First week is down in the books. During our first week we were tasked with crafting a business plan for a variety of different restaurant types. Beginning this business plan has been eye opening as I am just being introduced to the business field. There is so much that goes into a single business plan and I am intrigued to learn the ins and outs of it, as we work on it the next two weeks. One of this week’s highlights was watching Shark Tank. I’d never seen this television show before. Watching entrepreneurs give pitches of a lifetime in front of four “sharks”, venture capitalists, gave me ideas for future endeavors. I was able to make connections to real life business, and our current business plan because of the show. Every company is backed by a strong business plan, as it is the foundation and glue to any successful company. Weston Gregg, who led the LABB program the first week, occasionally paused the show, to ask questions that kept us engaged. Often he would ask if we would invest in the entrepreneurs company, I’d like to think that investing in other people’s dreams is just as important as investing in your own. Next Monday we are planning on giving pitches of our own and I hope to use some of the concepts of presenting that that we were able to observe on Shark Tank. Many times on Shark Tank poor ideas are overshadowed by the strength of the presentation. It is my goal to be such a strong presenter that no matter the content, I am captivating and convincing. For example, the group of interns gave pitches about ourselves in order ascertain our strengths and weaknesses so that we could be divided into groups for our first business plans. I take pride in my ideas and values, which is what I believe made my pitch strong. I was assigned to a group that I believe is going to be extremely successful. To be apart of the business field, we must be self-confidence, and put our best foot forward in every endeavor. Finally I would like to thank the generosity of the Lilly Endowment for providing me with the opportunity to take part in the LABB program.
I would first like to take this opportunity to thank the Lilly Endowment for its generous support and investment in my education. The first week of the Liberal Art Bridge to Business (LABB) program has just been completed and my fellow LABB interns and I have already taken part in engaging exercises and activities to help us develop a better understanding for business and entrepreneurship. Some of these exercises included Power-Point presentations with the goal of improving our speaking skills and confidence in front of a live group of listeners. For example, our first task consisted of making a 5-minute presentation over a topic of our choice, with a wide variety of topics ranging from “Why Chipotle is the best restaurant in existence” to favorite sports teams and movie series’ on television. Keep in mind that after 5 minutes of presenting, many colleagues were encouraged to give positive feedback on how we each presented. Dean Oprisko was also present to provide helpful tips on how to give a more effective and convincing presentation. Tips ranged from body language and time management to voice intonation. I would like to thank Dean Oprisko for donating his time and efforts to the LABB program.
I felt it was very effective watching others being critiqued as well because I was able to learn from their presentations and polish my own. Preparation for the presentations included creating a personalized Power-Point with valid information and practice presenting to others on our own time. Practice was necessary until we could we could comfortably present our Power-Points within 10 seconds of the 5 minute mark. The significance of the 5-minute mark was to teach us how to provide valid information to business associates without taking up too much of their time because in the real world, time is money. Also, practice in front of others was necessary to make us more comfortable in presenting. This whole exercise was very helpful in getting me out of my comfort zone and communicating in front of large groups effectively and persuasively which is an essential ability in the business world. I look forward to the following weeks of the LABB Program and learning more about business and entrepreneurship!
Bilal Jawed ’17 – It didn’t hit me when I first got the news in the spring. It didn’t hit me the weeks leading up to the flight. It didn’t even hit me when I stepped onto Ugandan soil for the first time and rode to my apartment in the late hours of the night after a long two-day journey. But this morning, precisely at sunrise, that’s when it hit me. That is when I realized I would be spending my entire summer in Kampala, Uganda. I awoke to a certain cocktail of sounds that affirmed that I was 7700 miles from Crawfordsville. The Adhan, the Muslim call to prayer at sunrise could be heard from a nearby mosque, monkeys howling from treetops, a baby crying in the next door complex, and the fan blowing against the mosquito netting covering my bed that protects from Malaria.
It was certainly daunting and awe inspiring at the same time. will certainly be challenges in adjusting to life in Kampala, both big and small. Its always tough knowing your family and friends are just going to bed as you are waking up or knowing fast internet speeds are a luxury of the past (I definitely will never complain to the Wabash IT department ever again). The package includes no air conditioning, lots of traffic, and frequent power outages, and a myriad of other adjustments, but anything can be seen as an adventure in an appropriate light. The ground is red, the people are very friendly, and I am ready to get to work. More to come about working day to day with HIV patients in Mulago Hospital!
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.
The 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.
Warm wishes from Belize!
My name is Luke Wren and I graduated from Wabash last May as part of the class of 2014. I am currently typing this on a sunny cement balcony in the northern part of Belize, in a small town called Orange Walk. When many people hear “Belize” they see visions of vast oceanside, images of colorful fish shimmering in the water, or a coconut tree shedding its hard-shelled goodness. However, Belize is much more then simply a great place to vacation or prime real estate for wealthy expats. Belize is a culturally unique place with numerous ethnic groups, and even more small villages full of Belizean culture.
Belize, formally British Honduras, is the youngest country in the western Hemisphere. Although young, Belize has a very rich history and one that dates back for millennia. At one point millions of Mayans lived throughout much of Central America, including Belize. Mayans form civilized city-states and were much more then simple hut-living indigenous people. They had routes of trade, fought wars, built temples, and created some of the most beautiful monuments (now ruins) in Belize.
Belize is full of wildlife, rivers, caves, mountains, beaches, and cayes. Although rich in biodiversity there are still over 300,000 humans that call Belize home. It is for these Belizeans, especially the impoverished ones among them, that I am here. I am currently in the University of Notre Dame’s Master of Science in Global Health Program, which is a part of the Eck Institute for Global Health. After completing two semesters of classes, I now have the opportunity to complete my capstone project focused on global health.
What drew me into global health? Primarily it was Wabash’s own Dr. Eric Wetzel. Dr. Wetzel provided me the opportunity, along with many of my peers to travel to Peru in the summer of 2012 for two weeks. During this immersion trip we worked alongside doctors, medical students, and veterinary students and helped with conducting local community health clinics. This experience opened my eyes to what medicine the majority of those on Earth have. Most people do not have access to full care hospitals, sanitary environments in which to give birth, or even a “standard” clinical setting to give birth. Many births are done at home or at local health centers. This educational experience did what Dr. Wetzel says our education should do…it disturbed me.
Being disturbed in an educational setting is what takes knowledge and changes it into action. You can read a book about malaria or watch a documentary or series of YouTube videos, but without seeing how Malaria affects people with your own eyes it keeps the information in 2-dimensional space, and thus is very hard to fully understand. Being disturbed by something changes something within and that can be bad at times, but in this case it was positive.
Travelling to Peru, hearing the sounds, smelling the smells, touching things that Peruvians touch, walking where Peruvians walk, took my education to a different level…and it made me sick to my stomach. I will never forget the feeling I had standing on the side of a hill in a slum of Lima, called Pamplona Alta. I look out and see tarps, filth, garbage, disease-ridden dogs…I smell burned trash, burned feces, but most importantly I see homes. People live here. People grow up here. People fall in love here. People grow old here. I have never felt so bad for having so much. All of my petty complaints of my life were dwarfed compared to the daily lives of these Peruvians. I knew I had to change what I wanted to do.
I have always wanted to become a doctor, at least since high school. I still plan on becoming a doctor, but my path to get there and what type of doctor I want to be has changed because of my trip to Peru. I pursued this Masters at Notre Dame not only for the education and experience, but for the opportunity to travel and learn more about resource poor-settings. My goal is to become a rural doctor, focusing on resource poor-settings.
I am in Belize to study Chagas disease, a parasite-caused disease that is transmitted by Triatomine bugs or “kissing bugs”. These bugs contain the parasite in their feces and can transmit the parasite to humans. When humans get infected with the parasite they can have acute symptoms, but not all show signs of acute symptoms and go straight into the chronic phase, which after a period of time (10+ years) a person can have fatal occurrences of heart disease, digestive issues, and damaged organs.
The two aims of my study are to:
1) Look at the effectiveness of current control strategies like insecticide-treated bed nets, insecticide paints, and indoor residual spray (more insecticide) on the vector.
2) Survey local heads-of-households in surrounding villages of San Ignacio, Belize. I hope to better understand how much local populations know about Chagas disease, the vector, signs and symptoms, and current control methods with the goal of providing the Belize Ministry of Health this information so they can streamline future directed educational campaigns.
I plan on updating my blog at least once a week, and hopefully with pictures. I will not just talk about research but my experiences, and my thoughts. Please feel free to pass this along to anyone you think might find this interesting.
Here is a link for more information on Chagas Disease: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/chagas/
That’s all for now,
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.