Richard Hall ’24 — Purchasing Platform

First, I want to thank Wabash and the Center for Innovation, Business & Entrepreneurship (CIBE) for the opportunity to develop valuable skills in business and life that will no doubt help me in my career. I would like to especially thank CIBE Senior Fellow Anthony Mendez ’20 for leading the day-to-day efforts of the Business Innovation Program (BIP) and Dean Roland Morin for overseeing this program and ensuring that I and others have this opportunity.

In addition to the valuable business education the BIP offered, it allowed me to have the opportunity to spend the last eight weeks with Purchasing Platform, an e-commerce company for mobile home community managers. Purchasing Platform offered me a role on their Special Projects Management Team as the Vendor Operations Intern. Most of my work consisted of the facilitation of communication between vendors or suppliers like Home Depot and Lowe’s and community managers for mobile home parks across America. Many of them are overworked and underpaid and are focused on saving money on materials for their next project. While my work started pretty simple with my onboarding into the quote building software over the first couple of weeks, my role eventually extended from vendor and customer contact to order fulfillment. Among other things, I have had my hands in helping continue to build out the catalog while gaining exposure to Salesforce and project planning.

Along the way, I have also had the opportunity to have valuable interaction with Wabash alumni in the business world. Purchasing Platform CEO Dave Bowen was gracious enough to sit down with me and my fellow Wabash interns to take us through the most currently pressing issues at the forefront of the company and offer us plenty of great advice in the meantime. While the BIP itself was educational in hard and soft skills alike, what I learned during this experience came from these meetings was just as valuable. Between learning about the mission of the company, the long-term trends of revenue, and pitches of the latest approach at securing more funding; we often heard valuable stories about not just how to form connections in business like using authenticity as your best sales pitch, but how to balance the ambitions of your career and personal life.

As my internship with Purchasing Platform concludes next week, I have the opportunity to apply the world of e-commerce and the soft skills of the business. While this project is only a snapshot of what I have learned, I hope that the skills that I have learned in that program can be on display there as I will carry forward what I have learned into my next professional experience.

Gonczarow ’22 – Crawfordsville Chamber of Commerce

Hello, I am Andrew Gonczarow, a member of the class of 2022. This summer, I had the opportunity to intern with the Crawfordsville Chamber of Commerce as a part of the Wabash Public Policy Project. It was very insightful being able to intern with a nonprofit organization, something I was not able to do until this summer. I would like to thank Wabash College for the opportunity, as none of these insightful experiences could have happened if it wasn’t for the funding from Wabash College and the Public Policy Project. I would also like to thank the Chamber’s Executive Director Cassie Hagan and the Chamber’s Assistant Director Casey Hockersmith for making me feel welcomed in the office from day one.

During my internship, I had the pleasure of using and learning a customer relationship management (CRM) software, member clicks. With the software, I was able to reach out to certain people in our network, as well as update databases and create reports. Being able to learn how to use a CRM will be very beneficial in my future careers. It was also fun trying to network with professionals all around Montgomery County, as I was able to meet new people within my community, see how these companies run, as well as identify where the Chamber could help the businesses out.

My internship also enhanced my sales and sponsorship skills, as I would go around businesses inside the community that were members of the Chamber to sell them Sponsorships as well as tickets to the annual Golf Scramble. Countless days my colleague and I would drive around Montgomery County, going from business to business in hope of getting sponsorships. In managing the Golf Scramble, I learned a lot about adapting and that even with a good plan, there will always be something that you will have to react to.

Once more, I would like to thank Wabash College and the Wabash Public Policy Project for giving me the opportunity to have these experiences, as this summer was key to my professional growth.

Lopez ’24 – IDEA Public Schools


First, I would like to thank Wabash College and the Wabash Liberal Arts Immersion Program (WLAIP) for funding my internship. I would also like to thank Dr. Horton and Dr. Pittard for their guidance and help through this course. The WLAIP helped prepare me for my first year of college at Wabash. Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Roy Kaplan for helping me find this internship opportunity. Without their help, I would not have been able to work closely with my old high school.

This summer, I can work alongside IDEA Public Schools in their Child Nutrition Program. IDEA stands for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This internship allowed me to learn how high school cafeterias operate. For example, I visited my old high school for a week to get an idea of how managers work and what they specifically do. During that first week, I learned how important it was to have every requirement fulfilled to operate. Also, I revised audits from other IDEA schools around the country. Even though I worked virtually from home, I still had a unique experience and met tremendous individuals along the way that helped make everything run smoothly.

This internship gave me a sense of responsibility and the ability to be flexible with how I went on with my day. I had multiple different projects that I have been working on that affected how high school cafeterias operate. For instance, I overlooked the budgets and prices of tools in high school cafeterias. I had to pay extra attention to the documents I handled since the cafeteria’s operations depended on it.

Pine ’22 – Crawfordsville Regional Airport

My name is Ethan Pine and I am a rising senior at Wabash College. I would like to start by thanking the Dill Fund for enabling me to have this incredible internship experience. Without the Dill Fund, I would not have been able to explore and learn about the aviation community and learn the behind-the-scenes work that goes into maintaining and running an airport, ultimately leading to my pursuit of a career in aviation. 

This summer I have had the wonderful opportunity to assist at the Crawfordsville Regional Airport. I work with airport manager Lori Curless and the rest of her staff to help with fueling operations, aircraft towing and marshaling, cleaning of the Terminal, hangar maintenance, and daily inspections of space and facilities such as runway, taxiways, navigational aids, lighting, and fuel quality to meet state and federal airport rules and regulations.  

My time at Crawfordsville Regional Airport has been a huge learning experience and has influenced my future, as I am now planning to pursue a career in aviation. The biggest thing I have learned is how much “behind the scenes” work there is to keep an airport up and running. From things as simple as cutting the grass and oiling the hangar doors, to things as important as testing fuel quality and relaying information to incoming pilots, Everything must work like a well-oiled machine otherwise the safety of the pilot, passengers, airport staff, and even community is at risk. Lori Curless, the manager of CRA, has also taken the time to teach me about aviation and airports during the time not spent on airport maintenance. Outside of direct airport operations; I have also learned valuable lessons about communication and customer relations. From proper radio communication to holding conversations with pilots on the ground, the aviation community is all about communication. It is through these communications that we not only ensure pilot and customer satisfaction, but it has also helped me to create a lasting network of great people. With these connections, I have made, and the nature of my internship, I also have had the opportunity to work on my private pilot’s license which has been a reward in and of itself. 

Overall, this internship opportunity, thanks to the Crawfordsville Regional Airport and Wabash College, has led to one of the most exciting, influential, and educational summers of my life. I also again thank the Dill fund for creating this opportunity for Wabash students and hope that more Wabash men are able to utilize this awesome opportunity. 

Pfledderer ’23 – Adorant Group

I want to start by thanking Roland Morin, Anthony Mendez, CIBE, and Career Services for gifting me this opportunity by funding this internship. They provided me with these resources to help my business knowledge grow and my personal development to become a better person. I was able to learn many skills, including communication, listening, and analyzing problems. These skills will most definitely help me in my next two years in the classroom, along with the world after my time at Wabash.

For the last two months, I’ve endeavored in an incredible journey of learning about the finance world, specifically the financial advising side. Adorant Group works with a software called MyMoneyRoadmap. MyMoneyRoadmap is software that financial advising firms use for the clients they have. It is looked at as a wealth relationship engine that emphasizes automation to help advisors save time and grow their business.

Being able to learn about the software was an excellent learning experience for me. I learned under Adorant Group’s software developers on their techniques on coding and engaging in discussions on how to improve the website. I also audited many of their finance articles and learned how households in our country utilize their money. I was also able to write some articles about some of the critical trends in the financial advising industry by doing some research. On top of working with articles, I went through a sales training program offered by Adorant Group. After completing this and learning numerous beneficial tactics in sales, I was able to make sales calls to potential advisors who we saw as potential suitors for our software. Making sales calls every day helped my communication and listening skills immensely.

Lastly, one of the main projects I worked on this summer was a PowerPoint detailing the technical overview of MyMoneyRoadmap. Breaking down much of the software and other benefits helped me understand what I was working with and helped me during my sales experience as I gained confidence in what I was talking about.

None of my experiences in the finance and business world would be possible without the amazing staff at Wabash College and Brian Mantel (CEO), and Nick Winter (Internship Director). They gifted me with all the tools I needed to help grow as a Man of Wabash, inside and outside the classroom.

Kim ’24 – Mathematics/Computer Science Research

This summer, I worked as a research assistant with my coworker Gabriel Cowley under Dr. Katie Ansaldi, studying combinatorial and number-theoretic approaches to Rainbow Ramsey Theory. Ramsey theory is a branch of combinatorics that focuses on the appearance of order in a specific size structure. The theorem conjectures that complete disorder is impossible so that we can find patterns within disarray.

Rainbow Ramsey Theory is one of many problems derived from Ramsey theory, finding interesting properties when the set of integers, 1 to n, is partitioned into c number of sets. C number of sets is called ‘colors,’ and the partitioning process is called coloring. To rephrase, in this theorem, every integer is assigned to a color, and we are checking whether there are any interesting properties in coloring. For example, this summer, our research group was dealing with solution sets of an equation, x-y = z^2. We studied patterns of assigning colors under a certain condition, such as avoiding assigning the same color twice to the numbers in a solution set.

Fortunately, our research group could discover multiple theorems and conjectures during the research. Furthermore, during the internship, I could get more than research experience or knowledge in Rainbow Ramsey Theory. Thanks to faculty members of the Department of Mathematics & Computer Science and the Department of Physics, including Dr. Westphal, Dr. Gates, Dr. McCartin-Lim, and Dr. Tompkins, mathematics and physics research interns got an opportunity to do a weekly presentation and learn how to give an academic presentation properly. From this experience, our research group is planning to participate in Indiana Undergraduate Math Research Conference on July 28th to present our research results.

In the last place, I want to thank the Wabash College Department of Mathematics & Computer Science and Dr. Ansaldi for allowing me to get a research experience. As a freshman who did not have any prior research experience, it was a great pleasure to have such an opportunity.

Wang ’22 – Psychological Research

I was very fortunate to be able to assist Prof. Schmitzer-Torbert with his research this summer. Of course, it would not have been possible without the help of career service and the psychology department at Wabash College. Thus, I would like to express my gratitude to Prof. Schmitzer-Torbert, Wabash psychology department, Roland Morin, and Wabash career service for making my summer research internship possible.

For my summer internship, we recruited participants from Amazon Mechanical Turk (mTurk) in a psychological study of how decision-making systems are related to nicotine use (potentially nicotine cessation). For the first two weeks, we primarily focused on reading literature related to decision-making and learning how to code using the programming language R, which we will use later on for our analyses. After that, we started recruiting participants on campus and used the data for analyses. Every day, we would meet in the mornings and discuss the work that we did the day before. Then we would determine what we needed to do on that day. And the rest was independent work. By the end of the internship, we found that consistent with the literature and our previous research, cigarette users have a higher discounting rate. Discounting rate is also negatively related to self-reported intentions to quit nicotine-use, and positively related to self-reported nicotine dependence. We also found that during a virtual-navigation foraging task where a participant needs to decide whether to wait for a certain amount of time for a certain reward, participants took longer time and showed higher deliberation (vicarious trial-and-error) when they made bad choices; however, such relationship is reduced in cigarette users. We also found, unexpectedly, that participants who indicated higher nicotine dependence showed reduced deliberation with bad choices. What’s more, cigarette users engaged in more deliberation processes when facing difficult choices. The last factor we assessed is navigation strategy. The result suggested that navigation strategy might moderate lifetime-long nicotine use and discounting rate. Although we found no relationship between nicotine use and navigation strategy, what we found could suggest that nicotine use is related to disruptions in several decision-making systems, which are different across different ways of nicotine uses (cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaping, etc.).

There were obstacles and challenges along the way. I am grateful that my internship supervisor, also my mentor, Prof. Schmitzer-Torbert helped me overcome those hardships, personally, academically, and professionally. As a student who is planning to attend graduate school, this internship showed me what I should expect in graduate schools. And more importantly, it made me realize and, on some level, helped me confirm what I want to do in the future, just as one of my dearest friends once told me, “You learn about what you love to do by doing things.”

Jimenez ’24 – Camp Grier

My name is Francisco A. Jimenez, a student of the class of 2024. I would like to start by thanking the WLAIP for funding this amazing opportunity. I would also like to thank Wabash Alumni Bill Butcher and Dr. Roy Kaplan for connecting and helping me through the process of acquiring my internship at Camp Grier in Old Fort, North Carolina. Without Wabash, everyone mentioned above, and everyone involved in helping me build the professional career I would never have been able to acquire such a rewarding, personal, and public service-based internship.

As stated earlier my internship this summer is as a counselor in Camp Grier in Old Fort, North Carolina. To many, this may not seem like a big position, but the amount of responsibility and the personal and professional growth that this job has offered are immeasurable. As a camp counselor I have supervised and managed activities for campers as well as any situations or emergencies that develop throughout their time at camp. This job requires and has taught me the flexibility and a vast array of speaking/interaction skills as I interact with children of all ages and all walks of life. My time here has taught me about the importance of teamwork and time management to ensure that campers have the best experiences at camp. Furthermore, I have honed in on my patience, self-control, persistence, and empathy skills as all of these things have been vital in my interaction with my campers.

However, unbeknownst to me, this position would teach me new perspectives in life about people, child development, and the overall need for positive role models in the lives of children. I have witnessed children who have such a self-kept and tense perspective slowly shift, come out of their shells, and become happy towards camp activities. I have witnessed first-time campers enjoy their time at camp and shift from the “I never wanted to come” mentality to the “I can’t wait to come back next year” one. I have witnessed children of two different walks of life come to understand each other, create amazing friendships, and understand different cultures/perspectives. Most of all I have had parents come and thank me asking “How did you do it?” since they could not explain the transition that their child had undergone in one week. That’s the beauty about this job, the small yet impactful interactions that I have been part of and witnessed have made me appreciate and understand the need for good people to teach the next generation and guide them. I have enjoyed being of service to a community that provides children with memorable summers in a year of a pandemic, tension, and chaos.

Brunenkant ’22 – Colibrí Center for Human Rights

My name is Tony Brunenkant and I will be a senior this fall. I would first like to thank the Coons Fund for allowing me to take on an opportunity that I would be unable to do otherwise. What the Coons Fund has done for me has not only allowed me to gain valuable experience as a college student, but it has also offered me the chance to learn more about my personal interests and values as an individual and as a professional. As a Political Science major with Foreign Service being a goal of mine, the Coons Fund has provided the next step necessary in the direction of achieving those goals.

I have been interning at the Colibrí Center for Human Rights since May of this summer. Founded in 2013, Colibrí aims to help families find the right answers to the cases of missing and unidentified individuals that have attempted to cross the southern US borderlands. My job, along with other interns from around the country, is to find the right ways to tell the stories of those lost loved ones. As an outright advocate for the rights of migrants, my cohort and I have focused Colibrí’s voice on remembering the lives lost in the extreme weather of the Sonoran Desert paired with a public education campaign on the root causes of the sporadic surges of migration the United States has recently experienced. For me, this has included attending colloquiums, researching the history of US intervention in Latin America and caravan migration from the Northern Triangle, and studying migrant death maps. A project that I have been working on with a fellow intern has been a 3-part series entitled, “The Things They Carried”, which was concentrated on the actual items that were carried on journeys throughout the borderlands.

This internship has exposed me to what I did not know was out there, which I am grateful for. The little community that was made within my cohort was fun to be in, where I learned from other college students and their different perspectives. Thank you again to Wabash and the Coons Fund.

Leous ’23 – Peakstone Group

My name is Quinn Leous and I will be a junior this coming fall! First, I would like to thank the Dill Small Business Fund for funding my summer internship experience. Internship opportunities are truly one of the things that helps Wabash students grow the most, and without the Dill Small Business Fund, none of that would be possible.

This summer, I was fortunate enough to work as an analyst at The Peakstone Group out of Chicago. The Peakstone Group was recently ranked the #1 lower middle market U.S. investment bank for the second quarter of 2021. This summer, I worked with fellow intern Liam Thompson ’23 under Michael Dockendorf ’72 and Tim Trela ’72, who are both Managing Directors at Peakstone. To say the least, this summer has been extremely fascinating and productive for Liam and me.

The experiences that I have been a part of and the skills I have gained this summer have been nothing short of unbelievable. Under Michael and Tim, I have learned the ins and outs of what it is like to be an analyst in the investment banking world. I have been given ample opportunities to make a demonstrable impact on the company since Day 1. Beyond doing research on various venture capital and private equity deals, I was able to create a 2-page “teaser” that was distributed to potential investors regarding a public company looking to raise capital. This process, as well as many other research projects, helped introduce Liam and me to various terms and models that someone in the investment banking industry should understand.

Another very valuable part of my internship this summer beyond technical experience has been seeing how industry leaders communicate with each other. Liam and I have had plenty of opportunities this summer to listen in on calls between CFO’s, leaders in the venture capital space, and others. Hearing how Michael and Tim work their way through these calls has taught me so much about communication and emotional intelligence in the business world. Additionally, Michael and Tim always make time in their schedules to debrief with us after these calls and explain why they said X, Y, or Z. Often times I view these calls as a similar experience to learning in the classroom at Wabash, as I am typically asked to share my opinions even though the person instructing me has much more experience.

I have learned so much about the finance world this summer and think that this experience may have sparked an even greater interest in finance for my future. This summer has shown me how to be a gentleman in the investment banking world while still being as successful as possible. I want to thank Michael and Tim for being the best mentors I could have asked for this summer and being people that I know I can reach out to whenever I need advice. Similarly, a special thanks are absolutely needed for Roland Morin for putting me into contact with The Peakstone Group and helping me get my foot in the door. This has been a tremendous summer experience and one that I know will catapult my professional career.

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