Brayden Lentz ’23 — This summer, I worked as an intern for Bridge Builder Strategies in Indianapolis, a company dedicated to creating measurable impact in our communities. This mission is fulfilled by tackling complex problems through collaborative relationships, by engaging the community, and by creating deep knowledge and understanding of these issues. As an intern, my primary focus was on researching Education and Experiential Learning, as well as Community Development in Indiana. By building a fuller understanding of these subjects, I was then able to communicate with my supervisors what I had learned. This communication helped the company comprehend these complex issues, created lexicons for further discussion, and allowed Bridge Builders to have confidence moving forward in these fields. Once this groundwork was laid, I was able to find opportunities within these existing environments to do business and create positive change in our community.
Due to the current pandemic and online nature of this internship, my average day consisted of several Zoom meetings with my various teams. Here, we interns would discuss what we had researched, pitch ideas, and brainstorm opportunities for potential business. These meetings are what made this internship truly beneficial to me. They were an opportunity to take my knowledge that I had acquired from Wabash College and from the CIBE program and apply it to a real-world business setting. More importantly, however, it was where I was able to learn more about day to day business and grow in my capacity to handle complex tasks. I discovered the importance of asking questions. The tasks that we were given were not always clear cut, and if I did not ask questions, I would have worked aimlessly and would have been less productive. Many times, I would ask a question that I felt to be dumb, and others were glad I did because they were confused as well. My biggest takeaway from this summer is that it is better to look stupid for asking a question than it is to look stupid for not knowing the answer it would provide. Though we hit the ground running in this internship, I never felt underprepared or as if I were in over my head thanks to the preparation by the CIBE program. I am thankful for the support of Wabash College in obtaining this experience, and it was a foundational block in my professional career.