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On September 24, forty grant recipients – all Tufts undergraduate students- presented their summer internship experiences at a poster session in the Dowling Library. Five of these students were recipients of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Lunder Family Foundation grant for internships in entrepreneurial ventures. Profiled below are those five students’ experiences.

Senior Jaya Birch-Desai spent her summer at Wiklund Research & Design, a human factors consulting company in Concord, MA. As an intern of a small company of six, Jaya was given diverse responsibilities, ranging from conducting literature searches to designing usability tests for client products. Although she cites the expertise of the management team as knowing each process “right down to the science,” Jaya found the company to have an open, non-hierarchical work structure where each team member could communicate freely with each other. “I was able to become a part of the inner workings of a small venture, and I saw that the president was really the rock of the company.”

Junior Taylor Perkins, an electrical engineering major who interned at Taggstr this past summer. Taggstr is an innovative start-up that allows people to tag and share their favorite places with texts, pictures and videos through its mobile phone application. As an intern, Taylor assisted with drafting financial statements as well as designing a Taggstr application on the Android platform to minimize error and maximize testability. “I’ve always believed in the idea of Taggstr. The grant was an added bonus that I was, of course, very thankful for.” Taylor appreciated the fast-paced worked environment where he was able to collaborate closely with his team.

Based in Edgecomb, Maine, Teens to Trails is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing opportunities for Maine teenagers to experience the outdoors for their physical and mental wellbeing. Junior Olivia Rowse spent her summer at the organization as a program developer, where she conducted research on childhood obesity and created an informative Powerpoint presentation about the organization to be used for marketing and fundraising efforts. Due to the small size of the organization—two founders and a board of twelve— Olivia found herself in a flexible work environment where she wore multiple hats in her responsibilities throughout the summer.

Over the summer, senior Makiko Harris joined the team at 9tailors, a custom clothing company in Boston that works individuals with clients to help them design their own clothing. Makiko’s internship responsibilities were diverse and ranged from sales to marketing and design. She also organized events, managed client relationships and developed a marketing plan via targeted social media and blogging. At the poster session, Makiko showed off her 9tailors pride by wearing a custom-designed pencil skirt by company.

Senior Gillian Javetski worked with One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), a social enterprise based in Cambridge, MA that creates educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children by providing each child with a low-cost laptop. Over the summer, Gillian worked on researching and developing the organization’s international partnerships, in addition to assessing and recommending specific areas of focus for OLPC’s work on the ground. When asked about her favorite aspect of her experience, Gillian responded, “Not sticking by the book! The structure of internship was open, and there was trust in finding your own way to solve problems. Every day was a new experience.”

Through these internships, students not only gain first-hand experience in an entrepreneurial setting, but can also use these valuable experiences as a building block for future opportunities. Due April 11, 2011, applications for next summer’s internship grants are available on the Tufts Career Services website.

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