In high school, Kristine Wheeler helped raise more than $1,500 for a sister school in El Salvador. To do it, she and her team hosted a dance. They asked local businesses for donations, and sold basketball rosters. Wheeler helped raise awareness in Spanish classes, and started a club to educate students on the country of El Salvador, which in turn drove donations up.
The effort gave Wheeler and her Scappoose, Ore., FBLA team a 10th place finish in a national competition. “It was an unforgettable experience. I enjoyed working with a team, sharing nervousness before our presentations and excitement as we stood on stage,” Wheeler says.
But being on the FBLA team gave Wheeler more than that. It gave her a sense of how business education can be used across many fields and industries. And that lesson was instrumental to her when she decided she wanted to study business at Oregon State.
Now, Wheeler, a sophomore, is putting those ideas into practice. This summer, she will be heading to Shanghai, China to conduct research on how business practices there differ from practices in the U.S. When she returns, she’ll live in the Puget Sound area, and work as an intern for Boeing.
Wheeler’s trip to Shanghai will be with OSU’s Bridging Experiences Across Vocations (BEAV). In its second year, the program is a collaboration between the University Honors College and College of Business, and is sponsored by OSU’s DeLoach Work Scholarship program.
While in Shanghai, Wheeler will be part of a four-student team responsible for making contacts, conducting interviews and compiling the team’s research into media components they will ultimately bring back to their OSU classrooms. Last year, a separate group traveled to Taiwan and visited companies like KPMG, UBS, and Herbalife. While abroad, one thing the group learned about was the importance of relationships and how even before considering doing business, a strong relationship must be established.
“The main objective from my perspective is to bring international exposure back to our classroom so that students who cannot participate can benefit from the trip as well,” says Ping-Hung Hsieh, an associate professor of quantitative methods in the college and the faculty adviser for BEAV.
The BEAV team will be responsible for all of this while adjusting to a foreign culture for the two weeks that they are there. “We leave for Shanghai Wednesday, June 8th and after a week, off to Beijing for travel on our own, hopefully to the Great Wall,” Wheeler says.
Then, Wheeler will begin her internship at Boeing in Everett, Wash., an opportunity she secured while visiting a career fair at OSU. She was selected as part of the Northwest Business Intern Program, a twelve-week program that matches students with managers in the fields they are pursuing. Wheeler will explore her interest in human resources with the help of her manager, who will act as a mentor to her. “I will be working on a ‘special project,’ taking part in interviews, meetings, events and training workshops with other interns,” Wheeler says.
Although she is only a sophomore, Wheeler says that anyone can do what she is doing. “Don’t limit yourself. I think more than anything it’s that we don’t think we are going to get the internship. Have confidence in yourself and apply,” she says.
-Story by Darryl Lai