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Thanh Tran ’17 The Art of Persuasion

 

Than and Pete

 

Thanh Tran ’17- It’s hard to believe that 5 weeks of my internship had already passed. The last 5 weeks was an excellent work experience. Speaking of email marketing, people may assume that there’re not much work involved in it. As I told my friend once about my internship title, he asked me: “So you just sit there and click the send button?” I wished it could be simple as that but “unfortunately”, in fact, it was not. I have to admit that I was a bit worried before my internship started since I just finished my first year and didn’t have many course works in business. However, with the step-by-step instructions from Curtis Peterson ’10 and other team members, I was able to learn and enhance my skills substantially in marketing.

Angie’ List is a consumer-reviews company whereby people sign up for membership to view the reviews of other customers and use the recommended services. In other word, it’s a reciprocal platform of which Angie’s list suggests the best service providers to consumers and in return, the consumers leave the reviews after they use the services. The Email Marketing team, of which I intern in, is a core function of that review-based system. Our job is to get the members to sign-up for membership as well as help them leave the reviews after they use a service or purchase a deal. Our team has four great members. They are Jared, Weston, Seth and my supervisor, Curtis Peterson. My internship wouldn’t become a great learning and working experience without the dedicated guidance from Jared and Curtis. As I mentioned above about the email marketing function, my internship tied to the review collection, including updating and analyzing data. On a daily basis, I handle most of the tasks with Excel and some specialized email marketing tools, which are ExactTarget, Formstack, FTP and AL-tool. On every Monday, I cleaned up the submission spreadsheet that I pulled out from Formtack to calculate the conversion rates of the test and control groups. Then, I conducted A/B split tests to determine which one is the winner of the weekly email campaign. I also sent out review emails to over one million member on every Monday, which was quite intimidating since a small error could mess up the whole process. On Friday, I executed quality assurance (QA) to ensure proper emails templates and resolution regardless of viewing screens before they were sent. In addition, the best part of my internship was the email project, thanks to the great initiative of Curtis Peterson. First of all, I created four types of Gmail accounts based the increasing level of engagement: they never engaged, rarely engaged, less engaged and engaged. With those accounts, I signed up for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, HomeAdvisor and Yelp. I keep track of the emails from those websites to calculate the email frequency as well as the way they approach members with respect to different engagement degrees. And for that reason, my project is also called the email “spy” project. Indeed, I found out very interesting things about how each Websites above email their members. For instance, Facebook keeps the same subject lines for their emails, whereas LinkedIn tweaked their emails a lot.

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Speaking of my internship, it would be a serious mistake if I didn’t mention the workplace environment at Angie’s List. Angie’s List does care about its employees. Indeed, we don’t have to wear business casual to work. People can wear whatever they want as long as they’re appropriate. There is a small gym on campus where employees can have a short break to work out. Angie’s List employees can enroll in a fitness program of which they get awarded for a number of pounds they lose. During my internship, the human resource team organized an Interns Olympic Day where interns competed against each other in a variety of outdoor games. It was a fun day as all of us have the great opportunity to know each other. My friend Shelby Logan from Northwestern University won the Intern of the Year. Along with that, working with my team is an interesting thing too. People here are very friendly as they’re willing to help when you reach out to them. We also have a Friday lunch that people at the Marketing department can have lunch together. Just so you know, I had a Friday lunch with Angie Hick once. As my supervisor Curtis told me on his last day at Angie: “Money is important but not everything, what matters is who you’re working with.”

Now, I can say with confidence that my knowledge of email marketing was substantially improved. What you show on your email has a significant impact on the viewers. It can be a subject line, a picture or an appealing call-to-action. Email marketing is cost-effective, yet the most effective marketing campaign. With that being said, it’s a job that requires creativity, innovation and meticulous analysis.

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Finally, I would like to take my last part to thank Wabash College for offering such great opportunities like this to Wabash students. I also want to thank Lilly Endowment, Inc for providing me this opportunity. Without the funding from Lilly, this would not be possible. Last but not least, I want to say my biggest thanks to Curtis Peterson ’10 and Jared Campbell for guiding and teaching me with great dedication.

Nick Sommer ’15 The Many Hats of Business

IMG_5324Wearing many hats

Nick Sommer ’15 - Growing up working in a small family business, I accustomed to working in an environment where everyone is close to each other, and every worker wears many different hats.  Finding Connecta Corporation has to be one of the closest internships I could have found to my family’s small business.  In this small manufacturing business of small precision parts, I have put my liberal arts education to the test while working through the long list of a variety of projects to be completed by the end of the summer.  Working for a company of this size (less than 20 employees) I have to produce quality work and contribute immensely in order to help the company continue to do business.

My work this summer has required me to wear many different hats as one may say.  I’ve done jobs from repairing parts, to accounting work, and even marketing.  Since I started later in the summer, I was thrown into the middle of a huge project: completely redesigning the way the company stocks their raw material.  This system involves reorganizing material into PVC pipes, separating them by material, alloy, and purchase number.  My to-do-list for this summer has also included updating the company’s website and creating and posting on the company’s social media pages, along with many other miscellaneous tasks.  My fellow intern, an engineering student at Butler University, and I have created videos, sales brochures, and bounced ideas back and forth in order to improve and modernize the company’s marketing capabilities.

What have I learned from this experience?  Well, it would be tough to squeeze everything I’ve learned into one blog.  One aspect that I have learned is not only vital in a business setting, but in everyday life as well.  This is accountability.  Since this is such a small business, you are expected to pull your weight and complete each and every job in a timely manner.  The business is like a team; where everyone is expected to do their part and work together in order to be successful.  I know I can rely on anyone here in the company for help and I can count on them as more than just co-workers.

I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment, Inc. for making this internship possible.  Having real world experience is very important for any student to gain before graduating from college, and what Lilly Endowment provides for students like me is awesome.  I would also like to thank Mr. Scott Crawford and Mr. Alan Pyle ‘67 for giving me this opportunity to work for Connecta Corp.

Alan Ortiz ’17 LABB Introduces Business Concepts

Alan Ortiz ’17 - The Liberal Arts Bridges to Business was an excellent opportunity for me to see what the business world is like.  It is an excellent program full of fun and great opportunities to learn a great amount about the business world.  All seven weeks were a great experience and I will definitely recommend it to as many people as I possibly can next year.  Throughout the seven weeks I had many challenges to overcome and a great amount of work to do, but it was exciting work and I really enjoyed all the tasks that I had in hand, because I was able to work on many of my weak spots.  I was challenged to think critically everyday and I got to talk to many extremely successful alums.

There were many great experiences throughout the seven weeks, but my personal favorite was when we visited JMI and met with Wes Zirkel ’98.  He talked to us about the business side of marketing and how lawyers are extremely involved in marketing deals.  He also showed us the sexy side of marketing and I was extremely impressed by what he does.  I also enjoyed his stories about all of the work experience that he had and everything that he has done throughout the years.  I was extremely impressed by all of his achievements and all that he has done at such a young age.  At JMI we also got to see many exotic cars, which I thought, were really cool!

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Ortiz ’17 at JMI

The last week of the LABB program we presented our consulting project.  This was a project that we had been working on for about 5 weeks.  My group suggested to incorporate a new system called EMS.  I thought that our presentation was a great one and even though I did not have the chance to present I think that our work paid off.  In conclusion I would like to say that doing this program was something that has really helped me in being a more educated individual in the business world, and I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment and our teacher Roland Morin ’91 for putting this internship together and allowing us to have this great opportunity.

Alex Hawkins ’15- Chamber of Commerce

Alex Hawkins Summer Internship 2014Alex Hawkins ’15- I have always been amazed by how fast time goes by during the summer, but it seems that this summer is going by particularly fast! This is unfortunate because this very well might be my last summer before having to go out into the “real world.” I am sure my fellow incoming seniors share this same feeling. It is summer break though, which means books are closed (for most of us) and Wallies across the nation are partaking in internships and other various jobs. I was lucky enough to land one!

Unfortunately, the internship I’m in did not place me somewhere amazing like Ft. Lauderdale (shout out to Stephen Fenton). Instead, I am located in good old Crawfordsville, Indiana. Now most people would dread being in here during the summer (especially for the second summer in a row), but fortunately for me, I have five fraternity brothers working internships around town. Sometimes I feel like I never even left the Phi Delt house, so it really isn’t that bad. Besides, once you turn 21, your options for things to do in Crawfordsville expands greatly.  I am very thankful for the Lilly Endowment for providing the funding for this internship as well.

I’m interning for Crawfordsville/Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, and my official title is Management and Marketing Intern. When I first arrived, I was told that the day-to-day operations would never really be the same. I didn’t quite realize the extent of this until after I worked my first week. From making calls, attending meetings, finding sponsors for our golf scramble and business expo, to making adjustments on their website and social media, each day presents new assignments.

One of my projects I recently finished was the aforementioned Chamber’s annual golf scramble. This project was a lot of fun and taught me many different things about organizing an event of this scale. It also helped prepare me for the project I am currently working on, the Chamber of Commerce Business Expo.  For this project I made the online registration form, made tons of phone calls, and sent a lot of emails.  This project has been keeping me busy, but I am really enjoying talking with all the local businesses.  Working on these projects has helped me further expand various professional skill sets including organizational and social skills; two key skills that I believe are essential in any kind of profession.

I only have two and a half weeks left with my internship, but I plan on milking the most I can out of it. I encourage all those with internships to attend the things that your business/organization provides and puts on. One thing I am looking forward to that the Chamber of Commerce puts on is our Breakfast-Before-Business: a networking opportunity for Chamber members. I have always thought of myself as a business-savvy guy, so I look forward to talking and networking with local business owners.

Wabash has really taught me how to network. Good luck to all with your summer internships, and I look forward to seeing everyone back on campus and having a great senior year.

WAF!

Grant Klembara ’15- Corporate Marketing

Grant picGrant Klembara ’15 - In late January, I attended the winter Trustee-Alumni Board Dinner with some of my fellow Wallies. After mingling with a variety of doctors, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and other successful alumni, I found myself sitting at a table with Jim Kerr ’92, the VP of Business Development at Allegient LLC. Eager to make good first impressions, students anxiously introduced themselves around the dinner table. Alumni, on the other hand, cracked jokes to break the ice and calm the noticeable tension. Before long, everyone began sharing stories, ideas, concerns, and life lessons that related back to our beloved college. Jim and I swapped stories about sports and life, recounting the sweet memories that will forever shape our views of Wabash. The night ended with contact sharing, handshaking, goodbyes, and promises to keep in touch.

Little did I know that four months from then, I would be the newest member of the Allegient marketing team—sitting just on the other side of the wall of Jim’s office. With no previous ‘corporate’ work experience, I really didn’t know what to expect. Guidance from Brad Pusateri ’14, my fraternity brother and Allegient’s last Wabash intern, eased some of that uncertainty. He helped me through the application process and introduced me to Lindsey LaBerge, Allegient’s Marketing Manager.

Since my first day in May, I’ve had not only the privilege to work with Lindsey and Josh Burkhead, the newly hired Social Media Coordinator, but the opportunity to learn from them and their experiences. I’d like to thank both them and the entire Business Development Team for supporting and directing me these past five weeks, and for accepting me as a member of the team. It truly has been an amazing learning experience.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “That’s great Grant… But what have you been doing for the past five weeks?” I’ll stop dancing around the question. I’ve been Inbound Marketing Certified for Hubspot, a company providing a SaaS to help other companies with their online marketing strategies. I’m also currently working on a sales certification in two of Microsoft products: SharePoint and Dynamics CRM. I’ve written several blogs addressing Allegient’s new partnerships, researched Allegient’s use of social media outlets and produced reports/schedules for each (i.e. Twitter and LinkedIn), and I’ve participated in business meetings, webinars, in-person seminars, and event planning committees.

One of my favorite experiences thus far has been my interaction with Element Three, a marketing agency just down the road. Allegient is currently in the process of formalizing a “Brand Plan,” to help enhance and direct their marketing efforts. From a marketing perspective, I simply couldn’t be with Allegient at a better time. I have been free to actively participate in the discussion, thanks to the Lindsey and the Allegient Team.

There’s a difference between being busy and doing busy work. There’s no doubt I’ve been busy. This internship has proven to be unique; activities such as filing folders, making copies, and running tedious errands has not been a part of this experience. There’s a reason for that. Allegient recognizes the importance of personal improvement and the value of first-hand experience. No matter how big or small their role is, each employee is seen as a valuable resource to the company. I believe it is that attitude that separates the good companies from the great ones.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the Lilly Endowment Fund, so to them I am thankful. This partnership and investment in Wabash College students will undoubtedly continue preparing young men for a successful future.

Tyler Munjas ’16 Beyond the Reviews

Angie’s List: Beyond the Reviews

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Tyler Munjas ’16 - Though I now am a true “List Lover,” I must admit that I was a tad skeptical at first about my decision to intern with the Indianapolis-based Angie’s List. Looking back five weeks ago to my first drive over, I had harnessed skepticism, nerves, and some doubt. My official title reads “Business Intelligence Intern” and I knew that I would be working with Data Analytics, but what could I possibly do for a company that runs solely off of consumer reviews? That question was the source of my skepticism. After meeting up with, and talking to my supervisor and fellow Fiji Brother, JP Patterson ’08, however, I began to see an Angie’s List that stretched far beyond just consumer reviews.

For example, one of my first projects was to work with “Band of Neighbors.” This new feature of Angie’s List divides members up into geographically defined neighborhoods, which is separate from, and at a far more local level than the traditional markets that members are placed when registering. Within their neighborhoods, members can post reviews, inquire about hyperlocal events, and communicate with those closest to them.

By developing an understanding of the underlying goals and missions of Angie’s List, I saw it not just as a business which provides its members with top rated service providers (the companies that are reviewed on Angie’s List), but also as a tool for these service providers to improve their daily operations through incentive programs. Service Providers cannot pay to be on Angie’s List, but once they meet certain criterion, which relies heavily on their consumer designated grade, they are able to pay to advertise on Angie’s List. The grade produced from their reviews also determines whether or not they show up at the top or bottom of the list when members search within their category. This is just one way that service providers are incentivized to perform and interact well with their customers.

Similar to the discounted offers of Groupon, Service Providers can also offer “Big Deals”. These deals offer discounted rates and prices on standard cleaning, remodeling, installing, etc., and can only be purchased through Angie’s List. However, only the top consumer rated and trusted service providers are allowed to offer Big Deals. Since these deals are to be purchased exclusively through our site, it allows us to monitor the service provider and their communication with our member. By controlling and monitoring all parts of the transaction, from the initial search to the payment of services, I’ve realized how dedicated Angie’s Lists is to improving the efficiency and quality of the businesses on the list. Not only does this represent Angie’s Lists flexibility and ability to successfully pivot their business strategies, but it also represents the dedication of its members, ensuring that they receive the best quality of service from any company they hire from the list.

As an intern for the Data Analytics team, I’ve become exposed to all of these unique facets. I learned how to write and understand code in MySQL, which is database software where all of Angie’s Lists’ data is stored in hundreds of different tables. When different departments need quantitative information on service providers or members, they contact the analysts who code the query, or request that pulls pieces of data from different tables to create a new table specific to that request. Having just taken Statistics and Econometrics where I worked with Stata, the data software used by the econ department, I am able to take some of what I had learned in the classroom and apply it to the different projects I am assigned. I would like to thank JP for giving me the opportunity to take on meaningful, actual work. Rather than sending me his coffee order, he sends me requests and projects that he is working on, and compares our results, guiding and teaching me through the best possible way; experience. Also, he contacted the Accounting and Finance department expressing my interest in their work, allowing me the opportunity to shadow them for this week. In true Wabash fashion, this internship has been nothing short of an exciting, valuable, and well-rounded experience.

Finally, I would like to take the last part of my blog to thank Wabash College for continually offering such opportunities. This is my 3rd internship through Wabash and the experiences I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in are an integral part of my professional development. Last but definitely not least, a huge THANK YOU is necessary for Lilly Endowment, Inc. for providing not just me, but also Angie’s List with this opportunity. Without the funding from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. this literally would not be possible.

Logan O’Connor ’15 – Health Insurance

Logan O’Connor ’15 -  This internship has been much tougher than I had previously thought it would be. I am working for a third-party administrator of health insurance, and like most college kids I knew absolutely nothing about the insurance business prior to about a month ago. I still don’t know very much, but I’ve only been at this for about a month. Everyone that I work with has been doing health insurance administration for at least 15 years, so that is both comforting and intimidating. The office atmosphere is such that I am not afraid to ask questions, and there is no harm in my admitting mistakes (and believe me, there have been more than a few). As of writing this I haven’t made any unfix-able errors, which is encouraging I think. The toughest aspect of this internship for me to adjust to is how careful and meticulous you have to be. If you know me then you know that I tend to do tasks quickly and pretty accurately, but that won’t cut it here. Federal Regulations are such that you need to be close to perfectLogan O'Connor Summer Internship 2014. So slowing down and checking my work is the largest adjustment for me (and most of my errors come from working too fast). The single best aspect of the internship is all the free lunches. I’m on the larger side physique-wise and going to fancy restaurants for business lunches is always appreciated. I still don’t know if I will go to Grad School or get a job when my time at Wabash is concluded, but this internship has given me a small look into what it is like to work in the business world.

Ivan N. Neshkov’15 – MCED Marketing

Ivan Neshkov Summer Internship 2014Ivan N. Neshkov ‘15 – I would like to start by saying thanks to Lilly Endowment, Inc. for their funding which made my internship possible. But what exactly am I thankful for? In my three years at Wabash I have studied and strived to be the best that I can be. Fighting family problems and wrestling with school proved to be quite the challenge. One of my problems at home stemmed from the ever so prevalent discussion of how to pay for college, leaving my family with little money on the side. As the 2014 school year was coming to a close I knew that going home and relying on my family to take care of me was not an option. So I set off to find a paid internship that would allow me to pay for living expenses and ease the burden of dependence.

In my search, thanks to the Wabash College Career Services, I found this marketing internship for Montgomery County Economic Development. From day one Kristin Clary (Executive Director) and Jami Harrington (Executive Assistant) were happy to have me in the office. As the week progressed, both Jami and Kristin made clear that my time spent at MCED as an intern will be an active one. My role would be an active one both in the office and in the community. At the time Tyler Andrews (Wabash 15’) was also interning for MCED and he helped me get caught up in the office, as I took on more and more responsibility with each passing day. Working with Kristin, Jami, and Tyler has been one of the most pleasurable work experiences I have ever had. Great leadership and understanding have bred an atmosphere of progress at MCED, one which I help propagate every day.

Many might say that working in Crawfordsville limits your opportunity or limits your potential, but after only a few short weeks I will have to disagree. Crawfordsville is a small town full of problems, but also full of potential. Anyone can go into a successful company, act under the corporate thumb and say that they had a successful summer; going into a small community and being turned loose to explore the community, assess its assets and its drawbacks, and being encouraged to come up with new ideas to solve todays ever evolving problems has been a great experience, and continues to be every day. In the words of Wabash’s own Scott Crawford, in regards to meeting attendance said, “I want you there, you will have ideas, I know you.” This says two things, the first is that I have been able to leave my mark on Wabash as a man of ideas. The second idea this alludes to is the environment here at MCED, the open and idea driven atmosphere which both Kristin and Jami work very hard to maintain and make known.

This summer has been a transformative experience and I owe it all to Lilly Endowment, Inc., Wabash College, and MCED.

Steven Peters ’16 – Collections & Donations

Carnegie Museum

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASteven Peters ’16 – This summer I am interning at The Carnegie Museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana. The Carnegie Museum focuses on the history of Montgomery County and includes a variety of interesting exhibits such as the Athens Gallery which focuses on military, political, and educational history in Montgomery County. The museum also has a summer program for children which allows them to become acquainted with the history of Montgomery County and the museum in a manner that is both educational and entertaining for them. For myself, I study classics, but have an interest in possibly studying archaeology after Wabash and decided that interning at the Carnegie Museum would be a good way to see how a museum is run and to also gain experience working with historical artifacts and researching different objects.

I have a variety of jobs at the Carnegie Museum, and no day is exactly the same. Some days I am working with collections, processing newly acquired donations. Other days I am doing minor research into objects and following that research up with a write-up. For example, we received the Tuttle time capsule from the Tuttle Middle School in Crawfordsville (which is being torn down) and I had to research the history of the Tuttle Middle School. I also on occasion have to work with children, helping them solve questions about the summer program and on Thursdays I lead the kids in “Making Stuff Safer” which is a program from Nova on PBS. Using gumdrops and toothpicks I show kids the basics of making a structure structurally sound and help them create their own structures. My main project for the summer, however, has been researching the Tribe of Ben-Hur. The Tribe of Ben-Hur was a fraternal beneficial society that was founded in Crawfordsville in 1894 and at one point had chapters in over twenty states and had over 100,000 members. It essentially was a fraternity that offered life insurance to its members. We recently received a large donation of Tribe of Ben-Hur objects and my job has been to research what the Tribe of Ben-Hur is (its history, purpose, etc.) and to identify the objects that were donated.

This project has given me a good opportunity to use skills that I have gained thus far in my two years at Wabash. One of the main skill that I have had to use is researching and being able to adequately discuss the purpose of objects and their history. I have dealt almost exclusively with primary sources, so I have to come to conclusions on my own rather than being able to simply google an answer or search scholarly articles on the subject. I have had to use some of that critical thinking that is inherent in a Wabash College liberal arts education to discern the nature of an object. For example, one of the objects that we received was a large metal key. The key by itself does not really tell one anything about its purpose, it is too large for any practical purpose. So I had to delve deep into the piles of Tribe of Ben-Hur materials to find some clue into its purpose. Eventually I found mention of a “golden key of life” within some documents (they involved an initiation ceremony). While it is not possible to say with 100 percent certainty that the key mentioned in those documents is the same large key in our possession from its description I can confidently say that it is likely the same key.

This internship has given me the opportunity to have a variety of different jobs which utilize my skill set as a Wabash student and to help me determine what my career path will be. I have learned that I enjoy the research aspect and discovery of new information aspect of the job, while tasks such as data entry do not interest me. I have also gained a greater appreciation for Crawfordsville and Montgomery County through the research I have done and the history I have learned. I thank Lilly Endowment, Inc. for this opportunity to explore a career path that I am interested in and to improve upon and use the skills I have gained while in school.

Scott Purucker ’16- Tx:Team

Scott Purucker Summer Internship 2014Scott Purucker ’16 -It is incredible to think that my internship with Tx:Team is already half way completed. I guess what they say is true, time really does fly when you are having fun.  Not only am I enjoying the internship, but I also feel that I am making, as President Carroll Nelligan always says, meaningful contributions to the company and their mission of allowing everyone to live the healthiest life possible.

This summer, thanks to the generosity of the Lilly Endowment, I have the opportunity to work as the Finance and Clinical Operations Intern at Tx:Team in Indianapolis.  Tx:Team is a nationwide therapy provider whose home office is located here in Indianapolis.  They have therapy sites in Indiana, South Carolina, Maryland, and Mississippi.  I have been fortunate enough to visit several of the sites located here in Indiana and meet many therapists who are often the face of the company.  Prior to the start of my internship at Tx:Team, I had little knowledge of the therapy and healthcare industries, but thanks to the patience and knowledge of all the employees of the home office as well as copious amounts of reading, I have grown to have a much better understanding.

My daily tasks at Tx: Team includes updating several key metrics and compiling reports on these metrics, as well as attending meetings about the direction of the company in the future.  In addition to these daily tasks, I have been working on several larger projects.  These projects include creating a dashboard to better track the success of different therapy sites and creating a presentation regarding a new coding system that will be implemented soon.  Both of these projects have allowed me to contribute meaningful work to the home office and I have learned a great deal from them.  I have used quite a bit of my knowledge from classes at Wabash College for both of these projects.  Most of all, my use of Microsoft Excel.  Not only have I used the tools that I learned in the classroom, but I have also used critical thinking to make my way through these projects. I look forward to completing these tasks and taking on new tasks to help Tx:Team.

I am working with three fellow Wabash Men at Tx:Team, Scott Benedict ’98, Spencer Sheridan ’12, and Patrick Bryant ’16.  Each of them have been very helpful in guiding me as I work and are a large reason for my incredible experience thus far.


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