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 22, 2016

Kris Crews '17 - 1girl

Name: Kris Crews
Class Year: 2017
Major: Journalism and Media Communications
Internship Organization: 1girl
Location: Columbus, OH (near OSU)

Intern Responsibilities: I was a research and writing intern, as well as a facilitator/mentor for young girls at the Salvation Army. For the research and writing part of my internship, I wrote new articles for 1girl’s blog, researched potential organizations and individuals that might be interested in supporting 1girl, wrote grants and posted on 1girl’s social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to keep readers and subscribers up to date about events and news.

At the Salvation Army I was a facilitator/mentor for young girls at an after school program. We coordinated different activities with the girls that taught them the importance of leadership and education. We worked on social skills, talked about leadership and entrepreneurship, goal setting, establishing confidence, addressing conflicts, developing critical thinking skills, and identifying action items.

What I Learned: It was so incredible working with the young girls at the after school program. It became clearer to me how important education is and how vital it is for girls in the younger generation to understand that they can be leaders and do amazing things. A lot of the girls didn’t have much confidence coming into the program and were very shy, but after working with them their personalities began to blossom and they began to believe in themselves. Overall, my experience as a 1girl intern was incredible. I learned so much not only about writing and researching, but also about what it means to be a leader.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Darrien Kinsman '18 - Malabar Farm State Park

Darrien Kinsman
Class Year: 2018 
Major: Biology
Hometown: Mount Vernon, OH
Internship Site: Malabar Farm State Park
Location: Lucas, OH

Internship Responsibilities: Our task was to implement educational programs based on what the park has to offer. The number one priority was the Farm Fun Day in August. The goal was to educate incoming children about what goes on at the farm. The other intern and I worked together to create "The Cheeseburger Activity," where we set up four stations representing the meat, the dairy, the grains, and the vegetables. Each station had its own activity, which we also created, to demonstrate where each part of the cheeseburger comes from. After the children completed each station, they received a cut out of that portion of the cheeseburger to glue to their piece of paper, which would result in a finished (paper) cheeseburger after all four stations. The Cheeseburger Activity was a tremendous hit, and I was very proud of our success. Watching the groups of children come in and be excited to learn was exactly what we were hoping for.

My second goal was to create a program related to the herb garden. The first step I took was constructing a new pamphlet providing information about all of the herbs being grown, including what they are commonly used for and why they are important. The program will consist of providing a weekly or bi-weekly that will be taught by park volunteers, demonstrating how to cook/utilize the herbs. Each class will focus on a different herb, and the finished product (which would typically be food) could be sampled by those who attend. 

What I Learned: My internship at Malabar Farm was such an amazing experience. I worked with inspiring people, learned so many new things, and was able to accomplish my goals. I am very honored to have been selected for this internship opportunity. The experience is sure to help me in my future. I feel as though I have grown into a stronger student as well. I plan to revisit Malabar in the future, and I hope there will be additional opportunities in store there for me.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Adam Sullivan '17 - State Auto Insurance Companies

Name: Adam Sullivan (front row, left)
Class Year: 2017
Major: Mathematics
Hometown: Louisville, Ohio
Internship: State Auto Insurance Companies 
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Photo Description: This photo was taken toward the end of my internship after I had spent time in each of my rotations. All of these individuals are Otterbein alumni that I met during my experience with State Auto, and I spent time working side by side with and reporting to many of them. 

Internship Responsibilities: The position that I held with State Auto was the role of a Rotational Intern. This was a very unique internship because, rather than being assigned to one role for a specific department last summer, I was able to learn about the entire insurance industry and experience first hand five of the departments that make up State Auto Insurance Companies. These included working with the Actuarial group for Personal Lines Home Insurance, Personal Lines Product Management, Personal Lines Underwriting, Business Insurance Underwriting, and State Auto University, which is a group that helps continue the education of State Auto employees and allows them to obtain designations both professionally and within the company. While working with these different groups I received multiple projects that involved big data gathering, organizing, and representing using Microsoft Excel and other data analytics software that would serve as the foundation of future projects. I attended multiple team and inter-departmental meetings throughout my ten weeks with State Auto, allowing me to grow my understanding of how corporate meetings are run and the ability of different groups to join together to create a product, along with their ability to adjust on little time notice as State Auto made a transition to a new CEO throughout the summer.

What I Learned: Obtaining this style of internship that allowed me to experience these different environments vastly increased my abilities to communicate with others on both a social and professional level. The last, and possibly most effective, part of my internship was being able to develop mentor relationships that I will certainly continue throughout this school year, and the other individuals that I met all made me feel very welcome and useful for the company. For these two reasons specifically, I firmly believe that State Auto Insurance Companies has a great future and I would love to have the opportunity to work with them again.

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.