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Frey ’19 From English Major to Entrepreneur

Charles Frey ’19 Explore Interactive – With the help of Career Services, a class of 2017 graduate, and a gracious Board of Trustees member, I was able to fly out to Massachusetts for a week to experience the early life and research side of an American start-up. When I asked Wesley Virt, class of ’17 and Founder of Explore Interactive, if I could help with his educational technology start-up last March, I did not realize what I would be stepping into. In two short months I would be conducting research for customer discovery in Boston and incorporating educational pedagogy into the Explore! platform.

Before I continue, let me explain a few things:

I am an English Major.

My minor is in Education and French.

I’ve never considered myself an entrepreneur.

So why travel to Massachusetts to do research for an educational technology start-up?

Leading up to the trip, I was having trouble finding direction in many aspects of my life. That’s not to say I didn’t have plans or goals. I had those, and still do. Looking back, no goal was set in stone, and were formed with little backing besides my interests and hobbies from high school. My attitude on the future since senior year; laissez-faire at its best, wishy-washy at its worst.

After the trip, I was more focused, energized, and passionate than any other time in my life.

Our home for the week was generously offered by Mr. Jay Williams, class of ’66 and Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse advisory board member. My first interviewing stop was the local library. The interview goals were to understand how parents and educators interact with technology in the classroom and at home.

It was at the public library that I interviewed Cathy. We discussed the psychology of Disney movies (don’t let your little ones watch Lion King—too much trauma), the influence of peers in school (they mean the world to a student between 4th and 8th grade), and the importance of making education fun (“gamify” is the word we used most often). I learned quickly that the woman I was speaking with was a child psychologist from Harvard.

The best part? She only volunteers at the library once a week.

Our happenstance meeting reshaped the team’s pedagogical approach to content creation, and continues to impact the start-up today. The conversation certainly left an impact on me.

This research opportunity allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and step into the world of entrepreneurship. For that alone, I’m grateful to Wabash. As the name of Wesley’s start-up suggests, I was able to explore this summer.

Explore Boston. Explore entrepreneurship. Explore my passions.


Morse ’18 First-Hand Experience in the Tech Industry

Nolan Morse ’18 Handshake – This summer I had the pleasure of working for Handshake – Stryder Corp. as an intern on their Customer Success Team. I worked closely with both the Account Management and Technical Support teams during my 12 week stay with Handshake. If you haven’t heard of Handshake, they’re a very mission-oriented company with the goal of democratizing internship and job opportunities for college students and graduates. Their platform is a job board and a career services tool built into one. This means that the team really has to build and support three products and customer types; employers, students, and career services users. On the Customer Success team, my largest responsibilities were to manage the data collection, validation, and analysis behind the largest data initiative the company has undergone. We collected informatioan from nearly 150 different schools about student engagement across demographics, class year, majors, etc. This allows the company to not only measure success for the schools that join the platform, but also allows Handshake to make sure that it’s effectively succeeding in its mission; democratizing opportunity for all college students. Some of the other projects I worked on involved creating metrics to measure customer success, and helping to develop strategies and tools for some of the company’s largest support scaling initiatives since their creation.

One of the most interesting parts of working at Handshake was the benefit of the company still being very much a startup in terms of company culture. It was wonderful to be able to talk with leaders of different teams on a daily basis, and the company hierarchy felt very flat. While I had a direct supervisor and coordinators as part of the internship program, I was also able to work closely with the founders on a regular basis, and it never felt like I was an intern, I felt like part of the team. I’d like to take a moment to thank the CEO of Handshake, Garrett Lord, for leading such a wonderful team. I’d like to thank the other founders, management, and the rest of the Handshake team for being such helpful, friendly people to work with. I’d also like to thank Alex Amerling, the Wabash alumnus who helped me throughout the internship by providing supervision, support, and a lot of very wonderful insights into the tech industry out in San Francisco. In addition to those at Handshake, I’d also like to thank the Wabash College career center, CIBE, and Roland Morin for helping me with this opportunity, and the the Small Business Internship Fund for continuing to support Wabash Men in their professional endeavors.

 


Page ’18 Builds Market Research Skills in Boulder, CO

Ben Page ’18 HireEducation – First, I would like to start by thanking the Small Business Internship Fund for the opportunity to intern at HireEducation in Boulder, Colorado. Second, I would like to specifically thank Roland Morin, Spencer Peters, and all of my other coworkers who made this summer not only possible but also an amazing experience. HireEducation is a small recruiting firm that specializes in working with education technology companies all across the continental United States. During my time at HireEducation I learned a lot about the day-to-day operations of the company, but I also learned what it was like to work in an office and form new relationships with coworkers. My previous work experience has been primarily in a classroom environment, which doesn’t give you the opportunity to support someone working in his or her actual career. Being able to do work this summer that yielded actual results fairly quickly was very rewarding. Through many different experiences this summer I was able to further develop my networking, data entry, and time management skills.

My primary responsibility at HireEducation was to provide support for the research team. With the way that HireEducation is structured, there are five recruiters that all share the same research team which happens to be just one person and not actually a team. Once a recruiter launches a search with a client, the research team is responsible for finding potential candidates that fit the job description. After the head of research put together a list of candidates, my job was to input them into the company database for recruiters to call through. I did everything from inputting previous work experience to contact information. A lot of what I did involved data entry, but I also spent time working on market research. Education technology is an industry that has been showing tremendous growth over the last five years. During the eight weeks I was working I tracked different market trends as well as several job board pages. This project allowed me to put the skills I have learned as an economics major to the test. In my opinion, however, the most beneficial experience was going to San Antonio for the 2017 ISTE conference.

After being in Colorado for about a month, the other intern, Scottie Ogle, two recruiters, and myself got to go to San Antonio for the biggest education technology conference of the year. The three days we were there were absolutely amazing. The conference itself showcased everything that was new and trendy in the world of technology in the classroom. I was able to explore the expo hall as companies as big as Google and Microsoft were showcasing their new products. Additionally, our company actually hosted a party one evening, and I was given the opportunity to network and sell our company as well as myself. The whole summer was one I will not soon forget, and I am very thankful to everyone that made it possible.


Holland ’19 Gains First-Hand Experience in Customer Service

Nick Holland ’19 The Headshot Truck – First off, I would like to thank the Small Business Internship Fund for allowing me to take part in an internship this summer. I was fortunate enough to be able to intern at The Headshot Truck in Los Angeles, California. My official title was Operations Intern, but as my time with the company progressed, my roles and responsibilities increased beyond that.

My time with The Headshot Truck can really be broken down into two work experiences: learning the sales process, and working LA Pride.

Though I was slated as an Operation Intern, after about a week of work I was able to garner enough trust that they allowed me to learn the sales process and make sales calls. Learning this process was one of the most challenging parts of my internship as I had never been exposed to any kind of process like it in school or otherwise. But my boss was very helpful and took the time to make sure that I understand not only how the process worked, but the methodology behind why they did things the way they did.

His explanation proved to be invaluable as I continued to ponder the sales process and worked side by side with him to further refine and evolve the sales process as to improve numbers. The hardest thing about working for a start-up is that money is usually scarce, which means that we had to be creative in our approach to marketing and sales as to solicit our product most efficiently while also being cost effective. I initially saw the idea of marketing with no funds as a daunting challenge, but as I learned more about the world of working in a small business I began to embrace the risks that come with being financially strapped and it helped me grow into a mindset that there can be no reward without a little bit of risk.

Working at LA Pride was an eye-opening experience in its own right, but the amount of first-hand event management and customer service experience I gained from it was so important also. I worked in tandem with a photographer from our company to create an experience for patrons that saw them get their photos taken and then they could choose which ones they wanted to be sent to them. It sounds like a fairly simple process until you understand that we set up a booth in the middle of thousands of people, meaning the whole process had to run smoothly otherwise we would have a long line of impatient people trying to enjoy their festival experience. It taught me a lot about customer service and event management, but it also gave me a chance to see our product first hand and see the positive impact that it had on people. You wouldn’t believe how many people thanked me just for taking time out of my day to be there and contribute to making their festival experience the best. That was one of the most rewarding experiences during my time in LA.

Once again, I want to thank the Small Business Internship Fund for giving me such a great opportunity to not only travel across the country and live life in a whole new place, but for allowing me to work with such a great company and be a part of a group of driven people who are passionate about building a small business from the ground up.


Garner ’20 Makes Impact on Hometown During Internship

Terian Garner ’20 Hammond City Hall – This past summer has opened a gateway to success for me. The internship I took part in, Hammond City Engineering, at Hammond City Hall, helped me connect with a tremendous amount of people.  While I worked in my hometown’s city hall, I connected with some very knowledgeable people. They were from all types of fields. I was introduced to architects, electricians, councilmen, and mayors. They all shared a piece of wisdom with me, some even displayed their work to me. The networking that took place in the office I was stationed in was amazing. Everyday someone new would come in and I would be introduced as a part of the new generation who will take their place someday. I realized the people I worked with took their job seriously because it was their passion.

Taking a moment away from the people that was outside the office, the people I worked with every day was some of the most encouraging, patient, and helpful coworkers I have ever had. They sat down and worked with me until I understood all of my assignments. The atmosphere I was in had a very positive vibe. Therefore, communication was never a problem when working with them. To this day, I keep in contact with them, even though it has been a few weeks since the internship ended. They have even offered me a chance to comeback as an intern. I want to thank them for this, and the Mellon Grant for even making this opportunity possible.

The work I was responsible for involved tons of data entry into excel, communicating with anyone who had question or called into our office with some concerns. Another job I had was to make observations on streets, signs, sidewalks, and lights around our city. The most difficult thing for me was communicating with the residents of Hammond, Indiana. There were residents who would call just looking for information on current and future projects in the area, and there were residents who called and complained about their sidewalks and streets not being presentable and habitable. This is where the job became difficult. Since we have a budget to repair sidewalks and streets, it’s hard to fix everyone’s problems. At times, we might get at least 10 complaints a day. The complaints of course are respected and we try our best to get right on it, but some assignments take time. A lot of cases people don’t understand that. Some people it might be a hazard to handicap, or to an elder or a bad spot in the school zone. Therefore, every request is priority, but residents sometimes can be impatient or misunderstanding. It took me a while to adjust and understand where each person was coming from, but eventually I did and I’m grateful to have had the ability to deal with people the way I did.

This summer has provided me with some of the greatest opportunities I have ever had, and this is because of the works of the Mellon Grant. I really cherished this summer and experienced so much more a sophomore in college could have asked for.


Raters ’19 Builds Technical Skills During Marketing Internship

Justin Raters ’19 Franciscan Alliance – This summer, I have been spending most of my time at Franciscan Health Crawfordsville, where I have been working on many projects as a marketing intern under Matt Oates. Many of these projects have been at a desk on a computer, but some of my favorite projects have been outside of the office. I’ll explain a few of these along with what I have enjoyed about my position this summer.

Before this summer, I had never really used InDesign, and for that matter I hadn’t planned on using it anytime soon, but in my position at the hospital I was required to learn how to use this tool quickly. Along with the many name changes that the hospital has undergone in recent years came name and logo changes on just about all of the brochures, pamphlets, flyers, and any other printed document a person could imagine. A lot of my time was spent fixing these documents so that they would have the correct logo and phrasing according to which department they would be distributed in. Some may think that this would be a boring job but I enjoyed learning the software and seeing how quickly I could get projects done.

However, working at a desk and on a laptop was not the only thing that I did this summer. I was also involved in many events that the hospital was a part of. The first event that I was able to work was the Montgomery County Health Fair. This is an event that many healthcare providers attend to give information and promotional items to community members. I also helped at the County Fair and National Night Out. Events like these were some of my favorite because I was able to engage with the community, as well as other hospital staff.

One of the last projects that I was able to be a part of was the new Emergency Department Dedication and Opening. Matt and I liked to call this event the “final exam” of my internship because it placed me into a more hectic and busy few weeks of preparing and then performing on the day of the event. This was a great event to end my internship with because I was able to see how an opening of a new facility is taken care of from the marketing side of things. This opportunity also gave me the chance to create new connections with those who were in attendance.

I am very thankful for the opportunity that was given to me by Matt Oates, Franciscan Alliance, Roland Morin, and especially the Lilly Endowment. This internship gave me the experience that I was looking for in a professional setting and helped me to develop skills that I may not have without it. I am certain that I will utilize these experiences, connections, and skills in my future endeavors, wherever they may take me.


Malone ’20 Develops Networking Skills While at Eli Lilly

Rogeno Malone ’20 Eli Lilly – This Summer I had the opportunity to intern with Eli Lilly and Company.  The unit I worked with dealt with the transfer and storage of data as well as the management of records – actual and non-business transactions that arise through the normal course of business.  I would like to thank the Center for Leadership Development (CLD) for granting me this opportunity, as well as Eli Lilly for welcoming me with open arms.

Prior to the start of my internship, I had no idea what the culture of Corporate America was like.  In fact, on my first day my clothing contrasted my co-workers significantly.  No, I was not under-dressed but that day I learned the meaning of business-casual.

As I’ve stated, my position was in the realm of IT and dealt exclusively with computers, computer widgets, and intel software, all of which I knew nothing about.  I am a firm believer that uncomfortable situations and environments promote self-growth.  By working with equipment and technology foreign to me, I not only learned new skills but also produce some of my best work. Majority of my assignments involved analyzing records and determining the most efficient way to store, dispose of, or move said records to off-site facilities.  I also utilized OpenText software and a company specific storage library to further analyze data and ensure that records were adhering to a retention schedule.  During my final three weeks, I had the opportunity to lead an assignment.  This project challenged me the most because I was responsible with creating processes to complete the assignment.  Tasks such as the project design, role delegations, strategy sessions, and much more were responsibilities I held.

One of the greatest skills I learned during my internship was networking.  Something that surprised me was the openness of my colleagues and their willingness to connect and share their journeys.  I believe those aspects also extend the entirety of Lilly, I heard and have seen for myself it’s unique company culture.  Since a young age, I have been interested in traveling the world to experience different customs.  Now, instead of observing customs I intend on traversing the world through international business.  Luckily, I connected with several employees working in Canada, Costa Rica, and France.  I’d be lying if I said I knew the ins and outs of networking right away, I believe my process involved many trials and errors.  However, a universal truth I’ve discovered is to not be afraid to reach out to anyone.  Everyone has a story, if you’re interested and willing to listen they might just tell you.


Boudoin ’20 Steps Outside of Comfort Zone to Assist Incoming Freshman

Lamore Boudoin ’20 WLAIP Mentor – This summer, all thanks to the Mellon Grant, I was given the opportunity to work an internship of my choice. I worked on campus at Wabash College assisting Professors and incoming freshmen within the Wabash Liberal Arts Immersion Program.

My role within the program was the alumni/team building coordinator. My co-coordinator and I prepared multiple alumni panels, so that the freshmen could learn a little bit about how Wabash has changed many people for the better and how great life could be after Wabash. We hosted three individuals on campus and communicated with them constantly to make sure everything they needed was available. We also have three more individuals coming at the beginning of school so that we can continue to encourage and help the freshmen as they begin their first year of college.

I, along with my co-coordinator, had to set up, illustrate, and monitor multiple team building activities. These activities helped the students to work as a team, strategize, and think efficiently about how to solve problems. For example, one of the activities was called a spider web which means everyone must go through a different hole in the webs that we set up without touching the strings. This forced others to learn to trust their classmates and learn to ask for help when needed.

My last responsibility as a mentor was to assist Professor Mckinney with helping the incoming freshmen complete Aleks. I helped answer many questions that the freshmen had on the concerns of mathematics. I worked with them to offer different ways of finding the solution to the problem that was presented. I also learned a few tips and tricks from Professor Mckinney, and the students on how to complete some problems faster.

During the Wabash Liberal Arts Program, I was given the chance to step outside of my comfort zone and learn to reach out to people even if neither of us knew each other. I advanced many of my skills while working with other upperclassmen as a team in order to prepare the many events that we had to organize. My communication, organization, teamwork, teaching, and mathematical skills improved as I continued through the month-long program. These are few skills that I can take into some fields and majors that I plan to pursue.

None of the skills I learned would be possible without the help of the Mellon Grant. They gave me a chance to venture out and try something new, and for that, I would like to truly thank them.


Equihua ’20 Eye-Opening Experience with the Health Department

Artie Equihua ’20 Montgomery County Health Department – My position as intern for the Montgomery County Health Department has provided a surplus of memories along with valuable knowledge and life lessons. The people in which I am blessed to work with day in and day out have shown me the importance of communication and education within all aspects of public health. Through this internship I have learned how to effectively communicate information to people of various backgrounds and learning abilities. We have had to utilize these communication skills while visiting homes of people in unsanitary conditions that need to be educated on how to keep themselves healthy. From an individual who grew up in a clean house thanks to his knowledgeable parents, I have taken a clean and orderly house for granted. My time visiting homes of hoarders, drug addicts, and the ill has humbled me beyond belief. My core values have been altered to tolerate the actions of others first, rather than condemn. This position has opened my eyes to a world that is lacking healthy communication. In fact, it didn’t even take me one week to realize it.

Within my first three days of working, I was assigned to go to the next house inspection with our house inspector. We were assigned a “hoarder house” belonging to a woman whose relative had shown quite concern about the living conditions. It was essential that in cases like this, to be instructed on how to conduct yourself while inside the house. For starters, you must be aware of your eyes, tone of voice, and word choice throughout the duration of the inspection. In case of a hostile interaction with a resident, one must always have an exit plan established for each room. In addition, one must evaluate the condition of the resident. Whether it be stress level, cleanliness, any indicators of mental illness, and many other tell-tale signs of variables that can alter how one should converse with the resident. Within those three days, what truly made me observe the importance of my job was the gratitude and sheer joy the woman from my first house inspection displayed. Within a month, we had provided enough education and assistance that she could then manage on her own, and we were allowed to close her case. Throughout my time with the health department, I have visited multiple houses, food establishments, hotels, and schools, inspecting food, water samples, septic tanks, and even catching and studying the mosquitoes in the area. Working in environments that are uncomfortable and challenging has instilled a sense of pride and devotion to the work that I do to better the health of others.

Another large aspect of my internship involved research with mosquitoes. Each day we would set traps out across the county and collect them each day. The mosquitoes we caught and identified allowed the state to test them for harmful diseased such as West Nile, Zika, Chikungunya and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. I knew very little about mosquitoes at the start; however, I learned quickly. It didn’t take me long to develop a fascination for the fact that the research we were conducting could affect people all over the world. Through our research with the mosquitoes, we were successful in identifying mosquito concentrations in each city within the county. In addition to the capturing, identifying, and analyzing mosquitoes and their population trends, we were also instructed on how to effectively reduce mosquito populations to reduce the biting rate and overall, reduce the rate of disease. These educational lessons enabled me to teach others about mosquitoes and how to combat them.

On top of all of the work involving inspections and mosquito research, I was in charge of making and presenting informational fliers, billboards, radio recordings and health presentations. I have successfully created a plethora of educational presentations, some of which covering local vectors, Medicaid, and Medicare. I have utilized several computer programs to accomplish day to day work such as Microsoft Excel and Photoshop. My position with the health department has allowed me to attend town meetings and local councils that are all attempting to better the community. Each event has grown my confidence when working with people of different professions and with far more schooling and education than I.

 


Elliott ’18 Makes an Impact in the Community at the Health Department

Ben Elliott ’18 Montgomery County Health Department – Before this summer, I tended to only hear the negatives about health departments. I heard about peoples’ frustrations with them, and the stickers that tend to clutter front windows. I have a couple of friends and family members that work in cuisine, and (like most people) they don’t like other people coming into their place of work and telling them how to operate.

While this is an entirely understandable bugaboo, throughout my time with the Montgomery County Health Department this summer, I learned two main things about these assumptions. Firstly, to simply think of health departments as some sort of regulatory board is incorrect, and actually neglectful of some of the significant work that they do for the community. Secondly, building off of this first realization, a well-run and passionate health department can do a great deal of good in the community.

I can honestly say that no two days of this past summer were the same while I was working with the health department. Even in the same day, I found myself, at one point, slogging through the woods to collect mosquito traps, recording a radio public service announcement, and educating children at the local Boys and Girls Club. The variety of tasks that I was assigned speaks to the breadth of tasks for which a health department is responsible.

The range of issues that are addressed by a health department was also surprising. While the notorious health inspections that I mentioned earlier do are one facet of the food safety operation, these alone went far beyond my narrow preconceptions. Certainly, restaurants were part of it. But throughout the summer, I and my fellow interns were brought along on inspections of gas stations, festivals, and supermarkets. All of these fell under the umbrella of food safety – something that I did not anticipate. These inspections were also done in a different spirit than I had been led to believe – the inspector really did care about the safety measures, and it showed in her work as she showed it to all of us.

This is to say nothing of the other inspection and regulation for which the health department is responsible, whether that be septic inspections or pool inspections and, at one memorable point, a meth lab seizure. These are all merely the regulatory responsibilities I saw in the health department, which is to say nothing of the handling of birth and death records, the nursing program, and the education program, all of which are as passionately and eagerly pursued as the more visible inspection side. They all work to engage the community in order to raise the public standard of health.

There is much more I could write about the Montgomery County Health Department and the experience I had this past summer, but I will sum it up as such: a dedicated group of people are working constantly for their community in your local health department, and their work is further-reaching and more important than many would realize. I would like to thank the Lilly Endowment and Wabash College for making this opportunity available to me.



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