Hauser ’15 Has Great Experience at Smithsonian

Wes Hauser ’15 – Hello everyone! This summer I’ve been conducting research at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, Maryland. Here, I’ve been working on a series of projects in SERC’s Plant Ecology lab, whose senior scientist is Wabash alumnus Dr. Dennis Whigham. Additionally, I’ve spent the summer getting to know other interns and researchers from across the country with varied interests in science and environmental affairs.

Hauser ’15 working in the field

My research endeavors at SERC have definitely taken me out of my comfort zone; my project is focused on characterizing the bacterial species associated with orchids and their symbiotic fungi. This has involved the implementation of methods with which I’ve had little to no prior experience such as DNA extraction, PCR and sequencing, fluorescent microscopy, seed germination experiments, fungi culturing, and sterile technique, to name a few. It’s been quite the project—you’ll have to check out my presentation at the Celebration of Student Research if I’ve piqued your interest! On another note, I’ve also had the opportunity to work on a variety of other projects that have caught my attention (and gotten me out of the lab for a spell!): I’ve tromped through wetlands sampling Phragmites australis for genetic analysis, studied species diversity of canopy gaps in SERC’s forests, and placed resin bags in nearby marshes to track ion concentrations.  On the whole, it’s been a great experience so far—while this internship has certainly been a challenge (as most worthy enterprises are), I feel like I’ve developed so many valuable skills and grown significantly as a scientific researcher.

While I’ve gained lots of hands-on experience as a scientist this summer, I’ve also seen many opportunities for personal and professional development outside of the lab. Being associated with the Smithsonian Institution has allowed for several unique opportunities: I’ve attended the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall, received behind-the-scenes tours of the Museum Support Center, and participated in many activities sponsored by the museum’s extensions (such as the National Air and Space Museum, Zoo, and Natural History Museum, etc). I’ve also had many unique opportunities to explore the Washington D.C. and Annapolis areas since arriving for my internship. From going to a Nationals baseball game in D.C. to eating on the water in Annapolis with my new friends, the social opportunities provided by this internship have largely enriched my overall experience here this summer.

I’d like to thank the Wabash College Biology Department for funding my internship through the Norman E. Treves Fund. I would also like to thank my project advisers, Dr. Melissa McCormick and Dr. Dennis Whigham.

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Morrison ’14 Found Daily Newspaper Work Challenging

Scott Morrison ’14 – My time at the Anderson Herald Bulletin this summer has given me the chance to do something I really enjoy, and at the same time, it has provided me with some real world experience and skills that I think can translate to any field I choose to pursue a career in. After writing for my high school paper for four years and the Bachelor for the past two, I have finally experienced a professional newsroom and written professional stories.

The way my summer has ended up does not match my original plans. I found myself after a few miscues frantically searching for a job – any job! But I found a part-time internship with Independent Colleges of Indiana doing marketing and web design work among other things and shortly after was given the opportunity to intern with the Herald Bulletin thanks to the Lilly Endowment.

Morrison ’14 in the Herald-Bulletin newsroom.

Over the course of the summer, I have learned it is not all glamorous working for a relatively small town daily paper that has a circulation of about 20,000. While seeing your byline in the paper is pretty cool, I am not breaking any world news – yet. I have covered stories ranging from a church conference, soap box derby, a Q&A with one of Willie Nelson’s band members, and my latest piece on a local Red Lobster chef who appeared in a national commercial. Through all of these stories I have met great people, gained valuable experience, and learned more about writing and reporting. And you have to start somewhere!

I have gotten unparalleled experience in my time here. I covered daily stories for the first time meaning I went into the community, covered a story, came back to the office to transcribe my notes, and then wrote my story – all in a matter of hours. That was probably one of the toughest things I have ever had to do. My mind was fried at the end of the day trying to come up with a lead for my second story.

I have been fortunate to receive critiques on many of my stories which will hopefully continue to make my writing better. This is important to me, because I know that whether I end up working for a paper after I graduate, for a marketing/PR firm, or for a small business, writing and communication skills are vital. I owe a special thanks to Herald-Bulletin features editor Scott Miley for his tutelage.

Working well under a deadline is not a bad skill to have either. Those skills are at the heart of a liberal arts education and are part of the reason many of us go to Wabash. I believe that these skills and the liberal arts education will not die at the hands of specialized education.

So far my internship has been a great experience. I have met some great people who have helped me along my way, and I have gained a better understanding of a profession I may try to pursue. I will leave this internship this summer with professional clips from news, local news, and feature sections to show future employers. This is huge for my future as employers like student papers but really look for professional work.

While all of this has been great, I am ready to return to campus and the Bachelor which is only weekly and not daily. I didn’t know how easy life was with the Bachelor until now.

Thanks again to the Lilly Endowment and everyone who has helped me along my way this summer.

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Adams ’14 Learned Church’s Full Mission

Wes Adams ’14 -  “Let all things be done decently and in order.”  1 Corinthians 14:40

Adams with two of the summer church campers.

If I were to give a theme to my summer it would be the above verse. I have been blessed this summer to intern at Lifeway Baptist Church in Ellettsville, Indiana. Often when we think of churches we think of preachers and sermons, but there is so much more that goes into the running of a church. In the daily life of a pastor, and church staff, life can be very hectic. However, through it all they must strive to keep everything in order.  It is not an easy thing to do.

Lifeway Baptist Church is an independent Baptist church located in Ellettsville.  In 40 years the church has grown from 37 people meeting in homes to now averaging 650 people on a Sunday morning. The church runs many different ministries. To name just a few they have a jail ministry, Reformers Unanimous, nursing home ministry, food pantry, benevolence fund,   bus ministry, and more.  Each and every ministry’s mission is to reach people with the gospel, but they also provide needed help.  The food pantry and benevolence fund allow the church to help families who don’t know where their next meal is coming from or money for rent.  It is a church that cares as much about teaching its members doctrine as reaching out into the community.

As an intern at Lifeway I have gotten to work very closely with the pastoral staff, take on responsibilities of my own, and worked on various projects for the church. A few projects that I was able to work on were making written church policy for our nursery, ushers, and music department. I have been able to update background check information for all those who work with our youth.  I have researched and made a worker’s covenant.  I even got to organize fire evacuation routes in order to make sure we were up to insurance standards.

Some of my responsibilities have been to preach to children, teens, and to the church congregation as a whole.  I have helped with the bus ministry and the youth group.  I have gone on weekly bus and church outreach and visitation. I went to visit with those in nursing homes, our shut-ins, and made hospital visits to help comfort those in need. Of all the ministries I have been able to work in I believe the bus ministry has given me the greatest memories. Each week the church sends out buses to bring in children and families from Bloomington, Ellettsville, and Spencer.  Many children that ride our buses come from difficult family situations and often just need someone they know will be there for them.

Though the church provides many services I never realized just how often people turn to the church in times of need. It seems that there are always people in need that know to come to Lifeway for help. Though we can’t help everyone we come across, I have seen many struggling people find an arm to lean on here at Lifeway this summer.

I have learned a great deal during the summer. There are two sides to the ministry of a church. On one side they must spread the gospel, care for people, teach, and provide. On the other side they must structure and administer themselves in a way that allows them to fulfill their goals.

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Songer ’14 Picks Up Social Media Skills

Drew Songer ’14 – During my time as the Social Media and Marketing Intern for the Athletics Department/Wrestling Program, I have been exposed to a wide variety of challenges and experiences.  Over the course of the summer, I have been working closely with Assistant Wrestling Coach, Danny Irwin and the Director of Sports Information and Sports Marketing, Brent Harris.  Most of the work done with Coach Irwin has been geared towards developing the wrestling program, while the work with Brent has been geared towards understanding NCAA marketing limitations and the world of media.

Songer running a camera at the high school baseball classic.

The position has given me the ability to do camera work for the wrestling camp as well as develop some video editing skills in the media center.  Furthermore, I was also able to interview some of the best wrestlers in the world such as Olympic gold medalist, Cael Sanderson, and NCAA Champion, David Taylor. Regardless of the importance of these experiences, the most daunting task of the summer has been developing a marketing plan for the wrestling program.  I will admit, at the beginning of this internship I wasn’t sure how to construct a marketing plan.  Of course, I had some ideas about how to market for events, but I had no clue how to properly develop and organize a plan that would promote a program.  However, with the help of Coach Irwin, I quickly realized that the most important part of this process was to define how we wanted the program to be viewed and what values our wrestling program would represent.  In a nutshell, this meant that we needed to create a brand for Wabash Wrestling.  This brand, or set of values, will enable the wrestling program to consistently market itself because it will be promoting a lifestyle, an experience rather than simply the ability to participate in an extracurricular activity.  I have learned that branding a program, business, or institution is essential in moving forward, because it provides a foundation from which to work.

Like I mentioned before, the summer has not been entirely geared towards wrestling.   Working with Brent has helped me realize that social media can be an athletic program’s greatest tool, but also their downfall if used inappropriately.  I have been able to determine what is and is not allowed under NCAA regulations.  Furthermore, Brent has opened up my eyes to the world of live media.  Just last weekend, I was part of the production crew for the live streaming of the North vs. South All-star Baseball series that was held at Goodrich Ballpark.  The majority of the population probably underestimates the amount of preparation that is involved in producing a live broadcast.  We started setting up for the event two days before it was to start and still had a few modifications to make the morning before the first game.  I learned how the production director orchestrates the changes between different camera shots, commercials, and overlaying graphics.  I also experienced what it was like to deal with technical difficulties while on the air.  Furthermore, I was able to personally operate one of the cameras and control the angles that were used in the broadcast.

This summer has helped me grow personally as well as contribute to something greater than myself.   This contribution applies to the continuation of the tradition of excellence that Wabash is notorious for.  As a last remark, make sure you keep a look out for the implementation of the wrestling program’s new marketing plan.   I am convinced that this new brand will not only help the program grow, but that it will also change lives and produces ideal Wabash men.

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Taylor ’15 Capitalizes on Internship Experience

Justin Taylor ’15 – For six weeks this summer I worked with Charlie Kelly ’11 at his start-up company SquareJive. SquareJive is a phone app that aggregates local events in Indy and lets its users get information on events, details on venues, and purchase tickets right from their phone. It is the content that I managed. My job was to find the information and create the proper pages for it across different mediums like the app, website, and blog. If it does not sound like the most riveting job ever you might be right, but it is an important part of keeping the company going so the responsibility was one I have enjoyed taking on.

Working with the Content Management System (CMS) for SquareJive has given me a new level of insight on the inner workings of websites and systems. Insight that is extremely valuable to me as I work to create my own web based company. The true value of this Lilly Business Internship has brought for me comes outside of the realm of my assigned duties though. I have gotten the opportunity to watch another entrepreneur as he works to build a profitable busines from the ground up. That means watching him build strategies, prep for presentations, make hires/fires, and make a 180-degree pivot in the concept/direction of his company.  An inability to pivot is a reason why many startups fail. The necessity to create new strategies makes them hard, but what really makes them so difficult is that you are usually required to step away from a great deal of your current progress. For Charlie that meant rebranding, redesigning, and remodeling his company. Being involved in this process taught me a great deal about the inner workings of a small business and showed me the personal characteristics, along with sacrifices, required if you want to see your startup reach any pinnacle of success. Courage, determination, passion, and hardheadedness are just a few of these characteristics that I witnessed.

I hope that leaving SquareJive I left it better than I found it. I know that it has done that for both me and my company. A company that recently made a major pivot stepping away from a project that we had invested a great deal of capital into in hopes of giving us a better chance and being one of the few companies that actually makes it. I can honestly say if it was not for this summer and the guidance of a good friend/mentor we would not have made. The experience has been great and I hope that others realize that opportunities that are out there through programs and internships like this one.

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Stoops ’15 Spend Summer Learning Public Health

Mark Stoops ’15 – This summer I earned an internship at the Fountain/Warren County Public Health office  located in Attica, Indiana. Working here for the summer has provided me with a wide range of experience in public health. At the start of the internship myself and another intern from Purdue University (Dusty) met with various partners of the Public Health office to learn about what they do for the community, what their day-to-day activities are, and how they relate to public health. Melissa Shamp, our supervisor, did a great job of setting up these meetings. Over the summer we met with and talked to the director of CAP (Community Actions Program), sat in on commissioners meetings, Hospital Health Board Meetings, a CPS meeting (neglect and abuse cases). We have assisted Greg with Septic System inspections, restaurant and grocery food inspections, and house inspections for condemned or reported houses. We have also assisted with soil evaluations and the WIC office in Covington. We also participated in meetings with State Health officials. Those meetings usually pertain to vaccine and prevention updates and disaster preparedness.

Mark Stoops ’15 at the Fountain-Warren County Fair with his co-workers

At the office, the work environment is great. With such a small group of employees it was very easy to get to know everyone here. Lyndall and Laci are two nurses who give immunizations and file animal bite information. Kelly works at the receptionist desk with death and birth certificates, Missy is our main internship go-to person and as director  does just about everything. Gregg is the environmental officer for FW County and inspects septic systems, restaurants, and houses. Dr. Sharma is the Health officer in the office. He has this position at the Public Health Office as well as working in the clinic and the hospital. He is also a Wabash graduate. Everyone is very helpful and glad to have us.

In the past month we have focused on giving out Community Health Needs Assessments. These are surveys that ask a bunch of questions about subjects such as health, infrastructure, lifestyle, and insurance. To get these surveys out into the community, we have given them to local businesses and set up a booth at both the Fountain and Warren County Fair. Our goal is to receive 1000 completed surveys. In eight fair days we  received over 800 surveys which means we will easily surpass our goal.

Our final project as interns will be to create and deploy our own public health initiatives. My project is intended to teach children about recycling and the environment. My partners in this project are the Parks Program and Green Minds. Working with them I have set up days to talk to kids in the program about recycling, pollution, and the environment.  Then they will go on a recycling/ trash pick up walk. The parks program is a free summer program for kids in Fountain and Warren County and thanks to them I can reach up to 80 kids a day with my program. It turns out kids have a lot more fun than you would expect when it comes to picking up trash.

Being an intern at the Public Health Office isn’t all fun and games though. Sometimes we have to upload septic system reports to the state database. This is very tedious work. We don’t have to do those often and overall I have had a great learning experience here. Seeing how all the government and private health systems work behind the scenes has been amazing and eye opening. I highly recommend this internship it to anyone interested in Public Health.

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Hawn ’15 Learned from the Struggles of Business Owner

Austin Hawn ’15 – The summer for many Wabash students can be a time for relaxation and recovery from the rigor provided by the schedule that a Wabash man experiences during the school calendar.  Many Wabash men however, search for ways to better themselves during the break, while taking a mild respite from the realm that they have become accustomed to that the Wabash experience nurtures.  This summer, I have been fortunate enough to take on the challenge of working with ShowcaseU, through the Lilly Business Internship Fund.

Hawn helping line up a camera.

As an intern at ShowcaseU, I was able to continue my education in an unconventional fashion.  This opportunity, although very different from a classroom, has proven to be extremely valuable.  One reason I consider my internship to be successful is due to the privilege of working for the co-founder of ShowcaseU, Jake Chapman. He demonstrates entrepreneurship and small business at its finest, assuming many responsibilities while devoting maximum energy to his work. Jake has allowed me to learn some business lessons by providing firsthand experience, as well as discussing, teaching, and sharing many ideas.  As a student aspiring to take advantage of small business opportunities, I couldn’t have asked for someone better to learn from.

From Jake, I have learned that it is possible to make a living doing something you are passionate about.  Just as many students are encouraged to study what they have a passion for; Jake has taken a similar path for his career.  As a young baseball player that was overlooked by many talent evaluators, Jake paid a large sum of money to a recruiting service to help market his skills, but he did not receive any scholarship offers.  However, Jake made a college roster as a walk-on in his hometown of Rensselear for St. Joseph’s College.  Once in college, Jake took responsibility to market his abilities on his own.  He attended professional tryouts where scouts saw him and convinced his college coach to give him a shot.  Jake made the most of his opportunity as he was drafted and played professionally in the minors.  Jake noticed though, that throughout college and in professional baseball there were players that weren’t much better than players Jake had played with at lower levels. From this experience, Jake created Showcase U, a self promoting recruiting tool for high school students.

Along with this valuable lesson, Jake and I have been able to have many conversations about small business ideas while traveling.  These discussions ranged from a large-scale outlook at running a business to the evolution that Showcase U has made to become more profitable.  Themes such as possessing a vision for your business, partnering with other companies and refining your product or craft have been points of discussion.  Perhaps the most important topic was the discussion centered on a lifelong education.  I am thankful to have had the opportunity to learn in an environment that has been able to both teach and challenge me.  I’m looking forward to seeing what else I will be able to learn in the final weeks of my internship.

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