‘Go West, Young [Wabash] Man’

By Patrick Bryant ’16

A dozen Wabash sophomores and juniors had the opportunity to visit technology and finance companies of various sizes over the course of a four-day Professional Immersion Experience in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It was a great way to finish break and prepare for the spring semester.  First of all, I want to extend thanks to Mr. John Schroeder for his generosity in making this trip happen.  I would also be remiss to not extend thanks to Scott Crawford and James Jeffries of Career Services for their efforts on not only putting this together, but making sure we made our visits in a safe and efficient way.

It could be said that we were the “guinea pigs” for this first trip out west, but the quality of the visits we made certainly made it hard to believe that could be the case.  The two days that we spent making visits were divided between a day in the Silicon Valley region and a day in San Francisco.  The scale of the companies visited varied from the likes of Google, Twitter, Shutterfly, and Wikimedia (the parent company to Wikipedia), to smaller startups like Mei Wu Acoustics and Knack.  Most visits gave us an opportunity to talk to alumni, but very candidly, we found each and every person we met with to be very hospitable, knowledgeable, and happy to have Wabash guys visiting.

Bryant ’16 was very grateful for the access to experts he received during the SF PIE Trip

For an economics major, I consider myself someone interested in and open to learning about technology, but I haven’t had any exposure to any kind of coding before.  This trip opened my eyes in the sense that often those technical skills weren’t the imperatives for the profile of an intern or new hire.  Often it was adaptability or the ability to collaborate.  For any Wabash guy, that’s second nature.  That message was reinforced during our final event, a networking dinner at Lolinda, an Argentinian restaurant in San Francisco.  The variety of backgrounds and stories shared among the alumni that met with us really made this trip something to remember.

I highly encourage programs like this to those alumni who have an interest in supporting something like this or hosting students in the future, or to students who have an interest in applying for these sorts of programs.  What we do in the classroom is so important and vital to the Wabash experience and in furthering the College’s mission.  That said, the opportunity to see in-person and communicate in an environment that forces one to use those classroom-developed skills is an asset to the Wabash education that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Bradshaw ’15 Makes Connections in the City by the Bay

By Ben Bradshaw ’15

Before heading back to Wabash and delving back into classes, 12 fortunate students had the opportunity to embark on a Profession Immersion Experience to San Francisco.  Career Services Director Scott Crawford and Assistant Director James Jeffries planned the trip and traveled with the students.

Bradshaw ’15 and his fellow Beta brothers are all smiles after a day at some of the fastest growing companies in the US

Though the trip was short, it was packed with useful knowledge, new places, and helpful information for the students.  The day of the trip was spent traveling and exploring the new terrain.  A beautiful hotel on the Pacific Ocean acted as home for travelers and provided them with scenic sunrises each morning before taking off for the day.

On Thursday, the group traveled to Silicon Valley.  Here, they visited Shutterfly, Mei Wu Acoustics, Google, Red Rock Coffee, and Knack.  Of these, the first four businesses employed a Wabash graduate who showed us around and asked questions.  While most of these revolved around technology, not usually a strong suit at Wabash, students gained a sense of where a liberal arts degree could take them.  The individuals that make up the student group came from various backgrounds with regard to their majors/minors and activities on campus.

A long day on Thursday did not stop students from hoping out of bed on Friday morning, just in time to see the sunrise over the Pacific as they grabbed breakfast at the hotel.  With Director Scott “Razorback” Crawford at the helm, the group set off for downtown San Francisco.  Awaiting them in the The City by The Bay were a group of exciting businesses, many focusing on technology.  These included Indiegogo, Twitter, Wikimedia, Aon Consulting, and Calypso Technologies.  While only two of these businesses had Wabash men working for them, the employees at all were quite welcoming and willing to offer knowledge and advice.

Friday night was one of my favorite parts of the trip, and because of this, I’ll spend more time reflecting on it. We arrived at dinner after a long day of immersion in different businesses.  Our dinner was scheduled at Lolinda, a Portuguese restaurant in the Mission District.  The food and drinks were phenomenal, but the real treat came with the people we conversed with over dinner.  Approximately 20 alumni and 15 guests from our destinations from our two days of discovery joined us at the table for drinks and dinner.

For the most part, students sat with individuals whose companies they were intrigued by sometime during the previous two days. Jordan Johnson (Physics Major) sat by an alumnus who works at Mei Wei Acoustics; James Kennedy (Art/Physics Major) sat by the graphics designer at Knack, as so on.  I was fortunate enough to sit by John Fields, the owner of a venture capital firm specializing in financing water and energy efficiency programs.  I’m extremely interesting in investing, and having some background knowledge on venture capital through my father, John and had talked for most of the night.  I’ve stayed in touch, and have a call with John on Friday afternoon.  I also spent a great deal of time talking to one of the founders of Profusa, a startup company with a product that helps read blood sugar levels without pricking ones finger for those with diabetes.  We discussed the business process they’re going through as a startup company.  It was exciting to see the development that goes into starting up the business side after a great product has already been developed.

The men had a packed day, but that didn’t stop them from staying attentive during all of their scheduled meetings

Overall, the trip was a great experience.  In talking with individuals from all kinds of businesses in San Francisco, students were able to learn outside of the classroom, and certainly learned more than they do inside the classroom.  I’d recommend the trip to others in a heartbeat, and will carry memories, knowledge, and connections from the trip for years to come.

Haffner ’16 Gets the ‘Little Giant’ Treatment with SF Alumni

By Michael Haffner ’16

Fortunate to have been selected for the immersion trip to San Francisco, I was surprised to find such a supportive and abundant Wabash community throughout the Bay Area.  We met and interacted with the companies of multiple alums, along with a few others, all of whom generously let us observe their workspace.  We discussed the ins and outs of life after Wabash and more specifically life as a San Franciscan.

We spent the first day of the trip in Silicon Valley visiting Shutterfly, Mei Wu Acoustics, Google, Red Rock Coffee, and Knack.  The second day we observed various companies in downtown San Francisco including: Indiegogo, Twitter, Wikimedia, AON, and Calypso Technologies.  Each company differed in the way they functioned.  For instance, Wikimedia and Red Rock Coffee are non-profit organizations with philanthropic goals in mind while Google, Shutterfly, Twitter, and others were for-profit companies focused heavily on growth and earnings.  What fascinated me was that each company attracted and sought out employees with specific personality types.  Wikimedia was filled with workers who sought to make a difference in the world, regardless of how much money they made.  Their goal was to be able to allow each person in the world to have online access to the same educational tools.  Calypso technologies, a for-profit organization, on the other hand, attracted hard working people who, because of the potential for higher pay, were willing to spend a lot of hours traveling and working in various demanding positions.

Wabash men were in SF for only two days, but that didn’t stop them from seeing a good deal of the city and the wonders it had to offer

Furthermore, we were able to observe the work environment in both established companies as well as a startup company, Knack.  Knack strategically designs games that shed insight into the psychology of a person.  In future years, Knack hopes that other companies, and possibly even colleges, use their games to measure the likelihood of success of  candidates for employment or a student at a particular school.  The main difference I noticed between Knack and more established companies was the type of discussions that were occurring among employees.  At Knack, the atmosphere was loose and encouraged creative thinking while at Google, everyone had a task and the employees were haphazardly winding through the Google campus with a mission.

To wrap up the trip, we attended a networking dinner at a unique Argentinian restaurant in the city, Lolinda.  Listening to the alumni talk about the path they took after Wabash was intriguing.  Many were working in a field in which they had never expected.  As a biology major, I often find myself being narrow-minded and thinking that health graduate school is my only logical path after Wabash.  However, I was assured by multiple alumni that the possibilities after Wabash, regardless of my major, are endless.  We talked with Psychology major, Jonathan Walsh, who now works at Calypso Technologies and Philosophy major, Mike Berry, who now works at Shutterfly.

I will sum up by saying that after this trip, I have never been more proud to be a Wabash man.  When talking with each alumnus, none of whom I had met before, I felt as though I had known the person my entire life.  Each person I met reached out and was willing to help me with anything.  It assured me that even after Wabash, I will still be a Little Giant when any other fellow Wabash man reaches out to me.

Schroeder ’15 Gets Feet Wet in Law with Career Test Drive

By Jackson Schroeder ’15

As part of the Career Services Test Drive Program, I spent a week at the Legal Aid Society of Louisville during winter break.  The Legal Aid Society provides free legal services to people who fall below the poverty line.

During the week, I spent the majority of the time calling previous clients and asking them to complete a client satisfaction survey.  Yearly client satisfaction are done to show the donors of Legal Aid that the practicing attorneys are doing their job and completely satisfying the people.

When I wasn’t doing client satisfaction surveys, I was at the courthouse shadowing the attorneys of the Legal Aid Society.  The first time I went to court was an eye opening experience because the attorney had three domestic violence cases.  While prepping the clients to enter the courtroom, the attorney had to make sure they were ready to answer the judge’s questions clearly and truthfully.  The clients were visibly upset by the fact that they were seeing their alleged attackers for the first time since the incident.

Two of the three cases were continued to a later date with the final case culminating with exciting closing arguments by the two attorneys.  After the Legal Aid attorney won her case and got a domestic violence order against the client’s husband, she told me how the case was very unusual.  In the beginning part of the hearing, the opponent’s attorney was very argumentative and angry with the judge.  I was very surprised by his actions and was later told that he could have gotten a contempt of court charge if he continued in his disruptive manner.  Overall, I was impressed by the attorney’s ability to think on the spot and make solid arguments for her clients.

On my second visit to court, I was able to witness Veteran’s Court, which is a new venture by the state of Kentucky.  The purpose of Veteran’s Court is to make veterans enter a program meant to rehabilitate rather than punish.  As part of the program, the veterans do not spend jail time but have random drug tests and see a psychologist to help treat their PTSD.  The court is structured to provide support to the members who often have unsupportive families or families who do not understand what they have been through.  During the weekly meetings, the judge makes sure to act as a friend and supporter who want to see them succeed.

On my third and final visit to court, I visited Evictions Court.  Prior to entering the courtroom, I was told that Evictions Court is like the fast food of law because each case takes about 10 seconds.  The attorney for the landlord calls the name of the person getting evicted and if they are there, then they come up to face the judge.  The judge asks if a payment was made.  If not, the judge signs the eviction form and the next name is called.  The only arguments against getting evicted are if you have receipts proving you paid or if the landlord did not maintain the housing while one was living there.

Overall, I learned a lot about the Legal Aid Society functions as well as the general court process in domestic violence, veteran, and eviction cases.  The weeklong internship has furthered my interest in law and opportunities to help others within the field of law.  I am especially grateful to Jeff Been for allowing Wabash students to gain experience in the field of public law and also the hospitality he provided.

Guess What Andrews ’15 Did Over Break

By Tyler Andrews ’15

Silicon Valley and San Francisco are every bit as cool as you have imagined. And better. If you didn’t already enjoy the aspect of being in a relatively warm temperature year round, or the fact that the geography just outside the city is phenomenal, or the fact that you have a million different locations to travel to for pleasure, you can definitely take pleasure in the thriving, driving mind that is Northern California. (Might be part of why the price tag is so up there, but it’s worth it).

Andrews ’15 and Patrick Kroll ’16 take in the natural sights after seeing some professional ones

Over winter break, I was part of a phenomenally lucky group of 12 Wabash college students. We were all Sophomores and Juniors, excited to be getting away from the snowpocalypse, or polar vortex, or whatever you’ve come to call it. We knew it was going to be beautiful scenery and trips to some prestigious companies. But being there in person made it all the better. On our trip, we visited a couple of small places called Google, Twitter, Indiegogo, Wikimedia, and Shutterfly, to name a few.

Since I’m sure not many of you have seen it, Google is intense beyond anything you can imagine. If you are ever lucky enough to visit the location in Silicon Valley, brace yourself. We met with a Wabash alumnus who was part of the design team for Google Instant, Google Glass, and numerous other applications and programs. Every which way you turned was the Google yellow, red, green, and blue. Their philosophy was to promote creativity through interaction and community thinking. There were gardens and beach volleyball courts and even a giant dinosaur covered in pink flamingos. And don’t get me started on how amazing their food court was…

The thing to know about Silicon Valley is that it is an absolutely incredible area for tech companies because it isn’t bustling with people on the roads like the big city. There are dozens upon dozens of office buildings with large corporation logos on the sides, and slid in between are ponds and different landscapes to brighten the place up. In Silicon Valley, we visited Shutterfly, Mei Wu Acoustics (a noise and vibration consulting company), Google, Red Rock Coffee (a church run coffee shop that has made over $1 million in revenue in the last two years alone…), and Knack (a software company that is designing games to help companies evaluate potential employees). Every visit brought a different twist, but each had bright new ideas and was inspirational to us as students.

We started the next day off by going straight to the heart of San Francisco, and getting a taste of the commuter experience, riding the BART, Bay Area Rapid Transit. We kicked the day off by visiting Indiegogo and getting a more in depth understanding of the online crowd-funding world. Our host, Bre, was wonderful, and provided us with lots of tips on how to start our own crowd-funded ideas. We then visited Twitter, Wikimedia, AON Consulting (who just sponsored Manchester United), and Calypso Technologies. The big difference about companies in San Francisco versus companies in Silicon Valley is the privacy. Walking down the street, you would have no idea where Twitter, Indiegogo, or any of these companies were located. Knowing the address of each, we got through security at each of these areas and proceeded up to the offices of these awesome companies. And let me tell you, the views were just as incredible as the production that these companies were kicking out.

All in all, I would have to say that Twitter and Google tie for the coolest locations on my visit. Google is just, well Google, and is on a whole different level of corporation status. Their idea of how to run a company is mind-blowing…mind-blowingly successful. And Twitter, ironically started by a Google guy, is just as exciting. Their view of San Francisco was the best we saw, and was viewed from their huge patio overlook 7 stories. Twitter has some excellent ideas circling right now, and are looking to expand even more, so I’m especially excited to see what they do. Personally, my goal is to land an internship with Twitter this coming summer, but we’ll see what happens!

Thank you to the Wabash College Career Services and to one of our great alumni, Mr. Schroeder, for making this event an opportunity. It was an incredible event, and I look forward to going on future events potentially like it. Feel free to contact me with any questions about the trip, or just check out Wabash College!

Gray ’15: Kiss Me, I’m Home

By Nick Gray ’15

I spent this past summer picking cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana, and bath salts out of the US mail system. Before this past summer, I’d spent hours browsing testimonials of people who had interned with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Alcohol Tabaco and Firearms (ATF), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), who I was interning with, and the responses varied greatly: “They’re making me file. ALL SUMMER.”, to “Kiss me. I’m home.”

Gray ’15, a Philadelphia native, explores opportunities in his hometown and sees a new side of it

The USPIS Philadelphia Division was a 40 minute commute that I was glad to take. My average day was spent doing things like this:

  • Doing surveillance on a woman in North Philly, who’d been stealing identities in her apartment. We took license plate numbers, circled the house for possible routes of escape (in the case of a warranted search), and speculated on her daily schedule.
  • Working with drug dogs and their handlers to sniff out (no pun intended) packages in the mail.
  • Documenting, weighing, and packaging the quarter million dollars’ worth of drugs that we (the interns) helped find.
  • Browsing the evidence room (I almost cried when I got to hold a Romanian AK-47).
  • Hearing perspectives from federal agents ranging from 23 year veterans to people that started the year before.

On more extraordinary days, I got to sit and talk to Federal Judges, District Attorneys, Secret Service Agents, Air Marshals (We had a shooting competition. Naturally, I lost.), Postal Police, members of the Philly Police Department, DEA Agents, K9 units, State Troopers, and members of ATF. I got to participate in and help facilitate federal agent training and in the process, almost beat a veteran in a shooting competition and got arrested four times in felony vehicle stops which included accusing an Inspector of racial discrimination. I also got a course in using riot shields, how to correctly use a firearm while holding the shield, and I took part in a virtual simulation on responding to calls as a law enforcement officer (I saved a young woman then killed multiple innocents). The simulation left my hands trembling, hands sweating, and my heart cold and pounding. I tried to imagine the real thing.

I did not have to imagine for long. When cocaine or methamphetamines were found, we did what they called a “controlled delivery.” The drugs would be delivered as planned but with heavy surveillance. For this, we were allowed to ride along equipped with bulletproof vests. We got to watch as the package was delivered, then seconds, minutes, or even hours later, the door being blown off the hinges by a ram and the pouring in of federal agents armed with MP-5s. After, we were allowed to watch on-site interrogations and search the house for additional evidence. We also had the pleasure of being cursed out by locals for “entering without warrants” and “racial discrimination” (this is where my training came in handy).

As exciting as all of this was, it was fairly hopeless too. Drugs, cocaine especially, were sent, over and over, to the same rough neighborhoods, to which we came to “control delivery” and whisk away peoples brothers, husbands, and sons. I had the privilege of working with George Clark, a Postal Inspector in the Philly Division. Clark gave me an outlet into another side of law enforcement. He allowed me to assist him in the investigation of a man who had, over the course of three years, stolen nearly half a million dollars from banks like PNC, TD, and various others. He’d also managed to involve the post office by buying money orders with the stolen money. He accomplished this feat with a pen, legitimate checks he’d gained from vulnerable people, and the power of persuasion. We spent about a week pouring over his criminal record and reports we had of his past thefts. We found his favorite place, favorite day, favorite time, and waited for him across the street in an undercover car. Sure enough, he was there at 7:02 AM buying money orders with stolen money.

“Nick, get in there and get his description.” Clark said.


Last time I heard, the guy was looking at about a quarter century in prison. The internship was over before we could snag him.

This internship began, where all great things begin: Career Services. I attended the Law Enforcement Lunch they hosted before that summer and went to speak with two ladies from the USPIS based out of Indy. Students had swarmed the FBI, DEA, and Secret Service, but these two Inspectors did not have a single taker. They were very friendly and much more flexible than the other agencies. I called their supervisor, Ken Miller, who told me they weren’t accepting interns that summer. I was disappointed.


“Guess I’ll just go home this summer.” I said.

“Where’s home?”


“You know what”, he said, “I know a Scott Guretse in Philly, an Inspector. Here’s his email, check it out.”


Kiss me, I was home.

Anzalone ’16 Finds Answers with Career Test-Drive

By Ryan Anzalone ’16

As an Economics major here at Wabash, I spend a lot of time wondering what the real world will look like for a student like me. How do these skills translate to a career in finance, or any other industry for that matter? Thanks to the Career Services office and the Callings Funding, I was able to spend 3 days at an investment firm in Chicago experiencing the real world under the supervision of a Wabash alum. Chad Cleaver ’00 works at a firm called Driehaus Capital Management LLC which is a privately-held investment management firm with $12.9 billion total assets. Mr. Cleaver is the portfolio manager of the Emerging Markets fund, which generally invests in companies of all capitalizations based within countries with emerging markets.

Cleaver ’00 provided strong leadership and countless learning opportunities

This career test drive was eye opening for me. Due to Mr. Cleaver’s position in an emerging markets fund, I was fortunate enough to shadow him during many meetings with analysts from around the world. I gained valuable insight into different cultures and how different people view the problems facing the world economy. I arrived in Chicago with wide eyes and hundreds of questions and I left with lots of answers, and a much clearer view of the equity research industry as a whole.

“I found this experience to be highly valuable and it helped me decide which direction I wanted to continue pursuing as a career. These three days were some of the best spent three days of my college life so far.”

This test drive was a new experience for both Mr. Cleaver and me, as it was the first test drive of its kind at Driehaus. I spent my time each day reading about emerging markets and listening to industry professional’s talk about their hopes and concerns in each country. Analysts from Korea, China, and Turkey did their best to answer the questions Chad’s team had about their respective economies. The purpose of these meetings was to give the analysts at Driehaus a clearer picture of what is happening in these emerging markets, so that they can make more educated investment decisions.

On the first day, I felt like they were talking to each other in a different language. By the end of the test drive, I noticed I was able to follow along in these meetings much better and even found myself having questions for the traveling analysts.  I was also given a company from Kenya to research in my free time, with the end goal of presenting my research to Chad at the end of my trip. The company I was researching was called Safaricom, and it is one of the leading telecommunications companies in Kenya. I read countless pages of news about Kenya’s economy and how the telecom industry was projected to change in the coming years.

My independent research, paired with my exposure to the types of questions which needed to be asked to make an educated decision, allowed me to make a final investment decision about Safaricom and present it to Mr. Cleaver. I found this experience to be highly valuable and it helped me decide which direction I wanted to continue pursuing as a career. These three days were some of the best spent three days of my college life so far.

Yumnam ’17 Makes the Most of a Career Test-Drive

By: Seine Yumnam ’17

Sadly, Wabash does not have finance classes. But, worry not, there are opportunities out there just for Wabash men to lay foundation in finance: stock market focused.

During the winter break that just passed by (2013-2014), I had a Career Test-Drive with Cheevers and Company, an execution firm under the umbrella of Chicago Board Options Exchange. John Castro, Wabash alumnus, hired me. Generally, a Career Test-Drive is a very short intensive job shadowing opportunity. But my experience was too great to end it soon so I did it for the whole winter break. I walked into the firm on 24th of December. I barely knew anything about stock market, shares, trade execution, brokerage firm and whatever that has to do with trading. I am also a member of the investment club. In most meetings I would just sit and watch other team-mates throw words and ideas that made no sense to me.

  “I would definitely recommend such kind of Career test-drives to any Wabash men, regardless of whether he has career plans in mind or not. Why waste a break when you have the opportunity to figure out where your strength lies in and what your interest is?”

However, in a period of one month, things have changed. Thanks to Cheevers and the Wabash funded Career test-drive program we have. During the first week in Cheevers, I learned the terms and concepts that appear most frequently in the stock market; every single person in the office was passionate enough to deal with my lack of knowledge. In my second week I was observing what each trader was doing, questioning their decisions and actions to bid or offer.  The explanations I received were detailed with visual charts and graphs. Their calculated and precise moves completely blew my mind off. But sometimes they just had to follow their client’s orders. By third week, I was able to write buy and sell tickets without error and supervision. This was a quantum jump from my previous state of knowledge. The last week, I was awed at the volume of work that can be done sitting in an back office environment. The need for keenness and accuracy in the back office drove my attention. I got heavily involved in allocating trades, checkings and correcting misallocations, back office system renovation and much more.

My subtle interests in trading and banking have exponentially grown over the winter. Not only have I learned subject related ideas, but I have also become more confident in my career goals. I am in a much stronger position to plan what to do next and craft my own growth strategy. I have also honed vital skills like multi-tasking; simply put, I ate lunch every day in front of the desk while allocating trades. This multi-tasking skill is particularly important if someone is seeking a job in trading center in the USA: trading firm’s employees have no lunch breaks.

I would definitely recommend such kind of Career test-drives to any Wabash men, regardless of whether he has career plans in mind or not. Why waste a break when you have the opportunity to figure out where your strength lies in and what your interest is?  Remember, such test-drives are technically free. You can get funding from Wabash Callings depending on the number of days you are doing the test-drive.

Applying for the Fulbright Scholarship

By Jared Sonnickson ’01

Editors Note:  Jared graduated from Wabash in 2001 and earned a Fulbright Scholarship.  Upon being approached by Art Howe and with the Fellowship upswing at Wabash, Jared was kind enough to share this advice about applying for this prestigious opportunity.  If you would like to contact him, the Career Services office will provide contact information for you.  Enjoy!

The Fulbright Commission offers a variety of scholarship opportunities to a host of countries around the world – nearly of them actually! I was fortunate to receive a scholarship toward the end of my senior year at Wabash, which provided an excellent opportunity to go abroad for about one year, in my case to Germany. However, this undoubtedly would not have been possible without the assistance (and critique) of the Wabash community. The selection committee above all proved to be a crucial factor in helping me prepare my application for the scholarship, which constitutes my first piece of advice or tip – to take advantage of this opportunity. As a first step though, prospective applicants or interested students should start, more or less early, with looking into the Fulbright programs, for example in the summer after junior year. Around the beginning of the fall semester of senior year would be a good time to reach more concrete ideas about a possible program and destination.

For a convincing application, students should develop a project to be conducted or researched during the time abroad. This is particularly important for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, which is the one that will most likely interest Wabash students and for which you will most likely qualify (and is the same program I originally participated in), though there are other possible programs such as the English-teaching program. Regardless of major/minor, it would be helpful to have a project idea that, in addition to its academic merit, relates to the country of destination, which also demonstrates the applicant’s knowledge and especially interest in the country – both of which are important for the final selection process. In this context, faculty members at Wabash can provide a particularly helpful and necessary source of constructive critique, which will help applicants all the more in preparing a solid application.

With regard to the rest of the application, like with any application (for internship, job, college program, etc.), it is imperative to allow oneself time and consideration in order to gain feedback as well as to rethink, rewrite and revise the various application components. This approach was certainly helpful for me and ultimately I can only recommend these simple tips: take your time, seek advice and feedback from the wide palette of expertise and assistance provided by the Wabash community, which also includes the alumni. And on that note, I would be delighted to be of further assistance – feel free to contact me with any questions concerning this program or other study/living abroad aspirations.

All the best,


Peters ’14: Gaining Experience with (Kindred) Spirits

A couple months ago, while reading over the various descriptions of available internships through Wabash, I read the words, “Our intern will have to wear a lot of hats.”  The description belonged to my current summer employer StilL 630 in St. Louis, MO and could not have been a more accurate description of the position.  After a resumé submission, a phone interview conducted while my car was breaking down on the Pennsylvania turnpike, and a mad dash to secure summer housing, I made the move to St. Louis to begin working with David Weglarz ’03 at his start-up craft distillery.

I’ve been at the distillery for three and a half weeks and I feel as I’ve done every job in the distillation business.  David uses the tagline, “From Grain to Glass,” to describe the process of making our whiskey products, and again he is spot-on with his description.  We start by combining water with our chosen grains for the spirit (malt rye, barley, winter wheat, etc.) in a mash tun.  The mash tun is about six feet tall and holds 500 gallons.  It also requires regular cleaning, a perfect job for a summer intern no doubt!

Here I am cleaning out the mash tun, where the whole process starts

The process continues with the mixing of these ingredients during various heating and cooling steps.  The “mash” is then brought to one of our four fermenters where yeast is pitched in to begin breaking down the usable sugars provided by the grain into alcohol (getting interesting right?).  While it is in the fermenter for a 2-5 day period, the mixture is now called distiller’s beer; think Sam Adams without all the hops being added.  The distiller’s beer is then brought to our still, which was handmade right here in St. Louis.  At StilL 630, our current spirits our double distilled, which means we run the liquid through the distillation process twice.  The first run, called the “stripping run,” boils off usable alcohol, leaving water behind.  This alcohol is about 45% alcohol by volume (ABV) and will be run through the freshly cleaned still (also the job of an intern) again in a “spirits run.”  This is the good alcohol that will end up in a bottle or a barrel.  We make cuts of this alcohol first however, as the spirits come off in three categories: heads, hearts, and tails.  Hearts are the good alcohol that is drinkable (once proofed down, even for college kids) while heads remind me of moonshine.  Tails are used when a whiskey is barreled for aging.  The esters of the tails react well with the charred barrels and give it the amber color that we are used to in whiskey.

While running, the “mash” has to be broken up to produce sugar

But like I said earlier, lots of hats are worn.  I’ve bottled our whiskey, labeled it, and then sold it by walking to bars and giving tastings.  Right now we survive on word of mouth advertising and social media buzz (follow us @STILL630 or on Facebook).  So instead of hats, I wear a suit as often as a dirty work shirt.

With all this work being done, that doesn’t mean we don’t have fun however.  I personally love going out to different venues to run tastings and talk with patrons, bartenders, and restaurant owners.  We get to drink the whiskey that I helped make and get to spread our proud product around the city.  I’ve even taught David to play some lacrosse in our down time.  Also, David and I were lucky enough to score free ultimate BLT’s from Crown Candy Kitchen, a historic STL kitchen that has been featured on Food Network multiple times, for just talking to them!

It’s bigger than my head!

David, his wife Sydney, his newborn son Mason, his big dog Jake, and I actually just returned from Louisville, KY.  David and I went on a bourbon trail distillery tour, visiting the likes of Maker’s Mark and Heaven Hill, to do some research but also have a great summer experience.  And so far that’s exactly what this summer has been.  I’m extremely happy to have been chosen for this position and I would like to thank the Small Business Internship Fund and Wabash College Career Services in helping me earn this position!

One last thing however, you over 21 year-olds need to keep your eyes open for Rally Point Rye Whiskey and Big Dog Jake White Whiskey on a shelf near you to help some Wabash brothers out!  David is on his way to taking over the industry, I’m just glad I can be here for the first few steps.