Thursday, June 25, 2015

Check Out Levi Endelman's Amazing Internship!

Greetings from Denver! My name is Levi Endelman and I’m a rising fourth year biochemistry and biology major out here at Wartburg West. My internship out here is with the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner (DOME) at Denver Health. My internship placement is unique in that I am the first Wartburg student (and potentially the first Iowan) to intern at the medical examiner’s office.
I am just beginning my third week at my internship and I love it. My duties include assisting with all of the daily operations of the morgue and, when there are cases to be completed, I assist with autopsies and external examinations. I’ve learned how to do everything from forensic photography to fingerprinting to drawing vitreous humor samples (if you want to know what that is, look it up; I won’t put it here for the sake of people who don’t want to know what that involves). In the next couple of weeks I will also be taught how to properly open the skull cap during an autopsy in order to remove the brain, brain stem, and pituitary gland to aid in the determination of the cause of death.
Thus far, this internship has been everything I had hoped it would be and more. I am one of about twelve interns that rotate through every few days. I work 3-4 days per week for 8.5-11 hours per day. This internship has allowed me to apply several of the things that I have learned in my anatomy and physiology and biochemistry classes at Wartburg. The learning pace at this internship has been extremely fast, but I have felt well equipped to handle it. I have felt very welcomed at this internship and the technicians who supervise us interns are absolutely phenomenal people.
. I am in the process of applying to another internship at the medical examiner’s office in Boulder County to the northwest where I will be doing approximately the same thing. This will push my weekly time commitment to somewhere around 40-55 hours per week, which I think is awesome as I want to capitalize upon the opportunities out here while I can. I’m enjoying myself and my internship.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Read About Kaitlyn's Exciting Internship at Wartburg West

            Hello everyone! My name is Kaitlyn Williams and my internship placement for the summer is at Denver’s Department of Environmental Health focusing mostly on water quality and mosquito control. So far, my biggest project has been community outreach. I’m working on creating plans so that the community can know everything Denver is doing. A big part of this is taking scientific documents and translating them to a language someone with no scientific background can understand. I find this particularly exciting because it’s a great combination of my chemistry and communications majors!
            I think the best part of my internship was yesterday. I got to go up to Summit Lake which is very close to the peak of Mount Evans. There I assisted and was trained on taking samples. It was absolutely gorgeous weather and the view was amazing. We were watching the snow melt off the peak and run into the water we were sampling. On the way down we even got to see a pack of sheep running. I can’t believe how lucky I am to get to do things like that for my internship.
            Denver itself is absolutely amazing. I love that I’m able to do so many different things whether it's attending that weekend’s festival, going hiking, or eating dinner at a piano bar with friends. Wartburg West is an experience I will never forget and I’m having such a good time. I’m very glad I came out to Denver this summer.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

8 things I’ve learned from my first internship - Elizabeth Jewitt

As my amazing internship at The Denver Center for the Performing Arts comes to an close this Thursday, I took some time to reflect on everything I have learned in these short three months. For myself and the countless others preparing for summer internships, here are 8 things I’ve learned from my first internship that might save you the trouble of figuring them out yourselves.

#1 Ask Questions!

As an intern, your employer doesn’t expect you to know everything. I was so nervous to keep going to my supervisor with questions the first few weeks, especially when I was still learning the ropes of the company. I didn’t want to be a bother, but I knew that asking questions was better than wasting time at my desk and trying to figure everything out on my own. While it is great to show independence and the ability to figure out issues on your own, know when to ask for help. An internship is supposed to be a learning experience, so don’t be afraid to ask away!

#2 Take Initiative

One of the biggest things that an employer looks for is initiative. Are you willing to come in at 6:00 am to help with a news story? Are you willing to come in on a Saturday? How do you handle down time, or not having many things to do? Do you scroll on your phone, or do you ask for more work, or another project? It’s opportunities such as these to show your supervisor that you want to be there. Also keep in mind that the company you work for as an intern could be the company that you apply for after college. Make those connections and have your employer remember you as the driven and motivated intern.

#3 Stay Busy

One of the biggest issues I had at the beginning of my internship was staying busy. It was a bit of a unique situation on my part; my employer was expecting a video intern instead of a communications intern (me). This resulted in a bit of a scramble to find projects for me to work on for the first few weeks. In that time I found myself sitting at my desk more than I would have liked. I then started to ask other co-workers in my department if they needed any help with anything, and in turn, had the opportunity to work on some pretty cool projects.

#4 Don’t Be Put Off By “Small” Tasks

The little things like scanning news articles and filing the designer’s old projects needs to get done, and if you have the free time, offer to help. It will show initiative and will be helping out another co-worker tremendously. Sometimes the small tasks given to you by your employer are somewhat of a litmus test. Accept them with grace and prove that you are a valuable to the team and capable of more challenging work.

#5 Talk to Your Co-Workers

As much as you might want to focus on your work and hide in your cubicle, don’t! Every one of your co-workers was in your shoes at one point, and would love to talk about their experiences in the field, and how they got to where they are today. I share an office with Dave, the on-site videographer, and got into a great conversation about how he got to where he is today. He actually went to school to be a lawyer, and after that didn’t work out, he taught himself how to use video editing software and eventually made a career out of it. Just be sure to not be TOO chatty. Everyone still needs to get their work done in a timely manner.

#6 Speak Up!

As easy as it is to only do the work given to you, every once in a while take a step back and think of what you can personally do for the company. In my case there were a few instances where I had a few story ideas that I pitched to my supervisor. She encouraged me to move forward with the idea, and it turned into a huge collaboration piece! Link to the story here.

#7 Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Although I am a communications major and communicating with people from all walks of life is my job, talking to new clients, or even new co-workers makes me nervous. There were instances when I had to interview a drag queen or a Broadway actor, and it turned out to be an absolute blast and something that I would never forget. If I wouldn’t have stepped out of my comfort zone, none of these things would have happened, and it would have been my loss.

#8 Remember to Say Thank You

At the end of your internship, be sure to say thank you! It can be as simple as an email on the last day, or as elaborate as a thank you video. In my case, I plan on writing thank you notes for all of my co-workers. My suitemate Jeanne Edson wrote a great blog post about The Art of the Thank You Note and how to make it meaningful and not generic. Be sure to include everyone that you worked with, and even the security guard at the front desk. A small gesture such as a thank you note can go a long way in brightening someone’s day and making them feel appreciated.

As summer approaches, and those lucky individuals who have already landed an internship (Congrats! That’s a huge accomplishment in itself!) start to work in a professional environment, hopefully these mini lessons will put you a step ahead of the rest!
And to those still searching for that perfect summer internship, (myself included) GOOD LUCK!!!

School: A Safe Haven - Elli Parker

My name is Elli Parker and I am a senior Elementary Education major from New Hartford, IA. Before coming to Denver to complete my student teaching experience, I didn’t realize what a luxurious lifestyle I lived. I have a working vehicle, an education, supportive parents, food to eat, and a place that I call home. This may not sound extravagant to many, but compared to some of my students at Tennyson Knolls Elementary, I am living a life of luxury. In the small Iowa community that I grew up in, my classmates and I all had very similar upbringings; middle class white families from a small supportive community in rural Iowa. This is not the case in Arvada, however, where many of my students come from poverty-stricken dysfunctional homes.
It didn’t take long for me to realize some of the adversity that my students faced every day. Whether my cooperating teacher, Stacey, told me directly about specific situations, my students told me stories, or I saw a student struggling to communicate because of a language barrier, it was obvious to me that these kids dealt with hardships on a daily basis. The most common issue in my classroom, and the entire school, is language. Many students came straight from Mexico to Denver and spoke little to no English. Some have been here for a year or more, but others have only been in the U.S. for weeks or months. A few of my students do not have cars, so if they miss the bus, they have no way of coming to school. One of my students has missed 42 total days of school this year. All of the students in the school receive free breakfast, lunch, and snack, and two of the students in my class take a backpack home every weekend filled with food. Another very common issue is moving. Students often talk about moving from house to house, apartment to apartment, or moving in with family members.

After reading this, you may envision my classroom or school as somewhat of a depressing environment. Surprisingly, this is not the case at all. I am amazed every day at how positive, funny, and hard working my students are. School is definitely a safe haven for many of them; a place of structure and stability that many of them do not get at home. Students who speak little English are able to rely on bilingual classmates who graciously translate when needed. These children have truly touched my heart, and I look forward to coming to school every day. Wartburg West has allowed me to experience a lifestyle and diverse experience that would have never been possible had I not participated in this program. I am so thankful for the time I was able to spend in Denver and lives that I was hopefully able to touch in the classroom.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Living My Learning - Lauren Rieck

Coming from a town with less than 1,000 people and working in a town with less than 200, I was a little apprehensive about making the decision to spend a whole semester in Denver, CO. I knew the change from a small, rural town to a metro area was going to be drastic. My first day of driving into Denver was a sensory overload. The amount of traffic and buildings is something I have never experienced before. I knew it was going to take time to adjust to a new way of living in a metro area. However, the Wartburg West program has been one of the best decisions I have made since coming to Wartburg and has expanded my views on the many different aspects of living in a city.
            One perception that has changed since living in Denver, is regarding individuals that experience unstable living conditions (homeless). Coming from a small town that hardly ever sees a homeless individual, was a great shock to me when in Denver you usually see one of these situations on every block. My perception of these individuals changed greatly through my Community Engagement Project. I volunteered at a restaurant in our neighborhood known as SAME Café. SAME Café serves a menu of soup, salad, and pizza from local, organic products. They also only accept payments fair to the individual’s budget or a half-hour of their time to volunteer in the café. Through this experience, I met and worked alongside with many individuals that had unstable living situations and came to SAME Café often to receive a nutritious meal that was a luxury for them. One particular story that stood out greatly to me, was a man that visited SAME Café often and always enjoyed being able to interact with people while volunteering in exchange for his meal. After working alongside of him, I learned he use to hold a career in the restaurant industry until experiencing job cuts. He told me how much he enjoyed coming to SAME Café as much as possible just so he could spend a few minutes back in an industry he had so much passion for. These experiences at SAME Café really opened my eyes to many individuals that have unstable living situations do want to have stable lives but often do not require the resources needed to get them back on their feet.

            The Wartburg West program has truly been an experience of “living my learning”, has grown me as a person and will be one of the greatest highlights of my college career.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sustainability in the City - Mercedes Chambers

             Recently I’ve noticed the efforts of sustainability in the metro area and I feel bad because the most I do to help sustain our earth is to use the same bag when I go to the grocery store.  I have recently read the article “The Company We Keep” which is in the Conspire “Green Revolution” magazine edition.  The author of the article, Lenore Yarger, expressed how she never thought much about sustainability until she met someone that used composting toilets.  She never thought much about them until she became adapted to being around them more and learned how helpful they are to the environment. 
                This story of Lenore and the composting toilets reminds me of an experience that I have had while living in the city.  I am from a rural town in Southeast Iowa where we have to drive everywhere to get to one point or another.  When I came out here I did not bring my car and I was having a hard time dealing with this.  I soon noticed that a ton of people in the Capitol Hill area walk to work or take the bus.   When I first started riding the bus I was very nervous, I did not know public transportation very well and was a little uncomfortable just not driving myself.  Soon I saw two young women who were about my age get on the bus.  I soon realized that just because I never really thought about taking the bus or walking, I just never was given the opportunity and it should not be scary.

                So similar to Lenore Yarger’s article “The Company We Keep” and the composting toilets (which she now owns) that just because an idea is new, should not be shut down completely, new experiences give us different outlooks and the company that we keep very much influence those outlooks.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Advantages of Living in a Big City - Samantha Wipperman

Blog Post Week 9
Advantages of Living in a Big City
            Coming from a decently sized Metropolitan area in Iowa I thought I was prepared for practically everything that would happen in a city the size of Denver.  In some respects I was prepared for the number of people that I would encounter daily but besides that Denver has surprised me in many ways. On the day we arrived to the city we were welcomed by rush hour. Not the best welcome but one of the essential experiences of living in the city. Due to this first experience I have walked to work everyday. It is a great way to start the day and gives time to think and wind down at the end of the day.
             Most people would see this traffic as a disadvantage; but I find it something different entirely.  This traffic forces you to walk around the city and really experience the culture, the people and the amazing places you would never see driving by in a car. This is something I would encourage any city dweller to do. Get out of your home and experience all of the great things that a city has to offer. In doing this I have been to some of the best restaurants I have ever been to. Many of which are small and unnoticeable when driving by in a car. Specifically, Emilio’s served some of the best Mexican food. Beyond this there are pizza, hot dog and breakfast places that are some of the best places to eat but would never be noticed if it weren’t for the people who take the time to walk down the street. 
            Once you have made it out on to the street and taken the time to go into that ‘hole in the wall’ restaurant I encourage you to do something else. Talk to the people that are on the street. Not only will it make their day, but also, it will teach you about the resiliency and love that people have for one another. Everyone has his or her own story and each one is unique, interesting and amazing. I encourage you to do this due to several experiences of my own. Walking down the street I was stopped at a crosswalk by an older gentleman who was nearly blind. He needed help to get across the street. Once I had finished helping this man he turned to me, asked my name and then proceeded to tell me he would pray for me that day.
             For class, we were also required to attend the Point in Time Survey, which asks questions about how long and why those people who live on the streets are homeless. Specifically, I came across one man who had just returned to Denver from visiting his one-year-old, twin grandsons. He was a very proud man that worked a full time job but just couldn’t afford a place to live. This is just one of many interviews I conducted that really changed the way I look at those who are homeless. It is nothing like the stereotype; which is why I encourage you to take the time to get to know these people. It will make their day to have a simple conversation with you.
            Each city has its own specialty, Chicago has its hot dogs, San Diego their burritos and Denver their outdoor activities and breweries. Hiking, skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling are just a few of the activities I would encourage any visitor to the city to take advantage of. I went out to a place called Deer Creek Canyon, just a thirty-minute drive from the city, to hike and spent one of the best days, with the best views of both the city and the wilderness that surrounds Denver. It was an amazing experience that you won’t have any other place but Denver. I have also learned to ski while in Denver and taken a few trips to the mountains not far outside of the city. Whether you are a pro or just a beginner it is worth the day to try it out.
            Finally, Denver has a crazy fan base for their sports teams. Especially the Broncos and the Avalanche. Unfortunately, I was unable to make it to a Broncos game but I was able to make it to an Avalanche hockey game. They play in the Pepsi Center downtown and it is sold out almost every game. It was a game and an experience I will cherish and will certainly take the time to do again.  Going to a game has gotten me interested in the sport of hockey and more passionate about the city that I live in.
            Over the past few months I have learned a great deal about Colorado, Denver, city living and about myself. The city is a great place to find out who you want to be and where you want to go in life.  While also learning about the way other people live. Being in an apartment setting has allowed for me to get to know the other students in the building and gives us a great opportunity to learn and explore together. Whether you are a current student at Wartburg or someone who has graduated, I would encourage you to take the chance a move to a city. Even if it is just for a little while; whether you like it or not you will learn a great deal. It is something you will never forget.