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, February 1, 2016

Morgan Poczekaj '17 - Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

Major: Marketing
Hometown: Toledo, Ohio
Internship Site: Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

Morgan is pictured above with Otterbein alumna, Robin Campbell, who worked personally for Dave Thomas at Wendy's and now works at the Foundation.

Internship Responsibilities:  As an intern at DTFA I worked on the Adoption-Friendly Workplace Survey. The survey is published every year and lists the top 100 adoption-friendly workplaces. The companies are ranked on the amount of financial aid and weeks of paid leave for adoptive parents. It was an exciting time to work on the survey when Netflix announced unlimited paid leave during the first year for their new parent employees. “Unadoptable is unacceptable” is the motto the employees at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption live and work by every day. Created by Dave Thomas in 1992, his vision was to find every child a permanent and loving home. The Foundation is a nonprofit that is supported by Wendy’s. Every time you buy a frosty key tag or drop money into the canisters at their restaurants, that money goes to DTFA. The 18 employees, led fearlessly by CEO Rita Soronen, work every day to find homes for 100,000 kids who are still waiting to be adopted. When you walk into the foundation your attention is instantly grasped by the murals of kids who are the faces of adoption and foster kids. Sayings like “You have to be brave with your life so others can be brave with theirs” and “We exist for one reason: to find children forever families” are brightly printed on the walls.

What I Learned: No matter what projects the staff at the Foundation are working on, they do it with all of their heart because they love their job and genuinely want to help kids in need. Working at the Dave Thomas Foundation has been an incredible opportunity and an even better learning experience.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Nicholas Grisso '17 - Safex, Inc.

Name: Nicholas Grisso '17
Major: Environmental Science and Sustainability
Hometown: Kirtland, Ohio
Internship Organization: Safex, Inc.
Location: Westerville, Ohio

In this picture, I am dressed in a full hazmat suit with a full face respirator by Safex's sign. Full hazmat suits are usually used to protect people when entering a very hazardous environment.

Internship Responsibilities: Over the summer I completed an internship working full time as an industrial hygiene technician at Safex, Inc. based in Westerville, Ohio. Industrial hygiene was a field I really enjoyed working in. Every day was something new and different from the day before. One day I would be conducting noise monitoring in a factory or construction site, then the next day I would be sampling for hazardous chemicals at a processing plant. As an industrial hygiene technician I was able to shadow other industrial hygienists in the field of work, as well as complete jobs individually. Through Safex I received several OSHA certification including: DOT HAZ material shipping, ventilation, and confined space entry and exit. The majority of my time was spent completing tasks that included: conducting indoor air quality assessments, sampling and monitoring for lead, silica, noise, and volatile organic compounds in the field, and conducting qualitative and quantitative respirator fit tests. The other part of my time was spent learning the OSHA regulations for different occupational safety situations, and writing reports based on the results of the field work.

What I Learned: Overall, I received amazing real world experience and learned a lot about the industrial hygiene field. I felt that I grew as a person; in industrial hygiene the main emphasis is on protecting other people and caring about other people’s health. This internship was a massive stepping stone in finding the career that I want to work in.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Jami Aufderbeck '16 - New U Program, Nationwide Children's Hospital

Jami Aufderbeck 
Class of 2016
Major: Allied Health 
Minor: Nutrition 
Internship Organization: New U Program, Nationwide Children's Hospital
Location: Columbus, OH

Internship Responsibilities: New U is a 12-week weight loss program for overweight and obese children age 11-18. Each week the patient and a parent attends a nutrition lecture and two 60 minute sessions of physical activity. As an intern I was responsible for leading the exercises, conducting patient interviews, and performing goal setting with individual patients. I also helped with research, data collection, and program design. 

What I Learned: This was an amazing opportunity, and I am so thankful I was able to be a part of the New U program. I learned so much about future careers, leadership, and communication. I learned how to get a group of 11-18 year olds under control, and how to keep them focused and motivated throughout the exercises. This experience is truly something I will treasure. I loved working with all the kids and seeing them improve throughout their time in the program. It was a great feeling knowing that I was making a difference in their lives.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Caitlyn (Mattie) Boyd '16- FarmVet

Caitlin (Mattie) Boyd 
Class of 2016
Major: Biology
Minor: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Fairview, TN
Internship Organization: FarmVet
Location: Franklin, TN

Internship Responsibilities: My summer internship was with FarmVet based out of Franklin, TN. FarmVet is an equine pharmaceuticals, supplement and horse care company. Throughout my internship I worked in various departments within the company, one being a sales associate on a trailer that traveled to Virginia and Pennsylvania horse shows. I was required to learn about the products well enough to be able to educate and sell to customers. This was my favorite experience within my FarmVet internship, I was able to travel to places I have never been, meet new people/connections within the equine show circuit and learn about new products. 

What I Learned: The information and knowledge I gained about horse products will benefit me as a horse owner and throughout my horse showing career. Throughout my internship with FarmVet I was exposed to many learning opportunities and experiences that will benefit my future career and I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead within FarmVet post-graduation. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sean Brewster '15 -- Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio

Sean Brewster
Class Year: 2015
Major: B.A. Music and Business, concentration in Arts Administration
Minor: Business Administration
Hometown: Norwalk, Ohio
Internship: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Internship Responsibilities: As part of the Columbus Foundation Summer Fellowship Program, I spent the past 10 weeks working at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio (RMHC). The main project that I was given for these 10 weeks was to create a Volunteer Stewardship Plan. In essence, I was identifying each and every point in a volunteers ‘lifespan’ that RMHC would send a note of thanks or appreciation. Before my time at RMHC, I had very little experience or knowledge about Volunteer Management.

What I Learned: From managing groups of volunteers from L Brands, Nationwide Insurance and Bath & Body Works to volunteering at the Thirty-One Gifts Conference, I have developed quite an understanding of volunteer management. By working to develop a fully-fledged Volunteer Stewardship Plan, and thus creating materials and processes to support this plan, I have gained an expertise of stewardship practices.

Of all my experiences working in non-profit organizations, I have never experienced such a warm and welcoming community. Every single staff member, volunteer and donor is enveloped by a passion for this House and the families that it serves.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Braeden Sparks '17- U.S Department of Energy, Fluor B&W

Braeden Sparks
Class: 2017
Major(s): Computer Science/ Sociology minor
Hometown: Portsmouth, OH
Internship: U.S Department of Energy, Fluor B&W. SMIDD (Site Maintenance Infrastructure and Deactivation and Demolition) group.
Location: Piketon, OH

Internship Responsibilities: I have helped inventory and enter information for 2,500 parts, some of which were purchased when Goodyear Atomic was still the prime contractor at the Portsmouth site. By cataloging the data into the CostPoint database, parts will be easier to locate when they’re needed on site.  It is estimated that this could save the D&D Project more than $240,000. I also developed a location on site for caged areas and sea lands containers for parts that are needed on site. I then reviewed the Shipping and Receiving Process that took place on site and developed new ways to improve the process of receiving a package on site and making sure it is delivered to the buyer of that item.

What I Learned: During my internship, I learned a great deal of knowledge of how a government facility works and pursing day to day operations. I knew that this internship was a great part of my education and seeing a different side of computer science. This was a great experience to be part of and I learned a lot. This internship gave me better team building skills, working with others, using Microsoft Excel and Google Docs, organizational skills, communication skills and friendships. This opportunity has been a great experience and I will not forget my time here. Overall, this internship is going to be a great asset to my resume and I will take all the things I learned with me to future internships and jobs. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sarah Uhlenbrock '15--Harvard School of Public Health

Sarah Uhlenbrock
Class: 2015
Major(s): Allied Health, Religion
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Internship: Harvard School of Public Health
Location: Boston, MA

Internship Responsibilities: My month in Boston was spent working at the Harvard School of Public Health within the epidemiology department. Epidemiology is a branch of public health that studies the spread, causation, and prevention of diseases. Epidemiologists constantly work with large sets of data from surveys and conduct research. My research in Boston was focused on prostate cancer, specifically cadmium and prostate specific antigen (PSA).

PSA is a protein that is produced in the prostate and it is used a biomarker in men to detect early signs of prostate cancer. My research group and I asked this question: What is the effect of cadmium on PSA levels? We hypothesized that there would be a positive correlation between the PSA levels in the blood and cadmium which was measured in urine. To find our results we used the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This is a biannual survey that uses a non-random sample of people to collect a national representative sample. We sorted through this data to find our two variables, PSA and cadmium, and then used R (a coding software to deal with the large amounts of numbers) to create spreadsheets and graphs. Our results were anticlimactic. We found no correlation between PSA levels and cadmium exposure.

What I Learned: Regardless of our null findings, the experience of working in the epidemiology department at HSPH was worth being stuck in the airport for six hours because of a flight cancellation. The experience enhanced my resume, but the opportunity of being in Boston was the best part. I fell in love with the city and I cannot wait to return to make it my home someday.