STEP Internship Experience

My name is Rebecca Nelson and I did an internship for my STEP experience in the summer of 2015.

My STEP experience showed me how to approach businesses with new ideas and how to run social media in a professional manner. There is a small consignment shop, named New Enuf, in my hometown that I approached with a new business idea: launching their Instagram to gain a new consumer market. Throughout the summer, I ran their Instagram and collected data seeing if my strategic media plan worked.

Before my experience, I did not understand how to approach businesses with a new business idea in a professional manner and how to plan strategic messages through social media. This was intimidating at first because it was completely new to me. Once I gathered my presentation and approach to the business, I presented it to them and they were impressed with my idea. They appreciated my interest in them and how I wanted to help them grow their business to gain new customers.

Throughout the summer, I would go in weekly to get suggestions from the owner and create content for their Instagram. I met with the owner to make sure everything was with brand standards and exactly what she wanted to show the public. She was very focused on making sure there was not a risk that the account would end up not being professional, so in order to combat that fear, I would draft posts and she would approve them. Some things that she was looking for was correct grammar, the post being relative to the picture, etc. Below are two examples of the content I created to market to young adults in the age range of 20 to 30.

Toward the end of my internship, I gained more skills as well as evolved the ones I had that will help me in my career after graduation in the public relations/marketing field. My experience taught me how to present ideas to businesses in a professional manner and gave me insight into the exciting career of PR. The new skill that I learned was to run a business social media account. This is different from personal accounts because with business accounts, the social media coordinator needs to stick with the brand and make sure every piece of content is appropriate.

My experience transformed me internally. Before creating my own internship, I was very self-conscious and did not have any confidence in myself. This was because I had applied and interviewed for numerous internships around Columbus that only ended up in failure. Going through that made me feel like I was a failure, instead of just seeing these challenges as a way to grow. Once I came up with the idea to create my own internship, I still did not think it was going to work out. I was completely shocked when Melissa liked my idea to reach a new consumer market, which made me feel a little more confident in my idea. After being successful with my internship, I am now confident in myself and know that I can achieve everything I set my mind to.

Here are some images that I included in Instagram posts. More can be found at @shopnewenuf.

 

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Personal Care Provider

Name: Erica Bratton

Type of Project: Internship

1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.

My STEP project involved working as a provider for Matthew, a boy with cerebral palsy. As a provider, my duties included meal preparation, transporting Matthew to and from community and volunteer activities, personal care, and implementation of Matthew’s home therapy regimen. I used my STEP funding to finance my living expenses so I would be able to have this experience.

2. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.

My view of the world changed dramatically as a result of my STEP experience because my eyes were opened to what it is like to live with a disability. I was made aware of the challenges, from medical appointments to transportation to simply navigating through a crowded public place. I realized how unaware the general population is of the basic considerations we should take to make these challenges less of a concern for the disabled population.

On the other hand, I was transformed by the realization that I really have the power to use my abilities to make Mathew’s life better. The joy he shows at being able to do the simplest things not only made me grateful for my own abilities, but it made me realize the difference that I was making for him. When I help Matthew exercise, I give him the chance to become stronger and healthier, which makes him feel better overall. When I take Matthew bowling or to the park, I give him the chance to do things he loves which he would not be able to do without the help of his providers. This experience fostered a change within me and I now have a stronger desire to help others and use the abilities I have been given to make a difference in someone else’s life.

I also learned a lot about myself through this experience. The chance to implement Matthew’s exercise plan at home and make decisions regarding what exercises he should be doing based on the goal he wanted to reach gave me practical experience in the field of physical therapy in which I hope to become a professional. This experience gave me affirmation that I am indeed pursuing the right career path because I loved seeing the improvement in Matthew’s overall disposition when I helped him to exercise regularly. He felt better physically, which translated to him feeling better overall, and it gave me the best feeling knowing that I was able to help him feel this way. I am more confident than ever of my choice of career because of this experience.

3. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.

Some of the most influential experiences I had with Matthew in regards to my view of the world and society occurred on several occasions over the summer when I took Matthew to the Columbus Zoo. Matthew is generally wheelchair bound, so navigating the crowds at the zoo, especially during the middle of the summer, was quite a challenge. People would walk right in front of him without saying excuse me or even acknowledging that he was there. We would wait patiently for the chance to make our way to the glass or to the fence so we could observe the animal, and when we finally got to the front of the line, someone would cut right in front of him and make him wait even longer. It was frustrating to me to observe the lack of consideration for Matthew, and it was even more upsetting to think that I may have been one of these people in the past. I had never really taken the time to consider these challenges, and my experience working with Matthew forced me to open my eyes to the struggles he faces every day. I hope to share this experience with others to open their eyes as well, and in doing so I want to advocate for people like Matthew and for those who dedicate their time to caring for the disabled in our community. People should realize the impact, both positive and negative, that their actions have on those who may not have the same physical or mental abilities as we do.

One of the most influential moments of my experience occurred one night while I was helping Matthew to get ready for bed. I had been working with him for a couple months at this point, so we had the time to begin to form a relationship. As I was tucking him in, Matthew said to me “Thank you for coming today Erica, I love you.” It was so sweet and gave me an indescribable feeling. Hearing him say this made me fully realize what an impact I had on his life as a provider. Knowing that he felt comfortable enough to tell me he loved me gave me reassurance that I was doing everything I needed to make him happy and keep his quality of life as high as possible.

Another defining moment of my experience working with Matthew came the day his crutches came in the mail. For the first several weeks of working with Matthew, he walked in short bouts with the help of a walker, but in August he went to a therapy camp and learned to walk with crutches. For a month we exercised more intensely than we had previously in order to get Matthew in shape and keep him agile enough to be ready to use his crutches when they finally arrived. I was lucky enough to be with Matthew the day his crutches finally came and seeing the sheer joy and sense of pride he had when he was able to walk with his very own crutches for the first time was one of the most rewarding moments of my life. Knowing that all the time I had put into exercising with Matthew, and all of the struggles I had gone through encouraging him to do his exercises and do them right, were finally paying off was an experience I won’t soon forget. This was one of the moments in which I felt an overwhelming sense of affirmation in the career path I have chosen. That day, more than ever, I was truly excited about my future as a physical therapist, and I look forward to moments like these with many patients throughout my career.

4. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.

The changes I experienced as a result of my STEP experience are valuable for my life in many ways. As I have mentioned, working with Matthew has affirmed my desire to work as a physical therapist. Helping Matthew achieve his physical goals and seeing the sense of pride he took in his achievements made me realize what an impact I have on his life and his health just by implementing his home therapy regimen every time I work with him. I am more confident than ever that I want to spend my professional life helping others like Matthew achieve the same sense of pride in their ability to reach any goal they desire.

I also feel that the lessons I learned working with Matthew in the community setting has opened my eyes to the needs of the disabled community. I think these people need someone to advocate for them and stand up for their rights, even when it comes to something as simple as having a turn at the window to see an animal at the zoo. The general public needs to be more aware of the needs of the people who can’t advocate for themselves, and I hope to become a stronger voice for the disabled community.

An Ohioan goes West: My Internship Experience

My name is Leslie Mamula and my STEP signature experience was an internship with The Williams Companies in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Williams Companies is an energy company focused on transporting and processing natural gas. I worked on the Project Standards team within Engineering and Construction Department. I had the opportunity to work with other teams within the company across the country.

This summer helped me have a better understanding of the skills I need to succeed as an engineer as well as what it takes to be an engineer. Throughout my sophomore year I questioned the classes I was taking and whether the major I was in was the right one for me. My internship showed me that I do have the skills and interest to be an engineer. I truly enjoyed the project standards team, learning how to piece together a specification, and how the transportation of natural gas works. While I don’t intend to work in project standards in the near future I’m excited to use the lessons I learned in future positions.

This summer I had the opportunity to live on my own, understand what it takes to have a balanced lifestyle and dive into learning a new topic. I understand to live a successful life I will need to continue to grow in these areas. The most transformative lesson I learned was to share positive thinking and incorporate these messages into whatever I am doing. One way I did this during my job was to share my personality through quotes and pictures hanging up in my office. I’m going to continue to find ways to share my optimistic attitude with everyone I meet.

The first relationship that truly impacted me was a mentor- mentee relationship with an older petroleum engineer willing to teach me the ropes of natural gas and pipeline, introduce me to people within the company and teach me new ways to network. This mentor spent at least 20 minutes a day teaching me about safety, proper ways to construct an onshore pipeline, or even sharing stories from his 36 previous years of experience. This constant teaching and conversation showed me that with some dedication and learning a lot of new skills someone can truly do anything. In my case I learned that I could truly be an engineer since that’s what I want to do.

The next thing that truly taught me a lot was planning out trips to explore the Salt Lake City area while I was in Utah. Learning to be in balance and enjoying the new location in the country versus continually focusing on work will help the rest of my life. Learning life/work balance is something that will help me be the most productive and healthiest version of myself. While I had learned some of these skills at college finding ways to balance hiking trips, flying home, trips for work, magic shows and gardens while working a full time job gave me a new perspective on what to look for in a company. This will help me have the best possible job experience and allow me to fully branch out when picking a job.

The last experience that led to my transformation to highlight was a trip to Tulsa Oklahoma with all of my fellow interns. Throughout this trip having the opportunity to network and bond with other interns gave me the confidence to find ways to incorporate my values into a fulfilling work environment. Specifically in how many different ways there are to be involved in an engineering field. The other interns taught me skills in networking, how to incorporate multiple teams in a project and ways to have a work/life balance. Lastly the other interns showed me no matter where in life you come from everyone has the skills to be an engineer if they are willing to be dedicated and work hard.

This transformation supports my decision to stay an engineer and be more confident as I prepare to graduate in about a year and a half. I also have a new found excitement for classes and the ability to make hard choices between what to devote my time to. These skills will allow me to live a successful and positive professional and personal lifestyle. Academically, I plan to refocus on classes that are more interesting and to make classes that I don’t find as interesting something that I grow to love. This will allow me to be more successful as a student and eventually a better employee. This will come from being positive in everything I do because I will find the good in everything I do. Overall my step experience has truly changed my life for the better. It has ultimately change the way I live my life.341160

Dow Chemical Company Accounting Internship

For my STEP project, I had an accounting internship with The Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Michigan. Specifically, I was in the Dow Finance Internship program working in the external reporting group. Over the course of my 12-week internship, I worked on a handful of different projects for the external reporting group. In addition to my work projects, I also was able to explore Michigan, learn more about the business and culture of Dow Chemical, and test-run a corporate accounting career.

This internship experience allowed me to solidify my post-graduation and initial career plans. Through this experience, I was able to understand how a corporate accounting career may differ from a public accounting career. I also was able to confirm that I enjoy doing accounting in the workplace and that it is a career that I can see myself engaged in for many years. I was able to begin thinking about what skills and mindset I will need to forge a successful career as an accountant. I learned that it is crucially important to strategically plan out your career goals and to evaluate where you want to be in the future. I learned that I need to adjust the way that I set goals and plan for the future as I begin my accounting career.

Going into my internship, I had very little embedded assumptions about corporate accounting and The Dow Chemical Company. I essentially begun the internship with a blank slate and was able to evaluate the culture of the company and the career paths of corporate accountant objectively. The main assumptions that I had going into the internship were in regards to how careers in public accounting differ from corporate accounting. Public accounting is a very popular career path for recent graduates. It is advertised heavily and positively to accounting students throughout their undergraduate program. Corporate accounting, however, is sometimes given a more negative light. It is sometimes describe as slow or dull. I found this to be completely false. I learned that the best way to evaluate a career path or opportunity is to place yourself in the environment and use your own metrics to evaluate your fit. Deciding your career based on rumors and the experiences of others can be shortsighted. After 12-weeks of being immersed in the culture of Dow and corporate accounting, I had replaced my blank slate of assumptions with facts and first-hand experiences that I can draw on in the future when making career choices.

Over the course of my internship, I worked on three major projects. The first of these was working on integrating the investor relations group into the external reporting software used by my group. This project created efficiencies that eliminated opportunities for errors. The second project I worked on entailed rolling forward the Form 10-K annual report for The Dow Chemical Company. Rolling forward this document consisted of making necessary updates to prepare it for work to be done later in the year. The last of my three main projects was assisting the group in preparing the second quarter Form 10-Q which reports the results of the company. In addition to these three main projects, I worked on many other smaller projects throughout the course of the internship. I found that I was occupied, engaged, and enthusiastic about the work I was doing my internship. I was excited to solve problems, think critically, and create efficiencies that would benefit the company. These projects that I did on the job confirmed that I would be engaged in a career in corporate accounting.

In addition to the projects that I worked on during my internship, I also got the opportunity to explore Michigan, go to extracurricular events with other interns, play in a company softball league, and explore Midland, Michigan. I quickly learned that there is a lot more to a career or job than showing up to work every day for eight hours. By involving yourself outside of work with those that you work with and with those in the community you work in, you can create a better working experience for yourself. Not only was it fun to attend many events with other interns but many events were very valuable. Some of the most valuable events included a speaker series with company leaders, training seminars, and networking events. I learned the importance of networking and continual development throughout your career.

One of the most exciting events during my internship was going on a trip to Dow’s Gulf Coast Operations in Freeport, Texas. All of the Dow Finance interns attended this two-day trip to see the operations of the company first hand. We flew on the Dow Jet to Freeport where we were able to tour the largest chemical facility in the western hemisphere. We also were able to go to the beach in Texas and experience what it would be like to live and work in Texas. This experience allowed me to see how many career opportunities the Company and corporate accounting offers. Overall, I had a vast array of experiences over the course of my STEP project that contributed to a further understanding of corporate accounting career paths, the culture of The Dow Chemical Company, and how I can strategically set goals for my career.

All of the additional knowledge and understanding that I walked away from my internship with contributed greatly to my career goals. I received an offer to return to The Dow Chemical Company after I graduate this spring as an Associate Accountant in the Finance Development Program for Accountants. After I reflected on my experiences over the course of the summer, I decided to accept this offer and to start my career in corporate accounting with Dow. My internship experience confirmed that Dow and corporate accounting would be a great way to start my career. Now that my future plans to return to Dow after graduation are set in stone, I have begun to decide how I will involve myself outside of work living in Midland, Michigan. My personal goals are now largely up to me. My academic and career goals will continue to develop as I start my new job and evaluate what I want out of my future, just like I did throughout my STEP internship experience.

 

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Below is a link to my blog that I wrote over the course of my STEP project.  It talks about different experiences I had over the course of the summer and what I learned over the course of the summer.

https://fisher.osu.edu/blogs/ug-career-mgmt/author/brackman-29/

Chemical Engineering Internship – Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

My name is Benjamin Heimbach and I obtained a Chemical Engineering internship in the Quality and Technology department at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio. The internship primarily focused on the notions of tire engineering and process engineering. My projects allowed me to be on a cross functional team made up of engineering associates, IT, business members and machine operators. A certain main project helped me to develop an understanding of customer specifications and the importance of said specifications. Another  main project gave the opportunity to travel and develop my process engineering skills in the plant setting.

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The experience impacted me personally by confirming my desire to be a chemical engineer in a manufacturing setting. I was able to test my knowledge and ambitions in a completely different realm of learning. The professional relationships I made along the way are certainly a priceless entity. The experience gave me the opportunity to test my problem solving skills and my technical knowledge within Chemical Engineering.

As a Chemical Engineering student getting the real world experience is an essential part of becoming a well equipped engineer. I was able to get real world experience in many categories of applied learning from the engineering curriculum. I developed aptitude in many of the tire making process units that will further enhance my learning when I take Unit Operations next semester. I was able to Utilize the A3 Problem Solving methodology to better optimize the slitter machine and fabric calender process reducing yearly waste by $300,000. I Created and executed an Excel program to increase tire quality predictions by 30% company wide. My programming skills from Matlab and C++ were also put to work. I Presented original work to department leadership resulting in implementation which allowed me to practice and showcase my communications skills. Good communication is a pillar of a good engineer. I became educated on the interactions between business and engineers through developing a document to prioritize future process projects through understanding of company and department values. I was able to test my fluid mechanics and heat transfer knowledge through unraveling the enigma of the radial roll run out calculation by applying calculus and physics. Being able to see all of these projects become successful in improving the company led me to the previous point of confirming my ability to be an engineer.

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All of the above mentioned changes and experiences will improve my possibilities for life long employment with Goodyear as well as make me a more desired candidate for other companies. The experiences provided me to see the manufacturing setting and ultimately confirm the manufacturing setting is the career location I would much enjoy to be a part of. The manufacturing life is so exciting and never monotonous, and that itself provides a sense of rejuvenation. Developing a high level of understanding of the physics and engineering behind certain tire making processes enhances my ability in my future learning

My Summer in Washington, D.C.

This summer, I interned in Washington, D.C., through the John Glenn College’s Washington Academic Internship Program. I took class with an Ohio State professor, attended policy lectures, toured the city, and most importantly, worked as a communications intern at the Department of Health and Human Services. At HHS, I learned all about Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, insurance plans, and about the work of HHS as a whole. It was such a privilege to even walk into the lobby each morning, let alone be able to work with HHS employees and attend HHS events.

While in D.C., I conducted more than twenty-five informational interviews with professionals in a wide range of fields, experienced what it’s like to live and work in D.C., and learned about Cabinet agencies, Capitol Hill, nonprofit organizations, and other places to work in the D.C. area. Meeting professionals with years of experience for coffee to ask questions and discuss career paths can be very intimidating, but with a little bit of preparation and effort, you can make a good impression and develop a professional relationship – which are incredibly important in politics. I had also never had a professional internship before, and learning how to dress, behave, and work in a fast-paced professional office was a large part of my summer-long learning.

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I have never been a confident person, but after interning at a large Cabinet agency, meeting and networking with OSU alumni, and living on my own in a large city for an entire summer, I started to develop confidence and to become comfortable in my own skin, thanks in large part to my mentors over the summer and the WAIP program coordinator. I also learned to be much more outgoing and self-driven than I have ever been. Even though I lived in D.C. with 20 other Ohio State students, we all had different schedules and different D.C. Bucket Lists. I toured the city by myself quite often, learned to advocate for myself, to manage my schedule, time and money, and to take advantage of each day to see the city. After this summer, I realized how little I tour Columbus and attend events hosted on campus and have definitely become more aware of the events and activities that Columbus and Ohio State have to offer.

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This experience also taught me that I hope to return to D.C. in the near future to intern again, and later as a full-time employee after I graduate. After spending my freshman year as an undecided student, it was wonderful to finally get a better idea of what I want to do with my life. Now I am planning a study abroad trip, another internship, a fellowship after graduation, and a graduate degree. It would be amazing to be able to accomplish all of these goals, and with the help of those I met this summer and the resources I now know exist to help me, it will be that much easier.

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Looking back on this summer, this internship program was the best thing I could have done to learn about my passions and possible careers, and to gain experience living by myself far away from home. The only challenge left is to find an internship next year to top my experience last summer.

-Sarah Hudacek

Internship at McGregor Nursing Home in Cleveland, Ohio

From May until early August of 2015 I interned at McGregor Nursing Home. I worked closely with Judy Simon, the Director of Volunteers, which is a pivotal position at McGregor. The nursing home is a non-profit and is dependent on volunteers. Although I spent the majority of my time with Ms. Simon, I also had the opportunity to follow Social Workers, Admissions, and Activities staff.

While working at McGregor, my perception of nursing homes drastically changed. I saw, first hand, how much the staff and volunteers care about the residents. In our society, senior citizens are often cast aside, but my nursing home experience has shown me that senior citizens have more to offer to their community than people are aware. McGregor has an assisted living, therapy, long-term care, and hospice programs. In my time there I spent time with each area and saw the differences in the lives of each resident. Though they were different, McGregor’s mission to provide the best care and support for each resident went above and beyond what I had expected.

During my time, I assisted in various activities for the residents. I spent time giving manicures, throwing birthday parties, helping residents care for a garden, and attend outings. All of these things at first seemed small and, when standing on their own, almost insignificant when I first began working. However, I saw that these little things meant everything to the residents. For some, their families lived in other cities, so they did not have regular visitors. I noticed that those who did not regularly receive visitors would attend more events. In doing so, they gained friendships from the volunteers who helped at these events.

I enjoyed the administrative side of the nursing home as much as I interacted with the residents. I was intrigued to see how social workers acted in nursing homes. Previously, I did not know they were even employed there. Quarterly, and depending on the length of a resident’s stay, a social worker, a dietician, head nurse of the residents’ floor, and a member of the resident’s family or guardian had a meeting, a Care Conference, discussing in detail the resident’s life at McGregor, and how they could improve their care. This gave the resident and their family the opportunity to bring up any concerns they may have. Additionally, this gave everyone to discuss the resident’s end of life requests, including DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Status. This showed me that the quality of life of each resident is until the very end at McGregor.

The best way to describe the transformation I had at McGregor is that I did not even realize it had happened until looking back. In a way, the transformation is directly correlated with my values and future career goals. Before McGregor, I had experience working with disabled children. In a way, my time at McGregor was similar.

I loved that McGregor had so many scheduled activities that were different and fun for the residents. We took residents on outings to the metro parks, out to a restaurant, and to a movie. Those were just the outings that I saw when I was there. For the residents who were not able to leave the home, there were plenty of activities for them as well. Each month I was at McGregor, I assisted with the birthday party. The birthday was to celebrate any resident who had a birthday in that month. The parties had cake, punch, and each month a different entertainer. Sometimes the entertainer performed a specific type of music; sometimes they were a magician or other talent.

Besides the large-scale activities, I transported residents and sometimes helped with other activities. McGregor brought in different faith representatives for services throughout the week. For example, on Tuesday morning there would be a priest for mass, on Wednesday there would be a rabbi for a service. Gospel choirs were also frequent visitors to McGregor.

McGregor made me realize how much our society devalues those who are older and in nursing homes. There were so many residents who did not get visitors, and even when they did, their visitor did not fully invest their time into the visit. There was one resident who would call the front desk every day, just to ask the time. When I asked the receptionist why she did that, I was told that the woman doesn’t talk to many people during the day and doesn’t leave her room, so she calls the front desk so she has someone to talk to. Hearing stories like this broke my heart.

One aspect of the nursing home that drastically altered my life was attending hospice meetings and interacting with new hospice admits. Though they are at the end of their life, McGregor still ensured quality and care for their hospice residents. After interacting with hospice residents and those involved in their care, I am now considering working as a hospice counselor or grief counselor. I think that dealing with a loved one’s end of life can be challenging, and we all need help getting through it. Following my undergraduate degree at Ohio State, I plan on applying to graduate programs in Social Work, Mental Health Counseling, and Family Counseling. Before, I had limited myself to family counseling, but seeing the impact social workers had in nursing homes really affected me.

An Internship Spent Maximizing the Minimum

Hello!

My name is Ross Hashbarger, and you most likely don’t know me.  I’m a junior, studying data analytics (there’s more, but you’ll have to wait!), work at OCCSS (#offcampusOSU), etc.  There’s a lot to me, but I’m here to talk about STEP.

Over the summer of 2015, I spent my time interning for a local non-profit, The Maximin Project.  I was a web developer for Maximin, and most of my work was just coding.  Maximin is a nonprofit focused on alleviating poverty by providing the public and easy, user-friendly way to manage contributions to other nonprofits.

I come from a small-town.  I may not like that, but it shaped who I was and the understandings I have of the world around me.  I didn’t know what diversity was.  Everyone in my town was exactly the same as me, blond haired, blue-eyes, and German ancestry.  My perspective on the world was skewed in more ways than one.  Maximin entirely changed that.

Working on project that exists solely because other people don’t have the opportunities that I have broadened my horizons.  Seeing first hand and looking at the numbers, Maximin opened my eyes to how poverty stricken so much of the world is.  My entire perspective changed the second I started.  No more was I happily going through my day without a care in the world, only interested in what my life entailed.  My global perspective shifted to understanding the massive differences in quality of life between countries.  I now knew how bad some people had it, and how lucky I truly was.

There were two main elements to this shift in perspective.  First and foremost, working at a nonprofit in and of itself opens your eyes.  You see the world around you in a different light.  You work with passionate, caring individuals who give as much as possible for their cause.  All of this is enough to change a perspective, but I’m not going to count that.  It would be too easy to just say “Hey, I worked at a nonprofit.  It changed my views on some things.”  Let’s get a little deeper.

I am a numbers guy.  I like math; more specifically, I like statistics.  Yes, that reaction you just had after reading that a 20 year old likes statistics?  I’ve seen it a thousand times.  I am attracted to numbers.  Their concrete, exact nature allure me.  I just hate uncertainty, and numbers help alleviate that.  One of the two biggest factors in changing my perspective was numbers.  The main component of Maximin was an interactive map that showed the varying levels of education, wealth, and life expectancy among countries.  Looking at those numbers shocked me.  In some countries, people survive on a dollar a day.  Their life expectancy is 40 years.  It appalled me.  Seeing how much worse these countries have it drove my understanding of our world into an area of sadness, one where it really hurts to think about the millions of people that don’t get enough to eat, or don’t even get water.  Those that don’t go to school past third grade.  The numbers cut deep.  They showed me a side that I hadn’t really thought about.

The numbers may have brought up the point, but Dr. Brown hammered it home.  Dr. Steven Brown is a philosophy professor here at OSU, and we met my first semester, way back in the fall of 2013.  I took his intro to philosophy course, and stayed in touch through the years.  Dr. Brown founded The Maximin Project to pursue his vision of “maximizing the minimum.”  I gladly accepted his offer when he asked if I wanted to work with him over the summer.  His background in philosophy was able to put a perspective on all the numbers that truly made them matter.  His passion and understanding of the subject helped me realize the extent in which the world operates at unequal levels.  Dr. Brown truly is the reason I learned so much, and I owe this entire experience and growth to him.

The significance of this change cannot be understated.  Along with the professional and technical development that came with the actual work, this growth that I experienced from working at Maximin will forever stay with me.  I am more culturally and globally aware of the world around me, yearning to do my part in creating a sustainable, equal world for everyone.  This internship truly shaped me into a better person, and for that, I am forever grateful.