Four rising seniors whose summer plans were dashed by COVID-19 have turned the pandemic to their advantage.
Elizabeth “Ellie” Carlson, a biochemistry major, was supposed to work in a genetics lab at the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute. She was unable to get into the lab, so her “opportunity of a lifetime” evaporated.
Sophie May Hensley, an anthropology major, had secured her dream internship in music video production. But the Nashville, Tennessee, concern for which she was to work informed her its business had dried up and her position was eliminated, a “heartbreaking” event for her.
Sarah Galliher, a communications major, was headed for Washington D.C. to work on political campaigns and social media. She had the option of working remotely, but “I felt that, in order to completely get the experience for my internship, I needed to be in D.C. to experience the amazingness of the city and the high energy.”
Meanwhile, thanks to his father’s acquaintance, Carter Gillie found a last-minute internship at Clinicians Health Solutions LLC, a Zionsville, Indiana, company that produces and distributes hand sanitizer. After about a week, “they asked me if I knew anyone who was looking for an internship but also knew how to create websites (and) do graphic designs. I reached out to Sophie, Sarah and Ellie, and that’s how all of this started!”
The foursome, who have been quarantining together throughout the summer, brainstormed ideas and settled on establishing a business of their own: Clinicians Choice, which markets the Sanitize Your Semester monthly subscription of boxes filled with hand sanitizer, masks and surface cleaner produced by Clinicians Health Solutions. Inspired by some veterans they met through their boss, the students plan to donate some of their profits to veterans’ causes.
“Within the first month we had a website, new logo, advertisements and the breadth of knowledge to be successful in entrepreneurship,” Hensley said. Galliher, who had experience generating social media, has been creating tweets, graphics and video to distribute on various platforms. Carlson, who hopes to be a physician, said the work has been “an incredible experience in a field that I would probably not have gotten to work in, and I’ve learned a whole new set of skills.”
(L-r, Carter Gillie, Sophie May Hensley, Sarah Galliher and Ellie Carlson.)