Friday, July 31, 2015

Dan Gunther '16 @ AT&T

The first day of my externship at AT&T was highly informative due to the action-packed schedule that Jack Duffy set up for us for this week. When we arrived at the AT&T campus in the morning, Jack greeted all of us and discussed his job responsibilities as well as the projects that AT&T is currently working on. Next, Scott Martin remotely joined our session. He is involved with AT&T's Convention Project (which Jack will be involved with next summer) and he told us about AT&T's role in providing cellular/data service for the Republican/Democratic conventions. We then spoke with two AT&T recruiters located in AT&T's Atlanta office through a Telepresence meeting. These recruiters gave us a lot of valuable information about the Business Sales Leadership Development Program that I plan on applying to.

Commuting to the externship was very simple because I only live about 20 minutes away from AT&T's Bedminster office. I did not know much about sales before this externship but even after my first day of the externship, I felt like my view of sales became much more positive.

On Tuesday, we started the day off by watching AT&T Leadership Presentations, in which the speakers in these videos spoke about how AT&T's technology (specifically, cloud computing) is constantly developing and becoming far more reliable for businesses to use. We were also able to tour the GNOC (Global Network Operations Center), which I thought was a tremendous experience. At the GNOC, employees at AT&T are able to monitor live network activity taking place around the world and adapt the AT&T network to address immediate capacity and security needs before they affect day-to-day business in locations around the world. Personally, I thought that this was the coolest aspect of the externship thus far. After touring the GNOC, we received career advice from Gettysburg alum Roy Hilliard as well as Jill Reardon (North East Regional Vice President).

We spoke with the most influential speaker of the entire week on Wednesday: Chris Irwin-Dudek, who works in the Sales Communications and Marketing division of AT&T. He essentially read through an anonymous list of details he was able to pick up from all of our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter), and everyone knew when he was reading details from their profiles. This session was particularly alarming because it showed how even when you think your social media accounts may be private and blocked from potential companies that may be hiring you, they often display plenty of embarrassing information and it is very important to monitor how you represent yourself on social media. This session with Chris influenced me to make changes to the privacy settings of my Facebook account the second I got home that day.

My last day at AT&T was very enjoyable and just as informative as the previous three days. We started the day off by meeting with a current student intern with AT&T. During this session, she led a game of Jeopardy with questions about NJ history and AT&T history that the externs all played. This was done in order to show how the NJ i2i project has been an effective method of making the NJ AT&T office a desired place to work in comparison to some of AT&T's other locations. We then met with two people from the Network Ops Centers, where they led a complex talk about AT&T's technology. Although a lot of what they talked about was pretty complicated, I still found it very interesting. After this talk, we spoke with two executives that were very high up in AT&T's chain of command (one of them had the 12th highest ranked position within all of AT&T). We concluded the day by speaking with Jack Duffy again. He gave us some valuable career advice to take from this week, even if we weren't planning on applying to a program with AT&T for next summer. I had a great time externing with AT&T this week and I would encourage current Gettysburg students from all educational backgrounds to consider applying for this program next year if it is still available.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Eileen Gazzola - Early Music America at the Young Performers Festival

This photo was taken the first day of my externship with Early Music America at the Young Performers Festival. This picture was taken as my host, Ann Felter, was introducing the University of North Texas. This was a very exciting day because I was introduced to a whole other world of music. Before the concert began there were many things that had to get done. I helped tape and hang up posters, obtain signatures for the photo and video release form, and set up any other things for the start of the show. Before the concert began I had a chance to grab three students to conduct an interview. The question I asked them was: “What does it mean to be a part of the Young Performers Festival?” This question yielded responses such as “a great way to explore the avenues of early music” and “a good way to get your name out there.” Shortly after the concert began I watched as I took photographs such as this one. The concert lasted for about an hour and I watched from the balcony as I observed all the different instruments. The concert consisted of vocals and an orchestra ensemble. I learned of a new instrument named the harpsichord, which looks vaguely like a piano. When the concert was over we conducted one more interview with two international students. Brandon, whom I mostly worked alongside during this externship, asked the questions. He asked how their performance they have been practicing has changed from the start of practicing in Texas to the final performance in Boston. They each said that their mood and what kind of day they were having affected their quality of performance during practice, but since then they have figured out their flaws and worked on them to produce a performance they were proud of in Boston. They each told us how fortunate they were to be able to travel from the University of Texas to Boston to perform for an audience who wants to listen to it! It was a great first day learning about early music and how this festival is organized.
This photo was taken on my second day of my externship. This picture is of Brandon interviewing three students who performed Les Plaisirs de Versailles. These students were from the Oberlin Conservatory. They were the second concert of the day, after Peabody Conservatory. Earlier that morning I was at the Marriott Courtyard where they held the exhibition for the Boston Early Music Festival. Here I set up a table of pamphlets and magazines for those who were interested in learning about Early Music America, and encouraged people to subscribe to the magazine. I met a lot of knowledgeable people in the field of early music and was commended in my participation with this organization. I was excited to learn about more early music instruments and walk around the exhibition to learn about each table, especially the instrument makers! I have learned that the community of people interested in early music is very close- knit. Many people return year after to the festival and become close to each other through music. After about two hours of the exhibition, I walked back to the church to watch the concerts. I got there in time to catch Brandon interview a couple of students from Peabody, as shown in this picture. These students expressed their gratitude to Early Music America and the opportunity that this gave them to perform and reintroduce this music to the public. Part of my responsibility as an extern was to post to the EarlyMusicAmerica instagram page. I used this photo to show the audience behind the scenes! For the rest of the week I watched performances from Case- Western Reserve University, McGill University, Indiana University, and Seattle Historical Arts for Kids. On Thursday I watched the Case Western Reserve University Baroque Chamber Ensenble perform. It was my first time watching baroque dance and it was fun to see the movement in their hands and feet! My last day followed the same layout- run the table at the festival at the Marriott, and then run over to the church for the performances. After the first performance we conducted an interview where Brandon asked philosophical questions to one professor and his students. These interviews will be up on their facebook and youtube page, and I can’t wait to check them out once they are finished. Our next step in this hectic day was to prepare for the second concert, grab lunch, check up on our table at the festival, and flag down the caterer. Once three o’clock rolled around the second concert began as we prepared for the Annual meeting at 4pm. There were many little things to do such as cut out everyone’s nametag, get out the agendas, place an agenda on each seat in the auditorium, set up the surprise orchestra in the balcony, and lay out tablecloths on the tables. Once the concert ended parents and board members packed into the room where the meeting was held. When this came to an end, we enjoyed refreshments and good food in the lobby while everyone socialized. This was the end of my time at EMA and it was sad to say goodbye to Ann Felter and the rest of her team, but I am appreciative that I had this opportunity to take advantage of.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Jenna DeCurzio @ Albert Einstein College of Medicine

On Conflicts of Interest and Traversing the Pathway of Scientific Careers

“How much are you really going to learn in one week?” one of my friends asked me before I left, speaking of their experiences from a long internship. Unsure myself, I thought to all of the preparatory work I was required to complete before my externship, answer coming easily. “A lot.” Those two words, a lot, cannot begin to describe the amount of information I learned during my week long externship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University with Dr. Michael Reichgott, who is the Chair of Einstein’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Conflict of Interest (COI) Committee. The experience was an enlightening one, as it not only gifted me with knowledge of the intellectual kind, but also of the personal kind, guiding me towards the path I would like to see myself walk down in the future.

The purpose of the COI Committee is to review investigators’ disclosures to ensure that the investigators’ financial interests do not conflict with their academic responsibilities… in particular research and teaching. The committee also reviews other possible sources of conflict of interest, such as personal conflicts of interest that can be caused by religion or personal beliefs. The IRB’s purpose is the protection of human study participants. Both processes are policed by federal regulations, though the institution is at liberty to make them more stringent, though never less. While research is significant in the advancement of general knowledge and the well-being of individuals of all kinds, it is important to reach it in a fair, statistically significant, and ethically-sound manner, which is in large part why the COI Committee and the IRB are so important.

There are several levels of IRB review: exempt, expedited, and full board, each corresponding to a different level of risk. Exempt reviews pertain to protocols that will cause less than minimum risk, while expedited are protocols that will cause minimum risk. Both exempt and expedited protocols can be reviewed and accepted by one member of the IRB. Exempt protocols can involve an educational setting or a survey of some sort, though there are a total of six categories that an exempt review can fall under. There are nine possible categories for expedited reviews which sometimes involve processes that can be completed at a routine doctor’s appointment, such as drawing blood (though no more than a certain amount dependent upon who the blood is being drawn from. Full board reviews are for protocols that exhibit greater than minimum risk and do not fall under either category. Therefore, it must undergo a more thorough discussion and analyzation.

Drugs must undergo phases of testing in order to be released into the public market. However, as I learned from Urvashi Arora, an Administrator of the IRB on Einstein’s West Campus, there are situations in which a drug is capable of bypassing one or more phases: emergency use and compassionate use. As the name suggests, emergency use is the use of a drug in a situation where there is either no known cure, the known cures are not working, and there is a state of emergency. The drug must have pre-existing results from testing that indicates a positive effect and the protocol must still pass through an IRB. Compassionate use is a case in which the disease being treated only effects a small population of individuals. The small population must be proved in order to advocate the case.

During the week, I was given the amazing opportunity to attend an IRB meeting. Confidentiality is a large part of the IRB, whether it be in regards to the meetings or the identity of research participants. It was a great experience to witness, first-hand, the delegations that occur within a meeting. Learning a concept with an example is helpful, though pales in comparison to actually hearing discussions and witnessing the process occur. Not all protocol are presented to the board, as exempt and expedited cases can be passed with the signature of one IRB member. Exempt and expedited cases are protocols which present less than minimum risk or minimum risk and fall within certain categories.

My week at Einstein was spent speaking to employees involved with either the COI Committee, IRB, or both. They were lovely and patient as I struggled to understand their roles, vocabulary, and the legal concepts that come rather easily to them. I was also given the excellent opportunity to speak to faculty, learning more about their research and their role(s) in the school and community. With every person I spoke to, I received a better idea of what I would like to do once I graduate from Gettysburg College. However, as every person I spoke to told me, I am still young and there is still time left to understand myself and my options better. And they are right – I am still young, and there is still time until I have to truly decide. All the same, it is empowering and refreshing to leave Albert Einstein with a better idea of the career path I would like to walk and what exactly goes on in the protocol approval process. So, how much can you learn in a week…? A lot. And you can never know too much!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Matthew Fay '18 @ United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation

My week with USGIF was one of the most informative, unique and exciting weeks of my life.  I entered the week excited to learn about US intelligence and defense, and after a week with the Geospatial Intelligence community, I know that “GEOINT” is so much more then just those two aspects.  Anything ranging from farming, to military to natural disaster relief falls under the umbrella of geospatial intelligence.  On Monday we were given a presentation on GEOINT and the roles it plays as well as the role of USGIF by Max Baber, over the next few days we were able to see these funtions first hand and meet some incredible people in the industry.  Tuesday morning we went to NGA, which is the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.  We met with a man named Greg Glewwe who gave us a briefing on what NGA does and his role and operations with NGA.  After, we spoke about how his agency provided direct support to both the Ebola outbreak and the Nepal Earthquake.  With their technology they were able to create a virtual maps that show areas with a clean water supply, the nearest hospital, the nearest airport and various other useful locations.  After NGA we met with Director Joe Fontanella and a team of his engineers/analysts for briefings.  They spoke about some of their projects, which included water supplies, inland waterways and environmental initiatives.  This is the first time we were able to see the broad outreach of capabilities GEOINT provides.  Wednesday morning we visited Google’s Reston office.  Google is an incredible company with a truly unique business model.  We met with Michele Weslander-Quaid and two other employees.  They spoke about the culture Google has always had and some of the practices they have.  While Google does not play a huge role in the direction of the intelligence field, they offer the largest open source setting on the Internet.  The information that is accessible through Google is essentially an endless stream of data that is free for the world to access.  Next, we drove into DC to meet with Melinda Laituri.  Professor Laituri is a professor at Colorado State University and is in DC for a full year for a fellowship.  She is researching for the US State Department focusing on human geography.  In addition to speaking to us about GEOINT, she stressed the importance of networking and communication in any field of employment, but especially in the DC area.  We returned to USGIF that evening in order to attend their innovation task force.  Representatives from companies such as HumanGeo, Thermopylae, esri and many other companies within the industry spoke about their company and its capabilities as well as what they plan on doing with the technology they posses.  We were able to speak with a woman named Jessica King who offered us a little more insight into her company, HumanGeo.  They are able to collect human data based on social media, Internet posts and other variables in order to produce “activity based intelligence” in any given region.  Thursday morning we visited a company called Pixia.  I was incredibly impressed with Pixia and the capabilities they posses to have a large impact on the future of Geospatial intelligence.  We had a fascinating conversation with their Director of Technology, Ian Heffernan who gave us in-depth descriptions and demonstrations on some of their programs.  Pixia’s goal is to unify the GEOINT community by providing a database of information that can be accessed by certain branches of the defense community.  We finished the day by visiting the Udvar-Hazy museum and seeing important GEOINT items such as the SR-71, the Corona Satellite and SRTM. 
            This week was an incredible opportunity to learn more about the GEOINT community and witness the different factors to what is quickly becoming a GEOINT Revolution in this country!  Dr. Max Baber and Keith Masback were incredible hosts who organized a fascinating week for us.  We were able to first and foremost expand our knowledge on the different aspects of Geospatial Intelligence while making connections with people who are distinguished within their field of practice.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Anthony Citarella @ Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security

For three days, three other Gettysburg students and I were given the opportunity to participate in an externship with Homeland Security’s ICE HSI unit. Our host and Gettysburg alum gave us a behind the scenes look at the second largest investigative law enforcement agency in the United States. After having completed the externship, I found that my knowledge of ICE HSI had expanded beyond expectation. Contrary to the common belief that ICE is a government agency that deals solely with immigration and customs, we learned that there are many different divisions that exhibited the broad scope of cases that the agency deals with. These divisions included agents who investigate human trafficking, child pornography, gang activity, forensics, cyber security, money laundering, airport operations, and more. The special agents at ICE HSI are not only capable of investigating and building legal cases, but are trained as field operatives that conduct raids, arrests, and other action intensive procedures. Overall, the three-day externship experience allowed me to gain invaluable information and experience about my desired career field.

During the externship, we were constantly on the move, going from site to site in the metro D.C. area. As mentioned before, ICE HSI has many different functions, which the amount of buildings and locations did a fine job of proving. By visiting these sites, we were exposed to a plethora of special agents that offered detailed insight of their job and daily duties. After visiting a multitude of locations, I was surprised at how many sites and units are working daily to ensure
homeland security. One site that I found particularly interesting was our trip to Dulles International Airport, where we met with an agent who gave us a behind the scenes look at DHS airport operations. In a once in a lifetime opportunity, we were able to see the ground level baggage loading area and we even got to go inside an air traffic control tower. I found this to be particularly interesting because I frequently travel at airports and the exposure to the security functions there was a unique experience. Looking back, I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with ICE HSI for three days and gain experience that I could not have gotten from anywhere else. This externship has provided me with career knowledge, tips, and skills that will be of great importance to me during my job seeking process. As a whole, the special agents of ICE HSI that I got to meet have helped me learn about an agency I knew little to nothing about before this experience. Now, I can honestly say that the externship experience with ICE HSI has grabbed my attention and is now on my radar as a potential landing spot for my future career.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Victoria Campbell '16 @ United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation

The past week I spent as an extern at the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, USGIF. At Gettysburg College I have been concentrating in GIS, but never knew exactly what I could do with these skills. While at USGIF I was introduced to a whole community, geospatial intelligence. This community has a huge expanse, touching many different fields. At USGIF we visited the National Geospatial-intelligence Agency and the Army Geospatial Center, who uses GEOINT for military and humanitarian work, as well as caring for the inner water ways in the U.S. I was introduced to the role Google plays in the field, as well as the Department of State. Lastly, we met with Pixia and Leidos to learn how these two companies use GEOINT. Pixia provided a program to analyze geospatial data, and provides this program to other companies/ agencies. Leidos makes innovations in national security, health, and engineering. From meeting all of these different companies and agencies that take part in GEOINT I learned how geospatial intelligence is used to analyze humans and the world around them. I also realized how interconnected the public and private sectors are. From dealing with national security, to the GPS you use in your phone. Some groups collect the data, others analyze it, and others create ways to share it. Everyone plays a different, but connected role in the community.

After this amazing week, I have realized just how many directions I have to choose from with my degree. I’ve been given insight into the steps I should take over the next year on how to become a member of this community, by learning everything I can, making myself stand out, using my new connections, and finding any way into the community that I can. This externship far exceeded my expectations. I couldn’t be more appreciative to everyone at USGIF who helped to make this week as amazing as it was, especially our hosts Max Baber and Keith Masback. I gained so much knowledge that will help me in the future, and have finally made plans for what direction I want to take in the future.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Brian Gianforte '18 @ Transportation Management Association for Chester County

The amount of knowledge and experience I gained during my externship with Transportation Management Association for Chester County is immeasurable. They taught me the ins and outs of their organization and also how they are very important to Chester County. The start of TMACC is based upon Federal Congestion Management and Air Quality (CMAQ) guidelines. TMACC also connects the public sector transportation organizations to the private sector of Chester County. They work closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. They provide transportation services for their members and also consulting services to companies to help meet their employee’s needs.

My host Shannon Jones is the best host I could have asked for. She taught me the ropes of what she does in only a week. She got me fully involved with TMACC and within an hour of me being at the office, she sent me to a board meeting with the Executive Director of TMACC, Timothy Phelps and Manager of Corporate and Community Relations, Jonathan Ewald. She also had me working everyday, which allowed me to learn lots of information about the organization and also about having a real job.

On Wednesday May 20th, was the Coatesville Jobs Fair. Shannon is on Western Chester County Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors and so she ran the jobs fair. She took me along and I helped set up and run the jobs fair. I helped spread the word about the Chester County bus lines that TMACC runs and operates. There is a huge demand for public transportation because people need to get to their jobs but cannot afford to buy a car. That is where TMACC comes in to help support the public by supplying a bus line to the employees but at the same time helping employers with their transportation needs.

Working at TMACC has made me realize the need to update infrastructure all over the country. The needs to update roads and bridges must be meet to keep comminuting running smoothly. Some infrastructure dates back to the 19th century that is still in use.

My externship with TMACC was an amazing experience and I’m glad I picked this externship. I would recommend anybody to do an externship because the experience you gain is amazing. TMACC was the best choice for an externship.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Allie Sturgis '16 @ Princeton Health Systems

When scrolling through the list of available externships, the blurb describing Princeton Health Systems particularly caught my eye. Nutrition is a personal interest of mine, both in my academics and my personal life. Although Gettysburg does not have a nutrition studies major, the introductory nutrition course offered was one of my favorite classes at Gettysburg so far. I thought shadowing Beth Young, a registered dietician and nutrition consultant, would be an excellent way to see if I had any interest pursuing nutrition as a future career.

Princeton Health Systems is located a short walk away from Princeton University’s gorgeous campus. The night before my first day as an extern, Beth and her son, Will, gave me a quick tour of the school grounds and the surrounding town.

On my first day shadowing Beth, it was clear that the scope of her professional life extended much more widely than office consultations. Our first stop was a sanitation inspection for the kitchen of a halfway house that had recently recovered from some severe food safety issues. From there, I observed several of her nutritional consultations at an internal medicine practice that referred clients in need of diet advice to Beth. Her patients were primarily diabetics looking to control their blood glucose levels and lose weight. These consultations intrigued me, as it was interesting to see the huge role diet and other preventative measures play in controlling chronic diseases. She also saw patients in her Princeton office who had a variety of reasons for seeking nutritional help. Our next day involved a combination of her private office patients and patients referred to her by the internal medicine practice. Although they each presented with unique difficulties, there was a fair amount of overlap between the cases as well.

USDA’s “SuperTracker” program is one of Beth’s main tools that she suggests to patients for controlling their diets. This website is easy to use and contains a large database of foods that can be added to daily food journals. SuperTracker also allows patients to analyze the nutrient makeup of their meals after they enter them into the system. This can be vital for patients who are perhaps in need of limiting their sugar or increasing their protein intake. Since people might not be aware of how many calories they are actually consuming, this is a useful first step in learning about healthy eating. If patients are unwilling to use SuperTracker, Beth also suggested the MyFitnessPal app as a second choice.

Despite the usefulness of these programs, it appeared to be challenging to convince people to regularly track their food intake. Even if patients know this can help them, it can be difficult to change their behavior. This is one central barrier that comes about in preventative medicine, particularly in nutritional consulting. Many patients in need of consultations are approaching old age and therefore are highly set in their ways. Even though they may know that changing their diets will help them, actually making the change might be too impactful on their normal routine. Since many patients in today’s society expect to receive a pill from their doctor for a quick fix, expressing the importance of prevention can be complicated. Socioeconomic status is another barrier that patients face in adopting a nutritionally healthy lifestyle. Many people who are struggling with obesity and related diseases are aware that their diet is not healthy, yet they cannot afford to drastically change it or seek help. This was another point that stood out to me while sitting in on consultations with Beth.

Overall, my externship at Princeton Health Systems was both enjoyable and worthwhile. At this point in my academic career, I am not planning to pursue a career in nutrition; however, I will certainly be able to use aspects of this preventative perspective as I work towards my goal of becoming a physician’s assistant.