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    From Beyond the Arc: Brittany Orban's Inspiring Internship

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    Click here to see Brittany in action with Habitat for Humanity

    Hi Wildcat Fans!

    Hello from Findlay, Ohio!  I have left the big city of Evanston for the summer for an engineering internship with Marathon Petroleum Company LP (Marathon Oil Corporation and Marathon Petroleum Corporation recently split...I am now in what they call the "downstream" side of the company, Marathon Petroleum) in Findlay, OH.  I have replaced nonstop traffic and skyscrapers for peaceful open roads and farmland this summer.  It is surely an adjustment, but I have truly enjoyed my time here thus far.

    I am working in a group within Marathon Petroleum called M&TE (Marketing and Transportation Engineering).  I have been placed in a major project called the Woodhaven Flare Project, working on a site in Woodhaven, Michigan.  Working from the Findlay site, I get to examine the workings of salt caverns storing propane and butane underground, large brine tanks to supply these caverns when empty, pipeline transporting crude oil around the country, and as implied, a large flare which releases pressure within these above and below ground pipelines.  Well, needless to say, after 4 weeks of being on the job, I have sure learned a lot about big oil! One of the fun things I have been able to experience is the safety outfits required to wear when on site at one of these major facilities.  I have provided you a picture of me in my outfit for your own personal enjoyment. (See Photo Album at top)

    This past week (week 4 of my internship) has truly been the biggest test of my abilities as an engineer.  My supervisor and project manager have been on vacation for the entire week and I have been left in charge of the project to answer questions and any problems that might arise during construction.  I would've never expected this much responsibility so early on but this internship has really prepared me for my entrance into the working world within the next year.

    After working 8 am to 5 pm every day, I have still managed to get my Wildcat workouts in and even participate in other activities to keep in shape this summer.  I ran a 5 mile race on the Fourth of July and have signed up to compete in a sprint triathlon at the end of August.  I have one unique story which shows how important it is to make a good impression everywhere you go.  During my lunch hours, I am a frequent visitor at the Findlay YMCA across from Marathon Petroleum to play pickup basketball for about an hour or so.  The other day as I am leaving, I notice this man running to follow me out of the gymnasium door.  As I'm walking out he asks, "Were you at the Chicago Autism Speaks walk this spring?"  Flabbergasted, I turned and confirmed that I had been and he went on to explain that he was at that walk in Chicago and thought he recognized my face from walking on stage.  It goes to show that wherever student athletes go, we are always representing Northwestern and need to make sure we present ourselves with class. 

    Another experience I was fortunate enough to take part in while an employee at Marathon Petroleum was Habitat for Humanity.  On July 12, I took my carpentry skills to a plot of land down the road from the main Marathon Petroleum building to help construct a new home for a wonderful couple.  The week previous to the build, I was able to attend an informational session during my lunch to learn more about this couple we were working to help and about the project itself.  It tugged at my heart as this woman explained her struggles with epilepsy and the high cost of medication putting her and her husband into unstable financial grounds. 

    It was awe inspiring to see these two show up the day of construction and help me and my coworkers build the very house they would be living in.  As far as the building went, it only took me about a good 15 minutes and 3 fingers to get used to hammering nails into wood. Okay, I have to admit, I'm lying about the 3 fingers; as a basketball player, I was very precautionary in order to protect the tools which have allowed me to dribble and shoot for all of these years.  But I was able to pound nails into the very structural framework of the house and see a roof and garage get built before my very eyes.  I have included some pictures from my day of work.

    This experience not only at Habitat for Humanity but while working at Marathon Petroleum has allowed me to take a step back and realize how truly blessed I am to be a Northwestern Wildcat.  The challenges faced everyday as a college athlete while studying at one of the top academic programs in the country has prepared me well and allowed me to develop the necessary skills to become a successful engineer.

    Brittany Orban

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    What a great article. Thanks for the info about your summer.
    Looking forward to the fall.

    I was too : It was awe inspiring to see these two show up the day of construction and help me and my coworkers build the very house they would be living in.

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