photo by: Photo by Shelley Hanson
WHEELING – Local college students are getting an idea of what it would be like to work and live as professionals in the Ohio Valley.
The Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley’s CLIP program is underway and aimed at encouraging the students to continue living and working in the Ohio Valley after they earn their degrees.
The Community Leader Internship Program has placed 14 students at various sites to work this summer. The jobs are related to their fields of study or interest.
“The interns are paid and at no cost to the host site. The Community Foundation raises funds for the program and is grateful for the numerous partners who have joined in supporting this retention initiative,” said Jess Puglisi-Sanders, program officer for the Community Foundation.
Susie Nelson, executive director of the Community Foundation, said trying to retain more young people can only help improve the future of the Ohio Valley.
“We are committed to the idea of creating an environment that supports the next generation, in all areas. Seeing story after story about population loss, poor job prospects, limited growth opportunities and quality of life concerns has really driven the philanthropic sector, of which CFOV is a part, to do more to change the outcome,” Nelson said.
“It is impossible to not be energized by the impact of this program. While it will take some time to measure complete results, we already know CLIP is making a difference, as we have story after story from alumni who report changed perceptions and enhanced understanding of what it means to be a contributing resident as a young professional.
“Several alumni are successfully employed in their field of choice within the Ohio Valley. The current class is also very likely to have a new outlook after just the first week.”
To date, 78 people have participated in the program since its inception in 2013. Of that number, 29 are still pursuing further education, such as law school, medical school or a doctorate.
Forty are working full-time – with 13 living and working in the valley and 12 living and working outside the valley, but still within 50 miles of the Wheeling area.
“Graduates who stayed in the Ohio Valley are working as accountants, nonprofit leaders, nurses, entrepreneurs/small-business owners and marketing professionals. Those who leave are working as rocket scientists, investment bankers, lawyers, corporate consultants and federal contractors,” Puglisi-Sanders said.
The top majors of CLIP participants have been engineering, biology, economics, exercise science and poltical science.
This year’s crop of students includes:
– Kamyrn Bable of Brooke County – majoring in elementary education, interning at Oglebay Institute Stifel Summer Camps;
– Rachel Barnett of Jefferson County – psychology, neuroscience and environmental science, interning at Wheeling Health Right;
– Michael Borkoski of Ohio County – aerospace and mechanical engineering, interning at Touchstone Research Laboratory;
– Sydney Crawford of Brooke County – undecided but interested in legal studies, interning at Southeastern Ohio Legal Services;
– Giulio Gentile of Belmont County – aerospace engineering, interning at Touchstone Research Laboratory;
– Reagan Gray of Marshall County – biology/pre-med, interning at Marshall County Health Department;
– Grace Hamilton of Jefferson County – early childhood education, interning at Oglebay Institute/Schrader Center;
– Margaret Hartzell of Ohio County – chemical engineering, interning Dr. Daniel Wilson’s office;
– Sarah Heilman of Ohio County – finance, interning at Main Street Bank;
– Kacey Kovach of Ohio County – exercise physiology, interning at Edwards Absolute Kinetics;
– Adam Marquart of Ohio County – finance, interning at Main Street Bank;
– Jason Polgar of Brooke County – political science/biblical and ministry studies, U.S. Northern District Bankruptcy Court;
– Gavin Shields of Belmont County – accounting, interning at ZPLC Accounting; and
– Brendan Smith of Marshall County – chemical engineering, interning at Touchstone Research Laboratory.
Both Heilman and Marquart said being part of the CLIP program has made them think more about staying in the Ohio Valley.
Both are Wheeling Park High School graduates and both are attending West Virginia University.
“I want to raise my family here, for sure,” Heilman said, adding she plans to attend law school, too.
Marquart added, “The Community Foundation has made me think more about Wheeling and the possibilities in Wheeling.”
Heilman said during the internship they have been helping with marketing efforts and shadowing credit analysts.
The program began June 6 and is slated to end July 22.