St. Vincent college student returns from internship in Shanghai

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 10:20 p.m.

St. Vincent College senior finance major Abby Brentzel immersed herself in the Chinese culture by spending her fall semester working and studying in Shanghai.

Brentzel, a 2010 Penn-Trafford graduate, completed a four-month internship in the controller's department for Bayer Corp.'s Shanghai office and took classes at Shanghai University through the Freeman Awards for Study in Asia scholarship program.

The work at Bayer followed an internship for the company in Pittsburgh last spring. Brentzel spent about 12 to 15 hours a week in the Shanghai office, which included Chinese employees and a group of workers from the company's international headquarters in Germany. She said she is interested in pursuing work abroad after graduating next winter.

“Most of my classmates didn't have the opportunity to work, but I got to experience the workplace atmosphere in a whole different culture, so that was kind of interesting,” said Brentzel, 20.

She also carried a full-time class load of 12 credits and studyed Chinese language, Chinese calligraphy and tai chi, which she said was a fun experience although the instructor didn't speak English.

“He was kind of a kung fu master, so it was really cool to watch him,” Brentzel said.

Her weekly studies included 12 hours of intense Chinese instruction, while a graduate student mentored Brentzel one-on-one in calligraphy.

Elizabeth Bennellick, St. Vincent's study abroad program director, said Brentzel also joined her at a college fair in Shanghai to help the Unity Township-based college recruit international students.

Bennellick said the Bayer internships show that company officials think highly of Brentzel.

“I think it speaks volumes for her ability, and they recognize she can be an asset for them both domestically and internationally,” she said. “I'm just thrilled to death for her.”

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or

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