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Student Spotlights

Class of 2016: Abigail Blake, IU East

Apr. 27, 2016

Three months after IU East senior Abigail Blake began a summer internship at J&J Winery and Noble Order Brewing Co., she was hired as a part-time events coordinator for the Centerville, Ind., winery.

abigail blake


A biochemistry major who will graduate in May, Blake reached out to career and experiential learning coordinator Liz Ferris after transferring to IU East. She wanted to know how internships worked at the university and how she could get involved right away.

J&J Winery had recently contacted Hitesh Kathuria, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, about the possibility of establishing an internship for students from the School of Natural Science and Mathematics, primarily in the chemistry areas that relate to wine and beer production.

And just like that, Blake was hired.

She was hired as an intern in May 2015 and then worked up to a part-time job by August 2015. In addition to working on wine production, she coordinates events at the winery and meets with clients to plan special occasions. She also helps with wine tastings.

J&J Winery was established by Melody and Jeff Haist, and produced its first crop of grapes in 2008. The winery produces about 2,000 cases per year on site and also has a cafe.

“I’ve learned a lot from Melody and Jeff,” Blake said. “They’ve taught me that you don’t just sell a product, you sell your service.”

Jeff Haist has worked with Blake on wine production, including testing the harvested grapes that have been crushed and prepared for bottling. They measure the wine’s pH balance, sugars and titratable acidity levels.

In addition to finishing her degree and her part-time job at the winery, Blake is also studying for the Medical College Admission Test. She expects to take the test in the fall and hopes to pursue a master’s degree in pharmaceutical science with an emphasis in cosmetic science.

She ultimately plans to attend medical school to become a dermatologist.

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