Intern provides educational tools amid pandemic

SCIOTO — A Lincoln with Minnesota plates has been making stops at homes throughout Pike and Scioto counties this summer. The man emerging from the vehicle is Jae Menzel, a sophomore from St. Cloud State University, who has one goal: to make learning fun and accessible.

“The program itself is about facing hardships and problems each day and learning how to solve those problems with a positive mindset,” said Menzel, who studies general business.

The coronavirus and a recent car accident have put the philosophy to test, but Menzel says it has forced him to adapt and persevere. Spending more time alone than ever and having to take increased precautions as he enters homes, he reflects often times it is the manner in which you view a situation.

“Nothing is ever that great and nothing is ever that bad,” said Menzel. “At any point in life, to be able to bring yourself back up and to really love yourself is so important.”

Menzel started his internship with Southwestern Advantage, a national educational resource company, in June and has a few weeks left before returning to campus. Working with clients ranging from preschool to college bound high school students, he said the service is in increased demand as uncertainty looms in the classroom.

Located out of Hillsboro, Menzel lives with three other roommates in the program in their host mom’s house. It was the most centrally situated area for the interns, who span out to counties throughout southern Ohio. It does require him to wake up early to drive into his work area. The weeks are long, sometimes up to 80 hours in six days, but he said it has been worth it so far.

As soon as the workday starts, Menzel takes a cold shower and places his entire focus on his work. He turns off the radio during his car rides, to allow himself to think of the day’s plans and goals.

“It’s really about habit-building,” Menzel said. “Looking at obstacles not as challenges, but as opportunities.”

Although never being in southern Ohio, he has tried to build community in the short time he has worked in the area.

“I feel like, especially in Waverly, I know everyone better than I do in my hometown,” said Menzel.

Menzel will go back to St. Cloud State in mid-August. For more information on his work, he invites to check out his Facebook page.


By Patrick Keck –



Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

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