Wabash Blogs 2008 Summer Internships

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November 05, 2008


Last week I had a very exciting Tuesday! I explored two externships which I was able to schedule on the same day due to their close proximity. In the morning I had the pleasure of job shadowing Wabash alumnus Jim Kerr ‘92, who works for a business firm called Mercer. In the afternoon I job shadowed Wabash alumni Tim Rickard ‘08, who works for a smaller company known as CareGuide. Both experiences were worth the trip, and I learned valuable information as well as gained great insight on what it takes to succeed in the business realm.

I came to college this year, as a junior, without any idea of what I want to do after graduation. With this in mind I knew I had to act if I wanted to find out what I like and pursue that. I talked with Betsy Knott, Assistant Director of Career Services, and we decided that a good starting point would be to job shadow alumni in the healthcare industry. One of the things I learned, and surprised me, during my search was how willing Wabash alumni are to help out a fellow Wally. Almost immediately after Betsy sent out an initial contact to alumni asking them to participate, she received several positive responses, expressing a willingness to help. Once I set up an appointment with Mr. Kerr, he made me aware of Tim Rickard, with whom I later set up an appointment on the same day, because both work in the same area.

Meeting with Mr. Kerr was an exciting experience! Once I arrived to the 43rd floor of the Chase Tower, I immediately was presented with an awesome view of downtown Indianapolis as I was directed to Mr. Kerr’s office. He gave me some great insight on what it is like to be in the sales department of a business, showed me first hand of what he does on a day to day basis, and gave me advice to take away from the experience. One piece of advice he told me was that nobody will care more about my career than me, and that I can’t just wait for my ship to come in, rather I need to jump out and find it myself. He also introduced me to several other people working at Mercer. Mr. Kerr gave me a feel for what it is like working at a bigger company, and where I could be if I work hard to improve my career.

The meeting with Mr. Rickard was equally a learning rich experience. We met for lunch at “The Bearcat Pub”, which, just FYI the Rubens there are quite tasty! We talked about our Wabash experiences and Tim gave me a brief introduction on his company. We visited his office at CareGuide, where he showed me around and introduced me to many different people who work there. I also sat in with him as he made a few business calls, including one to my old friend and teammate John Kasey ‘08, who now works in Seattle. Shadowing Tim was great! It helped me get the feel for working in a smaller company as well as getting a feel for what kind of job I could acquire directly out of college. Also, the experience helped me meet and network with new people.

It was a fun and enlightening experience. Not only did I get to see what an alumnus does after being out for 15 years, but I also learned what Wabash graduates can do immediately following graduation. I was also able to learn about the differences between a large company like Mercer and a smaller more entrepreneurial business like CareGuide. Being able to see this dichotomy, as well as going to some neat places and meeting new people all at one time, made this day one to remember, and one to learn from.

Craig Vetor '10

November 04, 2008

Rabin Paudel Studying in Tennessee

Rabin Paudel '10 - I have been doing research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee since August. It is an off-campus study program designed as a science semester which gives the opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in on-going research at ORNL.

ORNL is the US Department of Energy’s largest lab. The main areas of research work that go on here include neutron science, nuclear fusion, “green” chemistry, genetics, alternative energy and national security. About 3000 scientists work here every year as guest scientists or permanent employees.

I first learned about Oak Ridge when I read “Surely, You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” by Richard Feynman. Feynman describes his frequent visits to Oak Ridge while he was working on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos. The city of Oak Ridge has a rich history associated with it. The lab played an important role in ending World War II. It is one of the three labs built to make nuclear weapons for the Manhattan Project (the other two are in Los Alamos, New Mexico and Hanford, Washington). That’s where Oak Ridge got its nicknames The Secret City and The Atomic City. I heard that Oak Ridge was not included on the official map until the 1960s.

During my stay here, I am working on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) experiments. NMR is the same technology that is used in MRI, an imaging technology used in medicine. As part of my research, I am making micro-coils and LC circuits to do NMR spectroscopy in solid-state molecules. My second project is in the field of “green” chemistry. One of the groups at ORNL is working on developing more efficient batteries. I am assigned to measure the diffusion properties of the ionic-liquids used in such batteries.

Other than the research work, as a part of the science semester, I am required to attend weekly seminars and tours which overview different research-work going on at ORNL. The seminars are very helpful in getting the latest updates in science. Last month, we visited a supercomputing center, home to the second fastest supercomputer in the world. It was amazing. And last week, I got an opportunity to visit the remote system department and learn about robotics. Their work in making robots to work on the high radiation zones sounds groundbreaking.

Other than that, I have found East Tennessee very different from the Midwest. We are having nice fall weather, warmer than that in Indiana. The leaves in the Smokey Mountains look gorgeous. East Tennessee is full of outdoor activities ranging from rafting to rock climbing. It feels great to go outside and enjoy the fall weather.

This has been a great opportunity for me to come to a national lab to get research experience. I would like to thank the physics department and the off-campus studies office at Wabash for providing me this opportunity.

I will be writing more about my off-campus study experience. Until next time, so long!