When she accepted a summer internship at C&H Sugar's quality-assurance lab, Creighton University sophomore Rachel Wilhelm was looking for real-world science experience. She got that and much more—including the opportunity to coordinate our successful bake sale benefitting Share Our Strength.
"The bake sale was the biggest thing I worked on all summer," reports Rachel, whose efforts helped C&H raise $1,775 to end childhood hunger. But it wasn't just about the bottom line. "I got to meet almost every single employee face to face," Rachel says. "I felt proud to know such kind-hearted, dedicated people!"
Those adjectives describe Rachel as well—as do "enthusiastic," "hard-working," and "outgoing." A biochemistry and Spanish major who hopes to become a doctor, Rachel is currently a chemistry teaching assistant and an avid volunteer whose causes include Habitat for Humanity and (through her sorority, Delta Delta Delta) St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. As a Creighton University Magis Ambassador, she helps with events and welcomes important guests to the campus. She also sings in a church choir, runs and works out with friends, and—"when I have time"—sews and bakes for relaxation. And she works part time as a desk receptionist at one of the freshman dorms!
Rachel had heard about C&H from her father, who recently became our human-resources manager. Still, she wasn't sure what to expect from "this old and mysterious refinery on the edge of San Francisco Bay." The surprises were all good ones. During her second week on the job, she toured the Moku Pahu, a Hawaiian sugar ship that's been serving C&H for decades. Throughout the rest of the summer she performed daily tests on the refinery's water supply, worked on Safe Quality Food Institute materials in preparation for an audit, and helped market a safety picnic.
And then there was the lab.
"It was amazing learn about the chemistry of sugar and see how hard the employees work," Rachel said. "And it was interesting to use skills I'd learned in high school and college labs to test the products being sent to customers. This was the real deal!" Most impressive to her: "So much care goes into making the product perfect for the customer! On the very off chance that something is wrong with the product, C&H is always responsive to customer complaints—proving that customer satisfaction really does matter!"