With the last week of the LABB program we took a lot of time to work on our presentations for Wednesday. Tuesday my group spent a few hours in the CIBE work space figuring out exactly the way that we wanted our power point to come across and what information we wanted to convey to the investors. Having the CIBE gave us a place to get into the real business mindset. This was all in the preparation of our business plans on Wednesday. Wednesday we presented our business plans to a panel of 5 judges. Disappointingly my group did not receive as much funding as anticipated especially in regards to the amount of work and effort we put into completing it. When the judges were asking us questions about our business plan it made me realize that I had learned a lot about business the past seven weeks but also that I still had a lot to learn which I will strive to do. Before the LABB I didn’t understand all of the things that go into a business plan. Now I think that of I wanted to start my own business I have the skills to set up the frame work and the knowledge to pitch the idea to investors and run the business from the ground up. This is because we learned how to write the business plans from the ground up and incorporate all the factors. I would like to thank the Lily Endowment for giving me this opportunity to further my knowledge of business. Without the generosity of the Lily Endowment I would have remained pretty ignorant of all things that have to do with business and how I can apply my Liberal Arts education in the business world.
This has been one of the most helpful programs through my Wabash career. Being a Wabash student, it is hard to gain real-life Business experience other than internships or externships. But the L.A.B.B. program has been a perfect segue for me. Throughout the 7 week program I have added new Business lingo to my vocabulary as well as learned professional lessons. One of the many great lessons was taught by Joe Trebley ’01. Joe told the L.A.B.B. students to never say, “No”. He reminded us that saying no only closes doors that have yet to be opened, but by saying yes there is a high percentage of more opportunities opening up for you in the future. A perfect opportunity for us to apply this lesson was in our consulting project. After watching some episodes of Shark Tank to better our knowledge of how to conduct a business pitch, Dean Raters challenged us to help the Dean’s office better communicate their roles on campus to prospective students, current students, alumni and parents. We were open to suggest whatever we found best for the school. The first place where we found place for revision was on the Wabash College webpage. After research was conducted, one suggestion was to simplify the website by changing the format. This would help visitors better surf through all the Wabash College information. We also suggested that a “People” page be created that would have specific bios and job descriptions along with a picture for each employee of the college. We thought this would help students, parents and alumni remember who they were meeting while on campus as well as know their roles to the College. Our last big suggestion was to hold weekly campus meeting called “Deans and Donuts”. This would allow students to pitch their perspectives to College changes or potential changes, but also allow student to talk the deans in a more casual setting. The L.A.B.B team is now just waiting to hear feedback from the judges on our proposals. Finally I would like to thank the Lily Endowment through which I was able to gain this valuable knowledge and experience.
Michael Miller ’16 – This summer I am the Biology Intern in College Station, Texas for PROFUSA Corp. PROFUSA Corp. is a company, based out of San Francisco, California that makes medical prototypes. Here in Texas, we work on preclinical testing of these prototypes on pigs. My first day on the job I was sat down and given two major projects to work on for the 8 weeks that I am here. The first; to find a better way to adhere one of these prototypes to the body of the pig. The second; to work on a way to measure blood profusion called laser speckle contrast imaging.
Finding a new adhesive might sound pretty trivial and effortless on the surface, but finding a tape/combination of tapes that will hold weight onto a pig’s skin for up to 8 hours has proven to be difficult. In my research I found 9 different tapes ranging from medical grade to electrical tapes that I thought would perform well in a series of 10 “in vitro” (not on the pig) tests. After running these tests multiple times I was able to eliminate 7 but found that the combination of two tapes, a double-sided and a single-sided tape, was also a strong candidate. I then tested the remaining four tapes on the pig and achieved my goal of finding a way to be both space efficient, and time efficient while also sticking to the pig for a prolonged period of time. Below, you can see one of the tests that I ran, not on the pig, but on myself to insure that we were not causing any unnecessary pain to the pig.
Laser speckle contrast imaging equipment is usually very expensive, but here at PROFUSA, we have found an inexpensive and easy way to achieve the same goal. Our laser speckle system, shown above (right), consists of a laser that penetrates into the skin a little bit and then bounces back, and a webcam with special lenses. We have a computer program that will only pick up the red pixels from the images that we gather and from there we can calculate blood movement. Here is how we calculate this: the movement of blood causes the light from the laser to bounce around which can be observed by the naked eye. If there is a lot of blood movement, the blurring will increase and the standard deviation of the intensity, which is calculated by the computer program, will decrease, and consequently the speckle contrast will be lower because it is calculated by the ratio between the standard deviation of the intensity and the mean of the intensity. On the contrary, if there is no movement, the speckle contrast will be larger since the blurring will decrease and the standard deviation will increase. The mean intensity will remain unchanged. Using this tool, I have found that we can observe the effects that different tapes, different sized needles, or even temperature have on the pig, because blood profusion is directly proportionate to irritation and pain. Being able to determine these effects insures that nothing we do in the lab or on the pig is going to cause the pig any unnecessary harm or discomfort.
I have learned and built on new lab skills, learned about diseases like diabetes, and built upon my critical thinking skills throughout my time here with PROFUSA. This experience has also taught me a few non-internship skills, such as shopping for my own groceries and living 100% on my own that I really didn’t think about before coming here. Having never been west of Chicago before, I drove here by myself. I have gotten a nice look at the culture of not only the west and Texas, but also a big college town. I have met a lot of great people here both in the company and at Texas A&M that I hope to keep in touch with. Although I do not have an abundance of time left here, there is still a lot of progress to be made and a lot of experiments to be run that I am very excited about. I want to thank Career Services and everyone that has put forth effort or money to support the Small Business Internship Fund for making this possible and helping me get here.
Tyler Regnier ‘16 – This summer I am interning for Thane Bushong ’96 at Private Capital Management Group, Inc. in Noblesville, IN. PCMG Inc. is a personal finance firm offering investment, mortgage, insurance, and financial advising services. I am also working on efforts within PCMG’s sister company, Timberline Properties, LLC, a property management group in Noblesville. My responsibilities come in a wide variety, ranging from tax abatements, to kitchen remodels, to investment portfolios.
I started this position with mostly soft skills, such as strong interpersonal skills and a detail oriented mindset. My main technical skills included proficiency in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, which I gained from my statistics course with Dr. Byun. Through this internship I have been able to strengthen both my analytical and technical skills, as I review investment portfolios and prepare presentations for various clients. I have always been able to balance seeing and addressing the fine details of a situation while also keeping the larger picture or final goal in mind. I have sharpened this skill by working on various projects in investments, and more so in real estate and property management projects with Timberline, LLC.
Due to my diverse interests, I have now narrowed my career path. At this time I am working towards a career in personal finance, law, or education. From a young age I have held an interest in finance and investments. Working at PCMG Inc., has enabled me to develop and strengthen that interest. I am enjoying this position in personal finance, and I find stock research and portfolio analysis to be a invigorating activity. In addition, the personal interaction with clients is a vital part of what draws me to personal finance. I can certainly see myself in a full-time position similar to this internship.
At PCMG Inc., I have been handed a number of tasks that I know little to nothing about. For instance, I am currently working on a tax abatement proposal for a historic building in downtown Noblesville that Timberline Properties, LLC will soon be renovating to create professional office suites. This task is teaching me to handle situations with a steep learning curve, a skill which will be valuable in future positions. Coming into this job, I knew nothing about local tax laws and incentives. Through talking to local officials and business owners, I have been able to compile information on tax incentives to complete this tax abatement proposal.
My Wabash liberal arts education has enabled me to perform the wide range of tasks that this position requires of me. Due to the wide array of subjects covered by a liberal arts education, my Wabash experience has enabled me to take on very diverse responsibilities as well as tasks which I initially know very little about. This internship has helped me further develop my skills and refine my career path. I am very grateful that through Wabash and the Lilly Endowment, I am able to have this internship experience.
Korbin West ’16 – Since I started my internship, I’m quickly learning how little I really know about chemistry. And that is a fantastic feeling. While my internship is flying by, I’m trying to pick up as much as I can because there is no better learning environment than an immersive one, like that provided by the Indiana Internship Program. For the past month I’ve been working at Perfinity Biosciences, a small bioscience company in West Lafayette. Perfinity mainly focuses on proteomics, the study of proteins. Every person is made of tons and tons of proteins, just like the hemoglobin in our blood or the insulin in our pancreas. However, there is still so much the world doesn’t know about proteins, which is where Perfinity steps in.
Without getting too technical, we find ways to break down and analyze these proteins so others can discover more information about them. Imagine you find a newspaper that has been crumpled up into a ball, this will be our example protein. To be able to read the paper (a.k.a. extract information from the protein), we have to find a way to un-crumple it without ruining it. In a way, this is what Perfinity does for other researchers/drug companies, so that they can find new ways to battle disease and discover more secrets of the body.
As an intern, I spend a lot of my time helping out wherever I can. The majority of my time is spent in the lab, where I have various responsibilities. My daily activities range from making stock solutions for our spectroscopy equipment, to validating old protocols and researching new ones. My time here has greatly helped me develop my chemistry skill set, as well as strengthening my abilities in many other aspects. Although some of my work is quite challenging, I’m continually learning from my co-workers how to approach these issues and I’m picking up plenty of new techniques and methods. However, just like any liberal arts experience, I’m learning much more than just the chemistry behind it. Whether it’s discussing the economics behind our product, presenting results at company meetings, or anything in-between, I’m constantly rounding out my experience.
The past couple weeks have been an absolutely incredible time for me. I continuously wonder if I’m going into the right field, as I’m sure is also the case for many of my fellow classmates. I would ask myself “What if I can’t stand working in the lab all day?” or “What if I don’t have what it takes to make it?” Now, I’m happy to say, that I don’t find myself asking these questions anymore. I’ve enjoyed every second of my time here at Perfinity and although I’m not nearly done with working to improve my skills and proficiency in chemistry, I feel confident in my decision to pursue chemistry.
Arion Clanton ’15 – Over these last four weeks this program has evolved to become one of the most entertaining, exciting, and thought-provoking working experiences that I have ever had in the job field. There are many things that I could write about that have stood out to me, but one aspect of the program that I have come to really enjoy are the negotiations over Labor Union vs. Management. I have enjoyed these negotiations because they have really forced me to think critically and look at every aspect of a situation. I can be a very controlling person, wanting everything my way; however, I understand that there has to be some give and take to a negotiation. As a Wabash man, I should know that things in life will not be easy, people will always disagree with me, and I will have to work and fight for whatever I want. These negotiations have served exactly that purpose. They have opened my eyes to the real world problems that are going on. They showed me the value in standing your ground, speaking up, and holding your values intact without feeling used or abused. Before this program, I had never considered most of the things we have discussed – not only in our negotiations, but even things like learning how to create a simple business plan.
The Liberal Arts Bridge to Business (LABB) program is very important to my continued success here at Wabash College. Coming from a low socio-economic community such as East Chicago and being a successful student athlete, a lot of younger boys and girls really look up to me as a role model. It is with the help of this program that I can and will continue to be successful and show the younger children of my hometown the importance of an education and networking. It is because of like-minded individuals whom provided the Lilly Endowment that I am able to remain at Wabash.
Thank you again for supporting me, Wabash, and others just like me. I look forward to further partaking in this program and seeing other young Wabash men benefit from your support.
Ryan Anzalone ’16 – Wabash has countless benefits, but I have found that the liberal arts education alone falls short in terms of job preparation. The Liberal Arts Bridge to Business (LABB) is a perfect program for me because it has allowed me to get the business-focused education that I felt was missing from my normal Wabash experience.
This week was particularly interesting for me because we learned about marketing. We visited a firm called JMI and learned all about the world of auto sports marketing. A big thanks to Wes Zirkel ’98 for taking the time to share his wisdom and teach us about his experience with marketing. Everything about JMI was cool, down to the exotic car showroom which we got to look around in. Here’s a look at one of the awesome cars in the showroom.
Later that day, we went to Triton Brewery and got a grand tour of the facility. David Waldman ’93 followed his passion and founded Triton as a high quality craft brewery. I got to learn about the entire process of brewing starting from the water that comes into the building to the bottled beer which leaves the other side. David, we all had a great time at Triton and enjoyed learning about your career, as well as your time at Wabash.
Before this week started, I understood marketing as advertising primarily, but I learned that there is so much more to it. I’m not sure if I have enough creativity to be a good marketer, but I would definitely enjoy my work if it was my career. The LABB program has taught me and my peers so much in only three weeks, and we are all looking forward to the final four weeks. A special thanks to the Lilly Endowment which made this opportunity possible and to Roland Morin ’91 for pushing us all to work hard and continue to learn about the complex world of business.
Shane Xuan ’17 – In Week 3, the LABB (Liberal Arts Bridge to Business) team was divided into four groups, who negotiated the terms between the Union and the Management in the 1978 case. The negotiation went fairly well as both sides came up with practical plans. As one of the Union workers remarked after the negotiation, “I realize that there is no winner in the negotiation. As a Union member, I get what I want, which is to raise the minimum wage and to ensure my job.” On the other hand, another management member also acknowledged the fact that the principle of negotiation is to maintain the relationship between the two sides. “Negotiation is to form an agreement between two sides for the long term.” Dan Scoffield ’17 said, “You would not expect the other side to compromise if you do not concede at all.” Moreover, it is interesting to see different approaches to the same problem. One tentative plan proposed was to improve efficiency of the factory by cutting the workers’ welfare program immediately by increasing their minimum wages. Another plan proposed the idea to cut the welfare program progressively while maintaining the current payment rates. Both plans were practical and creative, and won approval from both sides and the program supervisor, Rolan Morin ’91.
The whole LABB team should appreciate Lilly’s generous endowment for the opportunity to help us realize how business works in the real world. The merit of a liberal arts education is determined by the ability to apply what we have learned in class to the real world. The LABB program gives us a rare opportunity to practice such application through numerous field trips, in-class work, and the design of business plans. It is now Week 4 of our program, and the business program presentations will be given by the students on Wednesday. After the intensive financial knowledge bootcamp and practice, it is thrilling to see how far the whole LABB team has gone! Thank you Roland for your help, and thank you Lilly!
Denzel Wilkins ’15 – We have just completed the second week of the LABB program, and up to this point we have learned about how finances work and a bit about investments. I must say I had no idea how either one of these aspects worked in the business world. After a week of site visits and lectures, I am confident that my knowledge is fairly well-rounded in these two categories. I am able to use this knowledge in the restaurant business plan my group is creating. So, not only are we given the information – we are able to apply them to real world activities, too.
My restaurant team consists of three people: Ryan Anzalone, Thanh Tran, and myself. We have been working on our business plan for about two weeks now and we found out that this is not as easy as we thought it would be. We are franchising Moe’s Southwest Grill and there are many different aspects that go into a business plan that we have to account for. Understanding a business plan is key to knowing what direction you want your business to go.
I would like to thank David Knott ’69, who gave us a huge wake up call about finances and investments. Also, I would like to thank Ron Zimmerman ’93, who came and talked to us about entrepreneurship and the difference between small businesses and large corporations. Finally, I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment for allowing students this opportunity to receive a crash course of business in a matter of a few weeks, considering we don’t have a business major. Overall, in the second week of the LABB program, I feel that we have already learned so much about business. I would encourage students to take advantage of this opportunity because it is beneficial and provides us with real world experiences. I am excited for the four weeks we have left and what we will know when we finish the program.
Eric Downing ’15 – During our first week of the program, we visited the Indianapolis public library for a tour and lecture. First walking into the building, I felt as though I was walking through a museum mixed with a learning and education center. The building was magnificent and breath taking, and I was astounded when I heard there are weddings that take place in the public library throughout the year. Looking at the original library and comparing it to how the library stands today, the growth and evolution of the institution is absolutely amazing. Moving to the CEO of the library, Ms. Nytes, who gave an informational and interesting presentation, I found myself interested in two aspects of her presentation.
One was the fact that they spent 15% of their revenue on something that will benefit and be used by the public, meaning they are re-feeding 15% of their earning onto the public. The number stood out to me. Earlier in the week, Roland shared that his library was spending double that amount (30%) of their revenue for the public. I began to wonder why there was such a difference in the numbers. We began to learn that libraries with different magnitudes run at different rates for many diverse reasons, and it really allowed me to connect the real world experience with what we later learned.
And the second idea that began to float in my head was this idea of the libraries being flooded with technology. Whether it is ebooks or the computers the library offers, technological advances are impacting libraries. Learning how complex and ordered a library system had to be opened my eyes to an aspect of the library I had never thought about. I always thought of the library as somewhere to get a book for a class assignment, never about the business aspects the library follows. We later learned in class how many industries are being influenced by new technology, and can connect those ideas to the library or other sites we visited this week. These two ideas stuck out to me and I was able connect them to the learning that had taken place in the Liberal Arts Bridge to Business.