1998 Internships supported by Lilly Funds
American Rubber Products, LaPorte
Gentle Dental Care, Bluffton
Smith Barney, Lafayette
WTWO NewsChannel 2, Terre Haute
Red Barn Summer Theater, Frankfort
Mark W. Rutherford Law Offices, Indianapolis
Merrill Lynch, Ft. Wayne
R.R. Donnelly & Sons, Crawfordsville
Integrity Online, Indianapolis
Marion County Courts, Indianapolis
Polis Center, Indianapolis
First National Bank of Portland, Portland
IU School of Optometry, Indianapolis
Lamda Chi Alpha National Headquarters, Indianapolis
Dekko Investment Services, Kendallville
Black Insurance Agency, Albion
Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Indianapolis
Tom's Super Value, Ft. Wayne
Adult Probation Department, Evansville
Delta Tau Delta National Headquarters, Indianapolis
Macmillan Publishing, Indianapolis
Internships are designed to give students some hands-on experience in the working world, but Wabash interns are being given extraordinary responsibilities as they work for alumni--and they're rising to the task .
by Rob Herzog
They didn't expect to be working on a political case that
was making headlines. They didn't know they'd be the backbone of a start-up
Internet company, let alone providing economic forecasting for a small company
on the move. But Wabash students working as summer interns are doing just
that and more as Wabash alumni have stepped up to offer unusual responsibilities
to these men as part of the College's Lilly Indiana Career Development Internship
Indiana politics took a strange turn in May. The Democratic Party attempted to remove their own Congressional candidate for Indiana's sixth district from the ballot after media reports surfaced that he is a convicted felon and sometimes female impersonator.
It was a curious situation for the state Recount Commission, headed by Republican Secretary of State Sue Ann Gilroy, a native of Crawfordsville. The commission had to decide the validity of the Democratic Party's request to remove Bob Kern from the ballot. For two Wabash interns working in Gilroy's office, this situation was a window of opportunity.
Under the guidance of Todd Rokita '92, Legal Counsel to the Secretary of State, Mike Biberstine '00 and Mark Fryman '00 were involved at the top level of one of the strangest political situations in recent Indiana history.
"We ended up writing a lot of the orders that went out to recall voting materials for the Commission," says Biberstine, a psychology major from Ossian, Indiana. "I've always enjoyed reading about politics and government, but getting this behind-the-scenes view was pretty impressive." Fryman is a political science major from Greenwood, Indiana. The two were joined later in the summer by Keith Eberly '99 of North Manchester.
As the Kern story unfolded, Gilroy's office managed the recount commission activities. Rokita, a Lilly Scholar while at Wabash, kept Biberstine and Fryman in the loop from the beginning.
"We spent a lot of time in the Statehouse Law Library," says Fryman. "We were looking up statutes and finding out what laws apply where, and then incorporating that information into the documents being sent to the [Recount] Commission members."
"These guys are my right hand men," says Rokita. "Whatever I am working on, they are working on. It is a position of trust." That trust in the capabilities of these Wabash men has allowed Rokita to expand the role that interns play in his office. "The internship is what they make of it . . . and they are putting a lot into it."
Rokita hopes that the internship opportunities being offered by the College and through his office will have an impact on keeping talented graduates in Indiana.
"Secretary Gilroy gets told on a daily basis that the top talent is leaving the state. Our main constituency is business . . . and one of their main complaints to us is that we provide great educations for the people that go to school here, but we can't keep them here to work in corporate jobs."
Even before this summer's experience, Biberstine and Fryman had planned to pursue careers in Indiana, but the exposure to state government and the confidence they have gained may seal the deal. Both plan careers in law and possibly politics.
They've already gained a healthy perspective on the political
calling. "We've learned to differentiate what people say in government,
and what they mean, based on what party they are in," says Biberstine.
Such knowledge should serve them well in the working world.
From the Ground Up
Joel Harvey '99 and Tyree Givens '00 didn't know what to expect their first day on the job at Integrity Online. In fact, their supervisor, Scott Cougill '87, wasn't exactly sure what he was going to do with the two Wabash men. After all, he'd only been in business for about a week. Scott purchased the Boston-based Integrity Online franchise for Indiana in April and began operations in early June.
After careful consideration, Scott finally decided that he'd better demonstrate from day one how things work in a small start-up company. He had them assemble their desks.
Since then, Harvey and Givens have become a critical part of the business as Cougill attempts to carve out a niche in the Internet service provider market.
"We provide a cleaner, safer Internet," explains Cougill. Subscribers to Integrity Online receive filtered web browsing service, prohibiting access to pornographic, sexually suggestive, or offensive sites. "Within a certain community, the interest has been unbelievable. We've had a very good, very quick response . . . especially from ads on local Christian radio."
That quick response almost caught Cougill off guard. The first morning his ads ran on a local radio station, all of the office phone lines immediately lit up. The only staff member in the building had to scramble to answer all of the calls.
Now that the company is open for business, Harvey provides most of the customer support for new subscribers. Scott's brother, Drew, handles billing, and Givens is developing marketing materials for a key market segment-churches and community groups.
"I knew up front what Joel and Tyree were supposed to do . . . provide assistance to the office," Scott Cougill says. "But they are gifted in different ways. Joel is into highly detail-oriented PC stuff, while Tyree looks at things with an eye towards marketing."
Cougill not only appreciates the hard work Harvey and Givens have put into the company, but also the Lilly Internship Program at the College, which is funding the internships.
"Lilly matching funds sealed it for me. Having these two guys for the summer has allowed me to figure out what resources I need. After they leave I'll have a better idea about what type of person I need to hire full-time."
Neither Harvey nor Givens use the computer extensively at Wabash, except for e-mail and writing papers. But the fact that Joel now talks people through the process of signing onto the service, and Tyree writes materials marketing the advantages of Internet service speaks volumes about their Wabash experience. "We've gained a lot of problem- solving skills at Wabash," Tyree says. "We also have learned to communicate our ideas."
Harvey offers a bit of wisdom he has picked up in the first few weeks on the job. "I've learned that every customer feels that they are the most important. You have to let them think that if you want them to be happy with your service."
Givens' take on working with the company reflects his interest in the marketing side. "I've seen that there is a lot more to starting a new business than just having a good idea. You have to figure out how you are going to advertise this."
"I think this experience is going to be incredible for these guys," says Cougill. "Corporations really emphasize internships these days."
Now that he owns his own business, he feels that offering internship opportunities is something he can give back to the College. "I would hope other alumni would offer the same opportunities," he adds. "The College can not only sell these to attract more students, but provide a better experience for those already there."
Not Just Spinning His Wheels
A fortunate situation has arisen for Andy Thielking '89 and his partners. The phenomenal growth and the expanded business opportunities of their firm, Transwheel Corp., in Huntington, Ind., is forcing them to consider Transwheel's long-term growth. Normally, a company might consult with financial planners or investment bankers in this situation. Transwheel, a remanufacturer of automotive wheels, has brought in a Wabash intern.
"I initially didn't have any needs when [Wabash Director of Career Services] Robin Pebworth called me in the Spring about the new internship program at the College," says Thielking. "But I thought about it a little bit and came up with two specific projects in need of doing by someone with a college background and some computer skills." Pebworth sent him the resume of Jared Hall '99.
In the meantime, Hall, of Fort Wayne, was completing an off-campus study program in Philadelphia, interning at an investment bank. "After a semester working in an investment bank, Transwheel looked like a good opportunity to diversify my resume and look at business from a different perspective," says Hall. He plans to work in the securities industry after graduation next spring.
Since mid-May, Hall has been learning the Transwheel business. "I've already done a little economic forecasting for them," says Hall, taking advantage of his recent experience in Philadelphia. "Now [the owners] need to decide what they want to do with the information."
Working at Transwheel for the summer isn't all about business plans, however. In fact, Hall's first project is something that may have a more immediate impact for the company. The current "bible" of the aluminum wheel industry is a catalog called The Hollander Guide. It is a catalog of the approximately 2,500 commercially available aluminum wheels. The only problem is that with new automotive models, and subsequently new wheel styles, coming out year-round, the catalog is dated before it even goes to print.
With Hall's help, Transwheel hopes to change the way body shops, automotive dealers, and even automotive manufacturers conduct the remanufactured aluminum wheel business. Hall is training a couple of company employees to digitally catalog the images and specifications of every wheel style in Transwheel's inventory. The goal is an online database that is updated as soon as a new wheel comes on the market. When everything is completed, Transwheel will have distinct advantage over their competitor, Hollander. Transwheel clients and distributors will be able to access the database on the world wide web, and order wheels directly.
With the catalog well on its way, Thielking is pleased with the results of having a Wabash intern around. "Jared is a high energy person who likes to get involved," he says.
At the same time, Thielking has a healthy perspective on the goal of internships. More or less, "It's an opportunity for someone to find out what they are and aren't interested in." An opportunity that he is happy to provide.
For more information on the Lilly Indiana Career Internship
Program contact Assistant Director of Career Services Kim Vess Darst, at
765-361-6096 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org