Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Andrew Heckroth Shares His Summer Experiences in Denver

Today I begin the last week of my eight-week internship in the Western History/Genealogy (WHG) Department at the Denver Public Library. It is hard for me to believe that this experience is almost over. Since I have been in Colorado with the Wartburg West interns and faculty, I have had some of the greatest memories in college with this group.
I have worked on a variety of projects in the WHG Department, as well as in the Archives Department at the Denver Public Library. My favorite project that I just completed last week was to take inventory on a great amount of materials from the Denver Parks and Recreation Department. While I looked through this collection, I was able to discover many different unique artifacts. Many of these artifacts were development plans for the City Park pavilion and bandstand from the 1990’s. Although others may find archival work boring, I enjoy it. Archives allow me to research how an individual or, in this case, a department of the City of Denver reached their goals through their different plans or works.
Outside of my internship, I enjoyed going to the Rocky Mountains on more than one occasion. While I was in the Rocky Mountains, I saw of the most beautiful scenery ever in my life. I was also fortunate to go on a three mile hike at Rocky Mountain National Park with other Wartburg West friends. And the city of Denver had been unbelievable! As a huge baseball fan, I personally enjoy watching the Colorado Rockies baseball team at their stadium, Coors Field, with other Wartburg students. I have been to a total of four games, and the Rockies won them all!

I am so happy that I was able to be a part of Wartburg West. It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made since I have been at Wartburg College.     

Monday, July 20, 2015

Read about Sophia Corpstein's amazing summer at Wartburg West!

Sunday July 19th – Summer at Wartburg West

It’s mind blowing to think that we have all been at Wartburg West for the past six weeks and that some (most) of us will be leaving in just two very, very short weeks. The time we have spent here has been incredible and breathtaking (because of the views and the altitude!). Many locals have confirmed that we have been getting “the full Colorado Summer Experience” while we have been here. We have had many adventures and have been fortunate to learn about our career of interest throughout this whole process.

This weekend was one filled with many activities for me and the girls I’ve grown close to out here. After working Monday-Thursday 9-5, it was nice to have Friday off and get to sleep in a bit. I spent Friday morning at the park and an outdoor pool with two of my girlfriends. Four of us got dressed up and went down to 16th Street Mall to get some necessities and have a “fancy dinner” before coming back and falling asleep quickly after our day in the sun. Saturday morning I was fortunate enough to get to have lunch with two of my aunts who live here in Colorado and my cousin who was visiting from Utah. After brunch, four of us girls went to The Fillmore Auditorium to wait for the Meghan Trainor concert. The concert was wonderful and everything we wanted it to be! We got pizza from Slice Works afterwards and that was spectacular. Today, Sunday, we woke up early and drove to Mt. Evans in hopes of conquering our first 14-er. Sadly, part of the road had fallen off of the mountain (what?! Scary!) so, we couldn’t drive to the trailhead. Instead, we decided to hike to The Chicago Lakes (the idea of going somewhere with a Midwest name was very appealing) which was much more work than expected! After sweating a ridiculous amount, maneuvering through all kinds of obstacles, trying not to fall into the mud bogs, and hopping through a boulder filed, we arrived at the ledge at the (almost) top of the mountain to eat our lunch. The view was incredible (the picture almost does it justice) and we were able to enjoy it for almost an hour before the rain started to come in. On the way down we faced the rain, the tricky task of finding our way out of the boulder field, very very very muddy parts of the trail, slippery rocks, and (craziest part) swollen fingers! Honestly our hands hurt so much because our fingers were HUGE. It was insane. We hiked 12.87 miles by the time we arrived safely back in Denver. We have been home for at least three hours and my legs are still aching. It’s an awesome reminder of the wonderful weekend we had—from standing in line and at the concert for 9 hours, to hiking almost 13 miles! It was a weekend filled with memories and just one of the many we have had while here in Colorado. We all love it here and are so happy that we have had this opportunity, but we will be okay with locking our door for the last time in two weeks. 

As I’ve said several times to people this past week, it’s entirely possible to be perfectly and completely happy with where you are, but still miss being somewhere else. We miss and love our homes in Iowa (and other states!) and will welcome the journey home with welcome arms and lots of snacks.

Audrey Cooper says "It feels good to be lost in the right direction."

Getting “lost” in Colorado is so incredibly easy to do. I’m not talking about just getting lost on the countless hikes or one way streets in downtown Denver, but also getting lost mentally, which is the one kind of “lost” I can actually appreciate. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I “grow up” (a genetic counselor), where I might end up going to grad school (Madison-Wisconsin), and ultimately where I would end up living for the rest of my life (Iowa!). Then Wartburg West and Colorado happened. I now am not sure I know exactly what I want to do with my life, and maybe I don’t want to stay as close to home as possible for future schooling or to live the rest of my life. However, as “lost” as I may feel at times, I still know that this state, and Wartburg West, is helping me move in the right direction.

My internship Wartburg West found for me is at St. Luke’s Presbyterian Hospital in the Health One Center for Maternal and Fetal Health. (It’s close enough to the apartments that I get to bike to work every day, which is another awesome experience that I do not want to ignore!) I am interning under a genetic counselor named Cathy Burson, and she and the other three ladies in the office have been incredible to me! Throughout my internship they have given me not only the opportunity to shadow Cathy and see the day in a life of a genetic counselor, but I have also been exposed to what a day of a patient coordinator might look like, multiple surgeries, watching neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses and doctors in action, ultrasound technicians showing families pictures of their unborn babies, being involved in weekly meetings, and working on projects that will be used to help enhance patient care. They have also put me in contact with other genetic counselors around the Denver area and I have had opportunities to meet and shadow them as well! At the end of the day, “working” here doesn’t really feel like work at all!
So maybe it is now obvious why knowing what I want to do when I grow up is not so clear to me anymore. I have been so lucky to have had the exposure to so many different, awesome practices in the medical field that I just feel like I want to do them all! However as I said before, I feel so blessed to have had this exposure now so that this experience can help me decide what I want to do with my future. Lost? Yes. In the right direction? Most certainly!