This summer, 20 students participated in the Brain Gain Program that is coordinated annually by Internship and Career Services (ICS). The program, which is made possible by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., was started as part of a state-wide initiative to counteract the effects of “brain drain”, a phenomenon whereby students attend universities in Indiana but leave the state to work elsewhere.

Each student received subsidized housing at Butler University for securing an internship, volunteer experience, research project or other professional experience in the Indianapolis area. In order to receive the subsidized housing, participants were also required to attend a series of networking events that included a cooking class at Chef JJ’s Backyard, dinner at the Rathskeller and tours of Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indianapolis Art Center.

The events were designed to give students an opportunity to network with one another as well as other local professionals. Special guest speakers, including an etiquette coach and the Mayor of Carmel, were at several of the events.

Although each student came from a different academic and professional background, they all benefited from the opportunities that arose from living and working in the same city. What they also shared was a positive experience with the overall program.

Maddie Menor, a Dance and Arts Administration major who worked at Growing Places Indy, attributes the Brain Gain Program’s success to the events that were offered. “I was really excited to have the opportunity to explore new places in Indy,” she says. Maddie claims that her internship, in conjunction with the events that were offered as part of the Brain Gain Program, has changed her perspective of Indianapolis.

Kyler Clark, a Physician Assistant major at Butler, worked for Anderson Chiropractic. She learned about the Brain Gain Program from a recommendation that was made by one of her former roommates. “She loved the program and suggested that I try it out,” Kyler says.

The most challenging part of the summer for Kyler has been figuring out which event was the best. “We had so many awesome events,” she says, “but for me it would be a tie between Chef JJ’s Backyard and the etiquette dinner.” Kyler believes that each event was a “fun learning experience” where she gained “helpful tips while interacting with others.”

Such is the purpose of the Brain Gain Program: to give students the opportunity to develop as professionals as they live, work and occasionally play in the Circle City.

For more information on the Brain Gain Program, visit http://www.butler.edu/career/events–programs/brain-gain-program

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