Hagen Center Intern Reflection

One of Wittenberg’s well-known strengths is its ability to provide students with opportunities to broaden their horizons and learn valuable skills that prepare them for the professional, adult world. One of those opportunities is the Hagen Center for Civic and Urban Engagement’s internship program.

The Hagen Center’s spring internship, according to their page on the Wittenberg website, is “an 8-week program designed to provide students with practical experience in their field of study, personal area of interest or future career path”. The program started on January 6 and runs until May 8.

The students, most of whom are seniors, in the spring program are involved in a wide array of sites, including: Second Harvest Food Bank, Project Jericho, the Community Development Center of Springfield and the West Clark County Business Coalition.

In addition to the seven to ten hours per week that they put into their respective sites, the interns gather for occasional Leadership and Reflection sessions, where they have the opportunity to listen to various community leaders share the impacts they have made on the Springfield community. Attending the meetings are: Samantha Strich, one of the coordinators of the program and assistant director for the Hagen Center; Warren Copeland the Faculty Director Emeritus and mayor of Springfield; and Stephanie McCuiston, Administrative Director of the Hagen Center. 

“By connecting them with these people, [the students] can learn about how to be a leader,” Strich said. Strich says that leaders from a variety of different fields are invited to these sessions to give the students who aren’t sure where they want to go after college the chance to learn about their options.

The first reflection session of the spring semester was held on Friday, January 18, in Blair 101. Bryan Heck, ’06, the recently elected City Manager of Springfield, came to speak about the work he has put into the city of Springfield over the last several years.

“I grew up in a western part of Clark County, I went to Tecumseh,” Heck said. “Springfield has always been a part of my life, my grandma grew up right [here], right in the old International site.”

Heck focused on answering the question of “how can we be catalytic in these changing neighborhoods so that the private market wants to invest?” He talked about the various projects he has been involved in, like the establishment of a medical center in downtown Springfield, which has grown into the “state-of-the-art medical facility” it is today.

One of Heck’s current goals is to bring more industrial property inside Springfield’s city limits, “most importantly inside the city school district”, which opens more job opportunities for Springfield citizens. Heck wants to focus particularly on bringing in companies that provide higher living wages to employees.

Heck advised the interns to “take advantage of what you’re doing. Soak in as much as you can, network as much as you can, because nothing that you’re taught in the classroom will prepare you better than what you’re doing right now.”

If you’re interested in a summer internship opportunity with the Hagen Center, check out their page on Wittenberg’s website for important dates, information, and applications.

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