My Summer at Eaton: The Impact of my STEP Experience

STEP Signature Project: For my signature project, I spent 3 months of my summer taking an internship at Eaton Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA. I worked in the Electronics Division working on Molded Case and Power Circuit Breakers, devices found in commercial and industrial applications. STEP made it possible for me to move out to Pittsburgh and take on this wonderful challenge, which has already had great impacts on the start of my career.

Self Understanding: The biggest impact my STEP Signature Project has had on my, in the way of self-understanding, is it has made me much more confident in my field. Before taking this real world work experience, everything I had done engineering related had been through a class setting. The real world was mysterious and scary and I was set with the assumption that I was not capable of making an impact, at least not yet. Before my STEP Signature Project I assumed real life work experience was scary; after STEP afforded me the opportunity to participate in this opportunity, I no longer fear finding an engineering position at a major company. I now feel more confident in my abilities to compete for top tier jobs. I feel confident in interviews because I can talk about my STEP Experience. I feel more confident in my studies having experienced a snapshot of why I’m at school in the first place.

Key Events: One of the best relationships I made over the summer during my STEP Signature Project was with my manager at Eaton. He was in charge of about 15 engineers and was constantly in meetings because nearly every decision had to pass through him. Even with all of this responsibility, he was able to be a great mentor to me. He went above and beyond teaching me the hands on fundamentals necessary to strive in the real world, but skills not easily taught in a classroom setting.

The best interactions I had with my manager were during our biweekly “electronics talks”. This because a time where we met each week and I could ask him questions about anything and I used this as a one on one way method to maximize my learning during my STEP experience. I used these sessions to ask him as many electronics questions as I could, which in turn fostered my love for electronics and the work I was doing even more.

Another even that led to my self confidence boost was living in a city completely new to me where I was four hours away from friends and family. This was a great opportunity for me to meet new people as the interns all ate lunch together. This was a great opportunity to communicate with students at other universities and learn about the differences and similarities between other schools and Ohio State. This confidence to live on my own and be so far away from what is familiar to me opened up so many doors as I am now confident in taking an internship in another city and, eventually, moving away to find a full time position.

Value: STEP allowed me the opportunity to fully immerse myself in my summer internship. Because of this, I gained a sense of confidence that has followed me in my personal life, my academic career, and my professional development. Coming from a music background, I fully understand how important confidence is in accomplishing ones goals but before STEP, I never had considered applying that same background to engineering. During our weekly STEP meetings, we did a lot of activities that helped us understand how best we learn. One of these activities that had a meaningful impact on me was when we participated in a Briggs Meyers’ Personality Test. This was my first time having done so and during our meeting we were walked through how to select a STEP experience that complements our personality. By choosing to do something like an internship and expose myself (as I consider myself a very shy person) was the best thing I could do in order to impact my personal life and future goals. While I will never change my personality type, not that I would want to, participating in my unique STEP experience allowed me to experience the self confidence and openness to change required in the business world. Because of STEP, I feel much more confident that I can achieve my future plans.

STEP Reflection at Vanderbilt University

AshtonHood                                                                                                                       STEP Reflection

For My STEP experience I chose to do an Internship in the Athletic Department at Vanderbilt University. I got this internship through a number of connections that I had established while in High School. Vanderbilt University is right across the street from my high school, as I am from Nashville, TN so this allowed me to be a familiar face over in the Vanderbilt area.

My duties for the internship included shadowing Mr. David Williams the Athletic Director and working in the marketing and communications department as an intern completing projects, while also helping the football team with their preseason training. The projects usually consisted of editing scripts for announcers at football or baseball games, or working in Adobe Photoshop editing a new flyer for a sports team, or updating schedule flyers for the new season. I definitely enjoyed these tasks, since they were hands on and I felt like I was actually helping the athletic department in a big way by finding this out.

I wouldn’t say that much changed about my view of the world, the only thing that I could say changed was now I know how much work goes into running a college athletic program. Prior to this past summer, I knew a lot of work and people went into the running of an athletic program but now I’ve seen it with my own eyes and it is way more work than anyone would expect. Also, something else that I am positive of is that I want to work for an athletic program and continue to be along side many other individuals who have the same passion as myself.

A particular event that sort of shaped my whole STEP Experience was an Enter to Win contest that we set up under the athletics department. For all the mailing address that Vanderbilt had in their system, we mailed out season programs that had the football players and coach’s pictures and signatures in them. This entered contestants in a chance to win season tickets for football, basketball, and baseball. This allowed us to enter all the data into a spread sheet and choose a few random winners from the numbers that we collected. This was by far the most fun time that we had, since we got to design our own contest and follow through with selecting the winners.

Another consistent activity that we did was play basketball with the Athletic Department staff twice a week during lunch time. This really established a lot of great relationships and networking, because they not only helped us in networking for future internships and jobs but actually held an interest in us personally first. We got to know everyone who played in a different way than in an office or on the field, we got to know them in a relaxed way where they were competing in a sport as athletes rather than coaches and administrators.

This transformation is significant to me, because now I have established a large amount of relationships in the field that I desire to go into. Not only at a school that gives me a wide range and exposure to other jobs, but at a place in my hometown where I can establish many more connections after that. Also, the athletic director at Vanderbilt University used to be the athletic director here at Ohio State. He has connected me with many people here in the athletic department, which not only helps me in my career as a student here at OSU. But also helps me with my postgraduate career, as far as grad school or searching for another job as well. My STEP Experience was a truly great experience for me, and thankfully it leads to something that I wish to continue next summer as well as summers after that, potentially a full career.

Jason Shilling’s Signature Project Report

Name: Jason Shilling

 

Type of Project: Internship

 

  1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. I was a regional operations intern for Speedway LLC. I worked under a district manager to ensure service levels at 13 stores. I was able to connect my classwork with real world opportunities, and grow as a leader.

 

 

  1. What changed about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? My project gave me a great opportunity to develop as a leader. I had so many great opportunities to develop during my internship. The toughest challenge was learning to manage people. I was able to develop tactics to deal with adversity and drive towards goals. I also was given many great mentors to help develop me during my internship.

 

I got to manage many hourly employees. I learned to connect with, and engage them so their performance drove results in my stores. I learned that performance is the result of strong relationships. I strove to involve them as much as possible so they had a sense of pride in their store. The more engaged employees were the better my stores did. As I become good at this people came to me for leadership, and I was able to see myself as a leader.

 

  1. 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? The biggest project I oversaw this summer was my region’s charity efforts for Children’s Miracle Network. I was a part of a team that designed and managed this effort in over one hundred stores.

 

The first valuable relationship was with my team. We were able to collaborate with one another to create a successful program. We had to have a share vision and passion to be successful. I learned how to set expectations, compromise when creating goals, persistence when attaining those goals.

 

I also was able to work with stores to set expectations and lead them towards success. I learned how to delegate responsibilities, reward success, and coach failure. This tested my ability to manage my time. I was able balance all my responsibilities and have a successful project.

 

Ultimately, it was rewarding to work to help Children Miracle Network and the reputation of Speedway LLC while developing valuable leadership skills.

 

  1. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?  My project served as an incubator, giving me the opportunity to develop leadership skills that I will grow and rely on for my whole career. I was able to shape my vision of my future throughout the step experience, and refine my vision through my signature project.

STEP Internship Experience: BMW Manufacturing at Plant Spartanburg, SC

This fall my STEP experience took the form of an internship with BMW Manufacturing in Spartanburg, SC. As the largest plant in the global BMW production network, Plant Spartanburg produces the increasingly popular X3, X4, X5, and X6 sports activity vehicles. While working for BMW I gained my first exposure to automotive manufacturing and learned great lessons from diving into a new discipline of engineering. It was an eye opening experience, and one that taught me much about my abilities and limitations in both work and life.

I’m a third year mechanical engineering student at Ohio State, and like many of my classmates I spend a lot of time wondering what my career will look like after graduation. Where will I be? What will I do? How do I get there? For much of my life those questions have loomed over my head with a nebulous cloud of uncertainty. I know in my head what I want life to look like 5-10 years down the road, but I’ve struggled to put into words what exactly I’m striding towards after graduation. At BMW, I learned that I still have a lot of growing up to do before I can answer those questions.

On-boarding at a large organization like BMW is a lot like drinking water from the firehose; there’s so much new information to absorb and so many people with vast experience to learn from that it is easy to become shellshocked. For a self-reliant, straight-A student like me, jumping into that environment was somewhat of a crisis of confidence. Unlike previous jobs where I had some basic familiarity with the my responsibilities, my mechanical engineering coursework was far removed from the industrial engineering challenges of the production environment, and my pool of experience was vastly inferior to the combined knowledge of my coworkers, most of whom had “been at the Plant longer than [I’d] been alive.” I was thoroughly intimidated. I had never found myself so far removed from my comfort zone than I was at the time, so outside my wheelhouse that I had to be completely shepherded from ground zero.

At one point during my first major project, I spent three weeks working long hours designing and building a production critical, time-critical solution for an assembly line balance. With little guidance and poor communication between all parties involved, when it came time to implement my solution I was thoroughly embarrassed to find it fundamentally flawed. During the implementation meeting, I nearly broke down as I watched the sum of my hard work and effort get scrapped due to my own oversight and lack of proper communication.

But things improved from there. My supervisor refused to be critical of my error, and instead he focused on the positive takeaways from the situation. Rather than working independently and ‘guessing’ at the proper course of action, he encouraged me to rely more heavily on the experienced team around me. As I got more involved in different projects I built a support network that helped guide me and answer questions as I went. I met people from different departments and varied backgrounds, formed working friendships that made problem solving in the Plant’s turbulent environment a smooth and enjoyable process.

Towards the end of my rotation, I had the opportunity to work a week out on the assembly floor in the engine line. Working a shift on the line is a physically and mentally taxing endeavor; ten hour shifts, constant movement, and few breaks combine for an exhausting day by most standards. I was entirely apprehensive about starting that Monday morning when my alarm rang at 4:45 AM, but by quitting time on Friday I realized it to be the most fun and rewarding week of my time at BMW. I could now say that I helped build the engines that power 1400 BMW customer’s vehicles all over the world. But more than that, I truly enjoyed the experience of meeting & working with the associates on the line.

By picking their brains and hearing their stories, I gained a new perspective on my work with BMW, and my life as a young adult. I experienced firsthand how the improvements and solutions that I had helped design could influence their job building cars, and witnessed how the smallest change in a process could multiply to influence their day for better or worse. I met people who truly enjoy performing the exact same process 300 times every four out of seven days, whose daily routines haven’t changed for the past 25 years. And in working alongside them I forgot about how uncomfortable I was in my cushy desk job, how a team meeting had nearly made me break down, and how negative I had truly been in viewing the majority of my internship.

The transformation I had at BMW was entirely a lesson in perspective. The foremost challenge of my young adult life was that I didn’t fall immediately in love with the job I had to do. It was a struggle to overcome that reality, and I almost drowned in the fact that it was hard for me to do on my own. It was humbling to realize how conditioned I was to focus on the presence of ‘bad’ in my self-appraisal of any situation rather than capitalizing on the presence of ‘good’ in it. While at BMW I saw and did things that wouldn’t be possible in a classroom, networked with people I otherwise wouldn’t have met, and added an outstanding set of references to my resume for the future. Not only that, I learned that one day my job will most certainly depend less on my own technical ability than my ability to leverage the team and network around me to overcome challenges. Above all, that gut check will serve as a practical reminder of my own limitations and a continuing lesson in the value of humility as I continue my academic and professional journey.

TL;DR:

As said by my own father, two weeks into the experience:

“Everyone’s confidence could use a little bit of a crisis.”

 – Col. Matthew D. Bonavita, 21 Aug 2015

 

 

Two fellow interns this fall, and good friends. Posing outside Plant Spartanburg towards the end of rotation with Curtis (Louisville) and Darius (Cincinnati).

Two fellow interns this fall, and good friends. Posing outside Plant Spartanburg towards the end of rotation with Curtis (Louisville) and Darius (Cincinnati).

 

  • •Plenty of time for work and play; we took time to explore the Carolinas on weekends. Photo taken at High Falls in DuPont State Forest. On the right is my roommate Nick (Clemson) and on the left are my girlfriend Anna and bestfriend Colin who made the trip all the way from OSU to visit over Labor Day.

    Plenty of time for work and play; we took advantage on weekends to explore the Carolinas on weekends. Photo taken at High Falls in DuPont State Forest. On the right is my roommate Nick (Clemson) and on the left are my girlfriend Anna and bestfriend Colin who made the trip all the way from OSU to visit over Labor Day.

STEP Internship- Rockwell Automation

STEP REFLECTION

My STEP Signature Project was a summer internship for Rockwell Automation. My Primary Responsibilities included: Supporting Installation Design Projects by providing engineering and drafting services. Creating and updated drawings using AutoCAD, generated and improved proposal documents. Standardizing existing electrical schematics by upgrading to Allen Bradley equipment and implementing Rockwell specifications.

Before my internship experience, I had no real world experience pertaining to my major. There was no clear link between the courses I was taking and what it would lead to after graduation. Once I began working I quickly realized a few different things. One being that there is a learning curve no matter where it is that you work. My assumptions about working 40 hours a week were changed as I actually enjoyed working. The company culture was great so I went to work excited and engaged in the activities I had to do. I also learned a lot at a very fast pace.

The relationships with the people in my department was a huge part of my experience. There were no other interns working with me so I was working with all full-time adults. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this but it was quite enjoyable and a new experience for me. I was able to learn a lot from people who are my parents aged and have an extensive amount of education in my field.

I worked on two main project while I was interning. The first project was the Eagle Ford RTU Upgrade Project. My goal for this project was to complete installation drawings from start to finish by creating a master set of drawings for one oil site to use as a template for others. In order to do so, I had to create scaled Rockwell drawings with overview of oil site, generate scaled detailed drawings of existing equipment along with new Rockwell equipment to be put in place and add wire numbers to all connection diagrams via information from wiring diagrams. In sum, I was able to construct that one model unit and identify errors in wiring diagrams that were sent to lead engineer to resolve.

The second project I worked on was the LSB Chemical project. My goal for this project was to simplify the electrical contractor’s efforts. In order to do so I had to develop installation drawings for DCS and SIS and compile and consolidate a database with needed device information. In order to do so, I had to locate errors within electrical and layout schematics. Develop system diagram and scale building floor plan overviews, communicate with product managers, project managers and field engineers. I was able to clarify device location in racks along with sheet number and modify index drawings for DCS and SIS with new drawings that will increase productivity for electrical contractors.

Throughout this experience I was able to contribute to my main goal of becoming a business-oriented engineer. I was able to participate in customer visits and meetings, learn how to communicate in different settings, maintain my technical aptitude and read electrical schematics. I learned how to communicate, the importance of maintaining/improving technical skills and implementing process improvements and productivity.

 

 

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STEP Reflection

Name: Fa Tower Zhou

Type of Project: Summer Intern

During this past summer, I interned with a German corporation called Continental AG in Shanghai, China. More specifically, I worked close to the Key Account Management team and Business Development Marketing team within this company.

Before this intern, I was hoping that I could gain more understandings about how the marketplace in China worked, and how my future marketing career would look like. Also, I was little bit nervous about whether I could do it well or not.

During the intern experience, I learned a lot from different professionals, and have successfully strengthened my business-applied skills. Overall, I believe this outstanding experience has brought a number of benefits to my academics and career goals, as I began to become more confident about my career.

With the STEP Signature Project funding, I really appreciate that I was able to go to China to pursue an intern within Continental AG. I used to doubt myself a lot if I could really fit in the work place after graduation. However, this experience has brought me confidence by helping me work through the entire process, and indeed changed me very much.

I have a great relationship with my mentor who was my manager when I was doing the intern during the summer. With his help and mentorship, I started to learn how to apply all the things I learned in college to work. Before then, I had no idea about how I could build up the transition from school to work. Also, I loved being with other interns, while learning from my peers on their perspectives about their transition and future plans.

As it was the 50th year celebration of my company during the summer, all the executive officer came from all over the world to Shanghai for the celebration conference. During the event, I was able to get a better understanding of the international company and how it worked so efficiently globally.

I believe that this experience within the STEP Signature Project has contributed a lot to my college life. The greatest thing is that I have begun to consider about what I should do, in the school when I get back, so as to prepare for my career in the future. And I have realized how important the involvements on campus are because it has equipped me well with leadership that is of great significance in work place.

In terms of the academics on campus, I have begun to appreciate it more since I realized that they had added a great asset to me when I was working during this summer. Thus, during my junior year, especially when I am taking business class, I can have a better idea about how it applies to the workplace.

Overall, this outstanding experience that STEP brought to me has enriched my summer and also prepared me better for my junior year and future career.

 

WOSU @ COSI

During the summer of 2015, I interned at WOSU Studios, specifically for the program Columbus on the Record. WOSU is a media broadcasting company that does PBS and NPR broadcasts for Columbus, and Columbus on the Record is a round-table political discussion facilitated by the host, Mike Thompson.

I became better at working with a team to achieve a common goal. This will impact my future endeavors, both personal and professional. I also became more empathetic towards public media work. I think most people take television and public media for granted. People don’t realize how much work goes into even a half hour program, such as Columbus on the Record. The producers, host, and directors worked all week to make sure the show could be taped on Friday. The develop the script, graphics, and find video clips for the show. Now, whenever I watch TV, I can only think about how much work went into the show. I analyze the camerawork and think about what’s going on in the control room. Specifically,when I watch the Cavs, I can’t stop thinking about how difficult it must be to broadcast a sporting event on TV. I also learned the value of honesty in a professional setting.

There were several experiences I had that led me to those new views. I learned teamwork skills through working alongside several other interns. We all had to do our part. Whether I was assigned floor directing duties, teleprompter duties, or camera duties, I had to do my assignment to the utmost ability, or else the entire show would suffer. I realized this when I was working the teleprompter one Friday. I thought we were skipping the last topic, so I put the closing statements on the prompter. The host was intending the do the last topic, so when he looked up at the teleprompter and saw that it wasn’t there, he began to improvise. I quickly scrolled back to the last topic, and caught him in the middle of his improvisation. If it weren’t for Mike’s improvisation skills saving the show, it would have crashed and burned. And it would have been my fault.

The moment I realized how dynamic the world of media broadcasting is was my first day on the set. I was told to simply sit in the control room and watch how everything is done. I watched the producer, director, and co-director scramble around before the show was taped. As the director guided the camera people, cheyron operator, and co-director through the taping, he actually started sweating. After the show was finished taping, he looked as though he had just worked out, and congratulated everyone on a job well done.

I learned the value of honesty in a professional environment through one of my bosses. He’d always tell me blatantly if I were doing a sufficient or poor job. When he told me I’d done a poor job, it actually made me feel a little bit better about my performance because at least I knew he wanted me to improve. If my boss didn’t care about my performance, he’d keep his mouth shut, and let me fail. The value of honesty went both ways with him. I always knew that I’d be much more productive if I just asked questions when I didn’t understand something. It was really easy with him, since he was always so willing to help.

This internship is valuable to my future professional, academic, and personal lives. Professionally, this internship made me want to become an even better team member. In order to do that, I need to be a quicker learner, which I can accomplish by being more self aware. A lot of people will rely on me in the future to complete various tasks, and I need to allocate sufficient focus to each task, or else I could bring the team down. My academic career will certainly be enhanced by better communication skills. For example, if I do economics research, it won’t be worth anything without being able to communicate it. Especially in the 21st century, having technical skills in operating media equipment is important. In my personal life, the value of honesty that I learned will not just help in academia and in the workplace, but in my relationships. Just as my boss critiqued my performance and just as I asked questions, I can do this with friends and family in my personal life.

Justin Lun STEP Relection

My signature project was an enriching internship at the Ohio Union. I acted as a fiscal office intern for the summer managing the business processes for Student Life. My project allowed me to observe and manage day to day tasks as well as work on my own projects to improve aspects of the office.

During this time I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about my work ethic at typical 9-5 job. I learned I like to embrace new projects every day within my job to keep things new and exciting. I also learned how to manage my time and freedom as a working individual.

By immersing myself in a typical work environment, I learned a lot about how to work with many different people. As a student, I have become very accustomed to working with my peers; however, at work, working with other people is much different. I found that many people were much more stubborn and prideful than in a typical classroom. As a result, I have had to change the way I work with and help other people in a work environment. This experience has allowed me to improve my communication skills with coworkers.

I had many great experiences as a part of my internship. First, I was able to create and execute new and much more efficient programs that aided the processes at the Ohio Union. These programs mostly dealt with email and invoicing and reduced time by almost 75% and almost eliminated error.

In addition, one major event was Kasich’s announcement for presidency which allowed me to witness and take notes on how businesses accommodate huge shocks to their system both logistically and operationally.

Finally, I was able to connect with all the divisions of Student Life which allowed me to realize all the opportunity and help grow the opportunities available to Ohio State students. It was great to see all the things we offer through Student Life and discussing ways to help grow their presence through effective use of the business office was helpful.

Outside of work, I was able to explore myself personally through this experience. I renewed my passion for both mental and physical health through many stimulating experiences including trips to museums and preparing for a marathon.

This STEP experience showed me as much about myself as it did about the world around me. I was able to learn how to define a relationship between work and my personal life that I had never given thought to in the past. As a result, I am both mentally and physically healthier.

STEP gave me a invaluable opportunity to grow into and experience a life style that I usually would not experience until I left college. It allowed me to mature in ways beyond the scope of a university education and allowed me to see the application of my education at Ohio State. Through this experience, I can now focus my education and goals towards the things I found most rewarding during my summer experience. Furthermore, I now have a better understanding of my strengths and weaknesses in the workplace and in my life which I can use to achieve my full potential.

 

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My STEP Internship- Eaton Corporation

My STEP signature Project was packing up my bags and moving to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to pursue a finance internship. This was my first time moving out and having the burden of all my costs fall upon myself so my STEP money helped to pay for this entire process and ease some of the financial burden.

 

This summer brought so much more change than I originally intended. I figured it would be quite different being out in the world on my own but I didn’t fathom just how much of an impact this summer would have on me, both from a personal and professional sense. Heading into the summer I was 100% certain that I was going to follow the path that I thought was laid out before me: do decently well in school à get an internship à full time offer= live life and retire. I quickly reversed course on this and decided that I did not want to conform to the status quo. I worked for an excellent company but I didn’t feel alive in that environment. As the summer progressed I realized this was because I had very little interaction with others throughout the day.

My views of the corporate culture also encountered a shift throughout the summer. I always pictured corporate life to be portrayed as it is in some movies (loud, fast-paced, full of awesome friendships and work outings) however, the real world quickly hit me and it was much different than I expected. Not saying that this is a bad thing, it was just very interesting to see what actually goes on in a work environment. I did form awesome friendships with people at work but it wasn’t over amazing golf-outings or work trips, it was a much more organic process. The summer always reminded me to not assume various topics or facts are accurate merely because I saw it in a movie or some TV show.

There was one HUGE interaction that really stuck out to me a few weeks into my internship assignment. I engaged in a few conversations with this particular coworker over the preceding weeks and we had slowly grown to form a friendship. We were leaving work at the same time one day and he asked me what I thought I wanted to do with my life and what my future aspirations were- seeing as I still have no idea what I want to do with my life I offered up a very similar response. My coworker responded with a very heartfelt statement that I had heard many times before but had never really listened to, “Find something you truly love to do in life. Find something that makes you come to work everyday just ready to conquer the world.” It wasn’t so much the words that were spoken but the look in my coworker’s eyes when this was said. It’s hard to explain over words on a computer but there was a look of regret and loss in his eyes that I never want to see in myself.

Making friends in the work place always seemed so easy on the various media outlets that depicted this, especially if you had something in common with a fellow coworker whom you didn’t know extremely well but I actually encountered a very challenging scenario. I like to meet new people so I take every opportunity to meet them and I try and always find a common connection. There was one gentleman that was working over at the Air Force National Guard center across the bridge from work, so I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to make a new friend! My dad was in the Air Force for roughly 15 years and he happened to know the Vice Wing Commander at the Air Force Base, so I figured I would use this to my advantage…however it went horribly wrong. He did not know the Vice Wing Commander that my father knew and, worse yet, he started to belittle and mock Ohio State and Urban Meyer when I told him where I went to school. One thing about me, however, is that I don’t like to lose and I saw this as a situation in which I was definitely the loser. As the summer progressed I threw out a casual, “Hello, how are you, did you have a good weekend, etc.” and it was always accompanied with a smile! I’m not sure if my coworker got tired of me smiling at him and asking him questions but he slowly started coming around to my cubicle and having conversations with me as my internship was winding down.

Finally, there wasn’t one event that led to this, but rather it was a multitude of similar scenarios that helped me learn a terrific lesson: Say yes in life and see where it takes you. Going in to this summer I was very much one for a routine, I liked to know what I was doing everyday and I didn’t like to deviate from the schedule. I began grappling with this fact however and wondered how I could maximize my days, but more importantly increase the smiles and laughs that accompanied them. A few of my friends this summer got tickets to the Kenny Chesney concert (whom I love) and asked if I wanted to go down and tailgate before the concert. I didn’t have a ticket so my first inclination was to say no but thankfully my friend talked me into going and it was one of my favorite memories over the summer. Another example of this was when my Cleveland friends asked if I would come visit for the weekend. I really didn’t want to waste gas money and four hours on the road, but I decided to give it a go and see where it led me. I had a blast hanging out with them and I enjoyed some excellent home-cooking. Overall, I learned to adopt the phrase of “why not” and see what memories and events come out of it.

My plethora of experiences this summer resulted in some really awesome changes in my life. The first of these being that I really began to understand the value of experiences in life and making the most of every second you are given. I learned that there is so much more to the day than completing whatever task I happened to be assigned at work that given day. We are made for so much more than being a good worker or producer. The relationships we build throughout life is what really pushes us to grow and develop and also what makes life so enjoyable for living. I can already see this reflected in my schoolwork this year. I have really learned to value time with my friends, family and fellow pupils. I not only relish time spent with them but it is also great to hear and see their diverse viewpoints as well.

The other value I took away from this experience was the fact that I have no idea what I want to do with my life anymore. The image I had painted in my head for years has slowly faded away and I have been left with a very clean slate. I am very fortunate enough to go to a university that carries such a prestigious name. I will have a solid foundation graduating from here and it is up to me to ensure that I find a job I both enjoy doing and that I am good at.

 

Pittsburgh Sunset Kayaking with Pat Eaton Building The Burgh

Penn Vet Working Dog Center Internship

This past summer, I got the opportunity to participate in a 8 week long internship at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center. The Working Dog Center (WDC) is a facility, affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, which focuses on training working dogs or multiple different fields, and also researching ways to further improve the dog’s performances. They had five types of working dogs at the facility: police dogs, search and rescue, cadaver dogs, cancer-sniffing dogs, and also diabetic alert dogs. I focused mainly on police dogs, where I helped with training for “fit-to-work”, agility, bite-work, and also core strengthening.

At the WDC, I learned a lot about the mentality of police dogs and how to train dogs to search out different smells. In regards to their mentality, I learned that there is a big difference in the training of police dogs and service dogs. Police dogs have to be prepared for anyone to be a “suspect” and be ready to attack at a moments notice. However, search dogs have to have a strong drive to find people but can not have the same “attack” mentality as police dogs. They have to associate people with rewards while police dogs have to associate biting with a reward. This change in mentality of these dogs was something I never really considered before, and was one of the main things I have learned at the WDC.

Personally, this experience helped me realize that as a woman I still can find a place in the law enforcement field. Although at times it was difficult working with a primarily all-male group of police academy boys, I was able to pull through and prove that I was as capable at the job as they were. It was an extreme confidence booster and let me feel more sure that I was on the right path career-wise.

This experience impacted my life goals in a big way. Going into this internship I thought that I wasn’t good enough to be an officer, so instead was focusing on just being a dog trainer instead. However, as I got to work with the trainers, officers, and dog more, I realized that my heart was more set on becoming a police officer myself. With my career goals now changed, I changed my academic track so it was more criminology based to help with future job applications and also am now looking into more law-enforcement based internships for future summers.

Although cliché, I have to say working with the different dogs was my favorite part. All of the dogs have extremely different personalities and unique quirks. They are not joking when they say that dogs choose their careers for themselves. My favorite dog was a German Shepherd named Rookie. She only got to work with a few people, but she and I cliqued right away. Getting to work more closely with her and her trainer made me feel extremely special and successful and was by far my favorite part.

 

This internship was so rewarding and helped me develop my future career plans. I would highly recommend this for anyone who is planning on working with dogs or emergency services.