Anticipation and The District

Anticipation and The District

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Most students started the semester January 9, but I won’t be starting mine until January 23. That’s right, my break is two weeks longer. However, and unfortunately, this extension has not been as great as I had expected.

(Is the moon really that much bigger in DC?)

I’ll be traveling to our Nation’s Capitol to begin my semester as I’ll be participating in a program most of you may have heard about before, The Washington Center (TWC). Through TWC, I’ll be interning with my friend and colleague (and fellow classmate at Mount), Ben Hartwell. Our internship will be through a leading lobbying firm located on Capitol Hill called the Potomac Advocates. This firm deals with national defense and security, and works through some familiar branches such as Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, CIA and NASA. I’ll also be taking a class once a week called Road to the White House: Politics, Media, and the American Presidency. I’m particularly excited about this because it’s a partnership with C-SPAN, which I’m sure most of you watch on a daily basis. We’ll have exclusive access to interviews with candidates and some of the other big players on the campaign trail. I’ll also be on C-SPAN repping Mount Union and TWC … so stay tuned. Considering the political climate during election season in which I’ll be face-to-face with, I can’t imagine having a dull moment being so close and involved with the campaign as it develops and takes shape around me.

With all this impending excitement, I’m also getting very anxious. And since my break is extended, that only means that I’ll have two more weeks to sit around in quiet contemplation about my forthcoming experience, two more weeks to try and find things to do to fill my time (mostly unsuccessful) and two more weeks to procrastinate all the things I need to be doing in preparation. In other words, I’m a bit nervous about taking on the big city though. But at the same time, I’m very excited and couldn’t imagine not doing it. In fact, I’m very thankful that I am able to have this opportunity and even more thankful for those who have helped me along the way. Among those who have been instrumental in this process are those at the Ralph and Mary Regula Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement, Office of Career Development (this office is a must for any post-graduate career), my professors and of course, my family. This is definitely not a one-man-show and I couldn’t possibly do it without the help and encouragement of others.

By sharing my experiences through this blog I hope to accomplish primarily two things. The first is to highlight the usefulness of the resources available to us on campus and the many different paths to which it can lead. If anyone is at all interested in public service or civic engagement, then your first stop should be to the Regula Center. Even if your career goals involve the private sector, this office still remains useful. Hence, my internship meshes both the private and public sector together. Lastly, I hope that by sharing my experiences it will genuinely excite others to pursue their own career goals by taking a crucial step forward – even if this involves stepping out of one’s comfort zone … as the rewards will far outweigh costs.

My Internship at TerraCycle

My Internship at TerraCycle

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I posted in my first blog about some of the cool jobs and internships I have been fortunate to have. I wanted to take the time and talk about my most previous internship in the business development department at TerraCycle this past summer. I moved out to Trenton, New Jersey to work for a company that is simply eliminating the idea of waste. CEO Tom Szaky, from his book Revolution in a Bottle, says it best that “in looking at waste as an entirely modern, man-made idea, I stopped viewing garbage as garbage and instead slowly started to see it as a commodity.” The private company’s goal is to engage consumers and communities in the collection of non-recyclable waste, things that you ordinarily cannot throw away into a recycling bin. Through a collection process, or Brigade™, consumers can send in their used products to TerraCycle where they will transform the waste into eco-products. They also incentivize the collections by rewarding consumers with $0.02 per item to a charity or school of their choice. This is able to close an environmental loop for brand’s consumers, and help them realize that there is an end of life decision for all the products they are using.

From corks, cameras, cell phones, any sort of packaging, pre-consumer waste, shoes, diapers, energy bars, pens to yogurt containers, TerraCycle handles them all. They are very proud to say that they have not yet encountered a form of waste in which they can’t handle. Also, the whole Trenton office is upcycled featured conference rooms made from bottle walls and reclaimed doors used for desks (the office was voted the “Coolest in America.”). Some of their more successful products can be found in Walmart and the Home Depot like the Capri Sun backpack and the garbage cans made from 1,500 Frito-Lay bags. Next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to look at the back of a Capri Sun box!

By being a part of the business development team it was my duty to research and reach out to prospective brands to sponsor a specific Brigade™ or waste stream. Some of the companies that I was on conference calls and in contact with were Adidas, Puma, Mary’s Gone Cracker, ReBounces and KEEN Footwear. I actually helped facilitate and close a deal for ReBounces where TerraCycle will collect and reuse tennis balls. This was truly an amazing experience and I learned valuable skills like brand management, business etiquette and abstract thinking. An internship experience is a great way to help someone better understand and mature in a real world business environment. I also was able to explore the east coast, a place unfamiliar to me. It was fun to go to Times Square, Philadelphia for the 4th of July, and different beaches along the coast as well as go surfing. I actually was able to surprisingly see P Diddy and the Jersey Shore cast on two different occasions!

If it wasn’t for some of the classes I took at Mount Union, I may have not been able to land the internship. There are several courses in the Department of Economics, Accounting and Business Administration offered like life and career plans that helped me construct proper resumes, cover letters, references, acceptance letters and allowed me to participate in mock interviews. I found the internship online, and all the tools I learned in class were put into use. I really loved working for an eco-capitalist company, and I hope to implement some of the ideas here at Mount Union. Maybe one day our campus will be completely off of waste!

How many days until Opening Day?

How many days until Opening Day?

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Second semester is almost over — can you believe it? I know I mentioned in one of my previous blogs how shocked I was that it was already spring break… pfft, spring break already feels like forever ago. Since then, I celebrated my 21st birthday, St. Patrick’s Day and a bunch of other fun stuff in between.

As if this beautiful spring weather isn’t getting me excited already for summer, imagine going down to Progressive Field and enjoying it up close and personal.I’ve mentioned to you before how I am a huge Indians fan and how I even interned with the organization last summer. Well, what I didn’t tell you is how long  I’ve been involved with the Tribe.A few years ago I started working at Southpark Mall at the Cleveland Indians Team Shop where I sold merchandise as well as single game tickets. Now, working in retail really wasn’t my thing, but I met some great people which really opened doors for me. So, as you know, I scored myself an awesome internship last summer and I didn’t want my experience to end there. My supervisor last summer told me to try to get in as many doors as possible down at Progressive — I had already worked in merchandise and creative services, what was next?I signed up to take a class here at Mount (the one I told you in my last blog about the sponsorship proposal) and one of our side projects is to be a part of the ticket sales team! We were able to skip a day of classes and head to downtown Cleveland to visit the ballpark and get some inside training on how to be a “Grade A” ticket salesperson. Now, during this whole semester, we’re working with the Tribe’s sales team and trying to sell tickets for this season!So, now I have stepped into three doors with the Indians… but guess what… it doesn’t stop there.Last fall I applied to be in the Fun Bunch — those awesome people who run around at games promoting the team. As my luck had it, I scored a position with the team and got to work at Snow Days (haven’t heard of it? google it!) over Christmas break and had a blast. We also had the opportunity to work several outside events including the mall tour the team went on. I loved it!Once the season starts (April 1), I will be able to start working games. Let’s just say this summer is going to be awesome. I actually went down today for day one of my training (that’s what I was talking about earlier — up close and personal!) The smell of spring just reminds me of baseball season and I cannot wait to spend my summer nights at the ballpark!-samantha