Photo courtesy of mapsoftheworld.com
By Mandy Moe Pwint Tu
William Merriman (C’19) has had a hectic semester. While juggling five classes, extracurricular activities, and playing for the Sewanee men’s soccer team, the Carey Fellow applied for and secured a semester-long spring internship that will significantly aid his postgraduate career.
“It was crazy,” said Merriman. “It’s been the hardest semester of my college career. But now that soccer is over, and I have the internship secured, looking back, it was pretty fulfilling because I put in a lot of meaningful work.”
Every year, junior Carey Fellows, Sewanee’s pre-business honors program, pursue an off-campus internship to develop marketable skills and get a taste of real-world professional experience. Now, after seeking internships, writing cover letters, and arranging and conducting interviews, the Carey Fellows are ready embark on their respective internships next semester.
Merriman will be working in business development at Sonim Technologies in San Mateo, California, which specializes in building indestructible cell phones for workers in hazardous environments. Merriman’s job will involve building upon existing customer relations and pursuing new clients. As someone who has lived in the South for most of his life, he eagerly anticipates living in a city like San Francisco.
“I’m really excited about testing my comfort zones,” he says. “Having the chance to work a job and put sincere effort into something that’s not academic is going to be a neat switch and a fresh look at how I can exert myself and work hard.”
Dayla LaRoque (C’19) and Cole Porter (C’19) share his sentiments. LaRoque will be working at Blue Canyon Partners, a consulting firm in Chicago, and Porter will be in New York City, working with an advertising firm called Walrus, which specializes in intelligent and eccentric ad campaigns. Conducting market and company research, Porter will be working with Walrus’s public relations department.
“I’ve always been fascinated by advertisements, especially the stranger ones, so I’m just looking forward to being able to see the inner workings of the advertising industry,” Porter said.
LaRoque will help Blue Canyon develop its growth strategy, a prospect she is looking forward to, along with learning how to pay rent and navigating public transportation. Other Carey Fellows Sam Kern (C’19) and Komal Kunwar (C’19) will both be in Atlanta in the spring semester. Kern will be working at Springbot, a startup marketing company, and Kunwar will be working as a strategic intern at Bright House, a global creative consultancy. Megan Sweeting (C’19) will be in Charlotte, working with Capitala Investment Group. Henry Hanks (C’19), like Porter, will be in New York City, working as a data intern with Ziff Davis; Julie Glenn (C’19) will be with LocumTenens in Alpharetta, Georgia; while Mary McCaghren (C’19) will be in Coconut Creek, Florida, interning for Motionpoint, a company that translates, deploys, and operates multilingual websites.
Individually, each Carey Fellow applied for eight internships at the start of September and were all employed by mid-October. David Shipps (C’88), the director for the Babson Center for Global Commerce, made a point to ensure that the junior Carey Fellows had as many opportunities available to them as possible.
“My goal was to create more options with a broad spectrum of companies like software companies, internet start-ups, digital media organizations, and advertising agencies,” says Shipps.
Many of the internships—like Porter’s and LaRoque’s—are offered by Sewanee alumni who understand that the semester-long internship is vital to the Carey Fellows program. Because most companies do not have winter or spring internships, the Sewanee network has proved invaluable to the Babson Center.
“When you have a Sewanee ‘in,’” said LaRoque, whose CEO is a Sewanee alum, “it just opens everything else.”
Shipps has endeavored to seek internships through his own non-Sewanee network. Because such companies may not be familiar with Sewanee, he believes that these internships will offer another layer of accountability for the students undertaking them. These students will be these companies’ first point of contact, and it will be up to the Carey Fellows to represent Sewanee in their respective internships.
“The value that the companies are placing is going to be on who the student is and how they contribute,” he says. “And I think that’s exactly how it should be.”
For most of the junior Carey Fellows, this will be their first time living alone and navigating a new city by themselves while working full time. However, they are each prepared to take on whatever obstacles they may face and are looking forward to learning and growing from the experience that the Carey Fellows program has offered them.
“I’m most excited to see the person I am at the end of this,” says LaRoque. “In four months, what am I going to look like? Who am I going to be?”