on a daily basis, by either IM, or face-to-face, which is very unique to small businesses. I am excited for the future of Handshake.  

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