The Ohio State University at Mansfield


OSU-Mansfield Student Builds Lasting Relationships Through Multiple Internships

Mansfield, OH – The name Austin Mabe will be one to remember. He will help change the world, starting right here in Mansfield. The Ohio State University at Mansfield social work major has devoted much of his college career to making sure he is well-versed in the business field. He is only a sophomore, and yet, he has already accomplished four internships.

“I think doing internships has been one of the most influential aspects of my college career. There is a lot you can learn in the classroom. However, there is also a ton to learn out in the community,” Mabe explains. “By getting involved in some of these internships I have been able to network and build relationships with people in the community.”

He is currently spending three days a week working as an intern at the Richland Community Development Group. One of his supervisors is Roberta Perry, Administrative Director at RCDG. Perry praises Mabe’s dedication: “This internship has given Austin hands-on experience that he would not be able to get in the classroom. While he has worked with us, he has been able to learn economic, community and workforce development.”

Richland County Development Group employees devote their time to economic and community development throughout the county. A group of local business leaders started the organization in 2009.

Mabe has learned much valuable information for his future career in social work through his internship at the RCDG. “I have been able to help with several projects, including building a list of available business-sized properties in Mansfield. We want to bring in more business or help current businesses expand into Richland County.”

He has also had the opportunity to work with various community initiatives, including Mansfield in Bloom. The project consists of beautifying downtown Mansfield with flower planting, landscaping and urban tree planting. Mabe is working alongside Perry to organize these projects. Perry describes the importance of this work: “All of these projects help improve the quality of life in Richland County. The internship has given Austin the ability to get a one-on-one experience improving the vitality of our community.”

Working for the RCDG is not the first time Mabe has worked within the community. His first internship was at the Richland County Prosecutor’s office. He became aware of the opportunity when former prosecutor Bambi Couch Page came to speak to his to social work class on the Ohio State Mansfield campus.

Mabe worked in the Victim’s Advocacy Department. During that time, he worked with victims of crimes to collect restitution.

This past summer, Mabe interned at Ocean View Church in San Diego. The church is located about 15 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, and he quickly realized there was an obstacle he had to overcome. Mabe does not speak any Spanish, so there was a language barrier. Over time, he learned ways around the problem, and he said the experience was not only rewarding for the youth with whom he worked but for him as well. “We still had the opportunity to build these unique, lasting relationships with the kids and mentor them.”

Since that time, he has been working at RCDG three days a week and has spent two days a week at Mosaic at Park Avenue Baptist Church in Mansfield as a Missions intern. In addition, he is currently working on a major community cleanup project in the city and will soon be headed to Pennsylvania for a week to spend time at the Urban Hope Training Center. While he is there, Mabe will learn about the area’s local missions and their impact the community, as well as observe various beautification projects.

Mabe is also a part of the Best Buddies program. The organization at The Ohio State University at Mansfield partners students with “buddies” from Richland Newhope, which helps people with mental or developmental disabilities.


He will continue his studies at Ohio State Mansfield and hopes to obtain his bachelor’s degree in Social Work by Spring 2018. This summer, he also plans to go to Mexico to help with service projects for people with developmental disabilities. However, don’t expect Mabe to stop there. He is sure to be signing up for more projects and internships around Richland County before graduation.

The OSU internship program is a part of career services, and its leaders are looking for new partnership opportunities with local employers.

If you own or lead a business and are interested in working with our student interns, please contact Internship Coordinator Tracy Bond via email at bond.132@osu.edu or by phone at 419-755-4325. Students are also encouraged to contact Tracy for internship possibilities.