Wabash Blogs 2008 Summer Internships

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July 28, 2008

Internship with opportunities

Steve Popovich, '10--As we all know, internships are about giving students “real life” job experiences and the opportunity for them to figure out what they actually want to do after Wabash.  The internship I have this summer has encompassed these beliefs completely.  I am working with Adorant Services Group as a small business consultant.  The experiences I receive from this job are quite unique compared with other internships offered.  Basically, my prime responsibility is structuring and creating a marketing and sales plan for an up-and-coming company.  Now you may be thinking, hmmm…that is a pretty hefty job for a kid in college that has no experience with this type of thing, and I couldn’t agree more!  But, I have quickly learned that there is no experience better than real world experience; fully immersing yourself in something that you have no idea about, then getting the hang of it, then actually becoming good at it.  The best gratification of this experience is the learning curve and finding the capability within yourself to accomplish difficult tasks.  Kind of sounds similar to the Wabash curriculum huh? 

This internship has also shown me much of Indiana, as well as Chicago, and even Milwaukee, WI.  Our 4th of July weekend in Milwaukee was quite the memorable experience.  My boss sent me and the other intern Mark Shultz up to Milwaukee for a consumer interview, but he wanted to make sure we also had a good time.  It just so happened that during 4th of July weekend, Summerfest was going on.  For those of us that are not familiar with Summerfest, it is the largest outdoor music festival in the world.  So our boss got us a hotel room on the top floor of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Milwaukee and sent us on our way to Summerfest.  All he said was, “I want you guys to have a good time,” and we sure did. 

Another aspect of the internship that I enjoy is my boss’ enthusiasm to introduce us to other successful alumni and pick their brains about their careers.  One of the notable meetings was with Greg Jania at W.P. Global Partners in the financial district of Chicago.  It was a great feeling to walk through the financial district of Chicago dressed in a suit.  It gave me a feeling of somewhat importance and substance.  But, the lunch meeting with Mr. Jania in his 39th floor conference room overlooking the city was the highlight of the day.  We discussed different aspects of his career and the challenges he had to overcome to be where he is today.  We also discussed career paths that we could follow after Wabash that will give us the opportunity to have a great jobs.  This meeting as well as all of the other meetings with alums throughout the summer have been enlightening and have made me finally realize what I wish to pursue after Wabash.  As I mentioned in short earlier, this internship has given me some great work experience, but the “real life” experience has been priceless. 

Pictured above Steve Popovich and Mark Schultz on one of thier company visits.     

July 23, 2008

An Exciting Summer in Chicago

Rob Fenoglio '09 - “Sweet home Chicago” – that seems to be the theme of my summer so far. This summer I am interning at Navy Pier as a Summer Production Assistant. For anyone who is unaware of the major attraction that is Navy Pier, it is essentially a working pier (the Navy actually docks ships at the Pier) with many shows, rides, and events that go on every day. Things are never the same and that helps keep the days interesting and amusing.

I grew up near Chicago, so it is really fantastic to be living in the city all by myself, thanks to the Kemper Grant, and taking in everything this amazing city has to offer. Not only do I get to live in Little Italy (I’m Italian, so it’s like being at home but without all of the guilt my mother so lovingly provides), but I also get to be a part of something I love: Entertainment.

As a Summer Production Assistant, I have spent my summer helping organize major events, including the Navy Pier premiere of “The Dark Knight” on July 16, many of the shows that take place on stages located on the pier, finalize band contracts for performances in the Beer Garden, and deal with the crazy antics of behind-the-scenes producing. The experience has been everything I have hoped for and more!

Not only have I been able to see what a producer does, but I have also had hands –on experience with performers and bands on the weekends when I stage manage the Dock Street and Beer Garden stages. I never would have thought this much effort and skill is needed to produce a show everyday or manage a band for a few hours. The knowledge gained during this internship has been nothing short of priceless.

It is quite interesting to see how things are run behind-the-scenes and how something can be going perfect one moment, then the tide abruptly changes and everything feels like it could fall apart. Being able to think on your toes and critically to keep everything together is something Wabash has definitely taught me and that has been extremely helpful during this internship. Being a stage manager on the weekends has illustrated how much preparation goes into a band’s performance or a variety performer’s set. It has allowed me to have a newfound respect for performers and all of the things they do to prepare for a show and all of the things that must be done to keep a show running smoothly.

One of the perks of being part of the Entertainment Team at Navy Pier has been my access to some of the promotional ties with “The Dark Knight.” Anyone with knowledge of the film is aware that Chicago stands in for Gotham City and director Christopher Nolan shot almost all of the exterior shots here in the city last year and a major scene at Gotham Pier was shot on the East End of the Pier involving two ferries. Seeing how Navy Pier has an IMAX screen inside the Family Pavilion and some of the film was shot on the Pier, Christopher Nolan wanted to have a premiere here, in honor of the city.

I was able to attend some of the events during the premiere and was given a special screening on the film’s day of release. I was able to get a few photos of the Tumbler (Batmobile) and the Batpod (motorcycle) because they were on showcase in the Crystal Gardens for the VIP event that night. I was unable to attend the VIP party, but was able to see the vehicles before the official party.

My experiences producing and the knowledge gained in dealing with contracts have been extremely beneficial to me in my future endeavors in the entertainment industry. Once again, Wabash has helped me find an unbelievable internship and has supplied with the resources and knowledge to help me achieve everything I have wanted to during this opportunity. If you’re ever up in Chicago during the remainder of the summer, stop by and enjoy the unique atmosphere Navy Pier has to offer.

July 17, 2008

Know Indiana: Morton '10 Learned at Repertory Theatre

Anthony Morton '10 - I could not ask for a better internship than what I just experienced. For the last eight weeks I had the opportunity to work at the Indiana Repertory Theatre downtown Indianapolis provided by a grant through Know Indiana. For the first four weeks of my internship I worked with various administrative departments, mainly the Youth Audience Development Department and the Development Department.

One project I completed for the Youth Audience was compiling demographic research about what schools attended what productions last season. More importantly, however, was finding schools the IRT hasn’t been able to get to the theatre. Then I learned about IRT’s mission: to produce top-quality, professional theatre and related activities, providing experiences that engage, surprise, challenge and entertain people throughout their lifetimes, thereby helping to build a vital and vibrant community. Getting students to the theatre is absolutely one of their main priorities and I was more than happy to aid them in learning about what schools they could possibly reach out to whether it’s through underwriting ticket sales for student matinees or providing means for transportation to get students to the IRT.

When working for the Development Department I had the opportunity to learn about grant writing and grant proposal research, a subject I always thought was dull and loathsome, but as I dived into my research, I actually enjoyed the research I was doing and was able to find a number of foundations the IRT could send a request to whether it be for interests concerning culture, youth, or education. I was so fascinated because while the IRT is a non-profit organization, funding is so important because they need large sums of funding to produce the fully professional shows they put on stage.

When my first four weeks ended, I supervised a group of students interested in technical theatre during the IRT’s Summer Conservatory for Youth for the last four weeks. I had a group of ten students between the ages of fourteen and eighteen and we covered everything involved with the technical side of theatre including directing, stage management, playwriting, props, costumes, and set, sound, and light design. I was so fortunate to work with such a bright group of students. We covered so much in so little time that I was amazed to see them take it all in.

After learning about these different aspects of technical theatre, each student designed costume renderings and a set with a lighting plot for Shakespeare’s MacBeth, which the IRT is actually producing this fall. Each student also wrote a ten-minute play under the guidance of Jeff Casazza, a professional playwright, and Richard Roberts, the IRT’s dramaturge. Their plays then received a staged reading by professional actors such as Rob Johansen, Priscilla Lindsay, Milicent Wright, Robert Neal, Constance Macy, and Ryan Artzberger. The purpose of this reading was not to see how the actors displayed the characters, but for the playwrights to actually see and hear their work on stage and determine if they were satisfied with what they wrote or if they would like to continue making changes to perfect their play.

Fortunately for me, I did not take a back seat and merely supervise the students, but I participated in everything they did, which has actually thrown me into a loop of creativity have I have never experienced before. I am currently writing three short plays and want to learn more and more about technical theatre. From the moment I arrived, the IRT staff greeted me warmly. I was introduced to many new people and made many great friends. The friendly and family-like atmosphere was almost too much to bear as I parted with hugs, tears, and bittersweet good-byes. If you are ever in Indianapolis, be sure to visit the IRT for they surely have the ability to challenge minds, move hearts and inspire creativity.

July 09, 2008

Goodrich on Life at the Phoenix Theatre

Matt Goodrich '09 - For the past two months I have been working at the Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis. This professional non-for-profit theatre produces plays that touch on interesting and sometimes controversial social issues through genres ranging from musicals to dramas to comedies. The Phoenix’s goal is to reach out to the public and make them think seriously about these issues. This goal can be seen in their catch phrase which states, “Plays. With Fire.”

When I arrived, my original position was to be filled with both creative and administrative duties. I had the opportunity to audition with my supervisor, Bryan Fonseca, for the Phoenix’s final main stage production of the season, the Terrance McNally play SOME MEN, and was pleasantly surprised to find that I had been cast. Suddenly my internship had two very different sides to one fiery coin.

My day job portion of the internship was centered on the technical aspects of theatre (the ‘behind the scenes’ kind of stuff). I was put under the instruction of two young and incredibly talented theatre technicians, Justin Kidwell, the Technical Director, and Dani Norberg, the Master Electrician. From Justin I learned the finer details of theatrical carpentry including all the steps from how to correctly read stage blueprints to actually building and polishing set pieces. I was also given the chance to work some really powerful and fun tools that I had never even seen before. I can now comfortably say that there is no tool with more spectacle involved than a metal circular saw with it’s cascading shower of sparks and deafening screech as it cuts through pipe. I was not only involved in the stage construction of SOME MEN and then later the play MURDERERS, but also in some major theatre improvements such as the new light grid that we installed with metal pipes and ceiling anchors. I now have significant working knowledge of stage carpentry and construction that I am sure will come to good use in the very near future.

While working under Dani I learned skills that have already presented job opportunities as I will be a technician for the Indy Fringe Festival late this August. Dani taught me all the ins and outs (literally) of lights and their many intricacies. I can now take apart a light and either clean or fix it for better performance. I can also correctly and safely provide maintenance to all electrical connections needed. I learned how to read a light plot as well as what each of the different light models can do and how they are used. I was taught how to create the connection from the lights to the circuits to the dimmers to the light board for a show to work and then I learned how to program and run a show from the light board itself. In my time with Dani I quickly got over my fear of heights and became quite at home on the 20 foot high scaffolding.

When I was not working as a theatre techie, I was on the stage rehearsing and performing SOME MEN. This was an amazing experience for a young actor straight out of Ball Theatre. I was able to talk to and learn from actors with 20 plus years of professional acting experience and learned about different schools of acting and how they applied individually to the show. I learned much from the rest of the cast as well as my director, Bryan Fonseca, and have grown leaps and bounds as an actor. It has been very different to be involved in a two week rehearsal and six week run rather than Wabash’s usual five week rehearsal and four day run. It has also been really cool to have my first show outside of Wabash received so well by so many Indianapolis theatre goers (By the way, show up! The show itself runs until July 19th and is well worth the trip!).

I couldn’t have had a better and more comprehensive real world theatre experience than I did here at The Phoenix Theatre. It has been an amazing time with fantastic people. I can’t wait to take the volumes I have learned here back to Wabash and beyond.

Photo above right: Goodrich (middle row, center) with the cast of SOME MEN

Photo above left: Goodrich (right) in SOME MEN

July 03, 2008

Learning about American Indian and Western Art

Juan Manual Diaz - My internship at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indian and Western Art has been underway for four weeks. Although I been in the museum for a short time I was given the opportunity to meet and greet various people, which include but not limited to staff, volunteers, interns, and artists. When I first arrived I was amazed at how relaxed the environment was, even with the work that is needed in preparation for current, upcoming, and future events, galleries, and workshops.

On my first day I was told the Museum’s largest event of the year, Indian Market and Festival, was underway. Indian Market was one of the events I assisted with. I collaborated with the museum’s staff in setting up and making all the needed preparations. However, my main responsibility is to assist visiting artists that attend the museum and make workshops, presentation, and lectures; as well as display their artwork. Also, I am to help in other events and galleries dealing with public programs, such as Canal Fest, on July 4th.
During my first week I had the pleasure of working with Shawna and Roger Cain, a Cherokee couple who collaborated in making river cane basketry. Both were amazing people and although I was only with them for a week the level of knowledge, both in basket weaving and the Cherokee culture, I obtained was astounding.

After Shawna and Roger left I began preparing for Indian Market, as well as working with visiting artist Jody Naranjo. Jody Naranjo is an award winning potter who was at the Eiteljorg for a week. In that week I worked with her in setting up workshops and presentations. While working with Jody, I was not only able to learn about the Santa Pueblo culture, but the process it takes to make pottery from scratch. It was really exciting to work with Jody since such opportunities are rare. Now, in July, I have the opportunity to work with David Moses Bridges, a Passamaquoddy Native American who creates wigwams and birch bark canoes, and Michael Smith, an African American actor, singer, guitarist and a cowboy.

Up to now the biggest excitement has been meeting new artists and talking with them about their art and the labor in making their pieces. Such enthusiasm was fostered by Indian Market, as I was able to spend time with over 150 artists. Furthermore, it was thrilling to see a group of five Wabash men come down to the market as volunteers. This was something, both appreciated and thanked by the Eiteljorg staff. Conclusively, I can easily say that I am enjoying every bit of my internship and highly recommend this opportunity to other Wabash men who appreciate art as much as I do.

Photo above: Potter Jody Naranjo and Juan Diaz

July 02, 2008

Externship in Chicago

John Dewart, '10

I am a rising junior Economics major and Spanish minor at Wabash College from Lake Bluff, Illinois.  Over the course of my two years at Wabash, I have found many great advantages in attending Wabash; one in particular is its thousands of committed alumni.  Year after year, Wabash College alumni offer their time to students in order to better prepare us for our careers after graduation.  I recently had the exciting opportunity to participate in a brief externship with one such alumnus, Greg Jania ’93, a partner at WP Global Partners, a private equity firm in Chicago.

On my first day with Mr. Jania, I met with him briefly in his office, and we casually discussed Wabash, Chicago, and careers.  Soon enough, Mr. Jania handed me a packet regarding a business and asked me to read through it, marking strengths and weaknesses.  Afterwards, we were ready to meet the men behind the packet of information and numbers in the boardroom.  I walked into the surreal room and looked around at the executive leather chairs, marble table, and beautiful view of a Chicago harbor.  I took a moment to process my experience.  I thought “Wow” – here was where real business deals were discussed and investments agreements were made.  During the meeting, I watched Mr. Jania carefully analyze statistics and question the two businessmen promoting their company.  After thanking them for visiting, Mr. Jania explained to me that analysis and critical thinking is an integral part of his work.  His job is to seriously consider if each sales pitch is a solid investment for his firm based on a wide variety of questions like the size, type, and timing of investment – a lot to consider! 

Mr. Jania was kind enough to take me out to lunch in the sunny downtown area near his building.  There, the conversation was relaxed as we discussed all sorts of things.  I asked him about his decision to attend Wabash and he entertained me with some college stories from his years at Wabash – not much has changed!

After another meeting in the afternoon and more critical analysis, the day was complete.  Mr. Jania welcomed me back for a second day and I graciously accepted.

The second day was as interesting as the first.  Mr. Jania and I met with a few more prospective clients and analyzed more numbers.  Again, Mr. Jania offered to take me out to lunch.  There we talked about my Ecuador immersion trip with Wabash, an internship, firefighting, lifeguarding, and a Sigma Chi leadership trip, and my school year.  He offered to help me in any way he could from resume building to even more alumni connections. 

My externship was a wonderful way to network to an alumnus and get a sense for a possible future career.  Mr. Jania and other alumni are great connections to have.  Learning of his time in the work force is a great asset to have especially in the competitive job market.  In a practical sense, I was able to put my economics background into perspective in my analysis of statistics and add to my knowledge-base on the investing industry.