Andrew Wittland, '19, has lofty goals for the upcoming cross country season at Albion College and for his career after college.
That's why, in addition to logging the miles necessary to run near the front of the pack this fall, he is gaining an experiential learning opportunity this summer as a social media intern for the Spectrum Health sports medicine and orthopedic group based in his hometown of Grand Rapids.
Working under the direction of Albion athletic training alumni Luke Murray, '13, Wittland writes content and develops strategies for outreach for social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. In fact, he said the wide ranging demands of digital communication is taking him into video as well.
A communication studies major and English minor, Wittland credits the liberal arts foundation he's gained at Albion for giving him the skills needed to navigate the learning curve when he launched into the medical field he knew little about.
In addition to developing a general knowledge of the health care industry and taking an inventory of the content produced in the past, Wittland said an important aspect of his training included what could be communicated while adhering to the provisions set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule.
"While I have been in the athletic training room for routine maintenance after training and competition, I always saw sports medicine as a foreign language," Wittland, an all-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association second team performer in 2016, said.
"This (internship) experience has exposed me to different environments learning corporate and healthcare communications, and it speaks to the value of a liberal arts education," he added. "Spectrum's motto is to get individuals back in the game. It's getting people who are active back into what they want to do, whether they are in high school, a professional athlete, or a member of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. It's all an important part of speaking to the community.
"You study what you intend to do for a career (in college), but I never thought it would include sports medicine," Wittland concluded. "(Because of this internship), I'm more interested in the communications field and how I can apply this to my education. It's all part of the Albion experience."
Albion, like many liberal arts institutions, may not have the enrollment of better known colleges and universities, however, one of its advantages is the way alumni provide opportunities for current students like Wittland.
"Luke wanted an intern from Albion and he wanted someone excited about what they were doing," Wittland said. "I have enjoyed working with Luke and Spectrum. Seeing the dedication has been inspiring to put forth my best work."
Get the latest information on the cross country and track & field programs by following @AlbionXCTF on Twitter. General athletics news can be found @gobrits on Twitter or Albion College Athletics on Facebook