Suits or Sails?

Cindy Conover Dashnaw

from Spring 2017

Wet or dry shoes? Shorts or a sport coat? Sunshine or fluorescent lights? Mosquitos or … well, fewer mosquitos? 

You may not think of these things when considering an internship, yet they do become part of your reality. Just ask Butler interns Tyler Hudgens and Keiffer Williams. 

Tyler Hudgens ’17 

Manufacturing and Quality Science Intern, Eli Lilly and Company Tyler Hudgens

Tyler Hudgens chose dry shoes and fluorescent lights when he took an internship with Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Indianapolis. He’s happy with his decision—so happy, in fact, that when the company offered him a job upon graduation, he accepted with alacrity. 

Hudgens is in this spot because he availed himself of a Butler opportunity and attended a Woods lecture. He walked in as a pre-med student who was questioning his career choice. He walked out realizing bioengineering was what he’d been looking for. 

“I’d volunteered in hospitals and found it wasn’t for me. I was more interested in the science behind healthcare,” Hudgens said. “So when I heard a heart tissue bioengineer speak and learned what they did, I switched.” 

His internship at Lilly has confirmed his decision.

“I’ve gained strong problem-solving and strategic-thinking skills,” Hudgens said. “I was able to incorporate engineering and scientific concepts to solve real-world issues in pharmaceuticals while I was gaining knowledge about manufacturing processes within the medical industry.” 

Keiffer Williams ’16 Keiffer Williams

(Former) Intern, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Oceans Research and Butler Summer Institute 

Applying to grad schools 

Keiffer Williams, on the other hand, opted for shorts and wet shoes. As an intern in the fish biology lab of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and at Oceans Research in South Africa, Williams indulged his passion for ocean ecology and conservation. 

“I’ve enjoyed the ocean since an early age, especially sharks, and I nurtured that interest all through high school,” Williams said. “I was searching for ways to have a more limited experience to decide if marine science was something I wanted to do when I found Oceans Research.” 

He dove with dolphins and sharks (focusing on Great Whites) in the six-week program, coming to understand the significant effect humans can have on a species—even in the name of conservation. 

In Panama at STRI, working under the direction of visiting scientist Dr. Michele Pierotti, he explored the evolution of visual ecology among marine fish sister species native to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The Smithsonian experience instilled in him a keen understanding of the opportunities that come with a higher-level degree. 

Williams also participated in the Butler Summer Institute on plant hormones research. Now, he’ll spend the next two years applying to graduate school. 

The former Boy Scout is also keen to be a better conservation advocate. 

“In today’s world, there’s a large disconnect between scientists in the trenches of data and the lay person. It’s essential for people to be able to understand what we’re doing and what it means to the environment,” he said.