Will Trapp ’24 — Today is a bittersweet last day as an intern with Bridge Builder Strategies. As my first full-time job, the work was a challenge, yet I can gladly say it is an experience that I look back on fondly. So many people came together to make my time at BBS possible, while also enabling me to make a difference in my position there. I first must thank Wabash College in its entirety. The students, staff, and alumni encourage me every day. Specifically, I would like to note the role of Roland Morin and Anthony Mendez for giving me the chance to participate in the Business Innovation Program. I would also like to thank Mike Simmons for seeing the potential in me and giving me my position at BBS. Finally, I would like to thank my fraternity brothers for pushing me to be my best and being active sounding boards. Nothing I did was ever a solo effort, except making my daily peanut butter bagel.

For the past 8 weeks, I had the pleasure of working as an intern for BBS, an alumni-started company that works closely with nonprofits, churches, and colleges to make a measurable impact and connect communities for positive change. My team, made up of mostly other Wabash students, worked closely with CEO Mike Simmons to develop a program addressing the disparity that many college students face when they first step onto campus. We spent weeks researching the poignant issues that hold students back from being their best and developed programming to help address those struggles. I knew from the start that the work I did would one day be changing lives, and that fueled me to work hard.

I followed this specific service from initial ideation to market research to peer interviews to development and finally to live pitches. In fact, I’ve been working on versions of this vision since last September. Along the way, I got my feet wet in all the different pools of a small business.

A couple of the greatest takeaways from my internship is that organization maximizes efficiency and that I must focus on people in everything I do. I made sure everyone could work their best by using our systems to make files, slide decks, workbooks, and research documents quick to find and easy to understand. A little bit of order goes a long way. I became the format wizard for BBS because when things look nice, they communicate information efficiently. Regarding the second lesson, everything went better when I remembered that I am a person, working with people, creating resources for other people. People like things to look pretty (see lesson #1). Interacting with people requires both emotional and logical intelligence. Every issue that I sought to overcome dealt with people, their values, and their (mis-)communication. Ultimately, my goal was and is to make this world better for people. Working in person this summer helped remind me of my love for personal interaction. I recall the many times Mike reminded us interns to take our work seriously, but not take ourselves too seriously. Our balanced work environment led me to fully enjoy the past 8 weeks while also finding it extremely fulfilling and enlightening.

The people surrounding me are making positive changes to this world. I was glad that they included me in that process because they changed my life too. Thank you all once more for investing in me. May your cups overflow with joy and peace.