One of the distinct advantages to attending TU stems from the University’s commitment to providing all students with a hands-on and practical education. In short, every Dragon graduates with real-world experience related to their chosen major and is that much more qualified to break into their specific industry. This is exactly why students who complete an internship of some kind gain a competitive edge in an ever-changing global marketplace.
Brooklyn (Brooke) Kreilick is one of many Tiffin students to have taken advantage of the numerous experiential learning opportunities available and happens to have been one of the very first to participate in the new Tiffin Innovation Program (TIP), which just launched last spring.
“It was an intensive program, that’s for sure,” said Brooke. “Before we even began, our startup had to be mostly conceptualized. We weren’t able to say, ‘oh, I think this will work.’ We needed to prove it with data and research right off the bat. We had to hit the ground running and spent the first half of the program building off our initial study – figuring out wholesale versus retail prices, contacting potential product vendors and establishing relationships with them. I enjoyed that challenge.”
The Tiffin Innovation Program is geared toward entrepreneurially minded students who want to start their own company and involves a three-month curriculum designed to inspire and educate. Selected on-campus and online students meet once a week to learn how to develop and launch an innovative start-up company. Speakers in the past have included established high-profile entrepreneurs like TU Board Member, Danial Jameel, Founder and President at Ready Education, a leading student engagement platform for higher education. The University is currently reviewing applications from those looking to participate this year.
According to Brooke, what she learned through the program has directly contributed to a successful journey through her own internship. For her, this involved doing marketing and public relations work for the Transformation Life Center of Seneca County, a homelessness, addiction and mental health counseling and resource center.
Brooke is a senior accounting and marketing double major at TU, and though she and the rest of her team chose not to continue with their startup company after completing the program, for her, it was the research aspect of the business incubator itself that allowed her to truly shine in the later internship.
“When I first sat down with the folks from the Center, they told me their main goals centered around general outreach for the sake of prompting volunteers and donations. I was thrilled, because all of that involved making connections with the community, which was one of my favorite things to do through TU’s program. As I mentioned, research was a focal point for TIP as well, and this also came in handy. I had to work to determine how the Center could most effectively reach audiences through advertising, what platforms they should use and how to word their messages. All of this required extensive research on my part, and I felt that much more prepared to meet the task head-on having already worked with so many industry professionals through the business incubator. I think I’ll be using the advice they gave me and my colleagues for years to come.”
According to Brooke, she chose to work with the Transformation Life Center because of their worthwhile mission, one with which she identifies. Additionally, the experience taught her something invaluable that she hopes to pass on to others walking similar paths.
“I believe in the Center’s cause wholeheartedly,” she began. “Homelessness is more common, especially within Seneca County, than you might think. Some of my close friends have experienced housing insecurity at one point or another, and it’s devastating. By doing this work, I feel I’m leaving my hometown of Fremont and greater community a little better than it was before. I also think that’s an important lesson for any young professional to learn – that doing something you’re passionate about doesn’t feel like ‘work’ and this is so important for your overall health and avoiding burnout.”
To learn more about the Tiffin Innovation Program, visit tiffin.edu/academics/special-programs/tiffin-innovation-program/.
For more information about the Transformation Life Center, find their website at sccouncilonhomelessness.org/transformation-life-center.