Banner

Austin Burton ’16 Montgomery County Health Internship

As an intern for the Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD) I have been involved in much more than I ever imagined I could be in such a short amount of time. My ignorance of the Health Department’s duties was plentiful before the internship started, but now I have developed a much better picture of the inner workings of the MCHD. The MCHD is a small office with only five full-time employees. However, what the department lacks in numbers, it possesses in fortitude. I could not have asked for a better group of people to work with. Not only are the people of the Health Department super friendly and caring, but they are also extremely knowledgeable and hard-working. In just five short weeks, I have gained valuable information ranging from the anatomy of a mosquito to the layout of a septic system, none of which would have been possible without my co-workers.

My main job at the Health Department is trapping, identifying, and sending mosquitos off for testing (of West Nile Virus). I have stared at more mosquitos, with a microscope, through this internship than I ever stared at Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) in genetics class. Although this can get redundant, I have still thoroughly enjoyed the process of creating a brew (gravid mosquito attractant), setting a trap, and identifying mosquito species for testing. This job has been proved to be very important this year as mosquito populations have skyrocketed in the Midwest as a result of the massive amounts of rain we have received this summer. Almost every spot we have decided to place traps has produced over one hundred mosquitos per trap in an approximately twenty-four-hour cycle. So far there have been no reported cases of West Nile virus and we are thankful for that. However, the virus tends to peak in late July and therefore educating the public on ways to reduce mosquito populations, to minimize the risk involved in mosquito bites, is very important. I have been able to do this on a small scale in the county not only via word of mouth, but I have also received the privilege of writing a couple of articles for the local newspaper. This has been my first experience writing for any publication, and I have found the opportunity to be very rewarding. It is a great honor, privilege, and responsibility to be able to write for your community in a concise, informative and interesting way. Still, mosquito hunter and occasional newspaper writer are not the only tasks I have been involved with at the health department.

Wabash Lilly Internship- health department

Austin Burton calibrating machine to test mosquitos for West Nile Virus.

I have been to multiple food inspections that shed light not only on the procedures and systems of restaurants but also the precautions that need to be taken to ensure food is safe to be eaten. I am constantly amazed each time I step foot into a food establishment’s kitchen at the care owners, and managers take to ensure not only food quality but also food cleanliness. Even with the care was taken by the respective employees I have been able to see the importance of a food inspector in maintaining clean eating environments and practices. These same practices are important at home as well and sometimes when they are not applied the health department has to step in. This being the case, I have been to several homes that have had unfortunate cockroach infestations or animal troubles and have been able to provide help and information to assist families in leading healthier lives. It is amazing how much improvement can be made on a home by simply educating people on how to keep their houses healthier. All of my time at people’s houses hasn’t just been spent on the inside. I have also learned some of the science of soil sampling when testing for septic system placements and have been able to see the end result of that testing turning into a brand new septic system being put into the ground. The Health Department has provided me with all of these opportunities and many more including water testing, pool testing, customer service, county preparedness, and county meetings. In a few weeks when my internship is over I will have gained valuable experience and information, I will have formed many new relationships and retain unforgettable memories. I thank everyone involved in the Lilly internship program for my opportunity as well as every employee at the Health Department for making my experience possible and very pleasant.

Wesley Virt ’17 Playing for Team Lilly

Wesley SpencerBWhen I think about a team, I think about a group of people who have the same abilities and desires. Before becoming a financial economics major, I thought that the only way I could play on the team of impacting people’s life was through pursuing a medical degree. This team has direct contact with patients every day. They are the ones that make the difference. I slowly began to realize that this is not the case at all, and this realization has been exemplified every day here during my internship at Tx: Team.
Having an impact during an internship is one of the reasons that I decided to join Tx: Team. Tx: Team is a physical therapy company based in Indianapolis but does business in many different states. I remember speaking to Scott Benedict, the CEO of Tx: Team during the interview for this internship. He said that the intern would have the ability to speak freely and be treated as an equal member of the team. He also assured me that I would not be getting coffee for him. I never realized how accurate this statement was until I started the internship.

On the first day of this internship, I was introduced to all of the tools that are used for forecasting. I remember saying to Spencer Sherridan, the financial analyst, on the first day, “These tools are ridiculously slow. There has to be another way.” His response back was simple, “Find it.” So with that motivation I set off to find another way to compile the data and make the tools work faster. I consulted many different sources to find the best program to use that was not Excel. The answer came to me with a Microsoft program called Access. Over the next few weeks, I would transform the physician referral Excel sheet into a quicker, and more user-friendly Access version. My best friends those next few weeks became “Access 2010 for Dummies” and the Office Support website since no one at the office knew much about Access.

After many obstacles and challenges, I finally finished the new Access database. Everyone in the office was impressed and wanted to work on changing all of the forecasting tools to Access. This one simple example shows that even though I am only an intern, I had a major impact on the team. I also impacted the team in another way by using my skills from Rhetoric 290- Deliberation. I got the chance to compose a deliberation for associates to voice their thoughts on how to increase the enthusiasm within the company. This just shows the value of a liberal arts education. I had to use skills from a variety of different classes and backgrounds to accomplish the task at hand. I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment for giving me all of these opportunities to learn a new operating system and for allowing me to realize even as an intern I can have a huge impact.

In conclusion, this team that I work for does not consist solely of therapists. It consists of people from all different specialties and experiences with each member making a difference in people’s lives directly or indirectly. They practice hard to give everyone the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. I am part of that team. Tx: Team.

Haopeng Yan ’16 Building a Co-working Space for South Bend

Yan_Intern

Haopeng Yan working at his office desktop.

This summer, I was given this valuable opportunity to work 12 weeks for Union Station Technology Center in South Bend, Indiana. First of all, I would like to start this blog by thanking the Lilly Endowment, Inc. to fund this internship. Also, I appreciate my two bosses, Dr. Shane Fimbel’ 01 and David Stamper, for guiding my work no matter what/when I needed their help or suggestions.

Union Station Technology Center (USTC) designs, builds, and manages data centers, a co-working space, and high-speed network communications facilities for mid-sized local businesses to large enterprise and global cloud providers. The Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) model serves as the backbone of our operations utilizing the flexibility in design, a highly reliable power source, and high-speed connectivity.

My main title of this internship is Marketing and Communications Intern. Working with Chris Stazinski’16, our main function is to help the company to build and brand their new coworking space – the Depot. After visiting multiple other successful coworking spaces in Indiana like Launch Fishers and MatchBox, we believe that the Depot can be a membership-based ecosystem designed for entrepreneurs, creative professionals, freelancers, consultants, and students. Our long-term goal is to create a hub to facilitate business growth and innovation by providing a facility for collaboration and mutual development. For a small monthly fee, our clients have access to our extraordinary amenities.
My daily job includes building and marketing the Depot. I helped and coordinated in planning and promoting for several events such as Taco Tuesday and Wednesday entrepreneurial talks to engage current and future members. In the meantime, I prepared and managed all membership and event communications, including membership agreement, Terms of Use, press releases, and social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. What is more, I worked closely with Chris to build our website on Squarespace. From designing the logo to building a sheet of events happening within the Depot, I practiced a lot of what I have learned about marketing from the winter externship at Elbert Construction. I would also like to thank Mr. Aaron Nicely ’06 for extending his help after the winter externship when I built this website in the past few weeks.

Now I look forward to the rest of this internship. It is evident that this internship grows my leadership in leading a great number of events, inspires me intellectually in building and creating the website, and further improves my communication skills with both coworkers and clients from different background. Again, thank you Wabash and Lilly Endowment for preparing Wabash men for a successful future.

Connor Smith ’18 Perfinity Internship

IMG_6816As the 2014-15 academic year came to a conclusion this past May, I found myself filled with equal parts relief at having completed my first year of college and anticipation for what was to come this summer. Similarly to most other college students, I knew that I would have to spend my summer working. Having spent the last two summers working as a busser at a restaurant, the idea of working all summer was nothing new to me; however, this summer was going to be a far different experience for me. Through the generosity of the Lilly Endowment, I was presented with the opportunity to spend the first eight weeks of summer as an intern for Perfinity Biosciences under the direction of Kevin Meyer (Wabash Class of ‘06). Perfinity is a small company located in the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, IN.

A great dilemma faced by modern-day chemists, biochemists, and other great researchers in the biotech industry is that while the equipment and experimental procedures used have evolved at an increasingly rapid pace, the methodology behind the acquisition and analysis of samples used has remained alarmingly archaic. It is in this unique niche that Perfinity has developed a business. To increase the efficiency of experiments, and ease the lives of other scientists, Perfinity has developed products that have cut sample processing times from over 10 hours to about 20 minutes. Along with fellow Lily intern Jake Norley ( Wabash Class of ’16), we spent the summer as a part of the research and development team at Perfinity and worked alongside the other scientists in testing current products as well as aiding in research that could contribute to future products at the company. Having only one year of chemistry under my belt at Wabash, I was nervous that I was not going to be capable enough to contribute to great work here, however, my boss assured me that the other employees had learned a lot of the science behind the work as they worked through it and not to fret. Sure enough, by the end of the 8 weeks, I had become far more confident in my scientific abilities and had learned volumes of chemistry that will be applicable in not only my future course load at Wabash, but also in attaining my goals of becoming a successful chemist after graduation. One exciting moment during our 8-week tenure at Perfinity was when Jake and I found out that the research we had done would be used to file a patent for what could potentially become a future product. While I cannot disclose what the patent entails, I can tell you that it was an incredibly rewarding experience to know that our work was able to help the company achieve some of its goals.

The small business structure of Perfinity allowed me to learn about entrepreneurship and running a small business in addition to all of the science behind what we were doing. I was able to take away lessons in marketing, sales, finance, and much more during my time here. I felt that this was a true extension of a liberal arts education in the sense of making me a much more well-rounded individual. I cannot express my thanks to the Lilly Endowment for making this opportunity possible for me and all the other Wabash interns who were able to benefit from it possible. This internship has provided me with insight into the field where I plan on developing a career, and I consider myself truly blessed to have had such an amazing opportunity and met the great people at Perfinity with whom I am lucky to consider now myself friends with.

Christopher Shrack ’16 Chemistry and Wabash Brewing

IMG_2682I was fortunate enough to spend eight weeks of my summer working on the northwest side of Indianapolis at a new nano-brewery called Wabash Brewing. I spent the last two summers exploring research in the organic chemistry lab at Marian University and the biochemistry lab at Wabash College; therefore, I was looking for something fresh to do with chemistry this summer. When I found this internship, I thought it presented a great opportunity to see how chemistry can be utilized in business and to experience the production of craft beer, which I was less familiar than its consumption.

There is a small office in the back of the brewery that the owners had set-aside as a laboratory to run quality control tests on the beer as it progresses through the fermentation process. Along with doing general housekeeping tasks, one of the goals for my internship set by the owners was to get the lab up and to run by the end of the summer.

During the first few weeks, it was nearly impossible to get to the lab instruments since the laboratory itself was doubling as storage space and was overflowing with mail, receipts, and other miscellaneous equipment. Unfortunately, an issue with production appeared around the same time the internship began. As it turned out, the grain necessary for brewing being milled on site before the brewing process began created dust that accumulated in the air ducts and fed a bacterial infection in the brewing yeast. This resulted in many beers turning sour during fermentation, which then had to be discarded. Since the owners worked full-time at other jobs during the week, this left a lot of cleaning for the other intern, Addison Hummel, and me to do in order to get back to the level of production that was expected. Each fermenter vessel was boiled and cleaned thoroughly in between batches, and the grain mill was moved outside to avoid further collection of dust. Additionally, we learned how to clean the vessels in which the beer was carbonated and the kegs the beer was stored in afterward. During this time, I was also able to run the taproom and interact with customers on a regular basis.

The most exciting part for me was learning the process of brewing beer from mashing the grain and adding the hops in during the boiling process to transferring the unfermented product, known as the wort, into a fermenter vessel and pitching the yeast with oxygen. Once the production issue was tackled, we were able to get rid of a lot of clutter in the brewery and the laboratory. The laboratory consists of a gas chromatograph (GC), a tandem gas chromatography mass spectrometer (GC-MS), a compound microscope, and a UV-Vis spectroscopy instrument (UV-VS). We determined that the latter two instruments were functional, but the GC and GC-MS systems needed to be professional repaired. Before the internship concluded, we discussed procedures moving forward for counting yeast cells using the compound microscope and for determining the standard reference method (SRM), or color of the beer, using the portable UV-VS instrument.

I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment for allowing me the opportunity to experience the inner workings of a business that has strong ties with science. I would also like to thank the owners, Matt Kriech, and Damon Carl, for allowing me to be a part of their dream in merging chemistry with the art of craft brewing. It has offered a truly unique perspective, and I’m looking forward to stopping by in the months and years to come for a pint and catching up with everyone I had the pleasure of working with this summer.

Elliot Burge ’16 A Step into the Real World

IMG_2211

Mr. Burge studying material on an office desktop.

The Who

I am Elliott Burge – a junior at Wabash College from Valparaiso studying economics – and, fortunately, a 2015 summer intern at Connecta Corporation in Indianapolis. I would not have been so lucky nor had this fulfilling experience without some help from a few organizations and certain individuals. Firstly, I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment for funding my internship and many like it and for making all of these wonderful opportunities a reality. Additionally, I would like to thank Wabash College – specifically the Center for Innovation, Business & Entrepreneurship led by Roland Morin and William Oprisko, Director of Student Employment and Activities. All of their time and efforts put forth smoothly set up and ran the Lilly internship programs available to me and many Wabash men. Lastly, my supervisors Alan Pyle and Derek Turner – both Wabash alumni – deserve recognition for inviting me to work with them and for challenging me in a way that allowed me to grow and learn in a workplace full of hard-working and inviting individuals. Each person, group, and organization played a vital role in my summer internship, and their collective involvement proved crucial in the support and guidance I received during my time at Connecta Corp. The memories and value to my education will surely be cherished and not forgotten.
The What

During my eight-week internship program, I faced not only many tasks and obstacles but also completed many goals and projects. The variety of roles and responsibilities given to me most likely exceeded those of the majority of other Lilly interns. I thoroughly enjoyed the frequent changes in pace and setting while on the job. From picking up and dropping off orders, to entering many different forms of data and organizing inventory, to orchestrating a company-wide cookout and utilizing my previous cooking skills, I could not imagine a more well-rounded and diverse job experience. Sometimes I would sit all day working with Excel, writing emails, or making phone calls; and other days I would do more physical work, such as moving inventory, mowing and trimming the lawn, or inspecting products as the machines produced them. I enjoyed having the opportunity to work with everyone at Connecta in one way or another and being able to apply myself on both sides of the business. Throughout my internship, I met a lot of great people who welcomed me and taught me so much. I very much appreciate all the lessons and knowledge with which these past eight weeks have rewarded me.
The When & Where
My internship took place at Connecta Corporation, which sits at the corner of Boulevard Place and 34th Street just north of downtown Indianapolis, IN. My time here spanned from May 8th to July 10th. I originally lived in Valparaiso, which lies in the northwest part of Indiana – as some would call “The Region.” Moving from a city with a little over 30,000 people to one with over 800,000 a few hours away, I had a lot of adjustments to make. Luckily I have friends who grew up and live in Indy, but the challenges of learning new streets and an entirely different city altogether still confronted me. I first noticed how much just driving around differed, most notably the traffic density and size. Despite that, I still greatly enjoyed the city of Indianapolis and all the wonderful things it offers. My experiences in and around the city indirectly related back my internship, and none of them would have occurred without it. Once again, I thank everyone who played a role in making this all possible. I learned a lot even outside of work about people, living on my own, and life in general, and that made all of my time here that much more worthwhile.
The Why
Some may wonder why I chose to work with Connecta, why I wanted to live in Indianapolis, or why I searched for an internship in the first place. I decided to look for an internship because of how competitive getting a desirable post-college job (or any job really) is nowadays. An internship provides very valuable experiences and awareness that separate prospective employees from ones with just their degree. I would rather be the best employee than the smartest. People have told me it is better to know how to use what you know as opposed to just knowing more than the person next to you. A quality college education and a good internship help individuals achieve not one but both of those. I felt that I needed to find an internship because of how much they offer. Secondly, Indianapolis seemed like the perfect location for me. I wanted to explore somewhere new and to excite away from home. Chicago would have been interesting, but that meant I would stay at home and have to commute by car, train, or bus 45 minutes to an hour away. I knew I did not want either of those, so I chose Indianapolis. Not only could I choose somewhere near my workplace to live, but I could also spend every day with some of my friends and have a summer filled with all new places and faces away from my comfort zone. South Bend – although a bit smaller – also seemed like a viable option with similar qualities and enough distance from Valpo. This brings me to my final question and answer: as I applied to several internships both in Indianapolis and South Bend, I began waiting patiently – a bit too anxiously as the end of the school year approached – and then I started getting replies to my applications. I received three or four emails in about three weeks’ time stating how I was not the ideal person these businesses wanted. Then almost out of nowhere I had an interview over FaceTime with Alan and Derek from Connecta. It went surprisingly well, especially since we scheduled it in the morning during my spring break. Before I knew it, I eventually walked out of my second interview at Connecta with a summer internship. Connecta was also the only place that interviewed me, so that made the decision a bit easier. My decision to take on a Lilly internship with Connecta Corp in Indianapolis instead of something else turned out wonderfully, and I could not be happier with the results – direct or indirect. I never thought this past summer would have played out the way it did, but there is not much I would change. In addition to everyone who had an impact and played an active role, I am thankful for everything this internship brought to my life and all of the lasting memories that came along with it. I can only imagine what else the future holds.

Sean McGrath ’16 Drinking Locally

ChevSean Intern Photo

Sean McGrath posing next to some of the Triton brew-masters.

Heading towards my final year as a student at Wabash College, I could not think of another internship I would have preferred to work for than with the Triton Brewing Company. I learned valuable lessons inside and outside of the Microbrewery this summer, and I especially want to thank the Eli Lilly Endowment Fund for me to receive this incredible internship opportunity. The advantage of this internship was on a rotated schedule to be capable of learning every single aspect of their business.

David Waldman, Wabash Alum and founder of Triton, always told me that this internship is unique and special in comparison to other internships provided through Wabash. My first two weeks I learned how to make Triton’s beer by being a part of the “brew crew” where we would be working before the sun rose in the morning to produce some of the best ale in the Indianapolis area. The following two weeks, I spent inside the tasting room being a licensed server for Triton. I found this to be very beneficial for me because I learned so much about the beer, needing to be able to describe the beers to customers; also, because my family owns a bar and restaurant in Chicago, I learned important managerial and served tactics in case I was ever to manage the restaurant. The next two weeks I spent on this internship was with the sales and marketing team and followed along on their daily stops to bars, restaurants and liquor stores in hopes to sell more of our product; as well as check-up on our current products being held at locations. Following two weeks of sales, I spent the next few weeks in the Operations office and learned accounting and organizational skills. Throughout the entire internship, I did many various events that included working beer festivals such as one hosted by the Indy Eleven Soccer Club and the Indiana Microbrewers Fest. I also hosted my sampling event at Kahn’s Liquor store this summer that I felt privileged to be the one representative of the company present.

Being from Chicago, living on my own with limited friends and no family around was a great learning experience. I can honestly say that this summer was important towards my preparation of living on my own permanently once I am finished with school. Along with all of the great experiences I had with Triton this summer, I also found some time to accomplish other things such as completing the LSAT test, meeting new friends, planned weekend trips to Nashville, TN and Chicago, and grew a relationship with my parents and Triton with hopes to have our bar serve Triton beers once they’re approved to self-distribute in Chicago. This summer also brought some hardships including myself and fraternity brother being kicked out of our living area for the last two weeks of our internships. I had nowhere to stay, but fortunately I work with great people here at Triton that set myself up for a place to live for the final weeks of the summer. I am very thankful for David Waldman and the rest of the Triton Brewing Company staff; this experience shows that they cared for me as more than just an employee, they sincerely cared for me inside and outside of the brewery. Although I’m uncertain whether I want to work in the microbrewery business in the future, this internship was still beneficial for me learning how to manage and maintain a small business. Also, learning more about the beer we drink has been so influential, the days of drinking Busch Light are long gone for me …I also feel obligated to teach friends of mine to try craft beer and realize there are a lot better options besides Miller, Budweiser, and Coors to drink. I can proudly say that it has been an honor to be a part of the Triton team and helping them expand their successes to new regions of the Midwest.

Ashton Faramelli ’17 Life on the Cloud

 

IMG_0073Before even discussing my internship experience, I would first like to thank the Lily Endowment. Without their support and help, this trip and lifelong knowledge would have never happened for me. Thank you. I would also like to extend my thanks to Scott Crawford and his entire career services crew as well as Roland Morin for helping me start developing my career and my personal brand. Special thanks also to the team at Union Station, Trek10 which was an amazing team of guys to work with, Enfocus and the internSJC program they had to run and allowing us to join them, Innovation Park for setting up a fantastic trip to Indy to see what small businesses truly do for investors and jobs, and the Avanti house. Now my journey to the cloud was exciting. Some may ask, what does this trip involve or what does it mean? The story starts with a CEO like no other named Andy Warzon. As a boss and mentor, he brought my attention to virtual machines, new programming styles and the command line, and the cloud. He and his team brought me, Tyler Munjas, and Sam Hanes into their family. While working under Andy and Jared (my programming mentors) they taught me valuable lessons not only within my programming field but also within all technology. Some of these lessons obviously involve structure of code, how virtual machines work, learning the command line, learning the AWS SDK for Python (boto), components of AWS and how they work within the business, decoding other languages and more. During my internship, I coded 11 different scripts for the company in python involving eight different components of AWS. While attacking these components with my functions and programs, I was given high access within the internal accounts of Trek10 as my coworkers saw that they could trust me with this access. I’m glad that I could help in every way I possibly could for the company. We had our fun times as well taking a trip to Chicago for an AWS Summit and enjoying some exposure to the company that made it all happen. We also were able to network with other Wabash alumni and our coworkers by attending the South Bend Cubs games that both Union Station and Trek10 invited us to. I loved the internship experience and were thrilled to see what South Bend and the people at Union Station do to make a difference for their city. I’m glad that I could be so involved with the people around me including my own company, other interns, alumni, and other companies! I hope others experience the journey I did as we climb the mountaintops to the unforgettable place that is the cloud.

Niki Kazahaya ’18 A ‘Stellar’ Summer

Photo Jul 09, 3 22 27 PMThrough the gracious contributions of the Lilly Endowment, I have been given the opportunity to work alongside the Mayor of Crawfordsville, Todd Barton ’00. As his intern, my primary task has been to assist in the application process of the Stellar Communities program. The Stellar Communities program is a partnership comprised of various state agencies to help spur community development in smaller communities. If a city is designated as a ‘Stellar Community,’ it becomes the higher priority for existing grant funding from the state. This enables communities to execute high-dollar projects on a much shorter timescale. Much of the application process has involved outlining projects the city plans to pursue if awarded this designation.

Mayor Barton has approached this year’s application by identifying two overarching problems in Crawfordsville. First, the city has noticed a void of young adults, ages 22-35, residing in the community. Second, more professionals working in Crawfordsville are commuting from other areas to work. To remedy this, the city is working to improve a quality of life. In turn, this will draw those demographics to Crawfordsville. Perhaps a unique project of Mayor Barton’s vision is Fusion 54.

Many Wallies are aware of the recent opening of the Wabash Center for Innovation, Business & Entrepreneurship in the Chase building. The Wabash CIBE is conveniently housed alongside Indiana West Advantage, the Chamber of Commerce, and Crawfordsville Main Street. These organizations are strategically housed together to promote healthy collaboration across these separate entities. Furthermore, it enables young talent from Wabash to be actively engaged in the community where their skills are put to good use. Fusion 54 is modeled on this concept but a much larger scale. The Fusion 54 building would be located on the corner of Washington and Franklin Street where it would house the same organizations plus a tourist’s center and senior center in a 20,000 square ft. building.

My duty is to coordinate with the department heads on collecting the necessary materials for the application process. I work with an Anderson University intern on visiting the potential sites of these projects and take pictures to send to the engineering firm. I also serve as a peer editor to Brandy Allen, director of Planning and Community Development, on the writing portion of the application. However, if I am not working on Stellar, I am in charge of other tasks, such as organizing job fairs, writing proclamations for the Mayor, or sending out press releases to local media.

This internship has been a great experience as it has highlighted the importance of the liberal arts. Throughout the summer, I have dealt with a wide variety of issues relating to political science, economics, sociology, and many more. Despite my intention to be a psychology major, I feel well equipped for my internship because of the valuable critical thinking and communication skills Wabash has instilled. Again, I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment and the entire staff at the Crawfordsville City Building.

Jake Norley ’16 Proteins, Protocols, and a Patent on Top

Blog Photo

Jake Norley taking samples in the laboratory.

I have spent the previous eight weeks of my final summer as an undergraduate student working with Kevin Meyer ’06 at Perfinity Biosciences alongside Connor Smith ’18. This company consisting of 4 employees has given us a great concept of what it is like to work for a small company and to run a business. At Perfinity, I have been working in the Research and Development department helping to develop new sample processing technologies for the diagnostics of proteins in a mass spectrometer which has become a pressing issue in the field given the rapid growth of mass spectrometry technologies in the past decade. The growth of this technology has outpaced the growth of sampling protocol technologies for this instrumentation. Due to the issue presented, Perfinity Biosciences has found its niche. Perfinity currently has a line of immobilized enzyme products that permit the scientist to prepare samples that initially took days to complete in just hours. This is significant in that the ability to assess proteins through mass spectrometry allows researchers to understand better proteins and disease. Connor and I have been working on a product that will optimize this process even further. However, we are in the process of submitting our findings as a provisional patent so I am unable to discuss specifics.

This internship could not have come to me at a better time. I have pulled knowledge from every chemistry course I have taken at Wabash and applied it to the job. We work heavily in proteomics that Biochemistry has prepared me well for. We use advanced instrumentation such as a liquid chromatography coupled with an ion trap MS-MS that Dr. Dallinger would have loved to have at Wabash but even with the lack of one present he taught me much about the differing instrumentations in the field as well as the importance of sample preparation. We use organic chemistry to modify and alter a variety of nitrogen groups. The whole internship has brought together every facet of chemistry I have learned and done so in a very interesting way.
Not only has this internship been academically thought provoking, but it will be very beneficial for my career as I move on from Wabash. As I stated earlier, we are currently working on a provisional patent for the work that we have been doing over the course of the internship. This means that I will have my name on an actual patent for intellectual property that is relevant in the currently booming field of biotechnology. This will be something that I can put on a resume that employers or graduate school admissions offices will look at when considering applicants and it will help me stand out in a strong pool of undergraduate candidates for a position. This patent directly pertains to a field that I would like to one day be a part of and having already done established work before graduating college greatly helps me to achieve this goal. This has all been possible through the Lilly Endowment Fund without which I would be unable to have this amazing opportunity. Lilly has helped me better myself and has given me the means to achieve my goals, and I would like to thank those in charge of the fund for that. I hope that this program continues to help undergraduates by presenting them with opportunities such as the one I have.