Alvarado ’23: The Language Conservancy

Zacharia Alvarado ’23 — First, I want to thank Dr. Roy Kaplan and the Career Services office for finding me a fantastic internship with The Language Conservancy in Bloomington, IN. The position had me working as a Human Resources (HR) intern, but I did so much more than I had originally thought. My time at The Language Conservancy taught me a lot and gave me valuable experiences in just one month. For example, I learned the ins and outs of a modern office and how important each department of a company can be. 

Initially, I was rewriting and updating the employee handbook and the current policies on various aspects of working from home. My supervisor then moved me around from each department which gave me a plethora of incredible experiences. For instance, I spent time in the Logistics Department organizing and triple-checking all records of shipments and item numbers and their prices. Logistics taught me the importance of record-keeping as there was too much information that needed to be organized, checked, and corrected. The Grant Department then picked me up to work on another project. 

My role in the Grant Department was researching grants for Indigenous Canadians in Alberta to help them better afford The Language Conservancies’ learning materials, such as textbooks, posters, and CDs. I specifically searched for grants that helped fund adult education for Indigenous people. Reading and observing databases for opportunities was slow but necessary. If I was successful, the Ph.D. students at the company could reach out and write a proposal for a chance at the grant. 

I then moved back into the HR Department. TLC grew from a small company to a medium-sized company, so various software needed to be updated, specifically QuickBooks. This software allowed them to monitor their records online. I found affordable software that could integrate with QuickBooks and make it easier for the HR Department to track every employee’s work hours and payroll. My time spent on the project on the project invited me to speak with the higher-up executives.

When I was in between projects, I continued to work on the employee handbook that included the new policies and revised outdated ones. Overall, the internship was an experience that all Wabash Men should undergo because it gives one real-world experience within a modern office that builds upon their professional skills. I recommend this internship to anyone who is willing to learn and grow professionally.

Kadel ’22: Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce

 William Kadel ’22 — This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to work as a summer intern at the Crawfordsville | Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. I want to thank the Career Services office for giving me this tremendous internship experience. 

In particular, I lead numerous projects over eight (8) weeks. The first project was to research how to utilize Google Analytics for business and website development. At first glance, Google Analytics seems too much to comprehend and understand. To the untrained eye, all these new terms and techniques can be intimidating and confusing. From managing different properties to assigning tags to track ad campaigns, what does it all mean, and how does it apply to business? I shared what I learned about the software with other interns. So, I put my best foot forward and began my journey learning Google Analytics in hopes of becoming proficient in the software while teaching others in the process. Throughout this project, I implemented the Google Analytics system into the Chamber’s website and eventually made resources for Chamber members to utilize in their journey with Google Analytics. During this project, I learned how to manage and track marketing plans with Google Analytics to increase traffic within the website.

The second project I lead was researching a preexisting program to create a newer and more advanced version. This program is called the Chamber Buck$ Program. The program is a gift certificate program designed to keep money in the Montgomery County area to support local businesses and entrepreneurs. My goal for this program was to change the out-of-date paper gift certificates to a plastic, Visa-powered gift card. The purpose is to make the job of both the Chamber and the Merchant easier and more streamlined. A few weeks after completing my internship, the Chamber of Commerce should be up and running with a new system utilizing these Visa gift cards and doing away with old certificates. Through this experience, I learned that not everything is as simple as it seems, and implementing a new program introduces many unseen and complicated challenges.

As a result, my experience as a summer intern at the Crawfordsville | Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce taught me the importance of shopping local while testing my leadership, communication, and responsibility skills. I appreciated my time here while valuing the lessons that will carry with me to upcoming opportunities. 

Rector ’21: Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce

Tyler Rector ’21 — This summer, I have been interning at the Crawfordsville | Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. Most of my work has been on promoting the chamber and its members through video interviews. Each week I have been able to meet with business owners from all different areas in the community. From Brad Monts of Hoosier Heartland Bank to Diana McCormick of Athens Art, our member database covers all aspects of business here in Montgomery County. Most of the interviews revolved around me asking various questions. First, “Why is the chamber important to your business?” Second, “What reasons would you give a local business (small or large) to join the Crawfordsville | Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce?” Through these interviews, I have made numerous connections outside of the office and have met tremendous members who have the best interests of the Crawfordsville/Montgomery County community at heart. 

The final product will be a promotional video highlighting the locally owned businesses here in Montgomery County. When I began the internship in June, the Crawfordsville | Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce website had no video footage. Many of the pictures were stills taken from a few years ago. My supervisor, Cassie Hagan, and I have been collaborating on bringing new life to the website by drawing more consumer attention and traffic. We want to show off our great community to people who may not know anything about us or give more information to those who wish to learn more about the area. All in all, the goal is to illustrate the best of the Crawfordsville/Montgomery County area to outsiders. 

While most of my work has been on this one video, other uses on the website may land me a job here during the 2020 Fall semester as I continue to enhance and brighten our page through more visual work. I have also made a few user guides to for chamber members, such as a Wireless Screen Sharing Guide to use, and we hope it helps them as we continue to develop and grow their businesses. The work I have been doing has allowed me to further my knowledge of video filming and editing, which I intend on pursuing after Wabash. As a result, the Crawfordsville | Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce has a lot to offer to those who want to visit the community.

Davis ’22: San Diego Sockers

I am working as an intern for the San Diego Sockers. The Sockers are a professional indoor soccer team located in San Diego, California. I was able to acquire this internship through connections to a Wabash Alum.  Due to COVID-19, I was not able to work out of the Sockers office in California. Instead, I am completing my internship virtually. I am tasked with completing projects that I am sent throughout the week.  

The projects range from creating excel databases to creating an organizational response to COVID-19.  In the first couple of weeks, my tasks were focused more on documentation. For example, one of the first projects I completed was an excel database of current and past players for the Sockers organization.  In the next couple of weeks, I completed similar projects in Excel.  

After a couple of weeks of completing Excel projects, I moved on to more significant projects. I started with a project researching golf tournaments that the organization could participate in. Working on the golf tournament exposed me to how much disruption COVID-19 has caused. Much of the work I did for the golf tournament is dependent on how California handles the virus. Although golf is a non-contact sport, every single golf tournament had been canceled or postponed in the San Diego area.  

A lot of what I have learned at Wabash has allowed me to find success in this internship. One of the most prominent traits Wabash has given me is the ability to adapt to every situation. One of the most challenging aspects of this internship has been learning to navigate during a pandemic. I have learned the importance of holding yourself accountable for the work I am completing. Not only am I representing myself through the work I complete, but also Wabash. This understanding has pushed me to do my best work on every project I have been tasked with completing. 

Sowers ’23: WLAIP

When I first started thinking about how I could make the most out of WLAIP’s support for a meaningful Summer experience, it didn’t take me long to set my heart on studying my target language abroad. That said, my program in Japan was cancelled due to concerns over Covid-19. However, thanks to the gracious support of Wabash Professor Yao Li, as well as to the diligence of the WLAIP staff, I have been able to receive a hybrid experience this Summer that imitates well the benefits of immersive learning.  

Professor Li and I meet twice each week: in-person on Mondays, and virtually on Thursdays. During our Monday meetings we sit down to review the weekly-assigned episode from a TV Tokyo program for its contextualized and colloquial content. I prepare for each of these meetings by learning a new set of vocabulary words, phrases, and sentence structures provided by Professor Li, who then analyzes and explains their meaning and usage as they come up in real conversations. During our Thursday meetings over Skype we continue last semester’s work progressing through exercises in the class textbook. For these meetings, I prepare by reviewing essential points of grammar and formulaic sentence structures.  

In addition to my preparation for these meetings, I am also being held accountable for extensive writing practice. Since most of the Japanese language is written with them, this means that I spend a significant portion of my time learning new Chinese characters, or Kanji. For this purpose, I have written about 400 flash cards so far this Summer. My writing practice also includes completing the workbook packets that accompany each chapter of the class textbook.  

By combining authentic conversation with the fundamentals, my language-learning regiment has enabled me to gain a better appreciation and understanding of the many nuances that make Japanese a particularly difficult language to learn. As a highly contextualized language, Japanese requires this double focus on the part of students serious about mastering it. And that’s not all—by coming to see with greater clarity the differences between textbook and spoken Japanese, I have become a more confident user of the language. So, as I move with even greater enthusiasm than before from novice to the intermediate level, I have my sights set on returning to Japan where I can speak with old friends and new teachers with greater fulfillment than I would have been able to just a couple months ago.  

Fyffe ’23: Fusion54

This summer I was an intern at the Fusion 54 building in Crawfordsville. During my time at the Fusion building I was able to learn new computer programs that are vital to effective communication in the workplace. Due to Fusion 54’s importance in the community, they work closely with many forms of local government. This connection provided a strong working knowledge of how government can benefit entrepreneurs/small business owners. Being from Crawfordsville it was easy to recognize the importance of the work being done at Fusion 54. Funding is an essential part of business, but sadly it is hard to find funding for startups in Montgomery County. A large part of my internship was exploring the funding options for entrepreneurs in the area. Being successful in this internship was not only important for my internship but important to me as I know many business owners in the area. Working with the people in Fusion 54 offered a testing ground for new skills which I had learned in the BIP program with Wabash College.The BIP program has taught me so many vital skills not only to be successful in a career but in life. I have become skilled in Microsoft Excel, learned the thought processes behind making business decisions, A3 thinking, and most importantly to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. My internship experiences this summer have taught me how to make connections with anyone who you may meet. These connections form the base of relationships which may further your knowledge or skills. The importance of soft skills (interpersonal skills) cannot be overstated. A fact which I always tried to downplay due to my inherent lack of social grace. Being forced into growing my soft skills I feel immensely more prepared to represent the Wabash community. Wabash College is a great place to grow academically, but ultimately a place to grow as a man.

Perkins ’22

This summer, I have the opportunity of being a Marketing Intern for the Wabash College Enrollment Office. I have taken on several responsibilities, and I enjoy tackling the different challenges the office gives me. This internship has helped me become better with people, technology, and writing. I have become better with people during a project I have been working on recently. I am currently collaborating with various on-campus organizations to digitalize the process of students selecting living units. This process is very reliant on other people taking the initiative to complete a task, so I have had to improve my leadership skills and learn how to convince multiple people to do a job they do not have to do.  

I have also made tremendous leaps in my technological skills. I have had no communication with my boss or fellow interns outside of Zoom and Microsoft Teams. During this internship, I have had dozens of meetings and have given several virtual campus tours using Zoom, and all of my files and other non-video communications are on Teams. Beginning this internship, I was comfortable enough with both that I could have used them if I had to, but now using Zoom and Teams to communicate is second nature. I have also begun to familiarize myself with the system Enrollment uses to track and recruit prospective students. I have become fluent in this system and have used it to gather insights and data to help the college’s recruitment efforts in the future.  

Lastly, I have become a better communicator. To encourage student engagement, I am required to write one blog per week and upload it to the college’s website, and I am writing a letter to all incoming high school Juniors. Writing these blogs every week has helped me think about using testimony and humor to shape my message and ideas so the audience will better understand them.  

I am very thankful for Career Services providing this opportunity for me. It has helped me to become better with people, technology, and writing. I have built up skills that will be of great use to me in the workforce, especially after the current pandemic, as the world will be much more reliant on relating to people through writing and technology than it has ever been before. 

Trotter ’21: Wabash Heartland Innovation Network

This summer Austin Hughes and I worked as interns on a planning grant project for the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN), a 10-county region in west-central Indiana. We worked under the direction of Dr. Sara Drury and in partnership with Chris Hutchinson and Kara Kavensky from Eleven-Fifty Coding Academy (EFA) to map the technology needs in the WHIN region and how they might be addressed for workforce development. EFA is a nonprofit coding academy based out of Indianapolis, whose services include affordable computer science and coding education programs. Our internship, which began June 8, was focused on building connections with local industry leaders and seeking their insight on the current state of technology in the area and in the workforce. In order to do this, Austin and I researched and constructed an industrial overview of the region. Once this was complete, our team took advantage of our pre-existing connections in the area to establish a network of industry and community leaders. In order to collect data from our participants, we first introduced ourselves and our project through emails to the major employers in Montgomery county. This was made possible with the help of Cassie Hagan, the current Director of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, and Cheryl Morphew, an economic development consultant for the city of Crawfordsville, whose influence and access helped open the door for our project. Once the introductions were made, our team requested time for an interview with each of the businesses and asked for them to take a brief survey detailing their perspective on technology and technology training in their workforce. In order to increase our survey participation, Austin and myself learned to how to frame emails and cold-call employers to incentivize their response to the survey or agreement to an interview. Throughout this process, we learned to keep and organize data as well as how to construct reports. Additionally, we discovered a lot about public outreach and the fine line between being a salesman and a researcher. With the pervasive impact of COVID-19, our team worked together entirely through Zoom and email. This posed certain challenges with communication, among other things, and required that we be flexible and innovative in our approaches. This experience not only taught me a lot about the processes of grant-funded research and the necessary organization involved in this work but it challenged me to be productive in an environment which is not conducive to productivity. I found new ways to motivate myself and how to balance my time between two jobs. While I still have a lot of work to do with self-motivation and time management, this experience lent its hand to significant professional development for which I am abundantly thankful.  

Haesemeyer ’21:

Interning by itself is an experience.  To intern remotely, in state two time-zones away changes it completely.  This summer I interned virtually via Zoom with Professor Winters-Vogel as a dramaturg to develop Wabash’s fall production of The Race by Michael Rohd (alongside Sojourn Theatre).  Throughout this process, alongside two other interns, we annotated the script, analyzed other forms of community and playback theater, and discussed its relevance during an election year and a pandemic.   

The Race was originally developed for the 2008 presidential election where it invites guests to interact and respond to the cast much more than other live forms of theater.  Actors lead small group discussions asking questions such as “What does leadership look like today?” amidst other topics.  It openly discusses politics/current events in a theater setting.  Given the current circumstances, this changes the live person venue to a live online one.   

My fellow intern, Ace Dzurovcik, handled technology by utilizing the platform, Discord, for performances.  My role was much more fluid where I would present my ideas and thoughts regarding The Race especially as I read articles about civic theater in the United States.  I would often challenge my colleagues with questions about the direction we’re headed.  “Are we preaching a message or are we facilitating a discussion?” Most civic theater performances offered questions and discussions regarding local issues.  By the end of June, we set our direction to stay closely to the original script to create space for discussion.   

Toward the end of my internship, I created the logo and marketing visuals for this production.  These will be used for posters, promoting auditions, and the brochures for this show.  It is inspired by Zoom, people’s various cultural backgrounds, and the classic patriotism of “Red, white, and blue” associated with American politics.  

One of the most intriguing opportunities I had were Zoom meetings with Michael Rohd, the artistic director of Sojourn Theater, and other ensembles across the nation producing Sojourn Theatre’s The Race.  There, we could discuss what it meant to produce theater in America, how to represent cultures equally, and the unique challenges each location brought.  Wabash is an all men’s school which means we must reach out to women to be a part of this production.   

Being that The Race has roots in civic theater, it is of utmost importance that we learn what the Wabash and Crawfordsville community wishes to discuss publicly.  This is an opportunity for artists to listen to community members then assist discussing issues openly.  Theater is merely another place for discussion to take place.   

Thambipillay ’22: Archon Tech Strategies

My summer experience has been an unplanned but welcome one. With the beginning of the ongoing pandemic, my summer internship plans were shaky. I am glad to have the opportunity to learn through the Center for Innovation, Business, and Entrepreneurship (CIBE). I have been spending my summer working remotely as an Innovation Consultant for the Wabash College CIBE. Through the CIBE, I have been consulting to Archon Tech Strategies, a technology solution provider based in Carmel, IN, and was founded by Tony Unfried ’03. I spent most of my time working on CSA360, Archon Tech’s physical security software platform. Learning about the back end of CSA360 has improved my understanding of Archon Tech’s product offering and allowed me to complete my tasks at a higher standard. Although I have been working on a physical security software platform, I did not perform any software production. Still, I did practice a wide array of other skills throughout this experience.   

These past seven weeks have been fantastic due to exposure to various fields such as sales, marketing, competitive research, cloud architecture, and project management. Besides gaining valuable knowledge and learning technical skills, I managed to make many new connections and meet new people from various backgrounds. As I mentioned, my tasks range over a variety of fields – such as cold calling for sales, pitch decks for marketing, primary and secondary research on competitors, and deploying Amazon Web Services resources into the cloud for CSA360. Technical skills aside, I also gained valuable experience using different business and productivity-oriented applications such as Salesforce and Atlassian’s offerings such as Bitbucket, Jira, and Confluence. Truthfully, I believe cold calling has taught me my most valuable lesson throughout this summer experience: to get over the fear of rejection or failure.  

To conclude, I would like to thank the Wabash College CIBE for providing this opportunity during this strange summer as well as Archon Tech Strategies for the chance to work with them through the CIBE. I am truly grateful for this valuable experience when uncertainty is a familiar feeling in the general population. 

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