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Torres ’20 Develops Skills That Will Benefit Him in The International Business Field

Marcus Torres ’20 Nantucket Bike Tours – Six weeks ago, I disembarked the Hy-line speed ferry having finally arrived to the island of Nantucket. After grabbing my bags from the ferry, I made my way down the dock to find Jason Bridges ’98 and Waleed (Weedy) Elrefai ’20 patiently waiting for my arrival. What’s the first thing Jason ’98 says?: “Look around and take in everything you’re seeing because these next 10 weeks are going to fly by.” As I sit here at the Handlebar café six weeks later while writing this blog I realize he couldn’t have been more right.

Waleed and I after giving fellow Wally, David Martz ’93, and his family a tour. David and his family traveled all the way from Thailand to take an NBT tour. Not to mention, they planned their vacation around the tour which was awesome. David found out about NBT through reading the Wabash Alumni magazine. Wallies worldwide. WAF

As I sought out internship opportunities this past spring semester, I knew I wanted to gain experience that would be applicable and beneficial to all aspects of my life, both personal and professional. I wanted an experience that would mold me into the leader I hope to be. Interning at Nantucket Bike Tours (NBT) has done just that. This internship has been far from typical. As for all internships, if one hopes to gain any kind of experience they must “buy in.” However, this “buy in” is amped up to the next level here at Nantucket Bike Tours. Both Jason ’98 and Courtney Bridges expect the most from Waleed ’20 and I, and not only do they have high expectations, but they devote all of their time to helping us exceed these expectations. For that alone, I have been super thankful.

What is it like interning for Nantucket Bike Tours? We like to refer to this internship as “awareness boot camp.” From the moment we wake up (5:30am-6) to the moment we go to bed (10pm), our social awareness must always be “on” and our leadership must set in. Whether we’re walking down the sidewalk, eating breakfast at the Bridges’ home, or giving a tour to a 15-person group, we must be willing to engage others, smile and keep a friendly and genuine persona. The bike tours serve as a vehicle that allow us to improve upon our emotional intelligence, people skills and small business acumen. Each and every day we engage in new conversation, meet and connect with new people, and become interested in others. It’s easier said than done. This brings me to the first and most valuable lesson I’ve learned up to this point: the power, value, and importance of people and relationships. As humans, we naturally seek interactions with others, however, more often than not, we tend not to engage others. After only six weeks of this internship, I sit back now and think, “how could I have been so stubborn as to not connect with and see the value in people like I do now?” There were definitely missed opportunities in the past, but thankfully, there will be tons more in the future.

What’s a typical day like in the life of NBT interns?: tour preparation in the morning (bike logistics, calling customers, etc.), engaging customers at the Handlebar café while drinking a morning coffee, analyzing the body language of group members on a tour in order to adapt to their interests and debriefing about the day’s victories and challenges with Jason and Courtney at dinner. This occurs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As I mentioned earlier, we’re always “on.”

Prior to embarking on this Nantucket journey, I had also hoped to become more confident in social and larger group settings. After six weeks of giving tours to 15+ people, attending community fundraisers and engaging in other activities which require public speaking involvement on my part, this goal of mine has become attainable. There is still a ton of work to be done, but with people like Jason and Courtney who care about our personal development and think so highly of us, it will be much easier getting to where I want to be.  With hopes of working in the International Business field, this internship has provided me with the foundational knowledge of what it is like to run and manage a business; from sales to marketing to customer service, this business knowledge of mine is all coming into fruition.


Podgorny ’21 Expands Skill Set That Can Be Used In Future Career

Luke Podgorny ‘20 enFocus – I want to thank enFocus for having me as an intern and the Wabash College Career Services for helping me find an opportunity that will give me a quality professional experience while expanding my skill set that will set me up to find a career post-Wabash College.

enFocus is a non-profit innovation organization located in South Bend, Indiana. enFocus offers 1-year fellowships and internships focused on attracting and retaining young talent in and around the South Bend and Elkhart regions. I have had the opportunity this summer to work with 14 other interns entering their junior and senior years of undergrad, and also many fellows the company has to offer. At enFocus I have had the opportunity to work with 2 different project sponsors, one being my 70% project (primary project), and the other being my 30% project (secondary project). The 70%/30% project model is the same used by Google.

The sponsors for my primary project are the ECCVB (Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau) and Vibrant Communities, a local group of about forty community leaders who have developed an action agenda to make Elkhart County a place you want to work, live, and play. During my primary project, I have spent eight weeks prepping for, and creating a Public Asset Map for Elkhart County focused on highlighting cultural and local assets to highlight activities and attractions that could be useful for residents and visitors alike. During this time, I have been working with a full-time fellow named Will and we have both been working together with the project sponsor to assure the product is what they want. Along with this project, we have had to do community engagement in order to receive feedback on our map. The two events we have had include an engagement breakfast with the Vibrant Communities Steering Committee and also a booth at the Elkhart Art Walk.

My secondary project is sponsored by the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County. We are focused on the 10,000-job labor shortage within Elkhart County. My primary duties on this project have been analyzing data from Employee Laborshed Surveys and also Employer Needs Analysis that were completed by fellows before my internship started. From the data, we decided to focus on local transportation and childcare specifically and then proceeded to do follow up interviews with specific employers based on their survey responses.

I have learned many valuable skills from my internship this summer. enFocus has provided work experience that involves a lot of self-guidance and freedom to complete your work. I have learned the communication skills needed to work as a team setting when in person contact is not always available due to sponsor meetings and other work-related activities. I have also worked on my public speaking skills having bi-weekly project presentations and updates to our whole enFocus team.

Again, I would like to thank enFocus for providing me with an internship that would allow me to expand my skill set while improving my public speaking and team working skills.


Cobos ’21 Battery is Still ‘Charged’ up in His Internship

Maximilian Cobos ’21 IUPUI – REI Mechanical Engineering – Throughout this 21’st century, technology has become more effective, efficient, and electrical based. With scientists trying to turn away from the use of fossil fuels, the need for batteries or rather, rechargeable batteries, has never been stronger. While making efficient, small, high energy rechargeable batteries is a large task in and of itself, making a flexible rechargeable battery with the same specifications is a whole other feat. A flexible rechargeable battery with a small size and high energy density would enable scientists and engineers more freedom to fabricate devices where the batteries position could be manipulated. The uses of a flexible battery could range all the way from watches to medical equipment and prosthetics.

However, efforts for making these flexible lithium-ion batteries have had little progress as recent designs tended to use conventional electrodes which are not flexible and in turn, ruin the battery after only bending a small number of times. Therefore, a significant role in developing a flexible battery is fabricating one in which the electrodes are flexible. For these past 4 weeks, I have been conducting research at IUPUI with Ph.D. student Nojan Aliahmad as well as graduate student Amirhossein Ahmadian to develop high-capacity flexible electrodes for a half-cell battery that can then be used when developing their flexible and rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

During my time here, I have assisted in making an electrode, the cathode in this case, of a half cell battery by producing a V2O5/GO solution. The vanadium pentoxide (V2O5), when mixed with graphene oxide (GO), exhibits favorable properties that enable us to use it to make our flexible electrodes. When the V205/GO solution is prepared, we electrospin the solution and due to Coulomb’s law, the magnetic field generated causes the solution to be sprayed into extremely thin circular layers. These layers are composed of conductive nanofibers and can, after they are baked, be added to CNT paper-based current collectors to develop the electrode.

As my research experience continues, we hope to finish and develop the half-cell flexible lithium-ion batteries and if time permits, possibly even a full cell battery. This summer research experience has not only been informational and educational, but also quite fun. I enjoy being in the lab and I look forward to completing my research here for the rest of these next few weeks.


Kho ’19 Uses Financial Literacy and Creativity to Excel in Internship

Sovann Kho ’19 Active International – This summer I am working as a finance Intern at a corporate trade company called Active International. I find this internship to be very useful because I get a chance to tap into the finance field, learn how a cooperage company works, and help Active “rebrand” their business. At my spare time, I also volunteer as Active representative at certain concert, to get a free concert ticket.

At Active, I learn what I need to learn to be successful in a finance career. There are many sections in a finance department, and currently I am working in the account payable. I understand how money flow between active and their clients by monitoring invoices and statements in an account payable system. Along the way, I discover that I want to dig deeper into the investment side of a company. Therefore, I would to learn more about the financial market.

In addition, I also learn how a corporate company generates profit from the media. It is probably the most exciting part of my internship. I love entertaining industry and learning how to generate profit from the media is very fascinating to me. For instance, each week I got presentations from leaders such as CEO or executive leaders about Active business. I learn that Active is more than just a barter company. Active would buy the excess product from clients and create profit in a complex model using media credit. In short, Active sell media such as BBC, NBC, and local radio and TV for clients to advertise their business. This experience became one of the most exciting parts of my internship experience.

I also learn how to collaborate with teams, how to market a product, and present ideas in a professional setting by helping “rebranding” Active International. For instance, I am working with several other interns to present company new taglines, website, and come up with new potential customers that might be interested with Active to Active’s leaders. Working with other interns teach me how to work in a team, allows me to apply some of my marketing skills I learned from Wabash college to create a new brand for Active, and learn how to present myself in a professional meeting. Although interns struggle to come up with new branding image for Active, I found it to be a very rewarding experience.

Finally, at my spare time I volunteer as a representative of Active International. For instance, I represent Active at a concert event that Active sponsored. I find it to be fun because I am able to get free concert tickets. I also learn how to represent Active by talking to new people about what Active does. through this volunteering program, I am able to enrich my communication skills.

I learn a lot from Active international. Beside my focus on finance, I also get a chance to learn how a media company works, learn about branding, working in a team, and be a preventative of others. Thank you, Wabash, and Active international for these enriching experiences.


Ward ’21 Summer Experience at the Crawfordsville Mayor’s Office

Ian Ward ’19 Crawfordsville Mayor’s Office– Over the past ten weeks working at the Crawfordsville Mayor’s Office, I have both expanded my understanding of local government, but also have been able to see hands on ways in which government is making quality of life better in Indiana.

To begin with the understanding of government, this experience has allowed me to see, first hand that local government is the heartbeat of local issues, and no matter what the issue, local government is the first place of contact for citizens whether or not that is the correct place to contact or not. Also, I have seen that local government can do the most good in the effect that sometimes we as citizens of a state need a place to hear our concerns as well as have someone in our corner to fix some of the small issues that we face everyday.  From attending meeting on economic development and project update meeting regarding the Crawfordsville’s Fusion 54, it is clear that Crawfordsville is on the move, but also is looking into the future.

Another aspect of my internship was one of research and looking to others on how to make Crawfordsville not only more knowledgeable of its past such as locating vacated alleyways in the City of Crawfordsville, but also researching how a groundbreaking space such as the Fusion 54 Co-Working Studio should function on a day-to-day basis. In this research I was able to create sponsorship documentation as well as policy for usage in the new space.  This space showcases the fact that although local government governs first, in a new generation government’s job is also to lead a community through new, innovative ways not just simply legislating the normal day, today activities.

Therefore, through this process, I have learned multiple new skills and also had the opportunity to see what local government really does on a day-to-day basis, and am thankful for the opportunity that I have had this summer!


Hogan ’21 Sees The Strength of the Wabash Community

Zach Hogan ’21 LABB Intern– The final week of the LABB (Liberal Arts Bridges to Business) internship was all about showcasing the skills that we developed and the projects that we worked on. Literally. Tuesday, we had our final business pitches for app ideas we developed, and Thursday we presented our consulting projects and recommendations for the college. However, while I prepped, practiced, and presented during this final week, I couldn’t help but gain a reaffirmation in the strength of the Wabash community.

On Tuesday morning we travelled to Indianapolis. It was there that we convened at one of Salesforce’s office buildings, arranged by alum Jake Koeneman Class of 2006, to give our app pitches. We presented to a group of alumni and salesforce employees, who each acted as potential investors, with $50,000 of hypothetical capital that they could choose to invest, or not invest, in the five groups that were presenting. The group that received the most investment would win. The setting was tense, but after undergoing the process of coming up with an app idea, diving into researching how the app would work and actually become a product, and doing mock pitches, we were ready. One of the coolest parts of the experience for me was at the end of the presentation. After my group showcased our slides, we opened up to the investors for questions. It was then that Jake Koeneman said that if we actually planned on starting up our app in the Indianapolis area, that he had a contact who had experience in our app’s field of business that could help us learn and better understand the industry. Jake not only held belief in our team and idea, but he was readily willing to help us.

On Thursday we presented our campus consulting projects. With the help of Wayne Bewley Class of 1985, over the course of several weeks we analyzed processes on campus to make them more LEAN using A3 Thinking. The presentation was attended by members of the Wabash community ranging from the marketing department to the Deans of the College. Similar to the app pitch, the presentations ended with questions being addressed. My group consulted campus parking, and there was a long list of questions. However, while there were many questions, most of them were clarifications on our solution and specific data points. There was still an air of respect, a striving for understanding, and an overarching trust that the attendants— the Wabash community—held in our solution. I think it says something that Wabash College trusts students who haven’t even began their second year to evaluate something as integral as campus parking, and to take that evaluation seriously.

In reflecting on the last week and the overall LABB internship, I learned so much about business and all of its different facets. I believe the LABB program has shown us participants that becoming an entrepreneur takes hard work, but it isn’t as impossible or intimidating as it may seem. I would also like to say that I gained a greater view of what Wabash is willing to do for me, and what can be expected for the future. So, thank you to Roland Morin, the CIBE, Jake and Wayne and all of the other alums who helped, and the overall Wabash community for willing to volunteer time, experience, and go the extra mile for Wabash men.


Phillips ’20 Gains Valuable Experience in Consulting

Darian Phillips ‘20 LABB Intern– As a part of Wabash’s intensive 7-week LABB program, a group of 22 interns, including myself, were provided with the opportunity to serve as consultants for the college. Each intern was placed into one of five groups and was presented with an issue concerning the college, such as: parking, independent housing sign-ups, reporting dashboards, student senate inventory, and open shift sign ups.

After being placed into groups, we quickly began to breakdown and evaluate our given issue by implementing a structured problem-solving technique known as A3 thinking. A3 thinking is an industry-leading program that provides individuals, companies, and educators with a comprehensive and effective roadmap for professional and workforce development. Moreover, the A3 thinking technique provided us with a simple, strict, and systemic template to organize our thoughts and ultimately develop solutions in an efficient and effective manner. Throughout this process, we were blessed to have Wayne Bewley, class of ’85, as our A3 thinking guru/mentor. Wayne stood alongside each group, helped guide them in the right direction, and made sure we were executing each step in the A3 process properly. Moreover, Wayne provided us with valuable business skills, informed us that we should never skip a step in any given process, and showed us that rough data is better than no data at all.

The final week of the program, each group presented a comprehensive breakdown of their solution to faculty, staff, and those concerned with college. Unfortunately, we were not informed whether the college will further pursue our suggestions, but I am eager to see if this year’s LABB program can have a lasting impact on Wabash. I would like to end with one final thank you to Roland Morin, Alejandro Reyna, and Wayne Bewley for being exceptional mentors throughout this summer, this is truly an experience that I will value throughout my professional career.


Frey ’19 Talks His Lessons on Nationalism, Identity, and Cuisine

Charles Frey ’19 Rudolph Scholarship – Mark Twain wrote in The Innocents Abroad, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” After spending two weeks (out of four; thank you Rudolph Family for your generous scholarship) in Toulouse, France for my summer study abroad, I would agree with Mr. Twain. The amount I’ve grown, both in the French language and in my world view, continues to surprise me. Through my coursework, excursions, and evenings spent talking with my host family or mes comarades des classe around a glass of wine (rosé, usually), I’m always learning something new.

CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) offers two courses in Toulouse for the summer months – Business & Culture (BC) and Language & Culture (LC). I am in the LC class with nine other students learning about French national identity, history, education, and many other facets of French culture. Through these classes, we connect what we know (i.e. American culture, identity, politics, history, etc.) with the content being taught in class and I realize every day that humans are more alike than we are different. This goes for the positive and the negative, and currently both nations – France and the US – are tackling similar wicked problems, from immigration to women’s equality to LGBT+ acceptance in society. Like I said, more similar than it seems, even from across the sea.

Aside from the class, our program offers an overnight excursion and several cultural activities in Toulouse and elsewhere. Our whole group, BC + LC, went to Ariège for an overnight trip, where we dined at a small, family run foie gras farm, walked llamas in a mountain village, spent the night right outside the Pyrenees, toured a pre-historic cave (with caveman drawings not unlike those seen in the Bachelor), and visited a castle. It was a jam packed schedule but completely worthwhile, filled with experiences and memories I know I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. In Toulouse, we cooked a French meal as a group with a professional chef, went to Le Capitole for Fête de la Musique, and listened to an opera recital. This is all within the first two weeks!

The times that I’ve enjoyed the most are the impromptu moments, though, with my classmates and host family. Some are here for all three summer sessions, some are just here for one (like me), and others are here in Toulouse for the month and continuing on for a separate course in another CIEE site. Each day we’ve talked about life back home, personal experiences, religion, family, where we’ve traveled, and topics we’re passionate about – such as philosophy, women’s voices on campuses, linguistics, and so much more. As for my host family, I can’t thank them enough for how wonderful my stay has been. In a world filled with prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, I’m thankful to have met such amazing people opposite of those traits through this program. Merci beaucoup Toulouse, et à bientôt Wabash!


Kopp ’21 Perseveres Through A Unexpected Challenge

Justin Kopp ’21 LABB InternIt was Monday, July 2ndas my business plan group walked over to the MXI at 8 AM to meet before the start of the day. It was about 24 hours until, “Pronto,” my business group of Darian Phillips, Matthew Fajt, Ben Leander, Don Schuch, Nick Winter, and myself had to present downtown at Salesforce our app that allowed the gig economy to pick up short, quick jobs and make cash. While my group and I had been working diligently over the course of the summer, it was time to kick it into gear, as we were not prepared to present the final product. Once we got to the classroom, Roland briefed the groups that it was go time and we would all present that afternoon to him, Alejandro, and Arlen. This put even more pressure on the group, as we had to have a coherent slide show and presentation to run through within the next six hours. My group rushed upstairs to our meeting room and immediately began writing tasks on the white board then signing our names next to the tasks we planned on creating. After many hours of hard work and working through lunch, we had developed a presentation that was presentable enough to present to a small group, but had a long way to go, as Roland let us know about five words into the presentation. After the presentation, Roland, Alejandro, and Arlen provided with about two pages worth of advice and changes that needed to be made before our final presentation. We ran back up to our meeting room and wrote down all the new tasks on the white board then signed our names by which ones we could do. The group worked until 5 PM, took a three hour, and a much needed, break, before meeting again at 8 PM to make the finishing touches and run through the presentation a couple times before getting some rest. Around 10 PM we decided we should meet at 7 AM the next day to run through just a couple more times. We woke up early, presented a few times for practice, and then went to Salesforce. Before the presentation we found out we had to condense our presentation to fifteen minutes, which we did rather successfully and did a good job. All in all, it was a great experience and we had a lot of fun and learned a lot.


Warbinton’s ’20 Sweaty Summer in the Nation’s Capital

Kyle Warbinton ’20 NASPA– I’ve been privileged to spend my summer in the center of America’s political scene and fully immerse myself in the hustle and bustle, gossip, and work that happens in Washington, D.C. With this being my first trip to D.C., I don’t think I was truly ready for what I would be experiencing over my eight-week internship. The city is unlike any other in the country, and one needs time to adjust to the style and etiquette that accompanies living and working there. For a city that is as hot and muggy in the summer as Washington can be, the dress is quite conservative and sometimes downright miserable. Learning the art of taking public transit is also somewhat confusing but mastering it will allow anyone to get around the city in a quick and efficient manner. As I said, D.C., due to the nature of its work setting, is quite different than most metropolitan areas.

I’ve been interning at a student affairs and higher education organization called NASPA. The group caters to the needs of almost all higher education institutions in the U.S. and pushes for policy reform for the student affairs profession. In working with NASPA, I’ve gained invaluable knowledge that I think I can use right away when I return to Wabash. In learning, studying, and researching the major issues surrounding student affairs today, I think I be better prepared for my upcoming role representing the student body as president. I can’t thank my co-workers and fellow interns enough for welcoming me to their group and engaging in meaningful dialogue regarding the state of our college campuses today.

To add to my experience with NASPA, I’ve also been privileged with being a Ronald Reagan Institute and Foundation summer scholar. The many different friends and memories that I made through this program showed me that there is hope and a future for productive discourse on our most divisive issues. I can’t wait to see what my fellow Reagan scholars will accomplish as they return to impact their communities around the world.

In a nutshell, my experience this summer has been eye-opening, far too fast, and life-changing. I’m glad that I got to experience D.C. in full, and I can’t wait to apply myself, with my new knowledge, back at Wabash.