Waggeh ’20 Mentors Inner City Kids In South Bronx

Abdoulie Waggeh ’20 — Helping someone has always been a goal of mine. Having the opportunity to pursue that goal means everything to me. South Bronx United was a soccer organization that I was part of, and it is an organization that helps student-athletes with education and soccer. During the mornings from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, the program focuses on education. After lunch, the program shifts its focus to soccer practices or games. As of now, I am working with a group of 6th-grade elementary school students as a math teacher and also as a mentor. My everyday routine for class includes something we call warm-ups, which is a 5-10 mins activity that we go through every morning from Monday to Thursday. During this time, each student tells me what they did the day before and the different goals they want to achieve during the day. Patience is a skill that has been very useful to me. There are many ups and downs when working with young kids, because some students listen, while others do not. I found out quickly that it is hard to teach a class if other students are not listening. Something that I learned from professional school teachers who are our supervisors is to be patient and work with the kid that is disrupting the class individually. During this process, I have gotten to know these kinds of students more, and my job is to motivate them to get back in the classroom and perform well. Fridays are our fun days for the students because all the activities are based on fun things like, for example, going to six flags, kayaking, or going to the zoo. Students have to present from Monday to Thursday in school in order to participate in these trips. This was another way to get students to behave in the classroom because they want to attend the trip. Overall it has been a learning experience for me, and I want to give a special thank you to the Dill fund organization for providing me with such a great opportunity, and also for funding my internship. I also want to thank Cassie Hagan for helping with the application process. Thank you.

Rapp ’22 Has Life-Changing Experience In England

Noah Rapp ’22

Noah Rapp ’22 — When I was deciding where to go to college, I can remember recruiters telling me about all the fantastic opportunities that Wabash College offers its students like a valuable internship or a chance to travel to another country. Little did I know then that I would have the opportunity to live out these recruitment promises a year later after my freshmen year at Wabash. For six weeks this summer, I have had the chance as a pre-med student to study abroad at Harlaxton Manor in Lincolnshire England. My professor Dr. Bost has taught an interesting and insightful course on virology and public health. Not only is the course exciting but also studying this topic in England has added to the impact of this course. Our class has taken field trips: to the science museum in London to see Watson and Crick’s original DNA model – the beginning of modern genetics, to Cambridge to walk the same streets as many brilliant scientists, such as Darwin, Newton, and Hawking to name a few, not to mention exploring, London’s National History Museum. While these experiences have enriched my education and this course, being allowed to observe and interact with different cultures has added to my understanding of public health in a way that cannot be replicated in a classroom. Walking through the crowded London streets, unsanitary Paris metro, and traveling all around Europe by plane, boat, and train, has allowed me to understand the threat of antiviral resistance better, new viruses appearing, and bioterrorism. It can be difficult to comprehend just how easily a virus can become an epidemic  until you’ve had the opportunity to travel from country to country in a matter of hours, in densely populated cities full of people from all over the world just waiting to possibly bring an unexpected and deadly souvenir back home such as a virus. Not only has this educational venture been an opportunity to expand my knowledge in the classroom, but this has been a priceless, life altering-experience.

The opportunity to immerse myself in Europe for six weeks as a 19-year-old is truly special. I have had the time of my life exploring London, Cambridge, Paris, Loire Valley, Edinburgh, and next week I’ll be off to Rome and Florence. Personally, some highlights from each of these cities include: the jaw-dropping St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, experiencing a service inside Westminster Abbey, traveling to the mysterious Stonehenge; viewing hundreds of masterpieces in the Louvre, Rodin, and Orsay museums; walking through the Catacombs in Paris, exploring the Chambord and Chateau in the Loire Valley, sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower while it lights up at night eating macarons with new-found friends, and waking up bright and early to see the unforgettable sunrise from Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland. These are only a handful of the priceless, life-long memories I have had the opportunity to make thanks to the Wabash Dill Fund. I am incredibly grateful and appreciative to have been given this opportunity, and my life has been changed forever thanks to the generous donations. I am humbled and proud to be a part of a college with such strong Alumni support, which sees the value in making educational experiences abroad possible.

Freck ’21 Spends Summer Studying In Grantham, England

Andrew Freck ’21

Andrew Freck ’21 — As my bus pulled up to the manor which was to serve as my home for the next five weeks, I couldn’t help but be awestruck. This summer I was lucky enough to participate in a program at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England, a small town situated about 2.5 hours north of London. Not your ‘run-of-the-mill’ internship, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study in a different country for an entire month, while still under the supervision and instruction of Wabash College faculty. While at Harlaxton, I participated in, and received credit for, a biology class taught by Wabash professor Dr. Anne Bost. As a student in BIO199: Viruses and Public Health, I learned about the life cycle of viruses, as well as their other biological implications, through a multidisciplinary lens. For instance, as we discussed on our first day in class, health, even as defined by the World Health Organization, has meaning well beyond medical science. When considering the state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity which is characteristic of a ‘healthy’ individual, for example, it is clear that knowledge of other fields like economics or philosophy is also necessary. Thanks to BIO199, was able to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing our world, as well as more specific insight into how viruses spread and are treated. Along with this, I also had the opportunity to travel to many other countries through excursions provided by Harlaxton. These excursions allowed our biology class to step beyond the classroom, applying what we studied and seeing many of the historical places and artifacts about which we learned. For example, my class and I had the opportunity to take a field trip into London to see the model of DNA built by Nobel-winning scientists James Watson and Francis Crick. I would like to thank Dr. Anne Bost for all the work she put into ensuring that this summer course was not only interesting and informative, but also thought-provoking, and for always pushing her students to think about the real-world implications of what is discussed in the classroom. I would also like to thank the Dill Fund for making this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity possible and for helping me further my education. I truly believe that the cornerstone of Wabash College is its network of generous, caring, and knowledgeable professors and alumni which never cease in working to provide fantastic learning opportunities, like the one I had the pleasure of participating in, for its current students. Thank you to all of the staff at Harlaxton College, Dr. Anne Bost, and all of Wabash’s generous alumni, specifically the Dill Fund, for making this opportunity possible.  

Koy ’20 Acquires New Perspectives Of Healthcare in Cambodia

Sopheara Koy ’20

Sopheara Koy ’20 — Among human rights, the right to life is regarded as one of the most fundamental rights that every human automatically inherited. Sadly enough, this right is continuously bombarded by various health issues presented within different parts of the world. For decades, Cambodia has been pounded by a copious amount of healthcare crises that have led to terrible consequences such as high mortality rate and low life expectancy to name a few. The health issues concerning this country have channeled my desire to become one of its future healthcare resources.

Within the summer of 2019, I was given a fantastic opportunity of interning at Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) and its microbiology research unit (COMRU). AHC is a children’s hospital located within the center of Siem Reap province in Cambodia. It was first established in 1999 by a renowned Japanese photographer, and since then, this non-profit pediatric facility is running through national and international donations. I was very enthusiastic about having my 2019 summer internship placed within a hospital where I used to be one of its patients back during the early 2000s. I would like to give my greatest thanks to the funding provided by the Dill Fund program for making this opportunity possible.

The internship at AHC had provided me a unique set of healthcare experiences within the realm of medical research and clinical processing. I have received numerous clinical experiences by working closely with doctors stationed in different departments of the hospital. Such experiences include shadowing the doctors in different wards which include Inpatient Department (IPD), Outpatient Department (OPD), Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Emergency Room (ER), and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Within each department, I have observed closely the way in which doctors determined diagnoses of diseases through verbal and physical examinations with patients. In addition to observations, I also had a chance to chat with doctors about the underlying principles of the diseases as well as discussing the overall medical and health status of patients through examination over medication history and other relevant recorded vital signs. For instance, we scrutinized over the type of antibiotic used with patients while being critical about the excessive use of an antibiotic like Meropenem.

Meanwhile, the most rewarding experience perhaps came from another type of clinical activity that I participated in along with medical residencies in IPD, ICU/ER, and NICU. This aspect of clinical experience was comprised of critical education that a health practitioner should have regarding clinical and laboratory processes of making the right diagnoses from briefing over medical status to prescribing drugs. These medical board rounds gave me a holistic outlook on how doctors tackle health issues in addition to the psychology of treating patients.

Asides from clinical exposure, I was also involved with the microbiology medical lab unit that performed extensive research such as testing and identifying the key pathogens responsible for causing different health issue cases. As a team, I got a few hands-on experiences in identifying the names of the several bacteria and fungi of different diseases through blood culturing, stools, and so on. Each day, the results were then communicated through afternoon board rounds presented by lab technicians to a group of doctors. The discussion taught me the importance of communication in the science of treating healthcare issues.

From clinical and medical lab involvement, the summer internship with AHC has provided me with countless clinical experiences as a healthcare provider. In a bigger picture, the experiences gave me a deeper view of the healthcare situation in one of the poorest countries in the world. Although these point of views are taken from witnessing the clinical and healthcare status of only a tiny part of the population, they continue to add more inspiration, passion, and give me a chance to truly comprehend the need of a good healthcare service in a place where I hope that one day, I could be one of its effective human resources.

Haesemeyer ’21 Gains Valuable Experience In Costume Design

Paul Haesemeyer ’21

Paul Haesemeyer ’21 — As I sit writing this, I have started my third week as a Costume Tech Intern at the Williamstown Theatre Festival at Williams College, amidst the pines of the Berkshire Mountains.  I would not be working here if it was not for the generosity of the Dill Fund.  Thank you for supporting an aspiring costume designer!

First, you (the reader) are probably wondering what a Costume Tech Intern does.  Essentially, I alter and build costumes for WTF’s summer season.  This season, WTF is producing seven shows—five of which are world premieres—, as well as intern and fellowship productions.  Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun is currently in tech and opens later this week.  A Human Being of a Sort by Jonathan Payne, starring André Braugher (Brooklyn 99) runs June 26th – July 7th.   Grand Horizons by Bess Wohl, stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) opens July 17th, Selling Kabul opens July 10th, Tell Me I’m Not Crazy opens July 24th, and Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen starring Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction) runs July 31-August 18th.

For Raisin, I have altered many shorts, pants, and cuffs, ensuring that the costumes fit the actor correctly.  And some are to make the costume fit poorly: one pair of pants I altered was to let out the waistband; the pants fit the actor too well!  Essentially, I am an unpaid stitcher (alters and builds costumes); there are three other stitchers, and one first-hand in the shop.  There are nine costume design interns and two wig-and-makeup interns who help us as needed.  There are twelve interns total; twenty-six people work together at any given time.  They include shop management, assistant designers, a wardrobe supervisor, a craft supervisor, and a wig-and-makeup supervisor.  Working ten-hours a day, six days a week provides a pressure cooker guaranteed to produce close friendships.  Many of us felt like we had known each far longer than the first week.  Living on the same floor with the other interns also strengthens these friendships.

As a technician, I do not have as many design opportunities as the costume design interns do.  Thankfully, during an interview with one of my supervisors, she asked if I was interested in designing at all. I said yes!  So, I will be the second assistant for one of the fellowship productions and will be designing a Directing Intern production that lasts ten minutes.  As an assistant designer, I will learn how to process receipts and returns for the designer.  Sourcing costume items will be an important task as well.

This summer, I will be connecting with Fadia and Ted Williamson ’67.  They are Williamstown Theatre Festival members, and Ted happens to be pledge brothers with my grandfather Paul “Robbie” Robinson ’67.  I look forward to meeting them and learning their stories.

This summer continues the adventure Wabash has provided so far.  Wabash has taken me to Boston, Prague, New York, and now Williamstown.  I am excited to see where Wabash will take me next.

Wood ’21: Mental Health & Hope For The Day

Kaleb Wood ’21 (right)

Kaleb Wood ’21 — This summer, I am fortunate to serve as an intern at Hope For The Day in Chicago, Illinois, thanks to the generous support of the G. Michael Dill Fund. Hope For The Day (HFTD) is a non-profit focusing on proactive suicide prevention by providing outreach and mental health education. They spread the message that “It’s Ok Not To Be Ok” in order to break the stigma surrounding mental health.

By focusing on proactive prevention, Hope For The Day takes a unique approach to mental health. If you sprain your ankle, for example, you know to apply ice and rest so that no more significant injury develops. This is the same approach we want to take with our mental health. We want to raise the visibility of resources and start the conversation to disrupt the highest risk factors for suicide.

So far this summer, I have been focused on helping structure and grow HFTD’s Agents of Impact program, the sustainable, grass-roots initiative for proactive suicide prevention. This initiative gives others the knowledge and resources to spread HFTD’s mission and education programs throughout the world, currently spanning all 50 states, 26 countries, and 17 languages.

In addition to my work with the Agents of Impact program, I help serve as a volunteer throughout Chicago at our Outreach actions. This has allowed me to get involved outside of the office and have a direct impact on the community. I have had conversations with people of all ages and walks of life about how mental health challenges have impacted them. I have heard some stories of heartache, and some stories of hope. It has opened my eyes to the widespread impact of mental illness, and how just one conversation can help discard the shroud of stigma.

This opportunity has been a greater experience than I could have ever asked for. It has completely reshaped how I approach mental health, both for myself and those around me. I have even had to confront my own stigmas and am a more empathetic person because of my experience with Hope For The Day. I have learned how to have conversations about mental health in a more thoughtful and effective way, and most importantly, I’ve learned that It’s Ok Not To Be Ok.

Witczak ’21 Making “Freshmen 15” Cool Again

John Witczak ’21 — Before I begin, I would like to thank the college for funding my summer internship and providing me with the opportunity to gain such a valuable experience. When I stepped into Arnold House to begin my first day of work as a Career Services Special Projects Intern, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I’d be collaborating with three of my peers on both long and short-term projects, and I knew I’d be trained in the art of résumé crafting, but I didn’t know any specifics or what my day-to-day work life would look like. Luckily for me, this internship has already proven to be a fantastic learning experience during which I have been able to practice presenting ideas and projects to my superiors while working closely with my peers to complete proposals and meet deadlines. Additionally, I have been trained not only in résumé crafting but in LEAN and A3 Problem-Solving techniques that have already improved my ability to work through the complexities and speed bumps encountered in the workday.

John Witczak ’21

The major project my co-workers and I are working on right now is the “Freshman Fifteen,” an annual program designed to integrate incoming freshman with Career Services within their first fifteen days on campus. Currently, we are drawing up the program’s theme, event schedule, social media campaign, and its t-shirt and flyer design, while working with and gaining the approval of our supervisors, Cassie Hagan and Roland Morin. Knowing that our work will have a direct impact on the incoming freshman and their future in the professional world is somewhat daunting, as is living up to the success of past Freshman Fifteen programs, but running projects like these, with real-world implications, is exactly what drew me to this internship and what I expect will prove to be highly valuable experience when I leave Wabash and enter the professional world.

The second project I am working on pertains to smoothing the transition of Wabash Works from a Simplicity powered site to a Handshake powered site. As you may or may not know, Wabash Works is the online home of the college’s Career Services, where employers and qualified students can find each other. Wabash students have been obtaining careers and internships through Wabash Works for years. Helping the current and future students of Wabash transition to a newer, better version of the revered service is something that I derive great satisfaction from.

While the internship has only just begun, and I still have a long and work-filled summer to look forward to, I feel that I have already had a full and worthwhile experience. I am excited to see how our plans for the Freshman Fifteen program work out, and I eagerly anticipate helping the class of ’23 bolster and polish their résumés.

Again, I’d like to thank the college for providing me with this fantastic opportunity, and I would also like to give a quick shout out to my three co-interns, Isiah, Jake, and Kessler.

Jones ’20 Continues His Passion In Oslo, Norway

Hunter Jones ’20

Hunter Jones ’20 — This summer, I am working in a research lab at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in Oslo, Norway. The ability to travel to Oslo in the first place was only possible thanks to the generosity of the G. Michael Dill Fund, NMBU, and Dr. Alex Crawford (son of Ken Crawford, Wabash Class of 1969). I cannot put into words the gratitude I feel to have been given such an incredible opportunity to work on a fascinating project while simultaneously experiencing a brand-new culture. On a broad scale, Dr. Crawford’s lab at NMBU utilizes zebrafish to model rare epileptic conditions and identify potential treatments typically through drug repurposing or biodiscovery of natural products. The goal of my research here is to develop a bioassay using a zebrafish model of a rare genetic epileptic condition, DHPS deficiency syndrome, to carry out a large-scale drug repurposing screen for this disease. Any approved drugs identified by this screen will be attractive drug candidates for immediate clinical evaluation in the small number of pediatric patients with DHPS mutations, who currently have no other treatment options.

The biggest, and most comforting, lesson I have learned in my time in Norway is that most experimental procedures transcend international boundaries. Many of the same molecular biology techniques I have learned at Wabash College, specifically in the Sorensen-Kamakian lab, are also used here (despite a couple of instruction manuals in Norwegian). I was initially very intimidated about the idea of researching in a place that wasn’t familiar like Wabash, but this experience has been incredibly beneficial to bolstering my confidence in a laboratory setting. It’s hard to know how prepared you are for something until you are really tested and working on an entirely different continent has helped to show how much Wabash has really prepared me in the last three years.

Outside of the lab, Oslo has been an incredible place to explore in my (very limited) free time. Norway is known as the “land of the midnight sun” because there is no point in time during the summer that is really dark. The sun “sets” at around 11 pm and “rises” at 3 am, but even when the sun is down it never really gets that dark here. This has honestly been a blessing in disguise because I feel productive all the time. I’ll leave the lab at 10:30-11 pm and still feel full of energy because it looks like it is just now starting to get dark. The scenery here is gorgeous, and I have tried to get out and enjoy as much of it as possible, especially when it quits raining! Working in Oslo has been an absolutely incredible experience, and I am so thankful for the G. Michael Dill Fund, NMBU, Dr. Crawford, and the entire Wabash community for helping to make this experience possible.