Justin Santiago ’25 utilizing his networking skills during lunch with Crawfordsville’s young professionals

Throughout the Business Innovation Program (BIP) summer internship for 19 rising sophomores in the Center for Innovation, Business & Entrepreneurship (CIBE), networking via emotional intelligence (EQ) was a top priority.

We have had the opportunity to meet and network with several Wabash College alumni and local community members. On the penultimate day of the internship, the BIP hosted a networking event open to young professionals from Crawfordsville. This event allowed us to put into practice the networking skills which we developed throughout the program and allowed us to build new connections with successful professionals here in the Crawfordsville community. The 17 BIP interns in attendance split up into several roles at the start. Some greeted guests at the door, others helped them at the check-in table, and others helped set up the catered lunch.

The event didn’t have a specific direction, so it allowed us to come out of our comfort zones and create a conversation with our guests. Initially, introducing ourselves to all of the guests and starting a conversation with them was a challenge. However, we leveraged our new networking skills and were able to form connections with our guests. As we sat in groups to eat lunch, we engaged in deeper conversation with a few young professionals. We were able to ask questions to our guests about their careers and what it is like working in Crawfordsville, and I certainly benefited from hearing their responses to these questions. Once the event concluded, we described our experiences talking with our guests and shared the things we learned from them. We agreed that the topics we addressed in our internship, like emotional intelligence (EQ) and (elevator) introductions made the networking event much smoother and necessary.

To conclude, I want to thank Cassie Hagan, Anthony Mendez ’20, alumni, guest speakers, and the generous donors who make opportunities like the BIP possible at Wabash. The Crawfordsville Young Professionals Networking Event was a valuable experience for me and my peers. As a result, I am very grateful for those who have enabled us to have this experience and learn the skills necessary to be successful at Wabash College and beyond.