Branching Out with Research

The summer internships that the Cleveland Clinic Office of Civic Education Initiatives offers to high school students last nine weeks – nine weeks of hands-on activities, intensive research, and observation. However, that experience doesn't stop after the nine weeks are through. As the years pass, interns are being offered more and more venues to showcase and share their research with others – from fellow high school students to healthcare professionals.

Creating Beyond the Clinic

For the first time, two Cleveland Clinic interns have been given the opportunity to expand their horizons, along with the reach of Cleveland Clinic, by completing their internships at a separate business. Cleveland Clinic is a client of Wyse Advertising and Optiem Web Design, and Creative Learning Interns Leah Backo and Liz O'Neill were stationed at these companies for their summer internships. They maintained a solid link to Cleveland Clinic by completing projects for the Office of Civic Education Initiatives, and were also given the chance to learn more about the work Wyse and Optiem do for Cleveland Clinic and their other clients. Here they share their stories about working for the Clinic, away from the Clinic.

Leah Backo

Creative Learning, 2008-09

Wyse Advertising

I have been a summer intern at Cleveland Clinic for the past two years. However, my experience is slightly different than that of the hundreds of other interns. I am a Creative Learning Intern.

There are only a few of us, and we tend to do things a bit differently. For starters, as the name suggests, we are creative. Although we are given opportunities to see surgeries and doctors at work like the other interns, I am one of those people whose stomach aches at the sight of blood, no matter how insignificant the amount.

But red paint, red colored pencil, red crayon, and red charcoal – those, I could stare at for days. I am an artist. I always have been, and I always will be. I was raised that way; my father is a watercolorist, my older brother an emerging graphic designer. Ninety percent of my clothes have paint on them somewhere, and I am rarely seen without my inspiration sketchbook, which consists of everything from daily doodles to inspirational quotes, articles, and advertisements.

I never in a million years thought that an internship at Cleveland Clinic would be for me. Then, I heard about the Creative Learning Internship Program. At first sight of the word "creative," I decided to apply. It was the best decision I have ever made.

During the summer of 2008, I was on main campus with just three other "CLIP" Interns. Apart from writing and illustrating a children's book, I designed a mailing piece. I also had my own photography shoot, during which I was able not only to take the pictures, but also pick out the models and props, and art direct. Needless to say, not many 17-year-olds can claim they've done such a thing. As I filled out my application form for the summer '09 internship, I wondered if it was possible to top last summer.

It was.

This year, I am stationed at Wyse Advertising, a widely known and credited advertising agency in downtown Cleveland. Just being here and seeing their work makes me a better artist. I'll never forget my first day here, when I was being given a tour of my new workplace. I couldn't help but notice the original six-foot-tall French advertisements that were hanging in every hallway, the incredible view from the rooftop patio, and the table stacked with photography and design magazines and books that I couldn't wait to look through. As my mentor was showing me some of the client work Wyse had done recently, one piece in particular sparked my interest. It was an advertisement for Sherwin-Williams – the same one I had glued into my sketchbook a month before. Wyse works with other huge names as well, including Marathon, Dirt Devil, National City Bank and Cleveland Clinic. They also came up with the phrase, "With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good."

My time here has been a dream come true. I've already been to a photography shoot, sat in on four or five client meetings, and been to a print check. In between all that, I've been designing a brochure and website for the Office of Civic Education. This involves everything from gathering statistics, to writing copy, to the actual design and layout of both the website and the brochure. Both pieces show all the accomplishments the Office of Civic Education has made the past five years with the internship program. The website additionally illustrates more information about the program itself, intern experiences, and information about how the program extends beyond the summer. This summer, the people at The Office of Civic Education were not only my mentors and employers, but my clients. I've also been doing some design and layout work for one of Wyse Advertising's other clients, apart from Cleveland Clinic.

I am the youngest employee at Wyse by at least five to ten years. Every time I step off of my bus and into the heart of downtown Cleveland, I still can't believe where I get to work. Just being here is a learning experience. I am getting critique and feedback from people who have designed the very work that inspires me. Being here is an incredible opportunity, and I am so grateful to Cleveland Clinic for giving it to me.