WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Summer internships are the building blocks for professional development, providing invaluable experience to college students as they navigate to answer the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
This summer, Purdue wrestlers Jared Florell, Nate Limmex and Ben Thornton are doing just that. PurdueSports.com will be checking in with the trio periodically throughout the summer and sharing first-hand accounts from their internships.
Jared Florell / Freshman / Marketing
I am interning with the John R. Wooden Leadership Institute within Purdue Athletics. I am under the direction of Cathy Wright-Eger, the Leadership Advisor for Purdue Athletics. I am currently working on multiple projects including an annual report for Purdue Athletics for 2017-18. I am also working with Ms. Wright-Eger on different daily agendas and tasks.
It has been a goal of mine to gain professional work experience while being a student at Purdue. Through resources and classes at the Krannert School of Management, specifically the Business Opportunity Program (BOP), I had the knowledge and resources available to be able to apply, interview and work at a professional internship with Purdue Athletics.
I am excited to get to work in a professional environment in a place that I am passionate about. The internship gives me the opportunity to work on important projects within Purdue Athletics and the Purdue community as a whole.
One thing that I was surprised to learn about early into my internship was how much behind the scenes work goes into every Purdue Athletics event or program. It has given me an even deeper appreciation for the athletics program we have at Purdue as well as all of the coaches and staff members within Purdue Athletics. - Jared Florell
Nate Limmex / Redshirt Sophomore / Chemical Engineering
My internship is with Mead Johnson Nutrition in Evansville, Indiana. They produce Enfamil along with other brands of baby formula. I am working in quality control, specifically doing vitamin analysis. We run tests on the final products, which are either powders or ready to drink liquids as well as the vitamin premixes that go into the products.
Our lab comes up with the data for quality assurance to analyze and ensure the products have the specified amount of nutrients. There's about 10 or so tests that we run to measure all the different kinds of vitamins and samples and so far I've learned two of the tests and have helped out with others.
There is a lot of chemistry involved in the job and most of my co-workers are chemists or biochemists. I enjoy the chemistry aspect of the job, but as a chemical engineer, I think I'd like to do something more related to production with troubleshooting and the decision making involved. Regardless, I think this is a great opportunity. I'm learning lots of organizational skills and how to function in a team setting which will be helpful no matter what job I end up doing in the future. - Nate Limmex
Ben Thornton / Redshirt Junior / Movement & Sport Sciences
My internship takes place in La Crosse, Wisconsin, at Gundersen Health System. To clarify, the time I am spending at Gundersen is not necessarily an "internship" per se, but a better term for the work I am doing would be "observation hours."
I am aspiring to become a doctor of physical therapy, therefore, the first step in this process is applying to and being accepted into physical therapy programs after my undergraduate degree is completed at Purdue. However, in order to meet the prerequisites for many graduate physical therapy programs, it is required to obtain a large amount of observation hours, usually 40-120 hours depending on the program you are applying to.
A brief description of what goes on during my observation hours is I am usually paired up with a doctor of physical therapy (DPT). Throughout the day the DPT explains to me what he/she is doing with their patients and why they are approaching a specific patient in that way. I am always encouraged to ask questions and I am able to give certain input when/if the DPT allows me to do so. Each day I am usually paired with a different DPT to witness a variety of approaches that can be effective when dealing with different patients.
Being exposed to a very diverse array of clientele is my favorite part of my internship. It is interesting to see how different approaches are used for different clients. For example, different treatment plans are used for a 23-year-old collegiate student-athlete who is wanting to compete in his/her sport compared to a 74-year-old whose goal is to be able to successfully tie their shoes without pain. Being able to experience this vast difference in patients in just one day forces me to think critically and be on my toes at all times. - Ben Thornton