Experiential Learning at its Best: Internship Allows Biology Major to Design, Test Experiment at Fernson Brewing Company and AU Lab

By Jill Wilson | August 11, 2021
Ellie Holmes Internship

Augustana student Ellie Holmes ‘22, of Brandon, South Dakota, is majoring in biology with a minor in Spanish. Holmes is applying to medical school with the goal of specializing as a family practice physician or OB-GYN. As an intern, she split her time throughout the summer in the research lab at Augustana and Fernson Brewing Company in Sioux Falls — designing and testing an experiment that will provide Fernson with more information about the health of its yeast, allowing the company to produce more consistent, high-quality beers.

Q: What extracurricular activities are you involved in?

A: I am currently a percussionist in the Augustana Band and look forward to joining the Viking Marching Band drumline for their inaugural year this fall! I also serve as a senior senator on the Augustana Student Association, student ambassador, student coordinator for the Augustana Pre-Med Club and member of the leadership team for Campus Cupboard. In addition, I enjoy participating in intramurals, the Augustana Bike Club and Augie Outdoor Program. 

Q: Where or how did you hear about Augustana?

A: Many family friends attended Augustana and they encouraged me to visit! I had also experienced Augustana from competing in piano competitions held in the Fryxell Humanities Center. 

Q: What is/are the reason(s) you chose to come to Augustana?

A: I chose to come to Augustana because I love the community it provides. I really appreciate the support from the faculty at Augie; they truly care about you, your interests and your success. Another reason I chose to come to Augustana is because I am able to major in biology and participate in the Augustana Band. Our band directors and music faculty are some of the best and invested in creating a high-quality music program while also supporting their students in their professional endeavors. 

Q: How did you get the internship? Did anyone help you? What did that journey look like?

A: I discovered this internship on the Augie Opportunities website, and thought it sounded like an interesting way to use my biology background! Before applying, I met with Blake and Derek, the co-CEOs of Fernson, to learn more about their goals for the summer. 

Q: What do you like most about your internship?

A: My internship is exciting because it allows me to serve a local business while also applying the knowledge I have learned in my classes at Augie! It is exciting that my ideas are directly implemented into a local business, which will ultimately help them create a better product for the community.

Q: What do you hope to learn/gain from the internship?

A: I hope to learn more about brewing, the experimental design process and how to apply my academic knowledge to discover real-life solutions. 

Q: Why is experiential learning important for future endeavors?

A: Experiential learning helps me make connections between concepts I have learned in the classroom to challenges faced in local businesses and organizations. 

Experiential Learning at its Best: Ellie Holmes

Ellie Holmes: Summer Internship

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