Through this blog, we will spotlight Otterbein students who are engaging in internships and professional experiences in a variety of industries and geographic locations. We will also share tips and advice on searching for internships and making the most of internship experiences.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cordray in Colorado: Post 2: First Week of Internship

I survived my first week of internship! Hooray! And even though it was only a four-day week, it seemed like the longest week of my life! Along with meeting about a thousand people, many of whom have names I can't remember, I was also overwhelmed with just how long a full-time internship is! Eight hours is a long time! A few things I learned from my first week are:

1. Always repeat peoples name when you are introduced to them, which is easier said than done. On my first day, I was too nervous about myself and how I was being perceived that I didn't even pay attention to who I was meeting. It took the rest of the week to really pick up on everyones names (and I still only know about 7 for sure). The trick was to repeat their name over and over in my head after I heard it mentioned. I also tried to say their name aloud after meeting them. It mostly worked, although I did call someone in my office Alex before finding out her name was actually Kim. I'm still not sure how I screwed that up, but it was bound to happen!

2. Constantly say yes to any task that you are asked. Throughout the week, I got to do some really cool things, like shoot a video for the Member of the Month story and take selfies of myself on "Museum Selfie Day" (who knew that was a thing?) to post on social media; but I also did some things that weren't that cool, like creating Excel sheets and running errands all over town. The thing is, since I said yes to any task that was thrown my way and showed enthusiasm about it, I could tell my superiors loved it. Not only did I complete the tasks, but I completed them efficiently with a smile on my face. By the end of the week, the people around me seemed to be very impressed with my positive attitude and willingness to work.

3. Be ready to go outside of your comfort zone. There were many times this week when I felt I was in way over my head. In those moments, I had to just go for it and put myself out there. Even though I was somewhat uncomfortable, I survived and grew from the experience - and in those moments, that's all you can do!

Overall, it was a very interesting first week. I really enjoy the people I work with, they're very nice and incredibly supportive. The organization also seems like a really cool place to spend the next few months! I hope that I will continue to be challenged every day and learn new things. And hopefully I will get used to working 9 to 5 every day, although I highly doubt that!

Thanks so much for reading! Until next time!

Dillon Cordray
Music and Business '15

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cordray in Colorado: Post 1: Off Campus Internships

Hello fellow Otterbein students! My name is Dillon Cordray and I am a senior Music and Business major interning in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this semester! Throughout this internship I will be documenting my experiences somewhat weekly on this blog to hopefully offer some insight into what it's like to not only be on a full-time internship, but to do it a thousand miles away from home, where I barely know anyone and have to adjust to living outside of a school environment. So without further ado, off we go!

The first thing I want to stress to everyone, especially those of you who are underclassmen and are required to find an internship for your degree, is to heavily consider interning outside of Central Ohio! I know it may seem really scary to some of you, but it's also an incredible opportunity to spread your wings and explore a new city! Knowing that I wouldn't find many music and business related internships around Columbus, I immediately started brainstorming about cities that I might like to end up some day. Obviously the big ones stuck out - New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles - but, like most of us, I am not made of money, and had to think how I could swing it financially. So I decided to look into areas where I had close family, which included Tampa, FL, Buffalo, NY, and Colorado Springs, CO. After narrowing my internship search down to a few cities, it was incredibly easy to find places to apply! 

After using sites like,, and other data-base type websites, I decided to just broadly search for music related businesses in the areas I was interested in looking. After googling "Music and Arts in Colorado Springs," I found a link to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, where I saw that they had a posting for a New Media/Internet Marketing Intern. I looked at the requirements and saw that I seemed to fit them nicely, and wrote my cover page and sent them my resume! Within a few days I heard back from the Communication Director who asked if I was able to interview, and after my phone interview I got the job!

Now, that might sound incredibly easy, but it took a lot of work! I applied to at least 20 different organizations throughout the month of October and November before I got the one that I wanted, but it was so worth the time! I also visited the Center for Career and Professional Development, where I met with both Ashley Strausser and Ryan Brechbill multiple times throughout the process. I highly recommend using the resources available to you (like the CCPD and relatives living far away) in order to get a really unique internship experience in a place that excites you!

The picture at the bottom of the post is one of the first pictures I took after arriving in Colorado Springs. It was incredibly scary to leave the comfortable little village of Westerville and travel over a thousand miles to this new place, but so far it has been worth it! My first day at the Fine Arts Center is tomorrow, and yes, I'm incredibly nervous. But I'm also really excited and proud of myself for making the most of my last semester in college and moving out west to explore what the working world is like! To those of you looking into internships, please think about exploring new places! It doesn't have to be as far as Colorado, it can be as close as Cincinnati! Just don't hold yourself down to one place, and use the resources that are readily available to you!

That's all I have for the first post. Thanks for reading, I hope it was somewhat helpful! 

Until next time!

Dillon Cordray
Music and Business '15 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Rebecca Carter '15 - ODOT: Office of Environmental Science, Ecological Permits Section

Name: Rebecca Carter
Class Year: 2015
Majors: Environmental Science BS, Art w/Concentration in Communication Design
Hometown: Hilliard, Ohio
Internship: Ohio Department of Transportation: Office of Environmental Science, Ecological Permits Section
Internship Site: Columbus, OH

Internship Responsibilities:
The Eco section is in charge of evaluating each project site to determine the environmental impacts and then coordinating with various state and federal agencies (such as the OEPA, ODNR, USFWS, and USACE) to ensure permit compliance or adequate mitigation. All projects must submit an Ecological Survey Report (ESR) to the Office for review. I was a part of reviewing the ESRs that were submitted. Besides permit review I got to be involved in field reviews and surveys. Sometimes projects have impacts that need mitigation and it is our job to find suitable sites. Some mitigation examples include: creation of new wetlands, improvements on existing wetlands, restoration of streams, and creation of bat habitats. These sites require us to travel across the state and assess the sites in person. Most times we would be showing the USACE or OEPA how the site was preforming and meeting the permit standards. We would trek through the wetland/stream/forest in boots and waders looking at the quality of the site and how it was functioning.  Other times I was able to go into a stream and do a mussel recon to see if there would be a potential mussel community that would be affected by a project.  

Internship Benefits: 
As a part of the Office of Environmental Science for the Ohio Department of Transportation I was a member of a team of many experienced environmental specialists. This internship has provided me with a hands-on experience working with experts in the field I am studying.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Rachel Dalton '16 -The Wilds

Name: Rachel Dalton
Class Year: 2016
Major: Zoo and Conservation Science
Hometown: Columbus, OH
Internship: The Wilds
Location: Cumberland, OH

Internship Responsibilities:
This past summer I had the incredible opportunity to spend 10 weeks as a Conservation Science Research Intern at the Wilds, a 10,000 acre safari park and conservation research facility (the largest in the country!) in Cumberland, OH. My primary responsibilities were related to the research project I was assigned, which involved examining the potential applications of a species distribution monitoring technique known as eDNA monitoring with the Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis). The Wilds is often described by the research staff as a living laboratory; I had the opportunity to interact with this "laboratory" not only through the field work and molecular work involved with my research, but also in contributing to other studies involving the distribution of bobcats on Wilds property, developing alternate browse sources for giraffes, and assessing what environmental factors may influence terrestrial salamander populations. I also had the opportunity to assist with the Wilds' reintroduction initiative for the largest salamander species in North America-- the endangered Eastern hellbender.

What I Learned: 
I received mentoring from professionals in the zoological and conservation research fields. As someone who aspires to one day contribute to these fields as well through zoo and wildlife veterinary medicine and research, I cannot begin to express how much their investment in my fellow interns and I meant to me. I truly believe that my time under the tutelage of these experts and the opportunities I had to conduct meaningful research of value to conservation at the Wilds made me a better researcher and future zoological professional.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Neal O'Brien - Resolute Athletic Complex

Neal O’Brien '87 is one of the co-owners and operators of the Resolute Athletic Complex, and he also plays the lead role in their internship program.

Resolute has a very small staff, and when it comes to business related functions, they need people they can trust and give small, but important, jobs. For example, things such as setting up financial reports might not seem important, but they need smart and motivated people with a base knowledge who can complete important tasks. The primary roles that the interns serve is to assist with budgeting, financial documents, marketing, operations, and facility management. In Mr. O’Brien’s opinion, their internship is ideal for students interested in sport management. It is a great way to get a feel for whether or not it might be the right career for them. 

Mr. O’Brien said, “We only hire interns from Otterbein because my wife, Maureen, and I are both Otterbein grads. So we felt that it was important to give back to Otterbein, and one way we can do that is to provide these opportunities to students. Also, since we are Otterbein grads, we look for similar people who possess the qualities that we had when we left Otterbein.”

The best way to get an internship, especially at small businesses like Resolute, Mr. O’Brien said, is that, “more than anything else, you need to have the same drive and desire that we had in building our business. So you have to understand that it took a lot of time, energy and effort to start our own business, and if you can’t bring that same amount of energy to an internship, at least from a small business aspect, then it reduces the impact you can make.” According to Mr. O’Brien, you really have to be all in. By all in, he means the internship has to be important to you. You have to be on time, and realize that anything that is asked of you is critical. To have the best experience, you must be dependable.

His best advice is to know everything you can possibly know about the company before the interview, because there is no excuse for being unprepared. He says, “There is so much information out there that there is no excuse for coming into an interview and being unprepared. Have questions that you want to ask. At the same time, try to anticipate the questions that an interviewer might ask you. It will make you feel more comfortable. And lastly, be energetic.”

If you are interested in an internship at Resolute Athletic Complex, contact Neal O’Brien at or check Cardinal Careers.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Shirine Mafi - Business, Accounting and Economics Professor

Dr. Shirine Mafi teaches Principles of Management, Operations Management, and occasionally Performance Improvement. She is also a strong advocate of internships for her students. 

She said, “Internships give students an idea of what it’s like to be a professional in that field, and it can help them decide if that is really what they want to do or if they want to do something different. It allows gaining experience, and with that comes confidence. It gives them job possibilities, they get to know co-workers, customers, vendors. They get to go to meetings and meet new people. Internships teach students about professionalism and corporate protocol.”

Dr. Mafi says that while students are at school and still taking classes, she has seen a very significant difference in students who have internships versus students who don’t, particularly in terms of asking more sophisticated questions, taking class work more seriously, and understanding the context of the theories being discussed in class. Internships also show students what it takes to be successful, because they see role models in their area. They understand what it takes to be successful, to be noticed in any profession, because a lot of what an internship is is hard work and dedication.

On how she helps students with finding internships, Dr. Mafi said that she starts her advisees in their freshman year, and she tells them to look at companies they would be interested in having a career in. She said, “You need to think of options and start planning for an internship going into your junior year or senior year. Internships have several advantages, when it comes to potential jobs in the future, because through the internship, the boss has seen you work, so they don’t have to train you because you've been there, and you’re more comfortable in the work environment because you already know the ropes.”

As for the application process, she tells students to be themselves. They also need to know the job or jobs they’re applying for, what skills are needed, and why they are a good candidate. They need to look up what’s gone on in the past few years in the industry, so the employer can tell that they've done their research. It’s always good to have one or two good questions ready to ask the employer. Always send a thank you note. An email with no typos is nice, but a handwritten note is better. She said, "An internship is a 6-12 month job interview. They’re watching you." She encourages interns to be a sponge, absorb a lot, not to be afraid of challenges, be open to new experiences, and be a team player.

She says that for any internship that comes her way, she tries very hard to post it on her blackboard or announce it in class, as her way of encouraging students to apply. If there is an employer coming to campus, she will try to make a point of going and hearing what they have to say so that she can help the students who might be interested in that job. She recommends students use th
e Center for Career and Professional Development, Otterbein alumni, their parents and community service to put them in touch with professionals in the area. When guest speakers come to class, get their card. She recommends LinkedIn as great way of connecting with people. "If the CCPD is offering mock interviews, jump on it. It’s never too late to work on interviewing," says Dr. Mafi. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Nikki Sherbahn '15 - Exel, Inc.

Name: Nikki Sherbahn
Year: 2015
Major: Management
Hometown: Danville, OH
Internship: Human Resource Intern at Exel, Inc.
Location: Westerville

Internship responsibilities: 
Interaction and reporting to the Human Resource Manager while executing assigned projects. File maintenance and reorganization, conducting ASC (America's Support Center) orientations, affirmative action planning distribution and feedback. Interacting with Exel senior leadership while performing research and completing projects. Handling scorecard report, diversity planning, and communicating updates on projects as necessary.

What I learned: 
Throughout my time at Exel I have learned several new communication skills from meetings with senior level management, constant contact through email and over the phone conversations. The ability to be clear, concise, and direct while also being friendly is extremely important in the professional workforce. I have also picked up many different skills in planning large events for the associates here at America’s Support Center. I am also gaining experience using several software systems through my internship. Specifically the use of Oracle HRMS (Human Resource Management System).

Advice about searching for an internship:
Put yourself out there! Do not be shy or embarrassed when conversing with people. Always slip in to conversation that you are looking for more experience and would love an internship (paid or unpaid) when talking to strangers. Also, FOLLOW UP! Give the company a phone call to check on your resume and/or application, it lets them know that you are seriously interested. Be polite, have good manners while interviewing, and most importantly, be confident!

Advice about how to make the most of an internship experience: 
It is obvious that no one really enjoys paper pushing. But do it anyway, with a smile on your face. Pick up any tasks that you can get and don’t be afraid to ask for more! Always look for new things to do, you won’t believe how much you can learn. By offering your help anywhere possible, it also shows others within the company that you are flexible and willing to take on new tasks.