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

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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.

Ty Campbell ’16 Mutual Empowerment–Working for the Youth Services Bureau


Mr. Campbell in front of the Youth Services Bureau.

My 8-week, Lilly-funded internship has been spent at the Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau. My time in Crawfordsville has been worthwhile and valuable from working on several projects that benefit the Montgomery County community through the Bureau.

My main project during the first few weeks of my internship involved making alterations to a current charity run by the Bureau. Using the information collected from Robert Lupton’s book, Toxic Charity, members of the Bureau and I critically examined the weaknesses and detrimental effects that contemporary charities often (unintentionally) have on those living in poverty. We located a program sponsored by the Bureau that is likely to exhibit these negative traits and began researching innovative techniques to change the current operations and characteristics of the charity. Another intern and I then worked on collecting data from other similar charities and converting the information into potential changes that can be altered to meet the needs of Montgomery County. The main idea behind the changes to the charity is to stop eventually creating participant entitlement and dependency on charitable services through one-way giving. Edits made to the charity are projected to help stimulate self-sufficiency among participants of the charity and create a healthier path out of poverty for those in need. Research and progression of the project continue but with the recent Program Committee’s approval of proposed ideas, some changes to the charity will begin as early as this upcoming year!

I chose the title of this article as “mutual empowerment” because it is the same theme of my internship. Empowering others, while benefitting myself, is promised to reward both parties later in life. Not only am I learning skills that will help me become a versatile individual, but I am also attempting to help better the Montgomery County community through work with the Youth Service Bureau.

One helpful aspect of working with social services is that other people in the field are always willing to share beneficial information. Since most of the organizations have the same goal of helping others, the competition involved in other business fields is essentially eliminated. When doing fieldwork and gathering information from other youth service agencies around the state and nation, I was pleasantly surprised to find every person I communicated with to be passionately helpful and sincerely hopeful in the success of the project I was working on with the Bureau.

An added bonus of working at the Bureau has been the versatility and different roles of my internship. Besides my initial project, I have also helped compose grants and have worked with other programs sponsored by the Bureau. Being interested in a law-related career after graduation, I have become very intrigued by the Bureau sponsored CASA program (Court Appointed Special Advocates). I have started training in the program and after appointment from the Montgomery County Court, I can participate as a CASA volunteer in cases during my senior year at Wabash College. This opportunity would help introduce to me an aspect of law while furthering my recent interest in social work.

The Youth Service Bureau’s mission statement is “to help young people become productive citizens.” I believe that my work here has truly helped advance the mission of the Bureau. By helping transition a program from entitlement to empowerment, I am impacting people’s ability to be self-sufficient. This mirrors Wabash’s goal for their students, and my personal goals, “to think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely.” As a rising senior, the combination of these two missions has helped mold me into an individual who attempts to act thoughtfully to impact the future.

Lastly, I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment and Wabash College for my unique summer experience. Also, I would like to thank Karen Branch, the Executive Director at the Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau, and her wonderful staff for their support and education. Working for the Youth Service Bureau has strengthened my Liberal Arts education as a Wabash man, increased my overall potential entering my next stage in life, and has broadened my knowledge and appreciation of Montgomery County and the Wabash community.

Mitch Singleton ’16 A Business and Marketing Adventure

Internship pic for Wabash 1     Hello, my name is Mitch Singleton, and I am a rising senior here at Wabash College, who had the fantastic experience of interning with Allegient this summer. Allegient is an IT and Business Consulting company located on the north side of Indianapolis in Carmel. No, it is not the airline company, which I soon learned is a very common mistake people make judging by some phone calls we receive a day from people looking for their lost baggage. I was very excited to start my internship here just a few weeks back, but I did not know what to expect. Many questions were running through my head. Was I going to be running to get people coffee and donuts each morning? Or was this going to be an actual business learning experience? Thankfully, it was the latter. I have learned so much while interning here at Allegient thus far, and I am sure there is more to come.

I cannot imagine interning here is like it would be at most companies. Everyone here treats me like an equal, not like a typical college intern. They don’t ask me to do anything they wouldn’t do themselves, they challenge me intellectually, and they reward me when I do a good job. As I said, it is much different than the internship idea I had in my head previous to my start. My supervisors here have given me responsibility in many different areas of the company and allowed me to work independently to achieve goals while I have been here, yet still guiding me through the internship journey at the same time. I am still soaking it all in but I have learned much about the industry business of Allegient and the business world as a whole through my experience here.

I am technically a marketing intern here at Allegient, so I work with the marketing team and closely with the digital marketing efforts of the company. This includes managing our social media accounts, researching new media content, and scheduling/publishing content and blog posts. This was much of my day-to-day activity, but I also worked on many other projects including an employee profile survey that was to be sent out to all employees in the company and attended countless miscellaneous company meetings. They have taught me here how to behave appropriately in a professional environment, how to communicate effectively with peers, and how to take pride in what you do.

Allegient has taught me a lot about what to expect in the real world, and that was the main reason I took this internship, to learn what life would be like after Wabash. After interning here, I have come to the realization that it is not so bad! Allegient is a place for opportunity and growth. I only hope that whatever company I end up working for post-Wabash is half the company that Allegient is. I am incredibly grateful to Allegient, Wabash College, and Eli Lilly for the opportunity to have this internship because I know it has impacted my life in a very positive way. Allegient is full of great people who love their job, excel in their work, and believe in a community workplace. When they call it the Allegient family…they mean it.

Christian Rhodes ’17 Hanapin Marketing Internship

christian winning office olympics

My name is Christian Rhodes, and I have spent my 2015 summer working in Bloomington, Indiana at Hanapin Marketing, which was founded by Wabash Grad Pat East. I have been working as Hanapin’s digital marketing intern, and it has been an awesome experience. I cannot thank the Lilly Endowment enough for giving me the opportunity to work with such a reputable company that is an expert in their field.

Before starting my internship, I knew absolutely nothing worthwhile regarding digital marketing. I had no idea that the ads that pop up in Google searches are PPC advertising. I had no idea that those ads are placed there with no charge to the company. I had no idea that if the ad is clicked, there was a predetermined “bid” or amount the company was willing to pay once their ad is clicked. Little did I know that I would soon be able to write ad copy, run ad testing cycles, and know how to perform analysis of companies websites through platforms such as Google analytics.

On a day-to-day basis, I don’t report to a specific person. Yes, I have a designated supervisor, but it would be pointless for me to check in with her on a daily basis. I know what I have to do as part of the team, and if I need help/ have questions, I know here she is. I have been working closely with account managers and production specialists in building out new ad copy testing for new ad campaigns that specific clients want to be tested.

I recently completed a week where one of our account managers was on a 12-day vacation. During those 12 days I was tasked with testing 4 different brands campaigns and I had to determine a winner of a test between ad “A” and ad “B” using an excel macro function that took into account: number of impressions, conversions, and percent of conversions. Once a winner was determined (ad “A”), I needed to build out an ad campaign that tested the ad “A’s” brand in the title vs. the brand in the description. Once I got the ads QA’d, I could upload them into the Google ad words editor. Once in the editor, they get checked one last time before they are posted as live ads.

Once the ads are live, I let them run for a week or two to be able to see how they are performing. Based on their performance the account manager will decide if they want to run another test or the necessary bid changes to make the ads perform better and increase the number of conversions or impressions based on whether the ads are e-commerce or lead gen targeted.

That is roughly what I do on a daily and weekly basis. I also write journals for the HR team with feedback on my internship so that they can make the onboarding process for interns smoother and easier in years to come.

Hanapin has a very laid back culture: there are many alternative workspaces, the dress is relaxed business casual, we play office games, and even have had an office Olympics afternoon. I am proud to say that after a hard fought battle I came out victorious as the Gold medal winner in said Olympics.

All in all my summer at Hanapin Marketing has been an eye opening experience. I have learned more in the field of Pay-Per-Click advertising than I could have ever imagined.

Azlan Munir ’18 Capital investment: The Bigger Picture

Azlan MunirThis summer, I had the opportunity to intern at Intellectual Analytics, LLC in South Bend with Wabash alumni Jim Abercrombie ’02 and Shane Fimbel ‘02. Intellectual Analytics (IA) is a company interested primarily in acquisitions and consolidation with other privately held businesses. My main tasks include intensive research of market segments to look for business opportunities in various industries and come up with data to justify investment in those ventures. Adding to the whole experience was the fact that I shared co-working space with Trek10, USTC and enFocus interns at Union Station Technology Center (USTC). USTC is essentially a data center that houses many other businesses.

Although Intellectual Analytics is primarily interested in the acquisition and consolidation process, this summer they extended their operations to diversify into other industries—one of which is the export of hay products (alfalfa hay, in particular). To capitalize on an eightfold increase in hay demand from China and utilize IA’s existing business connections there, we decided to understand the market and begin operations in this industry.

Let me first start by explaining what exactly we were looking to trade. Alfalfa hay is a field crop mainly used as feed for dairy cows. But why were we interested in crops? With rising incomes of the Chinese middle class comes the increase in demand for dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. (Recall elasticity lessons from Eco 101!) My task was to understand the economics, agronomy and logistics of this global industry. The variety of tasks in this project made this an exciting yet challenging experience. I started by laying out a step-by-step process of exporting alfalfa from California to Chinese ports. Then I proceeded to collect the shipping, insurance, trucking, freight and other associated costs from multiple sources. The exchange rate was an important factor to keep in mind during this process. To understand the hay journey from harvest to port, I looked at yield data, bale packaging, compression, inventory tracking systems and testing methods while keeping in mind the USDA quality guidelines for hay and forage. At each stage of the research, it was imperative that I produce detailed cost analyzes for us to evaluate various options and decide on the best ones.

After a few weeks into the project, I made personal contact with dozens of hay exporters and government officials (customs, Chamber of Commerce etc.) to understand trade policies and issues we could face on the other side of the globe. My research would not have been complete without learning tricks of the trade from industry experts. Along the way, I was exposed to the level of politics prevalent in this global industry.

My research of different market segments was instrumental in company decision making as it determined the direction we wanted to pursue in our deal with the Chinese. To eliminate any communication barriers, my presentations were translated into Mandarin and sent to our buyers in China.

Some of my other shorter projects include looking for opportunities in the Chinese consumer electronics industry, US healthcare industry, and housing market. Overall, this internship has been a great opportunity for me to experience first-hand the different facets of running a business and acknowledge the complexities involved in deal sourcing. I learned a great deal from business meetings and one-on-one conversations with Jim and Shane. Be it in a conference room or a Cubs baseball game, there was always something to learn in their company. One of the many valuable skills I gained during this time is persistence—not giving up even when you think the data you need is just not there.

I want to thank Jim Abercrombie ’02 and Shane Fimbel ’02, who have been great mentors to me during this time. The Career Services, Wabash alumni and most importantly, the Lilly Endowment Fund deserve credit for providing such great opportunities to students. This experience wouldn’t have been possible without them.


Cole Crouch ’17 SBIF Cements Career Goals

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Jason Bridges ’98, Courtney Bridges (wife and business partner) of Nantucket Bike Tours with Wabash interns Cole Crouch ’17 and Michael Haffner ’16

Hello, from 30 miles out to sea!

My internship at Nantucket Bike Tours with Jason Bridges ’98, and his wife, Courtney, has been informative, active, and transformative. I am learning and developing a working knowledge about small business in the hospitality industry. I am building more professional relationships and social skills than I ever could’ve imagined. Some of the skills include developing self-awareness as it relates to others and my own attitude, values and behavior patterns (like smiling more). Additionally, I am always striving to succeed at daily or weekly goals and challenges.

Throughout the last month and a half, the day-to-day experiences working at NBT have taken the small business aspect of this internship to the brink. Everyday, Michael Haffner ‘16, Jason, Courtney, and I, the NBT team, lead at least two bike tours – a town view and tour out to Cisco Brewery. But aside from leading daily bike tours, Michael and I are constantly developing social media campaigns, networking door-to-door with our business cards/brochures, creating advertising strategies with hotels and other local businesses, learning QuickBooks, editing the website, and booking more bike tours! Together, the NBT team makes simple and complex decisions in areas such as marketing, pricing, website design, etc., around the dinner table, over delicious coffee at the Handlebar Café, or during an intense game of euchre.

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Crouch applies some Small Business elbow grease to the NBT equipment

Learning how to effectively compliment others, as well as understanding others’ motivations, interests and desires have been the single greatest lessons I’ve learned this summer. In his novel, How To Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie stated, “The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.” Every week, we are reading a new chapter in the novel and then applying Carnegie’s lessons to our everyday experiences.

Although I’m interning 861 miles away from Indianapolis, after just day 10 on the island, Nantucket began feeling like a second home. Ever since I arrived off the ferry, Jason and Courtney have fully immersed my fellow interns and I in the community and culture here on the island. Whether it is biking hundreds of miles around the island, running in a weekly community 5k run, attending the Maria Mitchell Red Tie Soirée Gala at Sankaty Head Golf Club, or volunteering on a Saturday evening at the Comedy Festival, we are continuously making our presence known as engaged community members and leaders.

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Crouch and Haffner with Courtney Bridges

Overall, this internship has challenged my goals and career ambitions in more ways than I ever imagined. My two dreams of owning my own business and becoming a lawyer have been even more cemented this summer. I will carry with me the experiences and lessons, as well as relationships and memories for a long time. I look forward to applying them in the future.

I would like to thank all of the alumni contributing to the Small Business Internship Fund. I am extremely thankful for my opportunity at Nantucket Bike Tours, which has been made entirely possible through the efforts of alumni at Wabash College.

Daniel Thompson ’17 Fourth Street Law ‘Suits’

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Wabash intern Daniel Thompson ’17 at Legal Aid Society of Louisville

For my entire college life, I have wanted to become an attorney.  Walking down Fourth Street, the business hub of Louisville, I watched the suits hustle back and forth from their offices to their meetings to their cars and to their equally well-dressed colleagues.  This summer, I have had the opportunity to be a shadow following these individuals.  No longer am I pretending to counsel clients in a mock trial; I am sitting down with real clients and real attorneys to discuss real legal matters.  Each morning, I get to dress up and walk down the business hub with all the other attorneys, and for a brief moment, I feel like I have accomplished my aspiration to become an attorney.  But then I exit the elevator, open the door to Legal Aid Society, and enter my office where I realize how much more I have to learn until I become a real lawyer.

Nothing can compare to real, raw, hard experience, especially when it comes to learning law.  For years, I have heard that you don’t learn to become an attorney in law school but in a law office instead.  For the past several weeks working at Legal Aid Society, I have learned how to file divorces with the courthouse, how to request expungement records from the law clerk downtown, how to navigate the Louisville legal archiving network, how to research attorney profiles, how to analyze client demographics, how to conduct myself around clients professionally, how to interact with other attorneys in a business environment, and most importantly, how to become a young professional.  I don’t remember reading any of those course listings in the law school catalogues.  Already, I feel that I have an advantage over law school prospects because of this summer experience.  Not only have I attained a plethora of legal knowledge, but I have begun to build an invaluable network.

Two weeks ago, I fumbled aimlessly through piles of legal documents in search of what an attorney called a uniform citation.  I remember foolishly nodding my head after receiving these instructions as if I knew what the hell a uniform citation looked like.  Wanting to impress the attorney, I set off down Fifth Street, entered the legal archives building, and confidently requested case #21-CI-000972 from the dead-eyed law clerk.  After writing down the case number, the clerk disappeared for a few minutes behind the legal document labyrinth.  He returned with what must have been a thousand page case file.  There was a motion to appear in court, a lengthy legal brief, exhibit A through exhibit F, a subpoena, a crumbled receipt from Wal-Mart, a copy of a fake ID card, and even a transcript of a 5-second conversation.  Hidden somewhere in this ogre of a file was a small sheet of paper labeled uniform citation, and the thought of finding it made me want to hurl.  Luckily, an attorney with greying hair noticed the panicked look on my face and asked if he could help. I smiled and politely asked if he could help me find the document. Of course, he brushed through hundreds of pages for what seemed like five seconds and pulled out a small yellow paper titled uniform citation.  He smiled back at me and reminisced with me his days as an intern.  We sat there and chatted about the law profession for at least 15 minutes before I remembered I needed to return to work and deliver the document.

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Thompson with fellow Legal Aid Society interns

I see Mr. Reever, a successful divorce attorney in Louisville, almost every day at the court house now, and he knows my name.  Mr. Reever is one of several attorneys who have selflessly paused their busy day to interact with me.  It’s through these daily interactions that I have been able to develop a network of well-known attorneys and legal professionals.  Even inside the office at Legal Aid Society, I have the opportunity to follow the attorneys to the courthouse and watch them in action.  Sometimes I’m able to stay after a trial and chat with the judges about the cases.  I get to hear how both sides navigated their way through arguments and how successful their approaches were.  If the judge is in a particularly good mood, he or she will ask me to stay for the day to observe some other high-profile cases.  Three weeks ago, I was able to watch a heated jury trial.  There were objections, there was crying, there was laughter, there were gasps, and there were cheers.  A few times, it seemed more like a reality television show than a court room.  It’s during these moments that I am most excited to be a lawyer because I remember it’s not about writing, or arguments, or procedures, or even the law.  It’s about people.

Law school seems to approach faster and faster into my life, and this internship at the Legal Aid Society has illuminated that path.  It has reaffirmed my aspiration to become a lawyer, and it has heightened my dedication.  Without this internship, I would be miles behind my competition.  This internship will not only give me an experience that I can proudly discuss in my next job interview, but it will give me invaluable skills necessary to become a successful lawyer.  Maybe one day, I’ll need to find a uniform citation for my own client.  Luckily, I’ll know exactly where to go, who to ask, and how to find it.




Michael Haffner ’16 Takes “On” Nantucket

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Haffner ’16 with fellow Wabash intern Cole Crouch ’17

As I searched for internships this summer, I knew I wanted to do something unique that would have a lasting effect on my life.  I was longing for an internship experience where I truly had to “buy into” the business.  I wanted an experience where I felt like I could make a difference, learn lifelong lessons, and think on my feet.  My internship at Nantucket Bike Tours with Courtney and Jason Bridges ’98 has met and exceeded all of these expectations.

I have learned many things while leading bike tours around this beautiful island 30 miles out to sea.  The first lesson I learned was that, when running a small business, one must be “on” at all times.   Whether eating out at a restaurant, walking through town, or eating dinner at home while booking a bike tour for the next day, a small business owner must always be “on.”  In a tight-knit community like Nantucket, one must be smiling, friendly, and eager to seek conversation with others at all times!

Another valuable lesson I have learned thus far is to be involved in the community.  Whether volunteering at a local event, supporting a friend’s endeavor or even just showing up to town meetings, it is important to be involved.  Not only does this help create relationships you may not have had, but it also shows that you are a leader in your community.  We have been given the privilege of a Wabash education and in turn, we have an obligation to give back and lead when possible.

One of my goals for the summer was to become more comfortable and confident in social environments.  In addition to reading and analyzing Dale Carnegie’s How to Make Friends and Influence People, Courtney and Jason have put Cole Crouch ’17, Kazimir Koehring ’18, and myself in social settings where we need to interact with others.  We discuss the importance of body posture, eye contact, and confidence.  Being a naturally shy person, this was difficult for me at first.  However, after attending events such as the Maria Mitchell Gala, the Samuel Owen Art Gallery, and the Nantucket Comedy Festival, I have become more comfortable when seeking conversations and approaching others.

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Jason Bridges ’98 (center) with wife Courtney are hosting 3 Wabash interns through the Small Business Internship Fund in summer 2015. Haffner ’16, Crouch ’17, and Koehring ’18 are working in both of the Bridges’ businesses: Nantucket Bike Tours and The Handlebar Cafe, for a broad small business operations experience. Bridges have hosted many interns during their 4 years in the SBIF program.

In addition to these great lessons, I have improved my ability to think on my feet.  It is impossible to predict what will happen on a bike tour or where the day will take us.  When running a small business, one must be open to change and have a stable mindset when challenges arise.  Whether we’ve been picking up last minute bikes for a tour, fixing bikes, or scheduling last minute customers, I have learned to make quick, responsible decisions.

As a rising senior interested in a career in dentistry, I am grateful to be learning these lessons now.  Meeting different people on the bike tours each day, attending community events, and always being “on,” have given me a glimpse of the relationships, interactions, and insights that are all a part of running a successful small business.

I believe that my entire experience so far will enhance my ability to practice dentistry one day and will allow me to enjoy the relationships I build with my patients.  I am thankful that Wabash is able to provide great opportunities like this through the Small Business Internship Fund.  I see great value in experiencing a small business first hand and I look forward to learning more throughout the summer.

Taylor Miller ’16 Venture Analysis/Assessing the Squeeze

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View from Miller’s workspace at Option3

My name is Taylor Miller and I write to you from beautiful Santa Monica California where the Small Business Internship Fund has allowed me to intern with Option3, a company that takes medical technology from concept to commercialization. At Option3, it is all about assessing each opportunity and mitigating risk to maintain as much control as you can within the business model, which I think is fascinating. This kind of operation takes vision. That is where my boss and Wabash Alumnus James Dreher comes in. One of my favorite quotes and mottos to live by is “Always know if the juice is worth the squeeze.” In this industry, you have to be fully aware of what else is out there and how you are going to make your product the number one product among its competitors. That means researching every facet of the operation before pursuing it financially or building it in the workshop. This has been my job for the past month; to assess the squeeze. I am a venture analyst and I research the market size, regulatory path, risk load, reimbursement, ramifications of device failure, and even intellectual property. Patent searches have become my enemy, but I have learned so much about the precision and understanding of leverage needed to be an entrepreneur. Aside from researching, I have spent my summer here traveling up to San Jose for a business meeting one week and the next going into surgery to observe laparoscopic specimen removal. This internship has in no way been one-dimensional. I have been meeting with and discussing current projects with engineers, doctors, and finance experts where I am the only one in the room without a PhD or MBA. I was kind of hoping some of their genius would rub off on me.

So of course this internship has offered an opportunity to absorb and learn very valuable life lessons as well as real world knowledge, but I would not be doing this post any justice if I didn’t mention my summer outside of work. Santa Monica is very different from anything I’ve experienced in Indiana. Back home things are simple and quiet. Here, the traffic never stops and the people are even more non-stop. That’s what I like about living here though; there are so many motivated individuals. It doesn’t matter if the goal any given person has in mind is a productive one or not, they are driven to achieve it. Street performers line the streets when the sun goes down, and when it comes back up you can count on a herd of fitness enthusiasts running the boardwalk. I’ve also made my way into the city of Los Angeles for a Dodger baseball game and to a Street League Skateboarding competition, which is the professional league for skaters. It seems like there is always something going on here; in fact, tonight there is a concert on the beach that I’ll be attending after work. Thanks for reading, but now I should get back to work.

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