Mary Trittschuh, a marketing major in the Wright State University Raj Soin College of Business, is interning with the Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Darke DD) this summer as a marketing intern.
The mission of the Darke DD is to empower people with developmental disabilities to explore possibilities for their lives by maximizing independence, community participation, employment and economic self-sufficiency in their daily life experiences. The board also operates a 24-hour hotline where people can report concerns for the safety, health and welfare of people with a developmental disability.
As a student with cerebral palsy, Trittschuh is particularly passionate about the subject. She said that Wright State’s commitment to accessibility is a huge bonus in a world that isn’t very accessible.
“The programs Wright State has in place, such as the Personal Assistant (PA) station and PA services, make it so I can live on campus as independently as possible,” she said. “Also, the availability of the AIM portal to request needed accommodations in the classrooms is very helpful. Without these tools Wright State has provided me, I wouldn’t be as independent and resourceful as I am today.”
Trittschuh has been inspired to be an advocate for her fellow students as a member of Abilities, a Wright State student-led organization that advocates for student needs and accessibility on campus and in the community. The organization also works to spread disability awareness, offer different leadership opportunities and establish a community of people with different abilities.
“Being a part of that group has helped develop personal growth, has connected me with my peers on campus and ultimately helped me realize some of my goals,” Trittschuh said. “Recently, I’ve started meeting and working collaboratively with ODS (Office of Disability Services) administration to ensure our service programs are the best they can be for current and future students.”
Trittschuh said Darke DD was an ideal match for an internship because it combined her desire to gain experience in marketing with her passion to be an advocate for the disabled community. It was also an organization that she was connected and familiar with as a recipient of its services.
She said that the internship has been a lot of fun and she is learning a lot.
“I will be helping Darke DD update marketing material. I’m giving them a fresh perspective on current marketing strategies already in place, as well as doing some advocacy and building awareness of disabilities within the community,” she said. “So far, I’ve gone into local schools with Darke DD helping educate the kids about different types of disabilities and educating them on the importance of inclusion. It’s surprising me how much I’m enjoying this part of the internship so far.”
Trittschuh encourages her fellow students to pursue an internship opportunity even if their major doesn’t require it. She says that it is important to start making inquiries and connections months beforehand.
“Think about what you would like to do and the connections you’ve made. You may be surprised at where those connections take you,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to reach out.”