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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

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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.
Kaz

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.

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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.

 

 

 

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.

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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.  

Joel Paquin ’16 Semler Financial Crash Course

Paquin1My experience at Semler with Craig Demaree ’02 has taught me things that will no doubt help me when I graduate next year. With a focus on retirement planning, the advisers at Semler Financial Group took me in and gave me a crash course on what retirement and retirement planning looks like.  Although retirement is a long ways away for an upcoming graduate like myself, I am quickly learning the importance of saving. I’ve been exposed to countless illustrations that show the importance of starting to save early, and how the growth that those savings accumulate translate in

to policy at retirement age. The immediate take home message that I get working at Semler, is to start saving EARLY.

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Here at Semler I am kept busy most of the time learning the ins and outs of retirement planning. When I’m not seeing the financial side, I am seeing the business side. Often I get to meet people and sit in on client meetings to actually see what people do to set up their retirement.

Even if I don’t pursue this line of work when I graduate, the things I’ve learned here will apply to me regardless. I am set up to be a great saver once I start working. I’d like

to thank everyone here at Semler Financial Group and the Wabash College Small Business Internship Fund for giving me this opportunity.

 

Alan Ortiz ’17 Hands on Experience

 

alan ortiz 2           Working for Erik Ness ’94 has been a hands on learning experience. Since the day I started at Commodity Transportation Services in Phoenix, Arizona, I have learned an array of things. During these last three weeks, I have gained experience in dealing with insurance issues between firms, made a near infinite amount of phone calls to carriers across the nation, and successfully managed to stay employed.  This internship turned out to be nothing like I expected. Since day one I was handed significant responsibilities and I was trusted to assist the dispatchers in our office to ensure that loads, some worth up to $50,000, did not have difficulties. At first, this was an overwhelming task, because I had never done anything like this in my life. However, with the help of the staff at CTS, I was able to get the hang of the job fairly quickly.

The staff here at CTS has been extremely gracious and patient with me over these first few weeks. They are always willing to help and I learn new things from them every single day. They are a great team, and I feel privileged to be able to work at an office where everyone trusts each other and are always willing to help with anything. The office is always busy. We are constantly answering phone calls and trying to make sure that every order is perfect. On average, I make approximately one hundred calls each day split between speaking to brokers, truckers, insurance companies, and many different distribution centers serving Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs across the nation. I have also made many appointments so that truckers can both pick up and deliver their produce loads. This is often extremely challenging, because the people on the other side of the phone are sometimes unwilling to help, but we manage to get everything done.

alan ortizThe three weeks that I have worked here have shown me that I like the freight brokerage business and that I could see myself potentially pursuing a career as a broker. Everything is a possibility, but I feel that this is something that I can do for a few years after college. My plan is to eventually get an MBA, and I feel that everything I am learning in this internship would potentially help me to do so. I would like to thank everyone here at Commodity Transportation Services, as well the Small Business Internship Fund, for making this experience possible.

Jacob Burnett ’15 – The Vantage Point of Gideon’s Army

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.

At PDS, we are assigned an intern partner. I had the pleasure of working with Caitlin Rams, a rising junior at the University of Wyoming.

At PDS, we are assigned an intern partner. I had the pleasure of working with Caitlin Rams, a rising junior at the University of Wyoming.

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.

Doug Baker ’15 – San Francisco Operations

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.

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From left to right: Doug Baker ’15, Michael Miller ’16, Khurram Tahir ’01, Terrence Zhou ’17, and Adam Boehm ’15

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.

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PROFUSA interns hard at work

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.

Adam Boehm ’15 – West Coast Chemist

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Adam Boehm ’15 – Enjoying working in the lab as a Chemistry Intern

Adam Boehm ’15 - I cannot express enough gratitude for the opportunities I have had this summer thanks to the Small Business Internship Fund.  When I first discovered the posting for a chemistry intern with PROFUSA, Inc. in San Francisco, I never expected I would be offered the position and spend my summer in California.  As a premed student, I was looking for a summer opportunity that would help me gain experience in the medical field, and PROFUSA has provided me just that.  PROFUSA is a small startup biomedical device company specializing in creating sensors that can monitor real-time body chemistries non-invasively.  I had no idea what this meant for me as a chemistry intern, and it took several weeks for me to fully grasp what I was doing.

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.

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Adam Boehm ’15 and his brother Brian pose at Glacier Point with a view of Half Dome and Nevada Falls at Yosemite National Park

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 – Montgomery County Historian

Restoring an old book

Sam Vaught ’16 – Restoring an old book with the Montgomery County Historical Society

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-

Sam Vaught '16

Sam Vaught ’16

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 The Art of Persuasion

 

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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.

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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.

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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.


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